I searched the web and talked to friends to find the best homemade playdough recipe for my Kindness Camps. After all my research, I found that the ingredients for every recipe is the same:
- Cream of Tartar
- Food Coloring
- Essential Oils (optional)
The only difference between the recipes I researched was the ratios of ingredients. Being that I was looking to make large quantities, I wanted to find the best recipe that would give the consistency I wanted but also be the most cost effective. If you're just making a couple batches for your own kids, you can experiment with the ratios. However, if you're a teacher or want to give playdough as gifts, or make for gift bags for birthday parties, then I wanted to offer some helpful tips.
My cousin gifted the kids with Playdough at Christmas, and 7 months the playdough was still soft and squishy. I asked her to send me the link to the recipe she used and I have to agree, it really is THE BEST HOMEMADE PLAYDOUGH.
Here are a few extra bits of information that I didn't find on any website that I wanted to share for those of you making large quantities:
- With 1 bag of flour, 1 cylinder of salt, 1 bottle of oil, 1 jar of cream of tartar and 1 package of gel food coloring (containing 4 colors), you can produce 7 batches of playdough with the recipe above. You will have plenty of cream of tartar, oil and food coloring left for more batches. So, if you want to make 7 more batches, then you would probably only need to buy more flour and salt.
- The total cost of the ingredients above (not including the essential oils) were approx $16. I'm sure you could find these items even cheaper, but that's what it cost me. For the sake of estimating costs, I wanted to figure out the savings I would get from making my own playdough vs buying it.
- Each batch = 1 lb. of playdough (approx)
- When I researched online to find 16 oz of play doh brand, the cheapest I found was $6.99 at Walmart.
- I made 7 pounds of playdough for $16! That's roughly $2 per lb. That is already a $5 savings per pound.
- I made playdough to play with in camp, but I also wanted to give each child a container to take home with them as a gift. I found the perfect containers were Ziploc Extra Small Square Containers that hold 4 oz each. The best price I found was at Target for $2.72 for an 8-pack. Not including the essential oils, the cost breakdown per child to give 4 oz as gifts ended up being approx .62 per child.
- Most of the differences in recipes are in the ratio of salt. This recipe had the least amount of salt required which allowed me to produce more batches with 1 cylinder of salt. And, I thought the consistency was better than other recipes... so win-win!
- Oil - I didn't like the consistency as much with Canola Oil as Vegetable Oil. My friends used Olive Oil, but that is way more expensive so I didn't want to use it for this purpose.
- Food Coloring - It's fun to mix your own colors using regular gel food coloring, but making purple is really tricky. I tried and failed a few times. I loved the way orange and teal turned out the best as far as mixing goes.
- You can double the recipe, but it is more fun and interesting to produce different colors.
- My kids loved helping me with this project! Since you don't need to turn on the stove until everything is mixed, I would let them help mix the ingredients and squeeze in the food coloring. Then, I would turn on the burner and finish it off.
- Essential Oils - I used only 4 drops in each pound and that was more than enough. Some websites called for 6-8 drops and I'm so glad I didn't put in that much. It would have been a waste of precious oils and not necessary. I wanted the playdough to be part of a "Calm Kit" I was making for the kids so I used Lavender. However, I also love the combination of Spearmint & Lavender which brings both calm and clarity so I used that as well. I ran out of orange and lemon, but those also make for great smelling playdough!
- The only side effect of making all this playdough was a sore arm! If you're making a lot of batches I highly recommend splitting up the work into different days to give your arm a rest. Haha!