An easy recipe for natural play dough you can make at home using ingredients in your pantry and natural dyes. Ready in 10 minutes.
Tell me I’m not the only mother who cringes at the thought of mixing play dough colours?! I can’t be alone right?
Alas, my kids absolutely love play dough. Aside from the mixing of colours I love having play dough available for them. Play dough is amazing learning tool for children. It’s great for helping kids strengthen their fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and for developing strength, control and dexterity in their itty bitty hands and fingers. This will help them as they learn skills like holding a pencil and cutting with scissors.
I also love that play dough offers the opportunity to encourage independent, open-ended, and creative play. There are no rules! My kids love to add their Grimms natural wood toys to create imaginary scenes. It offers time for them to explore and use their imagination – while mama can get things done.
As I start to get ready for my role as the Easter bunny and collect goodies for Easter basket stuffers play dough is always a favourite. Then I thought, why not make my own!
I’ll admit I’m more of a ‘support small businesses’ than a ‘DIYer’ but I was intrigued by how easy it is to make homemade natural play dough using items I have in my pantry and natural dyes with fruits and veggies in my home.
Natural Play Dough Dyes
I gotta tell you – my own imagination had a ball with creating natural dyes using fruits and veggies for my homemade play dough.
Since I was going to an Easter look I wanted soft pastel colours but the possibilities are endless.
Check out The Imagination Tree for these gorgeous natural dyes using ingredients in your fridge and pantry.
I also wanted to a pretty pink colour so I made a batch of natural dye using beets. Like the recipes above, here’s what I did:
- Peel and slice two medium red beets
- Add beets to pot of water
- Bring water to a boil then reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes
- Let the water cool with the beets in
- Once cooled, remove the beets and add a teaspoon of white vinegar
- Eat the beets!! I added them to a smoothie!
Keeping with the theme of Easter, I will be using the same natural dyes I used here for beautifully hued, naturally coloured Easter eggs.
How to Make Homemade Play Dough
It’s actually remarkably easy!
Ingredients for homemade play dough
As promised these ingredients are probably already in your pantry. You’ll need:
- All Purpose Flour
- Cream of Tartar
- Coconut Oil
- Natural Dyes or Water
- Essential Oils – optional
- Airtight Containers (I used glass jars)
If you’re planning to use natural dyes like I did you’ll need to make these in advance. Most dyes required 20 minutes of simmer and cooling time so I would make them the day before and store in a glass jar.
When you’re ready to make your play dough, add the all purpose flour, salt, and cream of tartar to a saucepan and whisk until combined.
Next, decide how vibrant you want the colour of your play dough to be. You’ll want to decide so you can mix your dye with the appropriate amount of water. Of course, the more dye the more intense the colour. I wanted a pale pink so I used 1/4 cup of beet dye and 3/4 cup of water. In total you’ll need 1 cup of liquid.
Add your coconut oil and liquid to the flour mixture and turn the stove up to low-medium. Stir your mixture continuously until it pulls away from the pot easily – about 5 minutes. It will be a bit sticky still but rest assured it will settle.
Let your play dough cool. Once cooled coat your hands with coconut oil and knead your play dough. The coconut oil will help calm the stickiness – plus, it’s great for your hands!
Store your play dough in an air tight container. If your play dough gets a bit dry you can coat your hands with coconut oil and knead again.
Full recipe including measurements are below
- 1 cup of All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup of Salt
- 2 teaspoons of cream of Tartar
- 1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil, melted
- 1 cup of Water* (or 1/4 to 1/2 cup of natural dye and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water, depending on desired colour)
- Optional: 100% pure essential oils
- Add flour, salt and cream of tartar to saucepan; Whisk together
- Add melted coconut oil and water*
- Put saucepan on stove on low/medium heat
- Continuously stir until the dough begins to lift from the sides easily**
- Remove from heat and let dough cool
- Once cooled, lather hands with coconut oil and knead the play dough
*you can use 1 cup of water for uncoloured play dough or you can use 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of natural dye and 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of water, depending desired colour
for light pink - use 1/4 cup of natural beet dye and 3/4 cup of water
for pale yellow - use 1/2 cup of natural turmeric dye and 1/2 cup of water
**it is normal for the play dough to be very thick and still a bit sticky; kneading with coconut oil once cooled (step 6) will help with the stickiness