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Homemade Play Dough Recipe With Natural Dyes (Plus A Gluten-Free Option!)

Affiliate Disclosure | in Crafts, Everything Else | by | with 98 Comments

Homemade Play Dough Recipe WIth Natural Dyes (And A Gluten-Free Option!)

Have Thing 1 and Thing 2 . . .

homemade play dough recipe with natural dyeInvaded your house, drawn mustaches on all your family portraits and released the goldfish into the commode? Oh no, that was your KIDS? It sounds to me like they could use a little distraction on this rainy/excessively sunny/busy/whatever day before they try to decoupage your drivers license. No fear, mama, I have the answer!

Homemade play dough is cheap, easy to make and oh-so-fun! Help your kids whip up a batch and then sneak away with a cup of tea. You may find them so preoccupied that you get to go to the bathroom by yourself!

How To Make Natural Dyes With Stuff From Your Fridge

Homemade Play Dough Recipe WIth Natural Dyes (And A Gluten-Free Option!)

There is A LOT of wiggle room for this part, so have fun and experiment! To get started making your own play dough dye, just put veggies/fruits in a pot of filtered water and bring to a boil. Let boil for 10 minutes to kill any bacteria that might cause mold and then simmer for 10-30 minutes depending on how intense you want the color to be. For spices, just warm the water up and mix until dissolved. Here are some color ideas I grabbed from my post on naturally dyed Easter eggs.

homemade play dough recipe with natural dye

Pink

I used: 2 cups water +1 cup shredded beets for the intense pink

3 cups water, 1 cup tightly packed purple cabbage simmered for 20 minutes for the light pink

Other possibilities: cranberries/ cranberry juice, raspberries, strawberries, red grape juice or beet kvass

Yellow

I used: 2 cups water + 1 cup packed onion skins

Other possibilities: grapefruit, orange or lemon peels, carrots, chamomile tea, celery seed, green tea, saffron

Yellow/Orange

I used: 1 cup water + 3/4 tsp turmeric for the bright yellow

1 cup water + 1 ½ cups shredded carrots for the orange

Other possibilities: carrots and paprika

Blue

3 cups water + 1 cup tightly packed purple cabbage + baking soda*

Other possibilities: blueberries

* To make the cabbage water blue rather than purple, simply add small amounts of baking soda until you get a color you like!

Green

I used: 1/2 cup of spinach + 1 ½ cups of water.

Other possibilities: kale, asparagus

Purple

Elderberry, dried or fresh!

I haven’t tested this, but I think blackberries would work. You could also try mixing red and blue.

How To Make Homemade Play Dough

Homemade Play Dough Recipe WIth Natural Dyes (And A Gluten-Free Option!)

Basic Play Dough Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tarter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup of naturally colored water (see above) OR 1 cup water and natural food coloring
  • Optional: a few drops of essential oils for fragrance. Citrus oils like orange, lemon and lime are good choices that are safe for small children. (where to buy orange essential oil, where to buy lemon essential oil, where to buy lime essential oil)

Instructions: 

  1. Mix flour, salt and cream of tartar in a medium-sized pot
  2. Add oil and colored water and stir until ingredients are well blended.
  3. Place pot on the stove over low/medium heat. Cook the dough – stirring often – until begins to pull away from the sides of the pot (about 3-5 minutes)
  4. Allow the dough to cool a little and then knead for a minute or so.
  5. Store in an airtight container

Gluten-Free Dough Recipe

Ingredients:

Instructions: 

  1. Mix flour, cornstarch/arrowroot, salt and cream of tartar in a medium-sized pot
  2. Add oil and colored water and stir until ingredients are well blended.
  3. Place pot on the stove over low/medium heat. Cook the dough – stirring often – until begins to pull away from the sides of the pot (about 3-5 minutes)
  4. Allow the dough to cool a little and then knead for a minute or so.
  5. Store in an airtight container

 

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98 Responses to Homemade Play Dough Recipe With Natural Dyes (Plus A Gluten-Free Option!)

  1. Ashley Sparks via FB says:

    Thank you!!!!

  2. Kimberly Arms Green via FB says:

    Can this b made w coconut flour & tapioca instead, as we cant have any grains containing gluten in our home.

  3. Katrina Glasgow via FB says:

    Mum always had this ready for us on the holidays, we never went without, best colours and memories.

