All You Knead to Know to Make Your Own Playdough

This easy, make-at-home playdough requires just four ingredients and no equipment or cooking, making it fun for kids of all ages, including toddlers. The salty dough deters eating and you can choose any kind of dye, or no dye at all. We like to use gel food coloring because a little goes a long way. Here’s how to make your own in just a few steps.

playdough step by step
This recipe makes roughly the equivalent of two standard size containers of commercial playdough. Because of the simple quantities it’s very easy to double or even triple the recipe. 

You will need:

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1/2 cup of salt

1/2 cup of water

1 cup of flour (for mixing in the dough) plus 1/2 cup more for sprinkling/kneading

Food coloring (optional)

mixing playdough step by step
Measure your ingredients and add them all, except the food coloring, to a large mixing bowl. Mix them with a spoon or spatula until they start to stick together.
playdough tutorial step by step
If you are making more than one color, divide the dough up into equal parts (depending on how many colors you wish to make). Add the food coloring to the dough. And mix it in a bit with a spoon, just enough to work give it a swirly appearance.

kneading playdough
Sprinkle flour onto a dry surface and turn the dough out of the bowl. Knead. Push, pull, punch, knead! This is one of the funnest parts for kids and you can’t over knead it. The kneading is what ultimately distributes the color and you can use the color as an indication that it’s been kneaded enough.

playdough success
The dough probably won’t have the exact consistency of the store-bought variety, but it gets pretty close. You want to keep adding flour in small pinches and working it in until the dough isn’t sticky but is still pliable. Your dough is ready for playing!
playdough action shot
Now, they will be super-occupied while you clean up the flour that’s all over the floor. Hand them a bread knife, a few cookie cutters and a garlic press and relax (or do the dishes). Store your playdough in sealable plastic bags. If it gets dried out, sprinkle a bit of water on it and knead it before playing. (And if it feels too sticky, add flour.)

Have you made your own playdough? Let us know if the comments below!

—photos and text by Amber Guetebier



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