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Homemade Playdough

Posted by  ·  August 26, 2008  ·  Last Updated: July 15, 2017
We love playdough!

Homemade play-dough is such a great activity for so many ages.  We cook it up in the winter, when we need an inside activity, and we mix it up all summer too.  Today some kids and I are burning up daylight around here with pink play-dough. We love this homemade recipe and it’s easy ingredients like flour, salt and water.  You should have most everything you need already in your pantry.  You may need to grab a bottle of Alum from the spice aisle, but one bottle will last you through many batches of dough. We think it is one of the best playdough recipes around, and once you’ve made it, it will be hard to go back to the store bought stuff!  It’s good to know exactly what’s in the dough–just in case someone takes a little bite of this great smelling dough!  This activity kept these two, two year olds busy for much longer than two minutes. Actually they enjoyed themselves for a very long time.


Homemade Play-dough Recipe


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Homemade Play-dough Recipe


  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • food coloring or kool aid if making the whole batch the same color, otherwise knead individual colors in at the end
  • 2 -1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoons alum


  1. Mix flour and alum together in bowl.  On the stovetop, mix the water, salt, vegetable oil, and food coloring or Kool-Aid.  Once the mixture starts boiling, add the flour and alum.

    Cook over low to medium heat stirring constantly until dough comes away from the edges of the pan and it becomes very hard to stir. Remove from heat and let cool slightly (until you are able to knead the dough).

    Knead until smooth and elastic. Store in an airtight container.

This recipe is for a smooth dough similar to the consistency of Play-doh.  Food coloring works great, but you can also substitute a package of Kool aid mix.  Use the package that doesn’t have the sugar added yet.  The Kool-Aid will not only color the play dough, it will also give it a great smell.  We love the vibrant color and smell of the black cherry flavor!

Never underestimate the lure of play-dough!


It also kept these three “big” boys just in from golf very busy (and it was even pink)!


Add a couple of plastic knives, some cookie cutters and a rolling pin.  You will have all you need for an afternoon of molding and designing all sorts of fun creations.  When you are finished, smoosh it all back together, place it in an air tight container, and save it for next time.  You should be able to get months of use out of this great homemade play dough, however there is something definitely alluring about kneading a fresh warm batch of play dough!

If your kids are into the slime craze, here is a great recipe for a safe (borax free) slime.  If you love Dr. Suess, you’ve got to try this amazing oobleck recipe!  Enjoy these fun recipes and enjoy the time they allow you to spend having fun with your kids!

Leave a Comment


  1. Jane Renald
    Thursday, December 1st, 2011
    I loved making & playing with playdough, with my daughter who is now just a few days shy of 29. She has a little 21 month old & I think it is time he had his first playdough, as it is a miserable rainy day here in Australia today. So Nanna is going to show Mummy how to make it & we can all have a good time. Thank you for a wonderful site. I have spent the last two hours since 4am looking thru it
  2. cassdraper
    Saturday, March 14th, 2009
    Will give this a go when our current playdoh runs out, much better than spending silly money when you can have fun making it with your kids!
  3. Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
    Oh I've been thinking about something like this. I tried a recipe a long time ago and it didn't come out right. I now realize I didn't use any alum. I didn't even know it existed back then, so I KNOW I didn't use any. But I notice in your post you mention the flour and alum twice, One says 1tblsp of alum and the other 2 tblsp? Which do I use?
  4. Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
    I have so enjoyed your site and have used tons of ideas. Here is an incredibly simple recipe for Playdoh that we use - it's just dump and stir....

    2 c. Flour
    ½ c. Salt
    2 c. Water
    2 T. Vegetable Oil
    ¼ c. Cream of Tartar (found in spice section)

    Pour all ingredients into a large saucepan. Food coloring can be added here if desired, 5-7 drops. Turn to med-high heat and stir constantly until the mix becomes very warm and starts to form together, about 3-5 minutes. Do not over heat, it will burn. Continue stirring until the mix forms into a playdough ball. Remove from heat and pour ball onto a wax paper sheet. Let cool for a few minutes and then knead until soft, 2-3 minutes. Food coloring can also be added during the kneading process as well, especially if you want to split the dough and use 2 or more colors. I suggest wearing baggies over your hands if doing this. Store your play dough in a ziplock bag and in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months, or until little white spots develop.
  5. Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
    I haven't tried this recipe out before. I'll have to give this one a whirl!

    I love that they boys are thoroughly entertained with their pink play dough!
  6. Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
    What a great idea! I'm going to have to try this.
  7. Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
    This recipe is almost like the one that my mom made us when I was a child. I now make it for my kids and they love it. I swear playdough is the best invention ever don't you think!

    Love you blog I have gotten lots of fun ideas from you so THANKS SO MUCH!

  8. Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
    I had a homemade playdough disaster this summer (http://foreverfoldinglaundry.blogspot.com/2008/07/when-good-ideas-go-bad.html) and I need to redeem myself so I think I'll give this a try! Thanks!
    • Ariane Moser
      Monday, April 9th, 2018
      Good job
  9. Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
    This was the perfect reminder..icky weather and extra kids this evening....am gonna have to whip up a batch for the evening's entertainment! Thanks