My Favorite Homemade Play Dough with Essential Oils!

I’ve tried a few play dough recipes throughout the years, and this one is my favorite so far.  If you have never made your own play dough, give this recipe a go.  It’s simple, fast, and the play dough lasts a long time.  Plus it only takes a few common household ingredients!


First gather your ingredients and supplies.  You will need:

  • A medium saucepan

  • A spoon or spatula

  • Parchment Paper

  • Containers or Ziploc baggies to put your finished play dough in


  • 2 cups of flour

  • ⅔ C of salt

  • 4 teaspoons of Cream of Tartar

  • 2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil

  • 2 Cups of Water

  • Food coloring (gel food coloring is what I use)

  • Essential Oils (optional)


  1. Add your dry ingredients to your saucepan and mix lightly.

  2. Add water and oil and mix (will be lumpy and that is totally okay, don’t panic).

3. Add food coloring of choice and mix well.

4.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom all the while

5.  Continue to stir until it thickens into a large clump and is almost all the way dry (if it isn’t all the way dry, that’s okay, it will air dry).  This doesn’t take long- maybe 1-2 minutes.  Also, your arm and hand will get tired of mixing because it’s so thick.  Well, at least my wimpy arms got tired...

6.  Remove from pan and place clump on parchment paper to cool (I made the pink dough smell like peppermint) :) 

7.  Once cool, add essential oil of choice (8-10 drops depending on fragrance of oil you are using).and knead until smooth.  (This oil is optional, the vegetable oil in the recipe is not). Below are the oils that I had on hand that I used.  You can really use whatever you want- have fun with it!

8.  Store in an airtight container or in a Ziploc bag.  I snagged up these lovely containers from IKEA the last time I was there.  They fit a large batch perfectly.


  • This makes a large batch.  I made 6 colors of this, so 6 batches.  I have 4 kids, so we go through a lot of play dough.  Also, I have a particular toddler that likes to take clumps of play dough and hide them in strange places where I later find them all dried up. Not my favorite. 

  • You can easily cut the recipe in half for a smaller batch.

  • If your play dough begins to dry out after a while, just add a tablespoon of water and knead.  Also, you can add more essential oil as needed


That's it!  Give it a go and have fun experimenting with the oils.  This recipe also makes a great gift!  Do you have a favorite oil you like to use in your play dough?  I would love to hear your thoughts!