My Favorite Play-Dough Recipe

I hate store-bought play-dough. It gets sticky and it is extremely hard to really mold and shape. Several years ago, I started using this recipe and I have been consistently satisfied with it. It has a great consistency. I keep it in a zip-lock bag and it lasts for about three months.

If you have given up on playing with play-dough because it is so messy, you might want to try this recipe.

My kids really enjoy playing with this and since I don’t make it all the time, it is something special to pull out on a rainy day. I have two rules when we play. The play-dough doesn’t leave the table, and we put everything away and I sweep before they get down. That way we don’t step on any little bits that have fallen on the ground.

Put the dry ingredients in a pan, then add colored water. If you add the coloring to the water it makes the color more consistent, and it is not messy to mix in.

Mix on medium to high heat for 2-6 minutes, just until it starts to pull together.

This is what it will look like straight out of the pan.

Knead. Warning! Make sure you test it before you let little hands help. It can be hot!

Have fun!


  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3/4 cup of salt
  • 3 t. cream of tartar
  • 2 T. oil
  • 2 cups of water
  • coloring

Cook on medium to high heat for 2-6 minutes until dough pulls together. Knead.

Not only is play-dough fun, it can also be used for therapy for children, adults, and elderly people.


  1. It’s great! Even Auntie Donna had to get her hands in it!! :)

  2. Just made this yesterday and love it! I didn’t have cream of tartar, so I subbed vinegar, and it still worked beautifully. Thanks for the great recipe. Would you mind if I shared this on my blog at some point with a link to yours?

    • Johanna says:

      I had no idea you could substitute vinegar. Good to know! :) Yes, feel free to send people to the post! Glad you like it!

      • I think the general ratio is about 3 to 1, so I used 9 tsp. vinegar (or 3 Tbsp). I was worried that it would come out smelling like vinegar, but it didn’t! :)

        • You are brilliant, Kristi. Thanks for including the ratio here so others will know. The funny thing is that when I made this particular batch that I took pictures of I had run out of cream of tartar and had to ask my neighbor for some. :) Ha!

          • Well, it did turn out really good at first, but a couple weeks later (just yesterday when we got it out to play) I noticed that it started getting pretty sticky. I’m wondering if it’s because of the vinegar. I added some flour and kneaded it to get it unsticky, but I ended up just making another batch using cream of tartar. So I’ll see what this one does. Has that ever happened to you? If not, it must be the vinegar. Oh well, at least it was good for a week or so! :) Guess I wouldn’t be so quick to call me genious! :) Thanks again for the recipe. Aubrey and I enjoy making it together, and it’s great to play with.

  3. Made this today. :-)

    • That’s strange beuasce we watched Amy live (on telly!) at Glastonbury last night. Do Island Records pack a series of pissed women in high heels and beehive wigs off to perform at various venues around the country every morning?Mind you the litany of missed cues, off notes and near misses at the edge of the stage do make for strangely compulsive viewing.Although it’s a pity for Amy she was followed by Jay-Z delivering a masterclass in everything she’s supposed to have – panache, style, wit and class.He also seems to have quite a few political bones in his body. As well as a political brain and a seamless knowledge of the last 50 years of pop music. How does anyone become that good at something?

    • Free knowledge like this doesn’t just help, it promote democracy. Thank you.


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