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DIY Play Dough

Photo Credit: Cookies For Breakfast

Ever wonder what the ingredients are in store-bought play dough? Ever wonder if you could make it yourself and save some money, and have a more natural version for your children to play with?

If you’d like to avoid the surfactants, lubricants, fragrances, and preservatives that are in store-bought play dough, and you want to have some fun making it yourself, AND save money at the same time – this is the DIY project for you. Plus, it’s way more fun to make it yourself – for you and your kids!


If your little one is on a gluten-free diet, and you’re concerned about him/her taking a taste of the play dough (it does smell deliciously tempting!), simply substitute the wheat flour for rice flour, and voila! Gluten-free play dough!

Also, if you’re looking for another natural way to color your play dough, you could try steeping red tea bags (raspberry, rooibos, etc.) in the water for pink dough, green tea bags for green dough, turmeric for yellow dough, or blueberry juice for blue/purple dough. The color possibilities are endless!

In addition to those coloring options, Better Bowls makes a 100% natural gelatin mix that would be perfect for this play dough as well.

Here’s What You Need

  • 1 cup of white flour, plus 4 tablespoons (reserved for the end)
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 1 3-oz package of Jello (or any of the color options listed above in the “Variations” section)

Here’s What You Do

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and stir until they blend together and the texture is smooth.
  2. Pour into a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir continuously (We mean it! Keep stirring!) for approximately 5 minutes, until the mixture comes together into one big ball.
  3. Lay the play dough ball onto a piece of wax paper and flatten it out so it cools quickly.
  4. Once the dough has cooled, add about 4 tablespoons of flour and knead it in. This helps make the dough less sticky.
  5. And then, enjoy! The dough will keep for several days, refrigerated in an airtight container.
For more great DIY ideas to try with your kids, please check out the MAKE section of Daily Mom!

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Heather is the mom behind the blog, Cookies For Breakfast. Reality TV addict. Natural living enthusiast. Accidental hippie. Comedy ninja. Loves big sunglasses, seasonal cocktails, and of course, cookies for breakfast.

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