Play dough, also known as "Playdoh™," after the trademarked product produced by Hasbro, is a modeling clay designed for use by children. It is non-toxic, usually non-staining, and easy to work with, although projects tend to fall apart as they dry out. Many commercial brands of play dough including Play-Doh Brand are readily available in stores, but it also possible to make a form of Playdoh™ at home, for a fraction of the cost of commercial products. Homemade play dough is fairly easy to make, and there are a number of recipes which can be used.
Homemade versions of Playdoh™ fall into two camps: cooked and uncooked. Cooked play dough tends to be more pliable and easy to work with, although it takes more time to make properly. Uncooked play dough is quick to make, but it will dry out quickly if left uncovered, and it is not as pliable. In both cases, color can be created by adding food coloring.
To make a basic cooked play dough, combine one cup flour (110 grams), one cup warm water (237 milliliters), one teaspoon of oil (five milliliters), two teaspoons cream of tartar (six grams), and ¼ cup salt (72 grams). Cook the ingredients on medium heat until the mixture has a relatively uniform texture. Turn the dough out on a counter or cutting board and knead it until it is smooth, dividing it and adding food coloring if desired. You may need to add flour if your Playdoh™ mixture is persistently sticky.
For a homemade version of Playdoh™ without the cooking, mix two cups flour (220 grams), one cup salt (288 grams), one cup water (237 milliliters), and just enough oil to lubricate, generally around a tablespoon (15 milliliters). Knead the ingredients together until they form a smooth mass, dividing and adding food coloring if desired, and then cover until use. Storing a damp paper towel in the top of the container can help to keep uncooked homemade play dough flexible.
Homemade Playdoh™ should be stored in airtight containers or wrapped in plastic when not in use. Eventually, it may mold or mildew, at which point it should be discarded. Although Playdoh™ is often marketed to children, it can just as easily be used by adults, although both should be aware that as Playdoh™ dries, it tends to crack, so projects cannot be permanently preserved.
Incidentally, undyed and unoiled homemade play dough can be used to lift some stains from wallpaper, linoleum, counters, and other hard surfaces. In fact, this was what the material was originally designed for!