Monday, 21 September 2015

D-I-Y: Adventures in Play Dough

I'm a typically crafty person. I love poking around the house doing little crafty projects for various purposes (storage, home spa, art), the most recent one being to make non-toxic, occasionally edible, play materials for my kid.

I don't have the photos of the original set of playdough I made for him on me--I may have them locked up in my old hard drive which I still need to unlock somehow--but this one for Homemade Rubbery Goop, which I got off Learning4Kids is, so far, my favourite out of three different versions I've tried.

The link I shared shows the whole step by step process but behind the cut are my own pictures plus a few comments from when I made it a few days ago. I still need to make more--I only have two colours so far but I realised I need more containers to store them in before I present them to my little one!

I forgot to take photos of the individual ingredients but all I did was to follow the instructions to use the four (yes, four!) listed: baking soda, water, cornstarch, and food colouring.

Baking soda and cornstarch slurry
Here's the slurry produced out of mixing the baking soda, water, and cornstarch. I knew I wanted to make at least two colours out of this batch so I reserved the food colouring for after.

I took my time dissolving the baking soda and cornstarch in the water before taking it to the stove. I wanted to make sure that there were no lumps that I would have to deal with while heating. My mom actually thought that I meant to pre-cook something for a meal the following day (I made this while my son was being bathed) until I told her that it's meant to be playdough.

I love the simplicity of this specific recipe and the fact that it is a cooked playdough, which reputably lasts longer playdough that is not cooked. One of the recipes I tried before was not cooked but it did last us six months which was great.

Bubbling slurry
Also note that this specific saucepan I'm using is actually one that I have reserved for my projects. Everything I've made so far is taste-safe (it's not really meant to be eaten but it's okay for curious kiddos to put in their mouth) but I'd still rather not have to think about whether or not what I put in the pan is taste-safe or not.

Anyway, this second image is when it started bubbling and forming. I occasionally scraped the sides down as I stirred. I think it took about five minutes on medium heat for this to happen--I should take better notes, hahaha.

The reaction reminded me of the white, air dry clay I made last Christmas. I still haven't finished painting and decorating those, much to my chagrin. And Christmas is only a few months away!

Getting to the mashed potato stage from this point was actually rather fast. Below is what it looked like off the heat but still in the pan, and then when I turned it out on a baking sheet for kneading.

Freshly-made hot playdoughMashed potato stage

Let me tell you: when the author of the original post/recipe said it would be hot, that was not a joke! It took a while for me to be able to really get my hands into it and help cool it down faster. It doesn't look like it's a lot in the photos, but I was able to split this single recipe into what I think is playdough worth one pound each in weight.


I didn't take photos while I was kneading the food colouring in but I did have to coat my hand with cornstarch every so often because while it was still hot, it was also still rather sticky. For a while I thought I had undercooked the dough.

I chose blue and yellow to start with. I used McCormick's food colouring, extracting the liquid using a syringe with a rather fine needle (I'm sorry I can't say what size needle exactly though but it's the "default" needle that comes with the 3ml syringe) and dropping about 24 drops to get the blue I wanted, and 30 to 32 drops of yellow to get that yellow. You can actually still see darker streaks of blue food colouring on the ball, haha.


There's also a bit of extra cornstarch in the container because I was still feeling insecure about how the dough felt in my hands. But when I touched it again when it fully cooled, it was perfectly fluffy and not sticky at all!

I haven't presented this to my son yet since I want to complete all the primary and secondary colours first, hehe. But I will as soon as I've gotten my remaining containers and a nice large mat for him to roll them out on.

Anyone else out there who wants to share their favourite playdough recipe?

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