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Creative Play Dough Art and Best Play Dough Recipe

Have you tried creating play dough art creatively? Mixing other creative media is a fantastic way to get kids thinking about new ways to make art!

Have you tried creating play dough art creatively? Mixing other creative media is a fantastic way to get kids thinking about new ways to make art! #preschool #ece #toddleractivities #playdough #playdoh #creativeplay #kidsactivities

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Mixing Media for Creativity, and the BEST Play Dough Recipe!

I adore the creativity that comes out with regular play dough play, and adding in a few extra materials opens the door to so may new options!

I fell in love with these little guys that Johnny made using play dough, paper, and googley eyes! The creation on the left is a boat they can ride in! The kids dried these creations, and they have enjoyed playing with them!

play dough mixed media art

Did you know that you can coat play dough creations with mod podge for extra durability? We didn’t do it this time, because of the googley eyes, but we have before. You just need to make sure the play dough is completely dry so you don’t seal moisture inside.

Of course, all of this works whether you use homemade play dough or store bought Play-Doh.

My NEW Favorite Play Dough Recipe

I’ve been making play dough since I was a kid. It always turned out all right, but this recipe is my absolute favorite. I learned how to make it from one of the aides when my son was in preschool. She was kind enough to share her recipe with me – and you!

My Favorite Play Dough Recipe

play dough bakery

The best play dough recipe for kids - great to play with and keeps for a long time.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • Food coloring


  1. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  2. Add in the wet ingredients, whisking until smooth.
  3. Cook over medium heat until the play dough is nearly set (no longer sticking to the edges of the pan).
  4. Remove the play dough from the heat.
  5. Knead on a flat surface until cool.
  6. Store in a ziploc bag or airtight container.


Whisking all the ingredients until they are smooth before cooking makes all the difference with this recipe!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving:Calories: 59Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2831mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

Here are a few more mixed media play dough explorations my kids have enjoyed:

As you can see, your imagination is the limit when selecting fun ways to play with play dough!

What are your favorite things to combine with play dough to create play dough art?

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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

21 thoughts on “Creative Play Dough Art and Best Play Dough Recipe”

  1. Yes, I cooked it. I’m not sure if I cooked it long enough because I wasn’t sure what “nearly set” looked like. It was starting to get glumpy (no longer smooth). I’ll try cooking it longer next time. Should it be completely handlable if cooked long enough? No extra flour required for kneading? I bake a lot (or at least used to pre child) so I’m used to kneading on floured surfaces.

    1. I’m so glad you commented! My directions definitely need some clarification – and I just edited the post to hopefully make things a bit more clear. “Nearly set” means that it shouldn’t easily stick to the edges of the pan, and you do not need any flour to knead it. The oil and salt will keep it from sticking. It will be very hot, so you’ll need to knead carefully.

      Hopefully this helps! Please let me know if you try the recipe again and it still does not turn out as you expected.

      1. My daughter is finally interested enough in play dough for me to try the recipe again (thank you local literacy centre that allows her to try activities without me having to commit to the creation and cleanup). Anyway, I tried the recipe again and it worked perfectly. The photos you included in a more recent post helped tonnes! My original problem was because I had whisked the batter and continued to use the whisk, which of course didn’t work when it got super thick. The wooden spoon worked wonders. I just hope my daughter has fun playing with it tomorrow.

  2. I’m not sure what I did wrong with the recipe, but it was too sticky to knead without adding extra flour. I had to add almost a cup more and I live in an arid location. I’ll admit that it’s been 30 years since I made play dough (and not this method), but I don’t remember it being that sticky. Help! (My measurements were definitely correct.) At least my daughter had fun with the end result (her first time using play dough).

  3. Awesome Mama! I am trying this recipe today!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    I’m sure the kids would rather made the play doh than do history. Maybe I will create an impromptu art project!

  4. Thanks for the recipe! I don’t really don’t enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, too many failures!

  5. Jeanette Nyberg

    That’s my favorite playdough recipe, too. I keep trying to muster up the energy to make more than one color at a time, but then, you know, I just don’t. Maybe I’ll make it to 2 colors some day….

  6. Sounds like tons of fun! We love play dough and I love making it. Gotta find some more cream of tartar online!
    Cream of tartar usually makes it last longer and makes it a bit more flexible. I know of recipes without it but with lemon essence crystals.

    1. Ooh that is fascinating that you can get the same effect with lemon essence crystals, Varya! My mom started adding lemon juice to her whole wheat bread, and it makes it stop being crumbly!

  7. I really need to get that cream of tartar lol, tried it without and wasn’t really happy about the result (must be a stabilizer or something?)

  8. Johnny is so creative :-) Thanks for the Modge Podge tip! That’s the recipe we use for play dough that’s not squishy circuits(which is the same except triple the cream of tartar, not sure if that effects conductivity).

    1. My understanding is that cream of tartar makes things stretchier – not sure if that would affect conductivity. Maybe it strengthens the bonds?

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