Forget the store-bought play dough. Learn how to make your own Natural DIY play dough with ingredients you already have in your pantry. Plus, I’ll show you how to add essential oils for aromatherapy play dough the kids will love.
I love making DIY play dough with my kids. They really enjoy measuring all the ingredients and working with their hands to make the dough.
Natural Dyes vs. Artificial Dye
We had some leftover artificial food dye (we stopped using it for baking years ago and just use it for art projects now) so we used a bit of it for our play dough. But the colors were so strong they stained our hands. And wash after wash, I just couldn’t get the dyes out. It really bothered me. So the artificial dyes are gone for good now.
So I started to think about natural dyes. We’ve used spices and fruit juices to naturally dye Easter eggs, so I thought why not for homemade play dough too. I added essential oils to this recipe both for a pleasant scent and to preserve the play dough a bit longer.
Why Make Homemade Play Dough?
Store bought playdough can get expensive especially if you have multiple kids! Those containers are small and if your kids leave the lids off those tricky to snap on lids, it dries out.
Homemade play dough is so easy make and super easy to store. Just drop it in a ziploc bag or air tight container and it will last a good week.
How to Make DIY Natural Play Dough – Step by Step
1. Gather your ingredients together.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add 2 cups of flour.
3. Add 1 cup of salt to the mixing bowl.
4. Add 1 cup of water to the mixing bowl.
5. Mix dough together well.
6. Separate dough into six (6) sections so you can add different natural dyes and essential oils to get the desired color for each section.
7. Add natural dyes and essential oils to the dough and mix well. Set aside.
8. Add dyes and essential oils to remaining dough balls. You will have up to 6 colors of play dough total.
Natural Dyes + Scents
- Orange – add 1/2 tsp or more of paprika + 5 drops of orange essential oil
- Purple – red cabbage (simmer 1/2 head red cabbage in a sauce pan with 1/2 cup of water and heat for 10 minutes, let cool and strain) + 5 drops of lavender essential oil
- Pink – raspberries (simmer 1/3 cup of frozen raspberries in a sauce pan with 1/3 cup of water and heat for 10 minutes, let cool and strain) + 5 drops of geranium essential oil
- Green – add a few drops of liquid chlorophyll or matcha green tea powder + 5 drops of peppermint essential oil
- Brown – add 1/2 tsp or more of black coffee or tea (cooled) + 5 drops of cinnamon bark essential oil
- Yellow – add 1/2 tsp of curry powder or turmeric power +5 drops of lemon essential oil
No time to make your own dyes? No problem. You can also buy natural food dyes, and then mix and match colors to get your favorite color combinations.
How to Use This Play Dough
Enjoy and play with this natural play dough as you would store-bought clay and Play-Doh. You can make shapes with cookie butters, roll the dough out with a rolling pin, and play around with the dough.
Store it in an airtight container for up to a week.
Top Tips to Make DIY Play Dough
- If your play dough gets too stiff. Work a little more essential oil into the play dough. The best way is to pour about a teaspoon of oil onto your hands, then work it in. Add a little more gradually as needed until the play dough is soft again. Your play dough may not be quite as smooth and pliable as before, but this softening trick really does help.
- If you get play dough in the carpet. Allow the play dough to dry completely first. Do not try to clean it before it’s dry. Pick out any big, loose pieces, then use a firm brush to break up the remaining dough. After that, use a vacuum.
- If you get this on your clothes, use a firm brush to remove the dough, then soak the clothing in cold water with a small amount of dish soap for 20-30 minute. Put a little more dish soap on the area, then wash as you would normally.
- In order for your play dough to last the longest, store it in a sealed ziploc bag or air tight container.
How to Get Started with Essential Oils
- Sign up for my FREE essential oil email course in order to learn the basics.
- Check out my FREE masterclass all about essential oils and this beginner’s guide to essential oils.
- Get my essential oils online course – complete with video tutorials, e-book and everything you need to get started with essential oils.
- Find out how to buy essential oils at wholesale, and get a starter kit for 60% off retail prices. It’s the best deal around and a great way to get started with essential oils. Plus lots of freebies just for you.
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DIY Aromatherapy Play Dough
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup water
- 6 natural dyes
- essential oils
- Mix all ingredients together to make the dough. Set aside.
- Separate into six (6) sections so you can add different natural dyes and essential oils to get the desired color for each section.
- Enjoy and play with this natural play dough. Store it in an airtight container for up to a week.
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I did this but I think my water was too much so i just kneaded with flour til i got the desired consistency. I used vanilla essence instead (coz I don’t have essential oil) and it works! Better than playdoh and less sticky . Although i felt there are grains of salt, upon kneading it becomes smoother and better. Thanks for the money saving tips!
Hello, could you make this without the essential oils?
Tracey Black says
Yes, you can. It won’t have the aroma but the play dough itself still works.
Janie Perry says
I’m going to make this with my kiddos soon! We have some snowy weather here so this is going to be a great little project! Thank you for providing a recipe for my children to play safely without the chemical yuck! Tracey you truly are the best!
Sheryl Ray says
If the artificial dyes were staining your hands, you can get those plastic household gloves that people use for cleaning at Dollar Tree. They’re cheap to buy, disposable and will keep the dyes from staining your hands. Just an idea for those who wish to use the artificial dyes to save money.