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All Natural Homemade Play Dough

Play dough doesn’t have to contain a bunch of unpronounceable chemicals - if you’re an all-natural type of person, we have a great recipe here with natural dyes - stuff you find in  your fridge that will brighten things up. Have fun and experiment with different fruits and vegetables to see what colors come up!

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:


  • 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 


  • 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


  • I used: 1 cup water + ¾ tsp turmeric for the bright yellow
  • 1 cup water + 1 ½ cups shredded carrots for the orange
  • Other possibilities: carrots and paprika


  • 3 cups water + 1 cup tightly packed purple cabbage + small amounts of baking soda added until you get the colour you like
  • Other possibilities: blueberries


  • ½ cup of spinach + 1 ½ cups of water
  • Other possibilities: kale, asparagus


  • Elderberry, dried or fresh
  • blackberries
  • You could also try mixing red and blue

To make the play dough, here are the ingredients you need: 

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup of naturally colored water (see above) 
  • 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.


  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

See the instructions here.

Posted: September 25, 2015