Published on March 28th, 2012 | by Lynn Fang


How to Make Natural Playdough

Remember playing with that nasty smelling stuff – Play-Doh – as a kid? It was fun and colorful, but it certainly stank up the home! I can’t tell you what’s in it, but I don’t think it’s safe enough to eat.

There’s another way to play with colorful putty – you can make your own! Homemade playdough is kid-friendly and safe enough to eat! But you probably wouldn’t want to do that because it would upset your salt balance, so don’t eat it on purpose. Just know that you won’t be breathing in toxic fumes, and if your kid does eat a little piece of it on accident, no worries.

If you’re feeling extra green, you can also try making homemade natural dyes from raspberries, rose petals, turmeric, or even tree bark. See the recipes here.

Basic ingredient ratios:
1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup salt
1 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 Tablespoon cream of tartar (optional for improved elasticity)

food coloring (liquid, powder, or unsweetened drink mix)
scented oils


  1. Mix all of the ingredients together, and stir over low heat. The dough will begin to thicken until it looks like mashed potatoes.
  2. When the dough pulls away from the sides and clumps in the center, remove the pan from heat and allow the dough to cool enough to handle. If your playdough is still sticky, you simply need to cook it longer!
  3. Keep stirring and cooking until the dough is dry and feels like playdough.
  4. When it feels like playdough, take the dough out onto a clean counter or silicone mat, and knead vigorously until it becomes silky-smooth. Divide the dough into balls for coloring.
  5. Make a hole in the center of the ball, and drop some food coloring or natural dye in. Fold the dough over, and work the food color through the body of the playdough. Try to keep the raw dye away from your hands and the counter. You can use gloves or plastic wrap at this stage to keep your hands clean. Only the concentrated dye will color your skin, so as soon as it’s mixed in with the playdough, bare hands are fine. Work the dye all the way through, adding more as necessary to achieve your chosen color.

That’s it! Have fun playing with your playdough. When you’re done, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge. And if you want to keep your creations, you can bake them to make hard ornaments and figures. This tutorial is adapted from Instructables.

[Image used with permission from]

Get the Green Living Ideas book in softcover or PDF for as low as $2.99!

Please follow and like us:

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About the Author

is a compost consultant and educator, eco-conscious writer, and intuitive artist. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Back to Top ↑

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial