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The Best Natural Play Dough Recipe

This is seriously the easiest natural play dough recipe you’ll find and the best play dough recipe if you love smooth soft play dough that doesn’t dry out in seconds. I’m going to call it uncooked, because you don’t even need to be stirring it on the stove for ever and ever!

It’s so quick, it’s long-lasting and non-toxic if you use natural food dye. Honestly, you’ll never buy the chemical laden store bought play dough again!

Glitter playdough with text best ever natural play dough recipe

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Making your own natural play dough is a great alternative to buying the store bought one and I promise you it’s way easier than you think. Just open the kitchen pantry and most of the ingredients are probably already there. And as a bonus it’s not toxic and it doesn’t smell like a science experiment with added fragrance. Is it just me or does the store bought variety stink?

It made me wonder what on earth is in it and what sort of toxic colouring, preservatives and thickeners are hidden within. In fact, as it’s not a food product the ingredients are definitely not listed on the packaging but just a whiff of it should indicate it’s definitely not natural.



After a bit of digging around I found that the popular store bought play dough contains:
• starch-based binder

• retrogradation inhibitor (I don’t know what that is but it screams chemical to me)

• lubricant

• surfactant (chemical compound)

• preservative

• hardener

• humectant

• fragrance

• colour

• petroleum additives

This list made me cringe. If your little one pops a piece of this in their mouth…just yuck!

Child with colorful playdough and paddlepop sticks

Ok time for a full disclosure. I used to have a small business that created Play Dough Party Favours for kids parties. For this business, I would create little personalised tubs of play dough in any party theme to be handed out at the end of parties instead of the party bags full of candy and sugary lollies. So play dough is my thing!

Whilst I no longer run that business, it’s safe to say that I’ve made thousands of batches and I can guarantee that this play dough recipe is the easiest recipe out there and it’s all natural and you’ll never buy the store bought one again.


The ultimate secret to perfect handmade play dough every time is to weigh the ingredients. Just use an inexpensive digital set of scales so that you can get a good indication of the weight and you’re right to go.

110g table salt (fine table salt is best so that it dissolves quickly)

20g (1 heaped tbsp) of Cream of Tartar (the secret ingredient to make it all work well)

250g boiling water (fresh from the kettle…get it nice and hot to dissolve the salt quickly = less mixing!)

1/2 tsp of food colouring of your choice – either natural food coloring or regular food grade

250g of plain all purpose flour

20g oil (vegetable, canola, olive, coconut – it’s your call).


(Whilst this is super easy it is best done by an adult as the boiling water can be a hazard for kiddos. Tell them to be patient and that the play dough will be ready for them in no time at all….once it’s cooled down).

1. Boil your water in a kettle or on the stovetop. You don’t need to cook this so you can use a large bowl to mix it in if you have boiled the water in a kettle. If you’ve boiled your water on the stove top just turn off the heat once it’s boiled and follow the rest of instructions by using the saucepan instead of dirtying another bowl.

2. Add salt, cream of tartar and food colouring and oil to the boiling water in either a bowl or saucepan. Give it a quick mix until it looks like salt has dissolved. Usually 5 seconds worth of stirring!

3. Add flour and mix for 30 seconds until the mixture has come together and is looking a little goopy.

4. This is when you can start scooping it out onto a plate to dry out a little. You can give it a quick knead with your hands if it’s not too hot…check first…be careful not to burn yourself. Once it’s cooled a little it will start to resemble the play dough texture….there you have it. Easy, quick and not too much stirring.

There are heaps of play dough recipes out there so experiment and find the one that you love to make.
Add chunky glitter if you choose to do so. The chunky glitter shows up better than the normal fine glitter so definitely try and use the chunky glitter like this one for extra SPARKLE! Also another option is to add a drop of kid-safe essential oils and enjoy!

Check out these awesome Play Dough Party Favors that you can create with this playdough recipe.

Related Posts: DIY Playdough Kits

Play Dough Party Favors Green play dough tubs with plastic animals

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Glitter playdough with text: Best ever natural play dough recipe

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