10 Homemade Playdough & 5 Fingerpaint Recipes

Keeping the kiddos busy and entertained for hours, homemade playdough is easy to make and the best part is, no fancy-pants ingredients required! Here’s a collection of recipes that you can try, there’s a little bit of everything here from basic cooked, non-cooked, glitter to koolaid to jello. I’ve also added a handful of DIY fingerpaint mixes at the bottom of the page (which are just as simple to make). Have fun!

Assorted ColorsPlain – #1

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
1 TBS cream of tartar
1 TBS oil
food coloring


  • Heat all ingredients in a saucepan, slow to medium heat. Stir continuously. Once dough is at the consistency you want, remove from heat. Cool before using. *high salt content so please keep dough away from pets.


1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/4 cup salt
2 TBS cream of tartar
1 TBS vegetable oil food coloring (about 2 tsp)


  • In a medium sized pot, mix the first three ingredients: flour, salt, cream of tartar. Then add water, food coloring and the oil. Stir over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Once the dough forms a ball, remove from heat. Allow to cool. Once cool knead the dough on a floured surface several times. Then store in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag and place in refrigerator until needed. *high salt content so please keep away from pets.


1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp oil
food coloring


  • Cook all ingredients together over low heat for 3 minutes, stirring well. Remove from heat and cool. Store in airtight container or sealed plastic bag.

Koolaid Version – #4

1 cup flour
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup salt
3 TBS oil
1 package of Koolaid (use the color of your choice)


  • Mix all ingredients together and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until dough forms the consistency you want. Remove from heat and cool. Keep in airtight container, refrigerate until used.

Kool-aid – #5

3 cups flour
2 cups water
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup koolaid
2 TBS vegetable oil
2 TBS alum powder


  • Place water, salt and koolaid in large saucepan, bring to boil. Then stir in the oil and the alum. Remove from heat immediately, dump all 3 cups of flour into liquid and stir until the dough sticks together and leaves sides of pan. Once dough is cool enough to handle, knead on a floured board until all lumps are gone. If dough sticks to hands, add more flour. Keep in airtight container, refrigerate until used.

Cake Decorating Paste Mix – #6

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
cake decorating paste


  • Cook all ingredients except the cake decorating paste over medium heat until dough forms consistency you want, stir constantly. Remove from heat and cool. Knead on floured board, adding the cake decorating paste as you do so. Keep kneading until dough is well blended with colour. Store in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag and refrigerate until used. *May also use food coloring rather than cake decorating paste.

Uncooked – #7

3 cups boiling water
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups salt
1 1/2 TBS vegetable oil
3 tsp cream of tartar


  • Mix all ingredients except for the flour in a large bowl. Once well mixed, add flour. Stir continuously until the dough mix leaves the sides of the bowl. Once well blended, remove from bowl and knead on floured board. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Another Uncooked Version – #8

3 cups flour
3 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups salt
6 tsp cream of tartar
3 TBS cooking oil


  • Mix all dry ingredients together plus the cooking oil. Once well blended, add boiling water. Stir dough mixture until it leaves the sides of the bowl. Remove and knead well on floured board. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Glitter – #9

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
1 TBS vegetable oil
2 tsp cream of tartar
food coloring


  • Mix all ingredients together except for the glitter. Heat over medium heat until dough forms a ball, stir constantly. Remove from heat and add glitter. Knead well until lumps are gone and dough is smooth. Store in an airtight container, but do not refrigerate.

Fruity Fun Jell-O – #10

1 (3-oz.) package sugar-free jello
2 cups flour
2 cups boiling water
1 cup salt
4 TBS cream of tartar
2 TBS oil


  • Mix the dry ingredients in a saucepan then add the oil and the boiling water. Stir continuously over medium heat until dough forms into a ball. Remove from heat, knead. Store in an airtight container.


