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Friday, January 20, 2012

Homemade Playdough

Ever bought Playdough in the store?

I'm asking because I haven't.  I take one look at the small containers of way-too-expensive goop and turn and run the other way.  Someone gifted my children some store-bought playdough last summer.  The colors were garish, it dried out quickly and stuck to everything.

NOT like good old homemade playdough!  I love this recipe:  it's quick, fun, lasts forever and makes a lot.  What more can you ask for??

You will need: 
1 cup hot tap water 
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tbsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp baby oil
1 3oz package of jello

 Pour hot water into a medium saucepan.

Add homegrown Dakota Maid flour! 

 Then the salt.  It's a lot of salt but the good news is that it's a great exfoliant.  I use canning and pickling salt in my house so a half cup is pretty easy to come by.

We made blue playdough to start with (Kiddo1's first choice) and used Blueberry Jello.  Jello adds the color and a very nice scent to your playdough.

Playdough is the only reason I have for Jello.

In my single days, I traveled to Pennsylvania routinely for work.  On one of my trips there I purchased an Amish cookbook and I was very surprised by the LARGE number of recipes including Jello.  As luck would have it, on my next work flight I sat next to an Amish woman and her young son as they returned from a medical emergency in Minneapolis.  We chatted about various things and then I brought up the subject of the Jello, the lots of Jello.  She said, "Oh yes, we love Jello!  It's very popular!"  This struck me as funny:  electricity we don't need, but Jello we can't live without.

Then add the cream of tartar.  This is a LOT of cream of tartar and will probably be your limiting agent in playdough production.  The small grocery store quantities only contain 4 tablespoons so purchase accordingly or you will have disappointment on your hands.
Also, I use baby oil as it has a great smell and doesn't go rancid like a vegetable based oil would.
(It should surprise no one that I don't measure the oil, two good squirts is all you need.)

You're going to set your burner to medium heat and get a very helpful three year old girl to stir it for you.

 Stir constantly!!  I can't stress this enough, burned playdough is no fun a'tall!!

In just a few minutes, the mixture will thicken and start to pull away from the bottom of the pan.

Soon it will form a ball.  Don't be tempted to pull it out right away.  Really work it with a tablespoon to dry it out a bit.

Then flop it onto the counter and remember to turn off the burner!  (I speak from experience here...)

Then use your freakish giant hand (can you say distortion??) to knead the playdough until it is cools.  This is the longest part of making playdough, but also the most relaxing.  Why?
1.  The salt acts as a wonderful exfoliant for your hands.
2.  The scent of the Jello is oh-so-pleasant.
3.  The playdough is warm and soothing.
4.  Is there anything more calming that working some playdough?

Hubby asked me to help with something and I said, "Sorry honey, I'm making playdough.  It's very involved, I can't stop now."

When in reality, I was having a spa moment right there in my kitchen!

Kiddo1 and I had an assembly line going and we churned out orange, blue and red before we ran out of cream of tartar.  We have green and yellow yet to make to finish off the new round of playdough.

This playdough is safe if the kiddos eat it.  It's extremely salty as Kiddo2 found out, but won't hurt them if they accidently eat some.  He was fine, but very thirsty!  It lasts a LONG time, months!  In the past, I've discarded it not because it was moldy or dry, but because the two colors I had made were traded back and forth between kiddos so much they were now the same hard-to-describe color.

If you know any kids, or were ever once a kid, make some playdough!  It's fun, easy and just like having a spa in your kitchen.


  1. Hi Annie! This is Brandy Watson.I found your blog through local harvest. Don't know if you remember me but we went to the same women's bible study at Victory Lutheran a few years back. Anyway, LOVE you blog. And will have to try this recipe for playdough.

  2. Hi Brandy!! I do remember you, great to hear from you!


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