DIY playdough in vibrant colors

diy playdough

Since I have been home with YMGP, I have been trying all the fun things that stay-at-home mom’s get to do, like making DIY playdough in hopes of occupying my toddler while I cook dinner. It totally worked… for like 3 minutes.

diy playdough

I wanted to make brightly colored playdough, and I wanted it to last for a while so I could pull it out later if YMGP wasn’t super interested yet, which he wasn’t. Also, I wanted it to be okay for him to eat, but not taste very good. I ended up working from a recipe in The Toddler Busy Book, because it included cream of tartar, and experimenting until I got intensely colored playdough. What is cream of tartar? It is potassium hydrogen tartrate, simply, a kind of salt. It is a byproduct of wine making and is one of the ingredients in baking powder. Why put it in your playdough? Because it can act as a stabilizer. Often, it is used to keep beaten egg whites fluffy in meringues, but in this case it keeps the starch from the flour, well, doughy. Which means this playdough should last quite a while as long as it doesn’t dry out. I’ll let you know how it holds up. 

diy playdough

As far as DIY playdough goes, this stuff is awesome, it is stretchy, smooth and moldable. It also has very little scent and doesn’t seem to leave much residue on surfaces (as long as you don’t accidentally put to much oil in it… I learned that from experience). Here is the recipe:

DIY playdough
  1. 1/2 cup water
  2. 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
  3. 1/4 cup salt
  4. 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  5. 20-25 drops of food coloring
  6. 1/2 cup flour
  1. Warm water, oil, salt, food coloring and cream of tartar in a saucepan until simmering. Add flour (you might consider sifting it... I didn't), and stir until it forms a dough. Turn out onto work surface and let cool 5 minutes or so. Knead until smooth. You can knead in additional food coloring if you wish. Store in air-tight containers
  1. Each batch makes a ball about the size of my fist.
Adapted from The Toddler Busy Book
Adapted from The Toddler Busy Book
The Experimental Home

If YMGP doesn’t start liking it soon, it might just become a mama toy! Happy DIY playdough making!

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  1. Katie Goldsworthy

    says on September 4, 2013

    I’ve made this before, but it wasn’t pretty like yours. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing at Monday Funday!

    1. Laura

      says on September 4, 2013

      Ha. Thanks Katie. I really wanted it to be vibrant because my husband scoffed at the idea of homemade play dough. I proved him wrong, although our little guy isn’t a huge fan yet.

  2. marissa | Rae Gun Ramblings

    says on September 8, 2013

    Thanks so much for linking up at Block Party last week Amy. I’m featuring this tomorrow in next weeks party. I can’t wait to see what else you have to share 🙂

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