Generations of kids have grown up loving play dough. If you’re going through a ton of the stuff, or your family is notorious for leaving it out of the container to dry out on the tabletop, it’s easy to make at home. With this simple formula, you can keep your kids in fresh, soft, custom-colored playdough for life (or as long as they hold their interest) for next to nothing. It’s a great activitiy when the kids are off school and baby, it’s cold outside.
The secret ingredient that makes it different from regular salt dough is cream of tartar, which makes the dough last far longer than it would without. You may already have it on hand to keep your meringues stable – if not, it’s easy to find in most grocery and drug stores. (If you can’t find it, ask. Sometimes it’s in a weird place.)
Use the most inexpensive table salt you can find to make this dough – don’t waste your fancy sea salts! To make colored dough, add a few drops of food coloring to the water. To create a swirled effect, add it toward the end and blend it through the dough as you knead it, leaving it marbled.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup hot water, tinted with food coloring if you like
1/2 cup salt
1 Tbsp. cream of tartar
1 Tbsp. canola or other vegetable oil
Stir everything together in a bowl and knead until smooth, adding a little extra flour or water if needed to achieve a soft, workable consistency. Store in a plastic container or zip-lock bag.