How to Make Non-Toxic Playdough at Home

play dough making

During a half term afternoon when we couldn’t go out with the children as it was an absolute downpour and very cold too. So I thought it would be a good idea to make playdough. Both of the children are – safe to put it this way – a huge fan of playdough. We actually never really had any at home though, as Bobcat tends to put it in his mouth or keep licking it – which must be a sensory thing. It must taste horrible though and let’s not talk about what kind of toxic ingredients are in store bought play doughs.

play dough making

The benefits of playing with playdough

But play dough is very beneficial for him (and for any child), it encourages imaginative and creative play. For Bobcat, it’s also very good for practicing his fine motor skills as he’s not very good at them. It’s a great way to strengthen all those muscles he will need for writing. Plus all the squishing, squashing, rolling, flattening are great for sensory needs too.

Well, there’s is one obviously very annoying aspect of playdough: the mess. It can make quite a bit of a mess and it’s also hard to clean it up. Now, I’m not saying that this recipe gives you a lot less messy play dough, but I definitely noticed the difference when hoovering the floor: it just comes up easier. But the mess worth it, as they love it.

Anyway, try it for yourself, as it’s very easy to make it and costs pennies. it will keep in the fridge for a few month (and t won’t dry out). This recipe will give you a small cantaloupe size of play dough ball, like half a size bigger then  a normal tennis ball.

So here’s a very simple recipe:

  • 250 g plain flour
  • 125 g salt
  • 220 ml water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil (any type)
  • 4 tbsp of cream of tartar
  • food colouring of your choice

play dough making

play dough making

play dough making

play dough making


  1. Mix all the ingredients until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Heat a pan (preferably one with a non stick coating) on low heat and add about twice a soup ladle worth of this runny mixture to the pan. Add your chosen colour. Depending on the quality of the food colouring and the intensity of the colour you want, the measurement can vary. You will need to see as it goes.
  3. Stir vigorously and constantly for about 2 minutes until you notice the play dough forming. 
  4. Take it off the heat and wait until it cools down. Your playdough is ready.

play dough making

And if you want to learn how to melt crayons at home, read my post here: How To Make Shaped Crayons – The Big Crayons Melting Guide


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Helen May 2, 2018 - 9:47 am

Ahh I’ve been meaning to make play dough at home, but haven’t had a chance yet. You’ve spurred me on to have a go 🙂

Emily Leary May 2, 2018 - 10:19 am

Homemade play dough is always a winner. it’s so much cheaper to make it than to buy ready made and you’re so right, it offers lots of developmental opportunities – what’s not to love?!

Reply May 7, 2018 - 7:44 pm

Exactly! I now wish I’ve known this earlier!

Clare aka Emmy's Mummy and Harry's too May 2, 2018 - 11:45 am

Mine love this stuff… not so much lol.
I can’t stand it when they have to mix the colours.

I really should indulge them though and make some more, always nicer than the store stuff

Reply May 7, 2018 - 7:43 pm

I’m not a huge fan of play dough either. But this proved to be less messy for us.

Anosa May 3, 2018 - 5:12 am

I used to love playing with play dough as a child and remember the horrid taste when I once licked it. Its a good idea to make one at home for sure

Kate May 3, 2018 - 1:33 pm

Oooh thanks for this. I’ll make a batch with the kids this long weekend!

Reply May 7, 2018 - 7:40 pm

No problem! Let me know how did it go. xx

Kirsty May 3, 2018 - 7:19 pm

I didn’t realise just how easy it was to make play dough. It looks a lot better texture wise than normal tubs!

Reply May 7, 2018 - 7:38 pm

It’s not as sticky. It’s a lot easier for my son who has sensory issues to handle it.

Katrina May 4, 2018 - 9:11 pm

I’ve made this many a time
It’s easy cheap
And carefree

Reply May 7, 2018 - 7:36 pm

Absolutely! I’m now thinking to make some other colours in pastel.

Rachel - Let's Flip A Home May 5, 2018 - 6:41 am

I would love to make play dough for my little boy as he is obsessed with the stuff. Will have to give this recipe a try. Thanks for sharing.

Reply May 7, 2018 - 7:34 pm

Yes, give it a go! It’s super easy.

Fritha Quinn May 5, 2018 - 9:20 am

I didn’t realise how easy it is to make playdoh either! Will defo be trying this out! x

Reply May 7, 2018 - 7:34 pm

Me neither until now! Who would have thought? I’m not a very crafty person and it worked out very well.

Karen Dennis May 13, 2018 - 1:08 pm

As a former early years practitioners I love this #,satsesh@_karendennis

Reply May 13, 2018 - 8:17 pm

Thanks Karen!

Hayley @Mission: Mindfulness May 15, 2018 - 8:13 pm

Oooh my love would love making this – we’ve made saltdough before but never gone this one step further and added the food colourings etc! Thanks for linking up to #thesatsesh xx

Reply May 15, 2018 - 9:07 pm

It’s so easy to make this! I was really surprised!

craftcartwright May 17, 2018 - 12:35 pm

Great idea #makeitlinky

The Queen of Collage May 21, 2018 - 4:09 pm

My daughters love play dough but my youngest is like yours in that she tries to eat it! #makeitlinky

Reply May 21, 2018 - 8:49 pm

They probably all go through that stage 🙂

Sarah June 1, 2018 - 8:10 pm

I absolutely LOVE homemade playdough. It’s so fun to make, and you know they’ll be ok if they eat it. (Why do they always eat it?!) Plus I find it makes my hands really soft too! Bonus! #MakeItLinky


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