Play Dough Tips & Tricks
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10 play dough tips & tricks

One thing we've learned is that there is a serious learning curve for making play dough! Here are our top tips & tricks as you follow mamapapabubba's recipe:

  1. Salt is NOT optional. It's necessary to prevent mold. If you forget it, just start over with a whole new batch - the hot water helps it dissolve so your play dough is smooth.

  2. Glycerin IS optional. Many recipes don't use it. I've tried using a few drops up to 1 tbsp. (per the recipe) and haven't noticed much difference. It may make it smoother and more malleable - jury is still out!

  3. Humidity affects the recipe, specifically your flour-to-water ratio.

  4. I've found that mixing the dry ingredients on low for 5-10 minutes makes your play dough light and fluffy (especially immediately after mixing).

  5. Even a little too much water will require a lot more flour. In Austin (usually pretty high humidity), it’s best to use a little more than 1/2 c. boiling water. If it looks like thick frosting after you've added the water, then add 1 tbsp. extra flour at a time until the dough starts to pull away from the bowl in the mixer.

  6. Put the food coloring, glycerin, and coconut oil into the hot water and mix well prior to adding to dry ingredients. This will get the most even color in the dough. Go a little darker in color than you want initially (once you add in the extra flour, it will lighten). If you don't quite get the color you want, it works best to add food coloring in the "frosting" stage. Once the dough is pulling away from the bowl, it's harder to spread the color throughout the ball.

  7. If you want to use glitter, the ultra-fine sticks best to the dough. Chunky glitter is cute, but is better kneaded into dough prior to wrapping it.

  8. Apply glitter with a fat, flat (and dry) paint brush to get it even across the top of your dough. It doesn’t take much- maybe a 1/4 tsp. Buy the multi-sample pack of glitter to get ALL the colors. Each little pack will glitter several rolls of dough.

  9. Rewrap your play dough tightly in plastic wrap as soon as your littles are done playing with it. Be sure to check for holes if you reuse the plastic wrap from before! Old play dough and plastic baby food containers are great for storage too! Be sure to "burp" the lid and get as much air out as possible. Air is the enemy people!

  10. If your play dough is getting dry and crumbly, you can reconstitute it with hot water. Start with tiny amounts (a little goes a VERY long way). I put the play dough in the mixer with a 1/4 tsp. of hot water, and add incrementally from there if needed.