When I was a little girl, I loved play-doh. The thing is, I lived so deep in the Canadian countryside that the nearest shopping mall was an hour’s drive away!

Every now and then, though, when my mother was home and had the time, she would make me some home-made play-doh.

While fun and clearly made with lots of love, this play doh never lasted very long. That’s probably why my mother made it so infrequently – it wasted ingredients.

When my eldest child became old enough to enjoy play-doh, I set out to find the perfect recipe. I know the play doh you buy in shops isn’t very expensive, but my children go through it so quickly it’s hardly worth the effort (I brought out the play-doh sets they received for Christmas the other day, and after a few hours all of the play-doh was dried up in bits on the floor).

This play-doh recipe combines the ingredients my mother used all those years ago, with one ingredient that ends up making all the difference. The resulting play doh won’t dry out (as long as it’s properly stored) or get sticky as it cools. The secret ingredient here is cream of tartar.

You’ll find it in the baking section of most major supermarkets. It provides stability, shape and definition to your baked goods and works a treat for keeping homemade play doh pliable.



2 Cups/256g plain flour

2 Tbsp oil (any oil will do: coconut oil, vegetable oil, even olive oil)

1/2 Cup/125g salt

2 Tbsp cream of tartar

1 1/2 Cups/350ml boiling water

Food Colouring (optional)


1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and cream of tartar.

2. Add the oil to the boiled water and add, all at once, to the dry ingredients.

3. Mix with a fork until everything comes together. You can use your hands to continue to mix once the dough has cooled slightly.

4. Divide the dough into sections.

5. Add a different colour of food colouring to each section and mix well to dye the dough.

6. Store in sealed plastic bags to avoid drying out.

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