Art Projects / Family

DIY Play Dough (no cream of tartar required)

A few years ago, when Josie was just little and I was nannying a 4 year old little girl, my mom sent me her recipe for homemade play dough. It works great! The problem is, though, it calls for cream of tartar, and I never have that in my kitchen, especially when the play dough mood strikes.

I can’t tell you how excited I was to find a new recipe the other day, then. I love making play dough (for some strange reason), but I’ve never found something that doesn’t have cream of tartar, but that still works. Never fear. This is the answer and it only requires four ingredients that you probably have on hand right. now.

DIY Play Dough (adapted from

1 cup cornstarch

1 cup baking soda

3/4 cup water

Food coloring

Mix together the cornstarch and baking soda in a pan. Place over medium heat and slowly add the water, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens and then eventually forms a dough. For me, this took about 5 minutes – just when you feel like giving up, mix a little longer and it should all come together. 🙂 Empty the dough out onto the counter, let cool, and then separate into parts (according to how many colors you want). This recipe easily makes two colors. Begin to need one of the dough balls, add some food coloring, and continue until you have the color you want. And…there you are. It’s done!

This dough dries out a bit at first, but a little kneading will solve that problem. It does leave a little gritty texture on your hands, so if your kid is weird about that stuff (like mine) it’s nice to keep a few wipes on hand. The great thing is, though, there’s no problem with kiddos mixing colors (you can easily make more) and to store it, you just throw it in an airtight container in the fridge. This has already bought us hours of fun, and we only made it a few days ago.

Next on our DIY list – watercolors! I’ll be sure to post on here if they work out. 🙂

3 thoughts on “DIY Play Dough (no cream of tartar required)

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