An image of homemade, multicolor play dough sits in the foreground. A white child's hands hold a red plastic knife and cuts one of the pieces of play doh.Playdough, Gak, and Puffy Paint… Oh My!

Playdough Recipe


1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Food coloring if desired
1 Tablespoon extract (peppermint, vanilla, coconut, lemon, etc.) OR about 5 drops (¼ teaspoon) of essential oils

  1. Mix flour, salt, & cream of tartar in a medium cooking pot.
  2. Add water, oil, and if desired, food coloring and extract/oil.
  3. Stir over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes stirring constantly.
  4. When mixture forms a ball in pot, remove.
  5. When cool enough to touch, knead until smooth.
  6. Let cool, put in a plastic bag, and refrigerate to store.
  • If you have more than 1 child, consider making a double batch.
  • Cream of Tartar can be expensive, but Woodman’s grocery store carries Tone’s Cream of Tartar for the best price. (1 batch may require 1-2 small jars, for a total of $.90-1.80).

Homemade Gak

Ingredients, in Equal Parts

Glue (such as Elmer’s)
Liquid laundry starch

  1. Add equal parts glue and liquid laundry starch to a Ziploc bag.
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring.
  3. Seal, and “squish” until glue is mostly stuck together.
  4. Now it’s time to get messy. Remove the congealed glue (there will be extra starch leftover in the bag), and mix/knead with your hands until smooth.
  5. Let sit for a few moments before using.

Homemade Puffy Paint

Ingredients, in Equal Parts

Glue (such as Elmer’s)
Shaving cream

  1. Mix equal parts glue and shaving cream.
  2. Add several drops of food coloring or liquid watercolor.
  3. Mix and enjoy!