Craft Notes: 5 types of homemade playdough

Here’s a Pinterest craft that you can do on a cold winter day: homemade play dough — five different ways. This project is courtesy of NewYoungMum.com. Here we go!

Total project time

This entire craft can be done within an hour (hooray!), but with kids in mind, maybe you’ll want to make an afternoon of it.

Total project cost: About $12

  • $1 for conditioner (Dollar Tree)
  • $5 for 4 ounces of glitter (Craft Warehouse)
  • $1 for decorative sand (which I used as a replacement for coarse salt) (Dollar Tree)
  • $1 for food coloring (Dollar Tree)
  • $4 for flour
  • $0 for table salt, canola oil, and shower gel

Age range

Any – unless you’re worried your kid may innocently try to eat the dough. If that isn’t an issue, this craft can be a good – and fun – exercise to introduce kids to using measuring cups and spoons without needing to cook or bake anything.

This can also be a good activity for adults if you want to release some stress. I started school again at the beginning of the month, and my stress meter rose significantly. This project gave me a fun outlet for an afternoon.

Without further ado, here are my notes on the five different play dough types:

Stretchy dough

First off, do not use corn flour — even though the graphic says so. All-purpose flour works just fine. That aside, this was a fun, basic dough to make. If you’re looking for a fast project, this dough turned out well. It lived up to its name, even if it was a little bit sticky.

A quick note: a cup of conditioner is equivalent to 8 ounces — or half of the bottle with most conditioning products — so make sure you don’t use your own. I went to the Dollar Tree for conditioner and found a few good smells to utilize. If you’re making play dough with multiple kids, stock up!

If your kids have extra sensitive skin, however, I would recommend skipping this dough altogether, as the conditioner can cause irritation.

Glittery dough

Let’s get the glittery elephant in the room out of the way.

Half a cup of glitter? No thank you. I found that ¼ and even 1/8 cup produced a decent effect. That half cup is rather expensive (about $4 at Craft Warehouse), so don’t be afraid to cut back with this dough recipe.

This turned out to be a worthwhile dough, as the texture turned out nicely, and the food coloring and glitter combination made a fancy marbled effect.

 

Rock salt

This was a winner! This was by far my favorite kind of dough out of the five. If you want to focus on a recipe that resembles the Play-Doh brand the most, this is the one to try. Instead of coarse salt, I used decorative sand from the Dollar Tree.

Original

I apologize that I can’t really recommend this one. I attempted it twice. The first time, I misread the directions and used only a ½ cup of water (which made the final product too crumbly). The second time around, I used a full cup of water… and the final product was too gloppy.

If you’re planning on attempting all five recipes, use a ¾ cup of water and cross your fingers.

Scented

The scented dough was supposed to resemble the original recipe (only with shower gel added in as well), and unfortunately did not turn out well. The consistency of this recipe resembled cake batter. My experience making it rapidly turned into a race toward the trash can before the sticky wet dough could get all over the place – and somehow, it just magically managed to do so. I saved some of it in a Tupperware container, but even after sitting in the fridge for a few days, it did not improve.

If you’re planning on attempting all five recipes, use a ½ cup of water for this at the start.

How long do these keep?

I kept my play doughs in the fridge for about a week, and they were fine when I took them out again to check on. However, if you have kids who are playing with the dough constantly for a day or two (and leaving it out for a long period of time), you might not want to wait that long before tossing it (when they’re not looking).

Was it worth it?

For the kid who is interested in cooking and baking, this can be a great instructional activity without turning on the oven. How do wet and dry ingredients work together? What happens when you add too much water to flour? What happens when a few drops of food coloring vs. a teaspoon/tablespoon of food coloring is added? How does salt change a dough’s texture versus when there is none at all? Also, the project is just plain fun even without instructional elements.

Other tips

• A marbled effect is easy to achieve with most of the doughs by incorporating the food coloring without mixing it into water first. For an even coloration, add the food coloring to the water and mix before incorporating it into the dough.

• To get a deeper shade with the food coloring, experiment with ½ teaspoon increments.

• Toss the glitter in with the flour if you want the glitter equally distributed throughout the dough. If you’d rather have large patches of glitter here and there, add it in whenever.

 

(World photos/Michelle Naranjo. TOP: This rock salt dough was my favorite of the five that I made. Its texture was the most similar to the Play-Doh brand. SECOND: Here I am working the rock salt dough into a heart shape. On the table you can also see glittery dough, which was my second favorite of the five I made.)

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