Friday, June 5, 2015

I Tried Tinkerlab's Best Playdough Recipe and You Should Too

Have you ever made playdough before? I had not, and since my 1st graders absolutely loved making their clay owls and delight in using modelling clay during art stations I thought homemade playdough was a great end-of-year project that could keep them creating throughout the summer.

Bright colored playdough thanks to fluorescent tempera paint!
Laminate or cover an imaginative drawing in contact paper
and you are ready to play and create!

I tried Tinkerlab's Best Playdough Recipe, read all the helpful comments, and decided to stick with the basic recipe but used tempera paint, instead of food coloring or liquid watercolors, to get super bright colors. I also wanted my kids to be welcome to create at home and therefore had my kids design playdough placemats to keep their playdough creating off of the furniture, the cat, the picturebooks, etc. I asked my 1st graders to brainstorm what would be fun to create playdough "things" on, they made drawings, and I laminated them.


  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 ¼  cup salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 5 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Tempera/Poster Paint

Tools and Materials
  • Large pot (non-stick if possible)
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Stovetop or hotplate
  • Laminator or contact paper
  • White drawing paper
  • Drawing pencils and markers

The Best Playdough Recipe Adapted from

And Homemade Placemat!

Make Your Own Playdough Placemat
  • Create a drawing on your paper and add color. Use your imagination: what would be fun to decorate with playdough? A cake? A person’s face?  An underwater scene? A plate for playdough food? A cityscape?
  • Laminate your drawing or cover it in contact paper.

Dough Recipe (Store the dough in a plastic bag or Tupperware and it will stay soft for months.)
1)   Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar, water, and vegetable oil in a pot until somewhat smooth, but it may still be lumpy.
2)   Cook dough over low heat and mix frequently with wooden spoon or spatula. The dough will start to look like pancake batter.
3)   As the water cooks out of the dough, it will start to appear sticky. Continue mixing until the dough appears dry.
4)   Test for dryness by pinching a piece of dough.
5)   Put the dough on a counter that can get messy and knead until smooth.
6)   Divide the dough into the number of colors you would like to make. Make into balls.
7)   Press your thumb into the middle of each dough ball.
8)   Add a drop of paint, close up the dough, and knead until the dough has an even color. Add more paint to get the shade that you want…but add a drop at a time!
TIP: Wash your hands between mixing different colors if you want “cleaner” colors
9)   Wash your hands and the table after mixing all of your colors.
10) Play with your playdough on your homemade placemat!