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make your own playdough or clay
Photo © 2005 Anissa Thompson

Make Your Own Playdough or Clay

Make your own clay or playdough (instead of buying Playdoh). The recipes are safe enough for kids to put their hands in their mouths while playing. They are not healthy snacks, but they are safe to eat. Items made with each one can be allowed to air dry and then painted. Here are four recipes so kids can make decorations or just have fun.

Homemade Clay

In a saucepan, mix the baking soda with the cornstarch, then add the cold water. Add food coloring. Cook the mixture over a medium flame, stirring constantly. When the clay is the consistency of moist mashed potatoes, turn off the heat. Dump the clay onto a plate, and cover it with a damp cloth. When the clay is cool to the touch, it's ready to use. Store it in a Ziplock bag or a container in the refrigerator. After keeping the clay in the refrigerator, allow the clay to reach room temperature before using it.

Cook Your Own Playdough

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • food coloring

Mix the flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a pot. Add the water, oil, and food coloring. Cook over medium heat while stirring constantly. When the mixture forms a ball in the center of the pot, turn off the stove and let it cool. Take it out of the pot knead it several times. Store in a Ziplock bag or airtight container in the fridge.

No-Cook Playdough

  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • food coloring

Mix the flour and salt. Slowly add the water, and knead to make smooth dough. Add the oil and food coloring and knead until the color is mixed in. No cooking is needed.

Smooth Homemade Clay

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups salt
  • 1-1/3 cups cold water

Put salt and 2/3 cup water into a pan and bring it to a boil. Add 2/3 cup of water to the cornstarch with 2/3 cup water and stir well. Add the salted water to this mixture and knead it into a clay. Store in a Ziplock bag or an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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