Saving the Bank with Homemade Playdoh

Like most three year olds, Jack is crazy about Play-Doh. He absolutely loves it and since he’s so engaged, Play-Doh gives me at least 30 minutes to either pick up the house a bit or mindlessly browse Pinterest (take a wild guess at which one of those I usually choose!)

Lately, Jack’s big thing is to make sculptures out of Play-Doh and allow them to dry so that his super proud parents can keep them forever (or accidentally leave them out so Max can chomp on them, leading to the midnight google search: “Is too much Play-Doh poisonous?”)

Play-Doh has been wonderful for Jack’s imagination…not so wonderful for our pocketbook. So in an effort to save some of our hard earned moolah, I’ve taken to making homemade Play-Doh every so often. Now, Jack gets to sculpt until his little heart’s content and I have some left over money to go a-thriftin’ with. It’s a win/win!

There are tons of tutorials out there on making your own Play-Doh, this is how I do mine:

Homemade Kool-Aid Playdoh
Adapted from Musings From a SAHM

2 cups flour
2 cups water
4 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 cup of salt
2 tbsp oil
6 Kool-Aid packs (different colors)

1. Mix first five ingredients together and allow to thicken until the consistency of Play-Doh is met.

2. Ok, here’s where things get messy…separate the dough into the desired amount of colors and begin to kneed the colors into each segment. I used one packet per segment so that colors would be super vibrant. I also used yellow food dye since the lemonade flavor didn’t color so well. I should warn you that your hands are going to be stained for a day. I wanted to make a small amount of six different colors so that I could store them in the Gerber containers my awesome cousin sent me (Thanks, Erika!). If you’re going to make just one color or want to make larger portions of each color, you could skip out on the blue hands by just mixing the Kool-Aid in the pot you’re cooking the dough in.

3. Sprinkle in some glitter if you want it to be sparkly.

4. Each color should fit perfectly (well, almost perfectly) in those little plastic Gerber containers that you’ve been hoarding but just don’t know what to do with. :)

Happy sculpting!


Why didn’t I think of included the Kool-Aid dye chart I posted for my playsilks tutorial?! Just think of all the lovely colors of playdoh you could have!


About Vanessa Brady

Vanessa Brady is a craft blogger, mother of two boys, and a hot sauce junkie. She's been running Tried & True for over 7 years and her tutorials have been featured in numerous craft books and publications.


  1. Tried this out yesterday and loved it! The boys played with it for an hour! The fun came to an end when Peter decided to grind purple play dough into the carpet. Also, I don’t know about other kids, but Johnny loved the salty taste and kept licking it. For anyone that tries this I want to mention that I used food coloring and my colors weren’t nearly as bold as the Kook-aid colors. I’ll use those next time.

    I let Johnny help mix the ingredients and stir. He also put the food color in each ball of dough – probably not my best idea given the curiosity of your average 3 year old. But since the boys needed to be kept busy during most of the process 30 minutes ‘washing dishes’ was enough to get most of the color out. Of course then I had to mop the floor but it needed it so that was a bonus.

  2. Getting ready to make this for niece gift. Wondering about storage. Never made homemade playdoh. Does it need to be stored in fridge? And how long is it safe to keep? Liked this recipe because I didn’t want to use the alum recipes for a 1 year old since she is more likely to taste test it. :). Thanks!

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