Playdough definitely has a love hate relationship in our houses. Our kids love it because its squidgy, smells yummy and they can have endless fun rolling meter long snakes on the kitchen table! We hate it because the lids never go back on the pots and you find crusted pebbles of the stuff down every crevice of your sofa and floor a month later. And being milliseconds away from a downright ban on the bundles of squidge, we realised the multifold benefits of making homemade play dough ourselves.

First off, its super cheap and easy and secondly the kids get such a kick out of making it themselves. They really enjoyed measuring the ingredients themselves (maths tick!) and mixing and kneading it. You can have so much fun colour mixing to create your very own palette. Finding the right colour is trial and error and may depend on the quality of your food colourings but we’ve added a few other natural options under ‘tips’ below.

The best part of making your own play dough is that you can store it in the fridge (in cling film or air tight bag/box) and months later it is as soft and malleable as the day you made it!


What You’ll Need

Plain flour – 2 cups

Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp

Cream of tartar – 2 tbsp

Salt – 1/2 cup

Boiling water – 1 cup

Food colouring





How To Make It

  • Tip the flour, cream of tartar and oil into a non stick saucepan and gradually add the water and colouring to the dry ingredients.  (We found mixing the colour dye into the boiling water before adding to the mixture helps get the right colour intensity)
  • Place on hob on a low heat and then add any remaining water.  Be careful as you don’t want it to be too sticky.
  • Mix until it combines (should take a minute or two). You’ll know when you get the right consistency as it all comes together similar to pastry or bread.
  • The mixture should form a little skin around the outside. When this happens it’s ready!
  • Pop the mixture onto a tabletop and let it cool for a couple of minutes before kneading it.

To add a scent use essential oils, vanilla/orange blossom essence or even a scented shower gel (1-2 tablespoons of either)

If food colourings aren’t your thing why not try natural dyes and take inspiration from your spice rack or fridge. Try tumeric for orange, frozen raspberries for deep pink, blueberries for blue or instant coffee for brown.

Add glitter for sparkle fun

Glycerine can be added for shine

Use wholegrain flour for a different texture



If you have reached your ceiling of snails or snakes why not check out these great activities that we found on Mothers Niche