  • If playdough is too sticky, just knead in more flour.
  • Always store in an airtight container or plastic bag.
  • Refrigerate until needed, unless noted otherwise.

Careful: Many of the above mixes have high salt content, please keep away from pets.


Here’s another batch of fun you can whip up yourself with just a few simple ingredients!

Messy FunDish Soap – #1

1 cup Flour
1 cup Water
1 cup Sunlight dish soap
2 TBS Food Coloring


  • Mix all items until there are no lumps and paint is smooth. Keep sealed in an airtight container and refrigerate.
  • You can divide the batch up into smaller amounts and use a different color of food coloring for each batch.

Cornflour – #2

2 cups boiling water
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup cornflour
1 pkg unflavored gelatine
food coloring


  • Stir gelatine into 1/4 cup of cold water and set aside.
  • Mix cornflour into the rest of the cold water (3/4 cup) and stir until a smooth paste. Slowly pour the boiling water over the paste mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  • Once the mixture becomes bubbly from boiling and clear, remove from heat.
  • Stir in the gelatine mixture.
  • Cool and divide into portions. Add colors to each portion.
  • Keep refrigerated.

Jello – #3

Jello Powder
Boiling Water


  • Slowly add boiling water to the Jello powder (constantly stirring) until you have a thick consistency. Add ice to thicken and cool down the Jello quickly. Use when cool.
  • This is an edible fingerpaint mix.

Kool-Aid – #4

3 cups boiling water
2 cups flour
2 packages unsweetened Kool-Aid
1/2 cup salt
3 tablespoons oil

  • Mix the Kool-Aid, flour and salt into a glass bowl. Add oil.
  • Slowly add the boiling water, stirring while you pour.
  • Wait till it cools before using.

Pudding Mix – #5

Vanilla Pudding Mix (Instant)
Food Coloring


  • Make the vanilla pudding according to package directions. Divide into portions and mix in different food coloring for each portion. Paint away!
  • This paint is edible. If you use food coloring sparingly it will be washable.

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What Readers Are Saying: 32 Comments
  1. Barbara says:

    For a smooth and uniform color, stir the food coloring into the water before adding the water to the other ingredients.

  2. Adam says:

    You can add the glitter to every recipe as well for some extra sparkly fun 🙂

    Also has anyone thought about adding spices into the recipe. It makes it smell very nice. (depending on the spices)

  3. Cindy says:

    For “space” theme, add wiggly eyes to the playdough. It’s like alien eyes!

  4. Amy says:

    Add 1 tbsp vanilla essence to it for a great smell and a nicer texture (decrease other liquid to compensate)

  5. Laine says:

    Just remember, alum in quantities of an ounce or more is toxic to humans! It may make the play dough much more like the store bought kind, but with the USDA trying to wean us off our use of it due to it’s dangerous nature (it’s a salt/metal combo) I would rather stick to the other recipes.

  6. Jennifer says:

    We tried most of these recipes over time and Recipe #8 is by far the best! I recommend dividing into small portions after mixing to knead instead of trying to do it all at once.

  7. Blanka says:

    I tried Recipe #1 but the playdough turned out to be very sticky – makes mess and it’s hard to use. Does anybody have any idea why? What did I do wrong?

  8. Chaitra says:

    I would like to know if there is any substitute for cream of Tartar or is there any alternate name for it.


  9. Deb says:

    Hello… HELP!!! I am in the middle of trying to make some “playdough” with my 4 yr. old grandson. I have everything together (measured and in the bowl) of the dry ingredients so far but I ran out of SALT!!! The recipe calls for 1 1/2 Cups of it and I have exactly 3/4 Cup!! Can’t get to a store at the moment, so I was wondering if ANYONE can tell me either A). What would HAPPEN if I used JUST what I HAVE [the 3/4 Cup], because the actual recipe calls for 3 C. Water – 3 C. Flour – 6 t. Cream of Tartar – 3 T. Cooking Oil and of course that 1 1/2 C. Salt that I ran out of) or B). Should I wait until I can get to a store to buy more salt? I was hoping I could just reduce the rest of the ingredients, but then, I’m not sure either as to HOW MUCH I would REDUCE it by!! Boy “being a grandparent” can be quite exhausting!!! lol But definitely “worth it!” Thanks much ~~

