If you are thrifty (like me) then you like to make your own playdough. I started making playdough like 15 yrs ago when I worked at an Early Learning Center (long before having my own kids). I have seen many, many recipes on the web and I have tried many. I like to stay away from Alum which many recipes use. But the ones that use Cream of Tartar call for SO much of it that it seems almost wasteful. And the natural recipes I came across talked about using natural food colorings or making your own natural food coloring to add to the playdough after it was finished and that seemed too complicated.
So I decided to kind of wing it and take some ideas from several recipes and come up with something easy and still natural . . . and to my surprise . . . it worked!!
What I did was start with a good recipe I knew worked. They all call for water, so instead of water in the recipe I replaced it with some type of natural liquid that was colored.
Then I used less cream of tarter than what is usually called for (trying to conserve it) and it turned out great!!
Here is the final recipe I came up with. I am giving you the full recipe but after my first batch I ended up cutting it in 1/2 because I had a lot of different colors I wanted to try. Most of the pictures you see here are of this recipe cut in 1/2 and it still makes a nice sized ball of dough.
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of salt
- 1 cup of liquid*
- 2 Tbsp Oil
- 1 Tbsp Cream of Tartar
* For liquid I used what I happened to have on hand that would make color. I used raspberry juice concentrate, grape juice (either full strength or diluted if I thought it was needed) blueberry juice (from boiling blueberries) strong tea (coffee would have worked too). I also used paprika and cocoa, which I just mixed in with some water. If I would have had some liquid chlorophyll (or even spinach that I could have boiled to make green water) it would have rocked the green!! Next time. Not sure what I would use for blue but really, you can use anything. Some more ideas, carrot juice, beet juice, shoot any juice you have on hand or any liquid left after boiling veggies or whatever can be used in place of water, and any powder (herb, spice etc) as well. The raspberry, grape and blueberry turned out very similar in color, just slightly different shades.
In a pot, mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and oil . . . slowly add your liquid
Put your pot over med heat and stir. As it warms up it will start to thicken.
Continue to stir until the dough gets thick, forms a ball and separates from the sides and bottom of the pan.
Turn onto something like wax paper or floured surface. Keep in mind that it is hot!!
As it cools you can kneed it to a nice smooth consistency (the kids are usually anxious to help with this part)
For these I added cocoa (left) and paprika (right) to the mix
I was concerned that using juices and stuff would make it go bad quicker, and you can always store it in the fridge if needed. But I made this stuff over a month ago and it is still good. I keep it in ziplock sandwich bags and make sure that I squeeze all the air out. It still works great after a month (homemade playdough usually lasts several months for me). If it starts to get a bit dry just put some oil on your hands before playing with it.