How to make your own play dough

How to make your own play dough

I am not good with dough.

I remember trying to make a  volcano for a diorama in grade school and it not only caved in but it slid off the board while in transit. So traumatizing for a 3rd grader! I remember trying to make pie crust in high school and consumed a whole tub of Crisco-and still no pie to speak of. So I grew up relying on Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and Maya for equipping me with the ability to make a decent  batch of pastries that I can call mine.

And when it comes to my daughter, of course I buy the store bought, ready made Play-Doh — until my godmother told me it could be toxic. Or that making your own is non-toxic so why risk it? So on the day Little Libra’s stash ran out, we finally made our own play dough and I realized the root cause of my dough failures. I don’t  follow instructions very precisely. (Maybe that’s why I prefer cooking to baking.) So here’s the fail-safe play dough recipe in spite of  any careless diversions:


  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 tsps cream of tartar (you can substitute 1/4 tsp of lemon juice )
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Food coloring
Step 1:  Combine flour, salt and cream of tartar in a saucepan.We put them in a bowl first so Little Libra can help with the measuring. She absolutely loved squeezing the calamansi.
How to make your own play dough 1
So serious, like a scientist

Step 2: Mix liquids and gradually stir them into the dry ingredients. I forgot to add the food coloring so we had to redo this part. See Step 4.

How to make your own play dough 2
Mixing wet and dry ingredients

Step 3: When the mixture is smooth, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until a ball forms.
I added the liquid while the heat was on and it didn’t really make much of a difference.

How to make your own play dough 3
Stirring until a ball is formed

Step 4: Remove from heat and knead until smooth. Store in a zip-loc bag or plastic jar. Again, If you forget to add the food coloring like me, just add it straight to the cooled dough, roll around in your hands to spread the color evenly and add extra flour if it feels too sticky. And voila!

How to make your own play dough 4
My OWN Dough

Little Libra  loves this dough more than the ready made ones. Maybe it’s because they can unequivocally them  *MINE* her favorite word these days.

How to make your own play dough 5
Play all day!


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