How to Make Homemade Play Dough Less Sticky

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Add food coloring to your homemade play dough to make different colors.
Add food coloring to your homemade play dough to make different colors. (Image: BrianAJackson/iStock/Getty Images)

Creating a batch of homemade play dough allows your kids to experience a lot more creativity and excitement during playtime, but often requires you to give them a long bath afterwards to clean them of the mess. A sticky-free homemade play dough recipe creates soft, pliable dough that kids can enjoy without causing leftover residue.

Prepare Ingredients and Tools

Place a disposable plastic tablecloth over your countertop and arrange the materials and tools you need to create non-sticky play dough on top of the tablecloth to prevent staining and a mess on your countertop or table. You need white flour, vegetable oil, salt, cream of tartar, food coloring, water, two mixing bowls, measuring cups, measuring spoons and a wooden spoon.

Mix the Ingredients

In one of the mixing bowls, combine 2 cups of white flour, 1/2 cup of salt and 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar. In the second mixing bowl, combine 1 and 1/2 cups of boiling water and a few drops of food coloring, stirring well, and then add in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture looks smooth.

Knead the Play Dough

Dust the covered countertop with a little flour and turn out the dough on top of the flour. Knead the play dough for about 10 minutes to make it smooth and soft. Add a little more flour if your dough still feels sticky after 10 minutes, and continue kneading until the dough no longer feels sticky. To create multiple colors, repeat the steps using different food-coloring pigments for each batch of play dough.

Sticky-Free Play Dough Storage

To store your sticky-free play dough, place each color into its own air-tight container and store for up to 6 months. While you do not need to refrigerate this recipe for homemade play dough, if left out in the air for too long it dries up and becomes hard and unworkable.

Make Stored Play Dough Less Sticky

Sometimes stored play dough can become sticky over time. If this occurs, remove the play dough from its storage container and knead the dough on a floured countertop for five minutes. Add small amounts of white flour as you knead until the dough returns to its original smooth, elastic consistency.

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