Best easy play dough recipe: how to make homemade play dough

Why buy play dough when you can make your own? We'll show you how to make play dough with our video guide and play dough recipe using just a few store cupboard supplies

Play dough recipe

Making your own play dough is a piece of cake with our easy play dough recipe. This is a fun and surprisingly soothing craft project for grown ups and children to enjoy together. Simply raid your kitchen for a few store cupboard essentials and watch our video tutorial to find out how to make play dough. We’ll talk you through the ingredients for play dough and how to turn them into your very own dough, step by step. It should only take you half an hour in total to make your dough.

This is a really great kids craft activity for a rainy day – little ones will love helping you mix the ingredients and watching the dough magically form in front of their eyes. You can add a personal touch to your dough by switching up the food colouring that you add, or turn it into intergalactic play dough (you know you want to) by adding glitter. This recipe will make quite a large batch of play dough – enough to easily entertain 3 or 4 children for days and weeks. But if you’d prefer smaller amounts, try halving the recipe to make smaller batches.

Once you’ve learned how to make play dough, check out our round-up of 40 craft ideas for kids. You might also like our guide to easy salt dough recipe, or this guide on how to make slime.

Ingredients for play dough

Get ready to learn how to make homemade play dough…


You Will Need

  • Water (2 cups (440ml / 13 fluid oz))
  • Vegetable oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Flour (2 cups of plain flour (8oz / 200g))
  • Salt (Half the amount of flour)
  • Cream of Tartar (1 tablespoon (10g))
  • Food colouring (Gel food colouring works best)
  • Saucepan
  • Spoon

Easy playdough recipe: step by step

Step 1

Mix the flour, salt and cream of tartar together in a bowl.

How to make play dough step 1

Step 2

In a second bowl, mix a few drops of food colouring with the water and add the vegetable oil.

Top tip: turn your play dough into disco dough by adding some glitter at this stage.
How to make play dough step 3

Step 3

Once it’s all stirred in together, put it in a saucepan and mix together. Add the flour and dry ingredients mix to the pot and mix well. Don’t worry if it’s a bit lumpy at first. Keep stirring as you heat up the mixture. The lumps should gradually work their way into the dough as it thickens.

How to make play dough step 5

Step 4

Cook your play dough over a medium heat on the hob, mixing all the time with a wooden spoon, until the dough starts to dry and form a ball. There are some methods that don’t require cooking but we’ve found this is the best play dough recipe and it only takes a couple of minutes for the dough to cook. You should see it start to come away from the edges of the saucepan and clump together in the middle. Soon you’ll see it form a dough. If it’s still sticky, heat it for a bit longer.

How to make play dough step


Step 5

Take your finished dough off the heat and cool. This shouldn’t take long  – ours just took 5 minutes before it was still warm but cool enough to handle. (If you’re making the dough with small children, make sure a grown up checks the temperature before they handle it). Once your play dough is ready, lightly dust a surface with flour and tip the dough out to start moulding it.

How to make play dough step 6

Step 6

Now your play dough is ready to play with!

How to make play dough step 10

Now you know how to make play dough! You can roll it, cut with cookie cutters, a rolling pin or play dough cutters. Store your dough in a food bag or air proof container to stop it drying out.

How to make play dough