Today I’m sharing what is easily the BEST playdough recipe ever.
My plan was to make a simple batch of play dough to replace the sparkly dried out purple stuff that happily met our cookie-making, glitter infusing, practice cutting, snowman-making needs over the past two months. I asked my daughter what color she would like this time around, and she answered with…
ALL of them.
The way I have always made playdough requires that I add the color to the whole batch while it’s cooking, making it difficult to make multiple colors. But by some lucky, happy accident we managed to add the ingredients in the wrong order, which is no doubt the result of making dough with a two year old while chatting with my mother-in-law and goo-gooing at my baby! But, as that same luck would have it, I think we landed on the BEST batch of play dough yet. The texture is buttery and I was able to deliver on the multiple colors request. And this ingredient, my friends, is the secret to having strong, smooth playdough that won’t crumble.
So, without further ado…
How to Make Playdough
The Best Playdough Recipe
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience
- 2.5 cups water
- 1 1/4 c. salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp. cream of tartar
- 5 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2.5 cups flour
- Food coloring or liquid watercolors. I’m a fan Sax Concentrated Liquid Watercolors and Wilton Icing Colors, which make gorgeous shades of play dough to match any occasion, mood, or toddler request. The liquid watercolors can be used for so many other recipes and projects such as Painting with Straws, Doily and Watercolor paintings, Marbleized Paper, and Colorful Goop (and seriously amazing sensory experience.
Mix everything but the food coloring together in a large pot until somewhat smooth. It will be lumpy. Not to worry, the dough will get smoother as it cooks. Cook the dough over a low heat. Mix frequently. The water will slowly cook out of the mixture and you’ll notice it starts to take on a sticky dough appearance. Keep mixing until the edges of the dough along the side and bottom of the pan appear dry. Pinch a piece of dough. If it’s not gooey, the dough is ready.
Place the dough on a counter top or large cutting board that can withstand a little food coloring. Knead the warm dough until it’s smooth and then divide it into the number of colors that you’d like to make. I divided mine into four balls, flattened each of them, added a little bit of food coloring, and then kneaded it in. I added more food coloring to get the desired shades of yellow, pink, teal, and lavender.
Store the dough in a large Ziplock bag or sealed container. Unused, it’ll keep for months. For play dough tool ideas, you can read this post from last year.
There you have it, rainbow play dough (aka the best playdough ever).
More Playdough Recipes
How to Make Cloud Dough, the easiest dough recipe that calls for oil and flour.
How to Make Goop with just cornstarch and water.
Make amazing scented pumpkin spice playdough.
DIY Masa Playdough, made with masa harina
How to make Salt Dough with just salt, flour, and water.
Is this your first time here?
Join the Tinkerlab network and be the first to know about simple art + science projects for kids, creativity tips, and simple ideas that will make your life more creative. Sign up for our newsletter.
In case you blinked and missed it, Tinkerlab rounds up all the great stuff on the internets on keeping you and your critters creative and wraps it up for you in a tidy newsletter! (And throws in some secret giveaways for good measure!) – Yuliya P., San Francisco, CA
Join our community and you’ll learn:
- How to simplify your life and make more room for creativity
- How to make hands-on making a part of your everyday life
- Easy, actionable ways to raise creative kids
If you enjoy projects like this, join me at Club TinkerLab, a closed Facebook group for parents and educators who care about raising creative and curious children through hands-on making.