Easy Homemade Playdough Recipes

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.

Here are some recipes for Homemade Playdough to use with kids who need something to do. They are also great to make for birthday gifts or stocking stuffers.

Looking for the perfect homemade playdough recipe? Here are 9 different types of doughs, clays, and slimes that you can make on a budget! #homemadeplaydough #allnaturalplaydough #homemadeslime #diyslime #cheapplaydough #makeyourown

Homemade Playdough Recipes

It seems like it’s a universal thing…kids love playdough! In our home, we like to make different types of playdough to keep it from ever getting boring. Today I’m going to be sharing some of the many types of homemade playdoughs and slimes that we’ve made and enjoyed.

To play with our playdough, we have a basic set of modeling tools and we also have lots of little TOOB Sets (the favorites right now are the Old West Set and the Space set) that the kids will use in the dough for all types of imaginary play.

As I mentioned above, homemade playdough can also make a great little gift or stocking stuffer. I have it on my list of Free and Frugal Gift ideas for kids! Our favorite use for playdough, however, will always be the perfect indoor activity for a rainy or snowy day.

Easy Homemade Playdough

This is our favorite recipe for homemade playdough. Adding in the Koolaid makes it so easy to give it a fun scent and color!

What you need:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 Tablespoon cream of tarter
  • 1 pkg. unsweetened Kool-aid (any smell you would enjoy)

Mix these ingredients together in a saucepan. Then add in:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

Cook on low for 3 – 5 minutes until it comes together to form a ball. Cool before giving it to kids. This keeps well in an airtight storage container.

Alternative Homemade Playdough

If you don’t have any Koolaid on hand but still want to make homemade playdough, this recipe is a good alternative. Note that this recipe makes double the amount of playdough as the first recipe.

What You Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 10 drops food coloring (optional)
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup salt

Bring the water to a boil. Add the oil, vinegar and food coloring (if you want it colored) Combine the hot, wet mixture with the dry ingredients (flour and salt) Stir a little with a fork and then let it cool. Once it’s cool, dump it out on the counter and mold it until it comes together as a ball. Add more flour, if the mixture is too sticky.

Scented Playdough

For scented playdough, we use our basic playdough recipe but add a few drops of essential oils. Which oils we use depends on our moods. Some of our favorites include lavender for calming, peppermint for motivating, and citrus for cheering us up. You will not want to add in the essential oils with the homemade playdough recipe that uses Koolaid since that one is already scented but you can add it into the second “alternative” play dough recipe.

Textured Playdough

Small beads or other objects mixed with our basic playdough recipe work really well to create a textured dough. Be careful when using beads with young children as they could be a choking hazard.

Edible Play Dough

What you need:

  • 1 cup powdered milk (dry)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy for added texture or smooth)
  • 1 Teaspoon honey
  • powdered sugar (optional)

Mix peanut butter, honey, and powdered milk together until they are of molding consistency. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more powdered milk or add some powdered sugar. Use the dough to create with and then dig in and gobble up your creations.

The Best Slime Recipe

We make this slime recipe for the kids all of the time. If you want to add a bit of extra fluff, add in some unscented shaving cream! We’ve also added in glitter. My kids love playing with their little Toob people and creatures in their slime.

What You Need:

  • 1 cup school glue (we use so much of this we buy this big gallon of glue)
  • 1 tablespoon saline solution
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • food coloring

In a bowl, combine the glue, baking soda, and food coloring. Add in the saline solution while stirring. You may need to add a bit more depending on when it starts to come together. When it’s no longer sticky, knead the slime the best you can to get it to the perfect slime texture. This slime recipe will not store well so enjoy it for the afternoon!

Basic Slime Recipe

This is more of a slime than a play dough but it makes an awesome squishing noise when you squeeze it or push it into a cup. Keep in mind that it can get a bit messier than play dough.

  • 1 (4oz) Bottle of school glue (I like the clear kind best)
  • 1 teaspoon of Borax
  • ½ cup of warm water (plus enough to fill the glue bottle)
  • Food Coloring (optional)

Empty the bottle of glue into a large mixing bowl. Fill the glue bottle with warm water, add that to the glue and give it a good mix. In a small bowl or cup, mix the borax with ½ cup of warm water until it dissolves. Add the borax water to the glue bowl a little bit at a time until it starts to thicken. It will start out sticky but keep stirring / kneading and it will come together.

Playing with Snow Dough

The World’s Softest Playdough

What You Need:

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • hair conditioner

In a bowl, add your cornstarch and then begin to add in some hair conditioner until it comes together to form a dough. You can use the cheapest conditioner that you can find to keep this recipe budget-friendly. (We use suave.)

Homemade Hardening Modeling Dough

This recipe can be used to make ornaments too!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water

Knead together in bowl. Roll out to 1/2″ thickness. Cut with cookie cutters or make shapes. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Cool. These can be painted.

Looking for an all-natural playdough recipe with all-natural coloring instead of food coloring? I have the perfect recipe in my book, Little House Living: The Make Your Own Guide to a Simple, Frugal, and Self-Sufficient Life!

Need another recipe? I have one for Homemade Snow Dough here. Another favorite with our kids!

Which of these homemade playdoughs has your family made? Which do you want to try next?

This blog post with recipes for Homemade Playdough was originally posted on Little House Living in November 2011. It has been updated as of November 2019.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Support Little House Living by Sharing This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. love making playdough I may sound stupid but in this recipe is the T for teaspoon or tablespoon

    lovely websight

  2. Thanks for all of these wonderful ideas! I hope to have time to do some with my grand daughter when she comes this Christmas. 🙂 I have a question though… have you successfully made play dough using gluten free flour? Any thoughts, ideas and tips are greatly appreciated! Have a blessed Christmas season!

    1. Yes, I have made it gluten free! I try to use just plain white rice flour in place of the all purpose flour since its the cheapest and it’s worked fine so far.