How to Make Playdough With Cream of Tartar

how to make homemade playdough with cream of tartar

During the holidays, as many parents know, kids expect you to entertain them from morning till dawn. Unless the day is action-packed, it’s a “boring” and a “nothing to do” day. On one of those days, we made a batch of homemade playdough with cream of tartar. 

In summer, we tend to spend more time outside and the kids didn’t play with it for a while. Not only did the playdough keep them occupied for hours – to mum and dad’s delight – but also there is an educational element to it: development of fine motor skills, blending colors, exploring senses like touch and feel, to name a few.

Homemade no-cook playdough with cream of tartar

This is a simple playdough recipe that you can make within minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • natural or food coloring (eg. beetroot, turmeric powder), optional

Note:  Increase the above amounts two or three times for more playdough which you can divide and colour differently.

In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients.

Next, add oil, liquid colouring, and boiling water (warn kids if they are helping!), then stir until it all comes together.

This is a proper way. As you can see above, I usually put dry and wet ingredients all at once and then stir. Here, I added a bit of beetroot juice, but, oops, forgot to add oil. Still, it came good.

Now, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until smooth. If the playdough is still too hot to touch, leave it to cool for a bit.

Divide it into several portions and add different colours a few drops at the time to each one. Knead it into the playdough well.

How to Make Playdough With Cream of Tartar

Last step, but not the least, have fun and play with your kids (for a little while)! It’s very therapeutic for adults too, as you can see in the picture below. 

Store it in an airtight container after play time, otherwise it will dry out quickly.

playing with homemade playdough

Alternative method: homemade cooked playdough

On the McKenzie’s Cream of tartar packet there is cooked playdough recipe if you prefer this method:

2 cups four

4 tablespoons cream of tartar

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 cup salt

food colouring

2 cups of water

Mix the above ingredients in a saucepan, and stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until the mixture congeals.

Tips for making playdough at home

  • For textured playdough, add some oats, dried lavender or herbs.
  • Add a few drops of natural cooking essence like orange, peppermint or almond for a nice smell, but leave it out if it will tempt small kids into eating the playdough – it is natural but way too salty.
  • If the kids manage to eat some, don’t be alarmed, it won’t hurt them, they’ll just be very thirsty.
  • Be alarmed if they eat commercial playdough – it is full of chemicals, with a weird sweet smell.
  • Once the playdough starts to smell rancid, dries out or gets very dirty, it’s time to make another batch.

How to Make Playdough With Cream of Tartar

During the holidays, as many parents know, kids expect you to entertain them from morning till dawn. Unless the day is action packed, it’s a “boring” day. On one of those days, we made a batch of homemade playdough.
Prep Time 10 hrs
Additional 10 hrs
Total Time 20 hrs
Yield 1 batch

Equipment

  • bowl
  • cup
  • teaspoon
  • tablespoon

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • natural or food colouring eg. beetroot, turmeric powder (optional)

Instructions
 

  • In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients.
  • Add oil, liquid colouring, and boiling water (warn kids if they are helping!) and stir until it all comes together.
  • Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until smooth.
  • Divide into several portions and add different colours few drops at the time to each.
  • Knead the colouring well into the playdough

Notes

  • For a textured playdough, add some oats, dried lavender or herbs.
  • Add a few drops of natural cooking essence like orange, peppermint or almond for a nice smell, but omit if that will tempt small kids into eating the playdough – it IS natural, but way too salty.
  • If the kids manage to eat some, don’t be alarmed, it won’t hurt them, they’ll just be very thirsty!
  • Be alarmed if they eat commercial playdough – it is full of chemicals, with a weird sweet smell.
  • Once the playdough starts to smell rancid, dries out or gets very dirty, it’s time to make another batch.

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10 Comments

  1. Thanks Vesna,
    You had me inspired…I just made a fresh blue playdough ( turned out just perfect ), baked some Apple Oatmeal muffins….and I’m ready for a playdate (bunch of two-year olds and six-year olds).
    It’s a rainy morning so I hope the kids have fun…
    Ana
    P.S I will try your buttermilk pancakes this weekend!

  2. WOW It worked very well and i could make it all my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I wish i had envented this way of making playdough. Its very awesome!!!!!

  3. We’ve made this before and it’s really easy. We also make a recipe with hand lotion that’s easy and also smells fabulous.

    I love that you recommend natural dyes like turmeric and beet powder!

  4. Going to try your play dough with my school kids,having holiday school,any other recipe they could do and eat made of food. They 1 to 2 year olds.love play dough.wish me luck today

    1. Hi faaiza,
      You can make any biscuit or bread dough and let kids make some shapes. Once baked, they can eat their creations.

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