• Itsy Bitsy Rainbow Lady

Easy homemade play-dough within minutes! - more than just a fun for all ages!

Updated: Apr 2, 2019

Make your own #customized non-toxic play-dough with step by step #tutorial, and help your child to express their creativity and emotions while playing. Recipes, tips, activities, suggestions, benefits of play-dough


Level of difficulty: #Easy

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I remember, when I was a child, we had two options for #playdough. The ugly and smelly ones bought from the store or the #homemade classic one with three simple ingredients (salt, flour, water) :). #oldschool I always liked to jump right into action, so I preferred the homemade one to create my brand new ideas! But if you have already tried the classic one, you know that it dries quickly on the air, and breaks easily (of course once it is done you can decorate, paint your work as a second project.)


Basically I was searching for a play-dough recipe which

  1. is #no_toxic, so I know the ingredients well (so it is safe even for a 1 year old)

  2. I can produce at any time, and in any amount,

  3. It lasts longer (so it does not dry out so quickly while playing with it),

  4. I can store the dough for a longer period, even for months.

Good news! I found it!


The best play-dough recipe

If you Google a bit you can find tons of recipes. As I spent more time studying webdesign, Pinterest become my best friend! Here is my selection of play-dough recipes and fun activities. As you can see you can go really crazy. Invent your your own version! The limit is just your imagination! :)


Shortcut: If you do not want to get lost in the tons of ideas, I found my best recipe here (store bought quality, but homemade!). If you want to save time (and supplies!) on trying recipes here and there, these lovely moms sharing their experiences how 10 different play-dough recipes turned them out. Their research includes a wide variety, like #cooking, #non_cooking, no cream of tartar, Kool-aid, etc. versions!


My favorite play-dough #recipe


This recipe is a cooking version and calls cream of tartar, but I still prefer it, because the shelf life is extremely long (9 months!).


You will need:

  • 1 Cup Flour

  • 1 Cup Water

  • 1/4 Cup Salt

  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

  • 2 tspn Cream of Tartar

  • Food Coloring (12 drops or more depending on your vibrant color favor - play-dough showed below contains 12 drops yellow and 10 drops of red FC)

  • Sauce Pan and Wooden Spoon

  • ziploc bag or container for storing

Directions for cooking

  1. Measure the ingredients.

  2. Combine the flour, salt, cream of tartar in a sauce pan and mix it well. Add the oil.

  3. Pour the water into a glass bowl and add the food coloring - this way you can see your estimated color tone, and will have a chance to modify it. Through the cooking process the color will darken a bit, but not too much.

  4. Add the colored water to the sauce pan (with the flour in it) and mix it well.

  5. Put the sauce pan on the stove and set it on close to the middle heat.

  6. Keep stirring it, in a couple of minutes the mixture will thicken. Once it holds together (like it could your spoon as pictured) you are done! Remove it from the heat, and place the dough on a plate.

  7. Once it is cooled down a bit, knead it until smooth.

  8. Your Play-dough is ready to play or to be stored.


This recipe will make 16 oz play-dough. I am using only the half amount of what this recipe says, and do 2 different colors at the same time. The half batch works well for us. In this way I can rotate the colors once in a while.


This is how this recipe turns out!


The red color play-dough was made today. It has a bit bigger size, I guess because of the fresh moisture. The green color was made a week ago. The blue color was made about 6 months ago. Compared to the other two balls it feels a bit rough, but still works great!


#Tips and suggestions how to make it better

  • How to get more vibrant colors?

If you want more vibrant colors (my suggestion for this): increase the amount of food coloring (I added 12 drops FC to half of the amount of the ingredients (listed above to get a nice green color). Unfortunately once the dough is done, it is difficult to add more color (or you will end up with a marble mixed color, which is fun too!:). Do not be discouraged if you do not like the color you get, try a different brand next time. There are so many on the market, even neon colors! (look for the baking section in stores).

  • Mixing colors with chart

Here is an interesting Food Coloring set I found, which includes a color mixing chart which allows you to mix the exact color you want (e.g. bright & bold, pastel, neon, seasonal colors like Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter). It could be useful if you want to make a themed play-dough invitation.

  • Natural plant based food coloring

India Tree is a good brand to look for.

  • Food Coloring options

My experience shows, that for cooking required play-dough recipes (like my favorite above) the best to use food coloring which contains only the "colors"- and does not contains other ingredients like corn syrup, sugar etc. (like the "Betty Crocker Classic gel food color" and the "Wilton Icing colors" does). The exact same recipe I have made with the Betty Crocker Classic (see on the picture (right corner) turned out extremely sticky, so ended up in the trash. Too much other ingredients in the food coloring could modify the result. Read the label carefully before purchasing. I attached the picture about food coloring I have and l experimenting with.

  • No cream of tartar recipe

You can find cook and no-cook versions. Here is one to try it out

  • Store it properly

Store it in an airtight container (I am using this), but for the best result better to put the play-dough into a ziploc bag. To extend the shelf life (and avoid molding) store it in the fridge.


If you got bored with the simple play-dough ideas,

try scented or glittery versions!


  • #Lavender play-dough To boost the calming and stress relieving effect of the play-dough, you could add a few drops of Lavender essential oil to the dough. Lavender is a well known stress reliever. Here is a recipe if you want to try it out.

  • #Chamomile play-dough Similar calming effect if you add Chamomile tea to the play-dough. Just simply make a Chamomile tea (better to use 2 tea bags for a more concentrated effect), let the tea bags/flowers soak for about 5 minutes, than strain. Use this tea as a substitution of the water part in the play-dough recipe.

  • #Cinnamon play-dough Adding Cinnamon powder (or essential oil) to the ingredients, and your play-dough will smell amazing! Add 1-2 Tablespoons Cinnamon powder to the recipe.

  • Kool-Aid Some people like to use Kool-Aid to add flavor (and an exciting smell) and color to the play-dough.

  • #Glitter play-dough Adding some Biodegradable (!) glitter will make your dough sparkling (you can sprinkle a pinch of different colors to the dough to make a colorful effect).

I am very curious about how yours turned out, let me know about your experiences!

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