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Natural Playdough


I thought I’d share my playdough making secrets 🙂 This makes a no-cook playdough that actually works 🙂 doesn’t involve the microwave… and leaves you with a natural and non-toxic (although horribly salty so not very tasty) playdough.

1c plain flour (use organic flour for an organic version)
1tb Cream of tartar
½c Salt
1tb Oil
1 cup boiling water (straight from the bubbling kettle!)

Mix everything but the boiling water together in a food processor and put the kettle on. When the kettle has boiled, quickly (and carefully) measure out 1 cup and pour it into the food processor and quickly turn it on. If it’s not boiling water, this won’t work. Within seconds, the mixture will harden (you can tell by the fact the food processor won’t be happy mixing it any more and it becomes one lump), tip this out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it to make sure it is mixed through (you may need to wear rubber gloves if you don’t like warm hands). Because the foodprocessor does most of the work, you hardly have to knead it at all.

Naturally Coloured Playdough!

Yep, it’s possible, though not as vibrant generally as the chemical versions, all these colours below are completely natural!


Blue – use the Queen natural food colouring blue
Green – use 2 crushed Spirulina tablets (or ½ tsp powder)
Brown #1 (lighter) – use 1 cup STRONG coffee instead of the water
Brown #2 – Use 1-2tb cocoa powder
Yellow – use a tablespoon of Turmeric
Apricot – Simmer a handful of Annatto seeds in water for 10 mins, use this liquid instead of water
Pink – Use beetroot juice (either tinned, or simmer a cut beetroot in water)
Red – Use concentrated beetroot juice (simmer to reduce it down)
Pinkish purple (not shown) – boil purple cabbage and use the liquid instead of water.
Purple – Mixture of the beetroot/cabbage pink and some blue food colouring

When using a liquid colourant, such as beetroot juice, boil that liquid in a saucepan and use that instead of the boiling water. Remember that “heated” is not hot enough, it needs to be boiling.

Textured Playdough

Other than adding colour, think about adding some texture for interesting effects.

Poppy seeds – add 2 tb (or so) poppy seeds to the mixture and don’t colour it for a cool black and white speckled effect.
Salt – If you use coarser cooking salt, you get an interestingly grainy texture
Lavender – Add some lavender flowers for a bit of texture

Scented Playdough

You can add essential oils to give a slight fragrance too. Personally I’d avoid foody scents (like lemon, orange etc.) because it might entice the kidlets to eat it… so I’d stick with lavender, Eucalyptus and scents like that.

Or, you might be able to use boiled floral waters such as rosewater or lavender water. (you can buy rosewater from Asian/Indian grocery stores.

You could use a synthetic oil (“dewberry” and the like), but then your playdough isn’t natural.


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