Yes, I know homemade play dough is not some shocking new discovery but I've seen more than my fair share of bright green fingers from moms and teachers who have attempted to make their own. A while back I showed you Kayla painting with the incredible and eco-conscious paints from Glob. With extra pigments sitting in our craft cabinet I got the idea to make some homemade play dough as a handout treat for Valentine's day at preschool.
It only takes a few ingredients and if you're any kind of a baker you'll have them all on hand. If you're a little bit of a slacker mom like me in that department then you might need to pick up some cream of tartar...and I have to admit I wasn't going to waste my sea salt and organic flour on this project :)
My trusty helper was still fighting a cold but very much on board with this make your own play dough plan. She even insisted I get out these adorable matching cupcake aprons my mother in law gave up a while back.
Having just done this for the first time I have to say that it was pretty easy and by now you know that while I might have a creative bone or two in my body I make no claims to be a black belt crafter or cook.
Kayla and I measured and mixed the flour, salt, oil, water and cream of tartar in a large bowl before moving it to a pan on the stove. You could very well do this right in the pan and limit your dirty dishes but I wanted her to be an active participant without spilling flour all over the place.
The actual cooking time for the dough takes just a few minutes. You'll start out with a lumpy liquid and stir over low to medium heat (I say medium) until you end up with something that looks like mashed potatoes but is far more dense and dough-like.
Once your dough has formed you can easily remove it from the pan and let it cool. This recipe which I've listed below yields a pretty nice sized blob of dough. It was enough to make a 8 generous individual portions for kids.
Once the dough cooled we got out our Glob pigments. They come in six different colors, purple, red, green, blue, yellow and orange. After our previous painting project and this play dough project we still have a decent amount left so these little packets turn out to hold quite a lot of color in the end.
Kayla and I divided our dough in half to make two colors - pink and purple for Valentine's day. I poked a bunch of holes in the dough and then poured 1/2 teaspoon of the Glob pigments into each.
Then we got to work kneading the color into the dough. With Kayla helping it took between 5 and 10 minutes to get our color mixed in. Had I done it myself I think it might have gone a bit faster but let me tell you she loved every second of this project and kept going despite declaring that her hands were tired and my offering to take over.
Like I mentioned earlier, no dyed fingers and no freaky chemicals. I personally ADORE Play-Doh the store bought kind for the amount of time it keeps Kayla occupied, but am appalled by the smell of it. In fact when she first started playing with it I used to try to pawn supervision off on my husband because I just couldn't take the smell.
Yes, you probably guessed where I was going with that. No smell. This homemade version is pretty much odor free. And the pigments have a faint sweet smell of flowers and fruit so this is a pleasant experience all the way through if you're pregnant or just sensitive to strange smells.
Once we finished mixing in the pigments I divided each color into 4 pieces which were a ball about 1.5 to 2 times the size of one of those little party pack cans of Play-Doh you would buy in the store. Kayla immediately swiped one of each color for herself and then did what any child would obviously do - squished them against her face and announced she was ready to play.
Off she went to her little table to create a pull string pinata out of play dough...which was successful if you ask her and looked like a squid if you ask me, but I sure do admire her creative thinking! Meanwhile I bagged up some portions in these little treat bags I found in the Target dollar section. It was a pack of 20 for just one dollar!
You can store your homemade play dough in an air tight container to keep it fresh. One ball of our play dough mysteriously went missing and I found it this morning in Kayla's toy shopping cart (can't imagine who put it there) much to my surprise it wasn't all dried out! So I do think this version also stays moist a fair amount longer than the store bought stuff.
Homemade Play-Dough recipe from Glob Paints
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups water
¾ cup salt
1 ½ tbsp cream of tartar
1 ½ tbsp cooking oil
Combine ingredients in a pan (preferably non-stick) and put on medium to low heat. Stir until mixture forms into a dough ball. Allow it to cool and knead on a floured worktop.
When cool, divide dough into 6 palm-sized balls. Add ¼-½ tsp of GLOB color to each. Add color slowly and work through until color is fully mixed. (I modified this to use 1/2-1 tsp of Glob pigments to each half of the dough)