Playdough Making Tutorial – Picture This!

December 30, 2008

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Welcome to the first of my “Picture This” posts.  This if for the readers that enjoy ‘seeing’ what I’m talking about.  And sometimes, scanning through a post of pictures is a nice break from all the text.

I did a recent post with recipes for homemade playdough and flubber.  Here’s how easy it is to make your own playdough:

Here’s the recipe I’m doing:

Playdough Recipe #1

(Special Ingredient = Alum – found in ’spices’ section of grocery store)

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1 T oil
1 T powdered alum
1/2 cup salt
2 T vanilla
food coloring

Mix all dry ingredients. Add oil, water, vanilla, and food coloring.  Mix.   Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until reaching the consistency of mashed potatoes. Remove from heat.  Play with it.  Store in plastic bag.


1.  Get a pot (you have to start somewhere)


2. Assemble ingredients.  There are only 7 of them.  Seriously, this is what takes the longest at my house.  Can you spot three ingredients in my disaster of a slightly unorganized pantry?  (Red arrow = white flour, Blue arrow = oil, Orange arrow = vanilla back there somewhere)

2. Still assembling . . . Here’s a close-up – now can you see the white flour?  We’re a whole wheat family, so I pretty much use this exclusively for playdough and paper mache.


2.  Still assembling – Now we’re to my stuffed to the brim well-stocked spice cupboard.  Pretend it’s an I-spy game:  Yellow – Yes!  The salt is easy, Green – a little baggy of food coloring way back there, and Orange – knock over everything looking for that well hidden bottle of Alum (you think it’s hard to find in the store?)

2.  Got it all!  (except the food coloring and the water are not in the picture)


3.  Add ingredients – Finally!!  Add one cup flour.  (Check out the action shots!)


4.  Add one-half cup salt.

5.  Add one cup water.

6.  Add 1T Alum (Ok, it’s not exact, and I goofed and used 1 teaspoon – a very forgiving recipe!)

7. Add 1 t vanilla (up to 1 T).  It covers up the salty dough smell nicely, but is a bit brown.

8. Add 1 T oil, any kind.  Helps keep the dough moist and pliable.

9.  A few drops of food coloring.  It mixes in much easier at this stage.

10.  Stir.  Stir.  This is the fun part where little helpers are welcome.  Oh, and mix a few colors for an impromptu color on primary and secondary colors.

11.  All mixed up it should look like this and drip thickly off the spoon.

12.  Oops – don’t EVER wait this long to put the cap back on that staining, evil, permanent, spreads everywhere, food coloring!

13.  Adding a little blue to my batch – ooooh, pretty swirls.

14.  Put in on medium heat and stir continuously.  In a few minutes, the dough on the bottom will thicken, darken, and make everything a bit lumpy (see the dark green chunk in the middle).  Keep stirring.

15.  Chunkier, keep stirring.  Almost done now.

16.  No more glistening wet looking stuff and it all pulls away from the pan into a ball – You’re done!  Get it off the heat and out of the pan right away!  Over cooking makes for crumbly dough.  It’s better to undercook than overcook.

17.  Tadah!  Even the playdough thinks it’s easy!

18.  Bag it and suck out the air to make it last.  Or even keep it in the fridge if you have the room.  (My stuffed well-stocked fridge isn’t accepting new items.)


Recipe Time = somewhere between 7 and 43 minutes

  1. Assemble Ingredients:  2 – 15 minutes (you know how long it takes at my house)
  2. Mix ingredients: 2 minutes
  3. Cook playdough: 3 – 6 minutes
  4. Extra helper and lesson time:  2 – 20 minutes.
What do you think?  I’d love to read some comments.

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Posted under Homeschool Crafts, Picture This!


3 Comments so far

  1. Dana March 3, 2009 11:59 pm

    Great step by step instructions! I used to make this for a Sunday School class I taught… it lasted for months!

  2. Misty February 23, 2009 9:49 pm

    Thanks! I think I have a magic pantry that mysteriously adds things to the shelves when I’m not looking. . . or it could be the kids 🙂

  3. Cheryl February 23, 2009 8:39 pm

    Fabulous! I love the pics of the pantry!
    Thanks! – Cheryl


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