Making playdough!

Filed in Blog by on November 2, 2009 11 Comments
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Little Miss Green gets stuck in to her home made playdough

Little Miss Green gets stuck in to her home made playdough

Playdough – hands up who loves the stuff!

Most of us enjoyed it as kids and several of us still enjoy it as adults.

The trouble is, playdough is delivered to the shops and into your basket in plastic containers.

Sure the containers can be reused once the playdough has been left out so often its gone more like clay. Or perhaps your little angel has mixed all the bright colours together and sulks with having to play with poo brown playdough.

And then what of the playdough itself – does it end up in landfill along with the container?


Today’s post will come as no surprise to the earth-loving, hands-on mamas and papas among us, but some of you might be excited to hear that it’s very easy to make your own playdough from a few household ingredients.

And at more than £1 a pop for the shop bought stuff, you can save yourself a fortune too.

Here’s my playdough recipe!


  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tsp creme of tartar (find it in the baking section of a local grocery store)
  • 1/2 cup salt


  • put all the dry ingredients into a saucepan and gradually add the water, stirring all the time until you have a thick batter consistency
  • Put the saucepan on the hob and bring to the boil stirring all the time
  • Remove from heat and keep stirring until it’s cool enough to handle
  • now the best bit – knead it while it is still warm until it has cooled completely – that step is heavenly!

Optional bits

As you might imagine, playdough made like this is a bit of a muddy, uninspiring colour. At the end of the cooking time you can add a few drops of food colouring to make whatever colour you desire.

Other lovely additions are essential oils (lavender for the child who is a bit stressed is great) or fresh spices such as cinamon for a Christmas present (I did this one year and it was a well receieved gift)

Glitter for fairy dough is popular! You are only limited by your imagination.

As this is a food item, I don’t see any reason why it can’t go into the compost heap once your creative princes and princesses have finished playing with it and with no disposable containers to get rid of the landfill wins too!

Have you ever made playdough? What do you add to yours to make it a bit special?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (11)

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  1. Sooz says:

    Love this! Both me and my mum are Early Years teachers and regularly have playdough making days (both at home and at school – kids love making it themselves and it’s a good science lesson!) – I never thought of composting it though, thats excellent! I imagine it would be a nice way to start discussing what happens to toys, and other things, once they’re finished with and how we can make things better.

  2. Poppy says:

    I made play dough when junior was even more junior, but haven’t done so for some time now. Junior made something similar at cubs to model a dinosaur footprint. I think it was possibly made with a little less fluid so it set solid. That had coffee in it and I was reluctant to let it go as the smell was great for a quick sniff lift, but it did eventually go in the compost.

  3. Sarah says:

    I’ve made ginger and cinnamon play dough around Christmas and that was lovely. Sparkles are good too.

  4. Sarah says:

    Oh and you can make a decongestant scented dough for someone with a cold/flu, or any carefully chosen scent to help someone feeling ill/low. It’s a fabulous thing for a personal gift!

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @Sooz: Hi Sooz, what an exciting project to do at school! And what a great idea to continue the theme of waste afterwards! Now I’m only ASSUMING you can compost it, but I guess it makes sense??

    @Poppy: Did it compost ok, Poppy?

    @Sarah: Ginger, cinamon and sparkles sound lovely. Now as for a decongestant one; what a fabby idea – the perfect present for a sick patient!

  6. Kat says:

    It’s easier to add colour if you add the food colouring to the water, then add that as coloured water. It blends better!

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @Kat: Hi Kat, thanks so much for your tip – it’s great to share experiences that we can all benefit from. 🙂

  8. Poppy says:

    @Mrs Green:

    I haven’t seen it Mrs G 😀

    I absolutely love our worms! They munch their way through so much …… several things that are supposedly shouldn’t be composted but I give it a go. I realise purists want something special from their compost, but we’ve never had any problems with ours. Our large bin is set be emptied soon. That had a large amount of woodchip and paper cat litter, but it looks as though it has been dealt with. I’ll use it to top up the veg beds and spread the rest around a little.

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: Sounds promising then! Well done on your composting ventures. I’ve never used worms; I’d be interested to try out a wormery at some point.

  10. Poppy says:

    @Mrs Green:

    They aren’t specific worms Mrs G, just the ones that live in my compost bins.

  11. Mrs Green says:

    Ah, I see Poppy. They are fabulous things aren’t they? I love how they just arrive, willing and able to work all day long …

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