The Best Homemade Playdough

I don’t know about you, but at my kids’ school they often ask parents to volunteer to make playdough. Since I’ve now made playdough 80 zillion times (exactly, I counted) I feel confident saying I’ve perfected my recipe.

When Gavin was in JK (that’s Junior Kindergarten for non-Ontarians, the first year of school, for four year olds) his teacher sent home three different recipes for parents to choose from. I ended up changing a little each time until I had a hybrid of the three devised to make the ultimate playdough. Do I spend too much time on something as silly as dough that a class of 30 four year olds destroy within a month? Probably.

So, here’s my recipe, in case you would also like to make awesome playdough. Feel free to double or triple up on the recipe. The more you have, the more you can divide it and make lots and lots of colour variations! I know you’re just dying to spend the entire afternoon trying out different food colouring combos to make creative colours! Ha!


The first time I made playdough, I did NOT know what Cream of Tartar was. “Isn’t that the stuff you put on fish sticks?” I asked my husband. Anyway, I figured it out, and in case you also don’t know, it’s in the spice aisle. I’d like to find it in a larger container one day, we seem to go through a lot.

Anyway, back on topic…

Mix together:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 cup salt



If you’re thinking to yourself, “That’s a lot of salt!”, you’re not wrong.

Add to the dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups boiling water (I just boil it in the kettle)
  • 6 tbsp (or 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) oil (any kind will do, I’m partial to Canola myself)


Mix with a spatula until combined. It should now be playdough!


If you wanted to, you could stop right here and have nice white playdough.

But we’re into COLOURS, so here we go:

First, I take the playdough out of the bowl and sort of knead it like bread. This is totally unnecessary… but fun! It’s warm playdough, what’s not to love?


I might have made a really big snake and had a little too much fun. Let’s just pretend this is the easiest way to divide it. This is when you divide it into as many balls as various colours you want. If I make this just for my kids, I do smaller sections, when I’m doing it for a classroom, I make more of each colour. Today I was doing three colours, dark pink, light pink, and purple, for Valentine’s Day.

Time to add some food colouring! Originally I grabbed out two more bowls, for a total of three, to make three different colours. Then I realized that that was a total waste of dishes, and just did each colour one at a time in the original bowl. It’s not like I can stir more than one at a time anyway, am I right? I’m all about conserving dishes, lol.

Dark pink = many drops of red food colouring.


Now just stir in the food colouring. I use a spatula initially until there aren’t visibly wet drops anymore, then I just use my hands.

Tip from experience: Don’t use a wooden spoon, it will be stained for all of eternity. Ask me how I know.


Gracie LOVES this shade.

Repeat for all your balls until you have all the colours you want. I honestly find the guide on the back of the food colouring box to be the most helpful in getting my colours right.


3 Valentine’s Day colours done!

When you package them, you want to aim for air-tight. If it’s for home use, tupperware works great. I always wrap the balls in wax paper and then put them in a ziploc bag to send to school.


Voila! Enjoy your playtime!


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