  10. Deb says:

    All is well, dough is finished. Borrowed some salt from the neighbor and #8 turned out GREAT!!! My grandson Jace will have enough dough to last him a lonnnnng time. I’ll divide it all up now and use the food coloring technigue. Beats buying it in the store!! Thanks anyway!!

  11. Jennifer says:

    I make this with my daughter. It doesn’t require cooking so she can help me make it. Salt Dough 1 cup salt-4 cups all purpose flour-1 1/2 cups warm water-2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Mix flour and salt in bowl. Add water,then knead dough and roll out as you would cookie dough. Add a little bit of flour if dough gets too sticky to work with. Add vegetable oil to dough only if you intend to store it for use at a later time.

  12. Marge Dabikk says:

    My name is “Daboll”. These arthritic fingers sometimes misbehave.

    Re corn flour. Save yodurself the frustration of hunting for it. Just put a cup of cornmeal in the blender and beat the socks off it. Well – blend it until it is the consistency of flour.

    My first husband was a celiac patient – No Gluten – so I used substitute flours. I had a terrible time finding commercial corn flour.


  13. Kathy says:

    What should I
    use for color with the #8 recipe?

  14. Lena says:

    Hi! I used recipe #4 and it worked pretty well. I am looking forward to trying other recipes,too. Now i know a good website to go on when my younger cousin is over. She is crafty and likes to mash her fingers into stuff 🙂

  15. Kathy says:

    Have you tried Christmas Play Dough? It smells awesome and looks like gingerbread!

    1 cup flour
    1 cup coffee (brewed)
    1/2 cup salt
    2 tsp cream of tartar
    2 Tbs oil
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp nutmeg
    1 tsp ginger
    1 tsp cloves

    Heat all together in a pot over medium until it becomes thick and lifts from sides of pot. Takes a bit of mixing. When a ball has formed, remove from heat and allow to sit until cool enough to touch. Then knead it a bit to mix thoroughly. It doubles, triples and even quadruples well!

  16. Maria Maese says:

    If you add a teaspoon of clear vanilla to the play dough it will smell just like the store bought.

  17. colleen says:

    made #8…super easy, even w/ kiddos helping!

  18. Meredith says:

    I made Playdough #10 today for my son. I doubled the recipe and used 1 lime jello and 1 lemon lime kool-aid package. Awesome recipe! Great result and nice smell. 🙂

  19. Andrea says:

    How much playdough does recipe #8 make? I need to make about 8 cups for my child’s school.

  20. Andrea says:

    I made recipe #8, super easy with great results!

  21. Sara says:

    Does the food coloring stain stuff after you’ve added it to the dough? My boys are very messy.

  22. Sue says:

    We did number 10 today. Great easy recipe! Kids love it.

  23. Jill says:

    I did #8 and #1 together! I didn’t have enough salt so I used the receipe for #1 and add boiling water to it instead of cooking it! Turned out great and enough for my 2 year old to play with! Thanks for the receipes. 🙂

  24. Elaina says:

    Never use Alum. IT”S TOXIC!!! It is a salt and METAL combo!! It is in the Store purchased playdough. So go truly non-toxic and make without the Alum.
    Oh the junk the USDA allows to be called edible… sad really.

  25. Angela says:

    Hello, I am giving out Playdough for my sons birthday party in the goodie bags. Moms, which recipe was your favourite and how many goodie bag “portions” would you say it makes?

  26. Becca says:

    Recipe #8

    Remove and knead well on floured boar.

    I don’t have any boars, will a board or counter top work? hehehe

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