Homemade Play Dough

It’s a delicacy that little kids have tentatively tasted with curious delight for decades. Its bold, bright colors capture their attention, its soft, malleable mushiness keeps them entertained for hours. Grind some into the carpet and you’ve got a permanent art installation. Yes, Play-Doh is a rite of childhood.

At 1-1/2 years old, my daughter’s recent first encounter with Play-Doh went just about how I thought it would: poke poke with chubby little fingers…mush…poke…tear…eat large glob while mommy is looking away…smash on the ground…step in it…grind into the soles of cute white sandals.

Embracing all of this mushy messiness as best I can for a first-time mom (I just keep replenishing my OxyClean), I was delighted to find a recipe for “Kids Play Clay” on the side of a Clabber Girl Cornstarch canister. It calls for just four simple ingredients: salt, water, food coloring and (of course) cornstarch. An added bonus for many families these days – it’s gluten-free!

Each batch yields enough for about three good-sized balls of dough which you can make whatever color you like. The consistency is just as soft and malleable as the store-bought kind and has been holding up quite well in my refrigerator for the past few days. Now we just need to gather up some little cookie cutters and other “impressionables” and we’ll be all set for some good old-fashioned doughy fun!

P.S. Don’t laugh at my snowman…guy…thing.

Homemade Play Dough


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Mindy wrote:

    My daughter loves play doh, and some of her favorite “tools” were jar and bottle lids as well as a plastic knife from Ikea–she loved cutting the “snakes” up!
    .-= Mindy´s last blog ..Arroz al Horno in The FoodieView Weekly Meal Plan! =-.

    Posted 7.31.09 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      Great ideas! I know we’ve got lots of plastic cutlery lying around here.

      Posted 7.31.09 Reply
  2. amanda wrote:

    cornstarch! who knew! when i was a little kid (think 4-5 yrs old) a teenager who was babysitting my sister and I tried to make play dough out of flour, salt, water & food coloring! what a horrible mess. all i can remember is that it stuck to EVERYTHING and left food coloring stains on the counter. (i’m guess we used too much of that too!) good to know it’s actually made with cornstarch.

    ps – i love your doughman! 🙂
    .-= amanda´s last blog ..Mahi Mahi with Cherry Chipotle Beurre Blanc =-.

    Posted 7.31.09 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      LOL – if I’m not mistaken, I believe that’s the recipe for colorful PASTE!!

      Posted 7.31.09 Reply
  3. Baby Sis :-) wrote:

    I’m SO glad you posted this! I remember the fun times we had with play dough when we were kids! I never could remember how Mom would make the dough. I have vague memories of stiring the dough in the pot. Great way to cook with your kids/have something fun to play with 🙂

    Posted 7.31.09 Reply
  4. Perfect fun for my grandkids. I always knew there was a way to make your own, so I’m delighted to have the “recipe”. I’m bookmarking.
    .-= Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)´s last blog ..Other People’s Pantries #79 =-.

    Posted 8.1.09 Reply
  5. Kiera wrote:

    LOL. (sorry I laughed) I love the snowman.

    Its great at what you can create with playdough. I love playing with playdough with my children, its like reliving my childhood again and its lots of fun.
    .-= Kiera´s last blog ..How To Make A Post Box =-.

    Posted 8.1.09 Reply
  6. Colleen wrote:

    We made this a couple of days ago. Pretty darn cool, Nathan was thrilled to have play dough again. My only issue was that when I added the cornstarch, the salt mixture had cooled too much and it didn’t set up. A couple of minutes back on the stove quickly solved that problem. Thanks Kathy!

    Posted 8.15.09 Reply
  7. Dragon wrote:

    I think your snowman is lovely. 😉
    .-= Dragon´s last blog ..Ciabatta =-.

    Posted 8.18.09 Reply
  8. Jeanette wrote:

    I made this so many times when my kid were younger – definitely a keeper for the summer. I don’t know any child who doesn’t love playdough!

    Posted 6.21.11 Reply
  9. My kids love this stuff!! So much better than the store bought 🙂

    Posted 6.22.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      It does make me a little more comfortable when it comes to the inevitable “tasting” that happens. 🙂

      Posted 6.22.11 Reply
  10. That’s a really cute little play-doh man…seriously

    Posted 6.22.11 Reply
  11. This is GENIUS! I am sending this out to all my friends that have kids! 🙂

    Posted 6.22.11 Reply
    • Kathy wrote:

      Thanks so much for sharing it, Amanda!

      Posted 6.22.11 Reply
  12. Dawn wrote:

    Love your play dough recipe!!

    Posted 7.18.11 Reply