  4. Joanna Stiner Schneider via FB says:

    KyleBeth J. Hartman….gluten free play dough recipe! (Scroll to the bottom) 😉

  5. Julie Walker via FB says:

    Ammie Macpherson

  6. Tara says:

    Any suggestions for a GAPS-friendly play dough recipe?

  7. Kara says:

    I am making the gluten free dough for my boys, for Christmas. It is way too sticky!!! Help! It was a major splurge just to buy the ingredients :( Any advice?? I put it back on the stove maybe I didn’t cook it long enough? I also added more rice flour

  8. Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Natural Papas, Mamas & Kiddos - Mama Natural - Mama Natural says:

    […] how about making homemade, non-toxic play dough and spend time together making fun […]

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    […] some Dye-Free Playdough! Send a kid outside to collect a few leaves, rocks, sticks, ferns, etc. for making […]

  10. Weekly Inspiration | thebabyandtheartist says:

    […] would prefer to use natural dyes if I can. Two things that came to mind were beets and turmeric.  Here is a recipe for play dough using natural dyes (includes gluten free) from […]

  11. april says:

    Do you need the vinegar for the dye if your using it for playdough or is that just with eggs?

  12. Danielle says:

    I haven’t tried it, but I wonder if using fermented colored water would work to help it last for those looking for a cot sub. I have some fermented beets and theliliquid is very red. Idk its too precious for me to use in playdough!

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    […] in our playdough to make ours look like a lemon, but you could make it in any color! Or even try natural playdough dyes like they used over at […]

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  17. Bekah says:

    what can you use in replacement of cream of tartar?

  18. Compassionate Sprouts says:

    Hi there! I wanted to say thank you for sharing your recipe with us! I have one question and didn’t see it asked above. I am wondering if there is a need to ‘clean’ the playdoh since children can transfer all kind of things into it, like bacteria, dirt, etc. I wasn’t sure if the salt continues to naturally kill the bacteria or do we need to some how clean it? I have a child with a low immune system, so I try to keep things as clean as I possibly can. Thank you for any positive answers you can give me.

  19. Gopika says:

    Hi I made this but it turned out v soft. The store play doh is a lot harder and therefore easier to make into different shapes. The home made version tends to just collapse. Is that normal of did I do something wrong?
    Thanks

    • Heather says:

      Hi Gopika, it should be very similar in consistency to the store bought stuff. It may be that it needed to cook a little longer :)

      • gopika says:

        thanks heather! shall have another go at it. also another ques doesnt the veggies & fruits used for colour make the paydoh go bad?

  20. Cindy says:

    FYI tapioca flour DOESN’T WORK!!

  21. Stephanie says:

    Hi! These look lovely! Have you tried baking this dough at all?

    Thanks!

  22. Yarn Ball Ornaments Made Easy - MommypotamusMommypotamus | says:

    […] fun, easy homemade playdough recipe uses stuff you probably already have in your fridge/pantry, and there’s a gluten-free option […]

  23. romina says:

    Hello,
    I tried making this yesterday. I made all of my colors first then mixed with the dry ingredients and cooked like instructed. my beets one worked, the tumeric one worked. However, green and blue were another story. I had never done the cabbage thing with baking soda, so doing science on my stove top was very exciting. I decided to make blue, purple and green from cabbage, since I had enough. However, everytime I mixed the liquid color with the dry ingredients, science would occur again and the color would dissapear, making the dough a fleshy color. It seemed to have a reaction with either the salt or cream of tartar. I have searched high and low for a recipe for blue, and apparently it is the hardest color to make naturally and synthetic. So, I was wondering since you did not have a picture of it, have you tried this yourself and did it work? am I doing something wrong? I know of a non cooking recipe that uses the same ingredients as yours, but you just mix boiling water with the dry ingredients and it turns to dough, so I was going to try with that recipe. I see that there are people selling natural dough on the internet that obviously have mastered blue, wish they would share how they do it. Any help from anyone is appreciated! Thanks!

    • Heather says:

      I had trouble with green too – I used spinach and it came out a fleshy colour like Romina’s did. What are we doing wrong?

  24. Susan says:

    In case no one else has said it, blackberries actually make more of a red rather than purple. Did that for valentine’s day.

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