In the Kitchen, Kids' Crafts

Easy Homemade Playdough (for the Lazy)

I love Play-dough.  Well, I don’t exactly love Play-Doh, but I love that whenever my kids get their hands on some, they’re occupied for hours, and it gives me some much needed me-time to catch up on everything that falls to the side.  However, my kids are ambitious.  They don’t just want to make little cakes or cookies with playdough, no.  Instead, they have plans that include sculpting a life-sized person and full-grown unicorn.  The amount of playdough they request  (my older son needs 30 containers red, 10 peach and 10 white – for the skin and blood and bones, Mama!)  is just not in our family budget.  But I’ve seen several recipes for easy homemade playdough with just baking ingredients – and that I can do.

Easy Homemade Playdough

The first time I tried it, I tweaked the amounts a little bit, and the playdough came out great.  But oh, were my arms tired after kneading that first batch (there’s the lazy part!)  So an idea popped into my head to use my bread machine to do the kneading and mixing for me.  And in fact, it works like a charm.  So much so, that some evenings before going to bed, I put a batch of my lazy playdough in the bread machine, let it run on the dough cycle, and it keeps it nice and soft by the time we all wake up in the morning, all ready to nurture the imaginations of my little ones and give me some time for an entire cup of coffee and maybe even a little bit of the crossword puzzle.

Easy Homemade Playdough - Monster

The recipe I use is by far the simplest – no cream of tartar or boiling wateror anything of the sort.  Just pop the ingredients in on the dough cycle, press start and retrieve Playdough after a few minutes (or hours, or whatever!).  These are the measurements that worked for me, but if your playdough comes out a little stiff or too soft, just add a little water (if it’s stiff) or flour (if it’s soft) until you reach the perfect consistency you want.

Easy Homemade Playdough

Easy Homemade Playdough for the Lazy

–          2 cups flour

–          ¾ cup salt

–          1 cup water

–          1 t vegetable oil

–          food coloring

Place everything in the bread machine on the dough cycle and let run until it stops kneading.  Or if you’re not lazy, you can mix it all by hand!

This recipe will make approximately the same amount of Playdough as two canisters of the regular stuff.  With that in mind, you can double or triple (or halve) the recipe to make the amount you want.  A 5-lb bag of flour will make about 4 of these.

Easy Homemade Playdough - Glitter

For Glitter Playdough

Since I use my bread machine to make real, actual bread on almost a daily basis, I was not as thrilled at the idea of putting glitter in it with the mixing of the ingredients.  So once the playdough is done being mixed, I then toss it in a bowl with some glitter and do a bit of brief kneading there.  Since it’s already been softened in the bread machine, it takes a surprisingly simple time to work the glitter through.  And before long, and with very little effort, I am able to present gold, glittery playdough to a little boy who is eagerly looking forward to crafting a unicorn horn.

Bonus:  Making it Smell Good

After watching my kids delight in smelly markers, I thought the playdough could benefit from a non-flour-y smell as well.  I drop in a couple of drops of essential oil or flavoring extract in each batch.  My kids are past the age where they want to sample the playdough, so it’s just a fun treat for them to smell and guess the different smells with the different colors.


So there’s our recipe for an easy homemade playdough that you can whip up in no time and with no effort – and for pennies on the dollar.  Enjoy!

~ Mellie ★




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1 Comment

  1. Katalina says:

    I followed your instructions exactly and it was just a sticky mess the consistency of frosting.

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