Some say “getting there is half the fun”, but I say “making it is half the fun” — especially when “it” is brightly colored, yummy scented play dough. The kids and I were trying to think of fun ideas for party favors for my son my son’s birthday party. Around the same time, we were reading through a craft book and found a really simple recipe for home made play dough, and, of course, decided to give it a try. The kids had so much fun with their play dough, we decided it would be a great treat for all of our party friends. We checked out a few recipes on the internet, experimented, and decided upon the variation below as our favorite. The dough is just as soft and pliable (perhaps even more so) than the store-bought kind, and it has the added benefit of great scented aroma oils.
Since the party had a pirate theme, we made these adorable pirate labels for our dough. The cups are actually 5 oz dessert/souffle cups that I purchased on-line from a restaurant supply company, and the labels are 2 inch round labels from Avery. You can access the template on-line and use one of the pre-loaded images or add your own — so simple!
This is a great activity where the kids can get involved every step of the way from measuring, mixing, adding colors & aromas, kneading, and stuffing in the cups.
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
- food coloring
- aroma oil (optional)
Mix together the first 5 ingredients in a 2 quart saucepan. Cook over low/medium heat, stirring. Once it begins to thicken, add the food coloring. Once you are happy with the color, add a few drops of the aroma oil (a little goes a long way) Continue stirring until the mixture is much thicker and begins to gather around the spoon and separate from the bottom of the pot.
Remove the dough onto a non-stick surface and knead out any lumps. Be careful, since the dough will be hot.
For coloring, we experimented with both grocery store food coloring drops and Wilton food coloring gels. I think the Wilton gave a more intense color, but you can do quite well with the regular food coloring — just make sure you add a lot. Also, if you don’t have Cream of Tartar, you can substitute Citric Acid. You just have to cook it a little longer to get the stickiness out.
The play dough was such a big hit, my daughter and her friend decided to go into business with their own “twist” on play dough. And, when I say “twist”, I mean it! Check out their prototype. They will be selling their own brand of play dough, “Sun Dough Fun Dough”, this June at Festival Fete. Way to go, girls!