Homemade Play Dough

This is Ellie, today’s play dough creation by my son.  He made it for The Nature Conservancy’s Elegram Project:


I started making play dough during the 2014 snowpocalypse snowstorm that hit the south. It kept us occupied while we waited for word from my husband, who was stranded on Interstate 20 in Alabama and spent the freezing night sleeping in his car. It was too cold and icy to go outside so we made our own indoor snowman.


Homemade play dough is so easy and inexpensive to make and you can custom mix colors to your liking.  My son’s favorite use for it is to create new car models by customizing his diecast cars. Here’s a peek at his version of “Super Francesco” complete with cape and beret:

Francesco with Cape


You will need:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

1 tablespoon cream of tartar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup water

Food Coloring

Place dry ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Add the oil and water and stir continually over low heat until it is well mixed and congeals.

mixing dough

At the halfway mixed point

Mixing playdough

At the fully mixed and congealed point, note the spoon standing on it’s own

Let cool for a few minutes, then divide and spoon into plastic bags.  Squirt desired amount of food coloring into the bags, then seal and knead the dough inside the bag until the color is mixed in.


Dough in bags with food coloring waiting to be kneaded

This step takes a while and is a great job for the kids.  Just make sure the dough is cooled well before kneading.

Let sit for a few minutes after kneading to let the dough absorb the food coloring.   Homemade play dough will keep in sealed plastic bags for up to 3 months.

Homemade Play Dough

Dough is finished kneading and fully cooled

My son had to taste a tiny piece of it of course, but it is not a good idea to let kids eat it due to the high salt content.

For information about The Nature Conservancy’s Save The Elephants! Elegram project go to: