Art Smart: Make your own play dough

By Annie Ballin

Dough — squish it, pull it, mold it, turn it into a three dimensional work of art! But what if you don’t have any clay or dough in the house? Make your own out of simple kitchen ingredients. Mix up a batch, dig out your cookie cutters, plastic forks or knives, and any other tools (a garlic press makes great clay hair!) you may have in your kitchen.

Play Dough Recipe

1 cup flour
1 cup water
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup salt

Add the ingredients to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When the dough starts to stick to the spoon (or look like mashed potatoes), cool on wax paper until you are able to handle the dough. Knead until smooth. The dough will keep for approximately two months if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Note: There are two ways to color the dough. Add food coloring to the water before you cook the dough or add during kneading.

Bread Dough Recipe

Two slices of white bread (no crust)
White glue

In a small bowl, tear the white bread into tiny pieces. Add glue and mix with a fork until moist. If the mixture is too wet, add a little more bread. Too dry? Dip your finger into water and keep kneading. Continue kneading until the dough is soft and elastic.

This dough is great for smaller, more detailed modeling. Your piece will air dry in one to three days. To finish, mix glue and water in equal parts and brush on.

Salt Dough Recipe

1 cup salt
2 cups flour
3/4 cup warm water

Using a wooden spoon mix the ingredients together in a large bowl until a ball has formed. If your dough is dry, add a bit more warm water. If it is too sticky, add some more flour. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface.

When you are ready, bake your completed pieces on a lightly greased baking sheet in a 250 degree oven for 1 to 2 hours. They are done when you tap a knife on the edges and hear a clear hollow sound. The thinner the object the less time it will take to bake. The baked art can be painted with acrylics and sealed with varnish.