How to make homemade playdough – with or without cream of tartar

by BabyYumYum
Baby Yum Yum - How to make homemade playdough - with or without cream of tartar
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Children love to get their hands into anything and everything, so why not make them a stash of playdough that will not only provide hours of fun, but will also keep them out of trouble. You don’t need to look far for the ingredients – most of them will be in your kitchen cupboards!

Can you make playdough without cream of tartar?

The cream of tartar isn’t essential but it helps the dough last for up to six months. Alternatives include baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, lemon and vinegar.

To make playdough, you will need:

Double ingredients if you need to make a bigger batch
½ cup salt
½ cup of water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of cream of tartar
1 cup flour
Food dyes for colourants
1 airtight container or ziploc bags
Cookie cutters

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How to make playdough:

  • Combine all the ingredients except the food colourant in a pot and stir over a low heat until warm (when the dough pulls away from the sides of the pot and forms a ball).
  • Remove the pot from the stove and allow to cool.
  • When cool enough, remove the dough from the pot and knead the dough until smooth.
  • Divide ball into the number of colours you want (e.g. 4) and make dents in the tops of all the balls.
  • Add a food colourant to each ball and gently knead the colour through the dough. Add more colour until you are happy with the result.

How to store playdough so that it doesn’t dry out

Place dough in airtight containers or ziploc bags to prevent it from drying out. If storing in ziploc bags, remember to get as much of the air out as possible.

How do I fix dry playdough?

Just add a few drops of warm water and knead it in. It will be gooey at first but will start to soften again.

How do I fix crumbly playdough?

If your dough is crumbly then it means it is too dry. Add a few drops of warm water and knead until soft.

How do I fix sticky playdough?

Simply add a little bit of flour, knead and repeat until it reaches the consistency you’d like.

How to make playdough

More fantastic playdough ideas:

  • Fragrant playdough: Add a few drops of fragrant essential oils to the dough. (Check which ones are safe for children)
  • Glitter or textured playdough: Add glitter or coloured sand for a different texture.
  • Two ingredient playdough: Make a silky and stretchy playdough by using hair conditioner and two cups of cornstarch or cornflour. Knead together.

When the dough is ready, lay out some newspaper or use a suitable surface and let your children get their hands dirty making shapes using the cookie cutters, or just simply squishing the dough!

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Warning: Your child might eat some of the dough. It isn’t harmful or toxic, but it is very salty so try teach them that this is for playing only. Alternatively, ensure that the younger ones are supervised when they play.

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