Homemade PlayDough Recipe

Homemade Playdough Recipe

This homemade playdough recipe is super easy to make, and something you can do with the kids. Not to mention, it’s really affordable. As a creative mom, I try my best to avoid bringing in more products that contain lots of packaging. So avoiding the store bought playdough in plastic containers is something I like to do.

Homemade playdough is a fun project that you can get the kids involved with. It’s the perfect activity for a rainy day.


Don’t forget about the Free Printable of the recipe to use while you’re making it with the kids!


Homemade Playdough Recipe

Making playdough is like a right of passage. Everyone has their version of the best recipe or a story of how they used to make it for their kids. What I love about the stuff is that it’s almost foolproof if you follow the recipe. And it’s something your kids can get involved in.

I’ll be honest, originally, I wanted to use natural dyes to make the playdough. But I kept putting the project off because of the time commitment. Don’t get me wrong, natural dyes are great, and really fun to experiment with. But for this project, it just felt like like it would take a lot longer.

Plus, let’s be honest, your kids probably aren’t going to keep the colors separate from one another (well my daughter doesn’t anyways). And 30 minutes after you pass the playdough to the kids, the colors will turn into one big shade of brownish purple anyways.

Homemade Playdough Recipe using food coloring

So, to make things easier on myself, I decided to use food coloring. And, it ended up working really great! I will definitely make it this way again!

Below, I show you a quick tutorial on how to the the purple homemade playdough…

Homemade Playdough step by step instructions

The entire process takes place with a little bit of heat, but not too much. I used a pot on the stove, but I’ve also heard that it works with a kettle of hot water. First, you add all the ingredients together in the pot, including food coloring. Mix it up with a spatula, and after about a minute or two, the mixture starts to come together. Next, using the spatula I scraped the sides, and took it out of the pot to cool off.

After that, I placed a bunch of flour on the counter and let my daughter get to work. This is the fun part.

At this point, the dough is still pretty sticky, so you’ll need the flour to help change that. After a little bit of kneading, it all comes together. You’ll know when the playdough is done!

Homemade Playdough rolled into balls (recipe included)



  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 Tbsp salt

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

  • 10 drops food coloring (buy here)


Don’t forget about the Free Printable of the recipe to use while you’re making it with the kids!



  1. Add flour, water, salt, olive oil, cream of tartar, and food coloring to a pot on the stove. Stir all ingredients together and let it warm on medium-heat for 1-3 minutes. Keep an eye on this as it will happen pretty quickly. Once the mixture starts to come together into a dough, use a spatula to scrape all of it together. Take it out of the pot and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, knead the playdough by hand on a counter with lots of flour until it’s no longer sticky. Store in airtight container for up to 6 months.


  • Although most of us don’t have cream of tartar on hand in our pantry, it’s an important addition because it adds acidity and makes the play dough last much much longer. I ended up using tart-o-cream from my organic grocery store because it wasn’t expensive and is a healthier alternative. Also, I have read that some people use vinegar as a substitute, but I’ve never tried that.

  • If you would prefer a gluten-free option, you can substitute the flour with 1/2 cup rice flour, and 1/2 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder.

tools I used for playing with homemade playdough

Now that the playdough is ready for play, you’ll need some tools! Here’s a picture of the ones we played with to help give you a little inspiration.

P.S. I grabbed all of these tools at the thrift store. All together it only cost me $3 for all of them! In particular, my daughter loved the pasta cutter because of the squiggly lines it makes on the playdough (it’s not sharp in case you’re wondering). You can see her playing with it below.

toddler playing with homemade playdough

If you’ve never made homemade playdough before, I hope you’ll give it a try! It's so much better than the store bought stuff. It doesn’t try out nearly as fast. It’s waaaay less crumbly. And lasts much longer, as long as you keep it stored in an airtight container.

I am definitely going to be using this recipe again as I found it to be really moist and create the perfect consistency of playdough. And, yes, food coloring (in my opinion) is the way to go.

Happy creating friends!