Friday, June 17, 2011

FRUGAL FRIDAY - PLAYDOUGH

Photo by Instructables.com

School's out and the kids are always looking for something to do, and parents are always trying to come up with something for them to do!  Good old playdough can keep kids hands busy for a while, but if you're like me, any you might have had on hand is now rock-solid. I'm sure many of you have made your own before, but for those of you who haven't, this is SOOO easy and SOOO cheap, and can be made from stuff you likely always have on hand!


PLAYDOUGH


Basic ingredient ratios:
2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup salt
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon cream of tartar (optional for improved elasticity)

food coloring (liquid, powder, or unsweetened drink mix)
scented oils

Mix all of the ingredients together, and stir over low heat. The dough will begin to thicken until it resembles mashed potatoes.

When the dough pulls away from the sides and clumps in the center, as shown below, remove the pan from heat and allow the dough to cool enough to handle.

IMPORTANT NOTE: if your playdough is still sticky, you simply need to cook it longer!
Keep stirring and cooking until the dough is dry and feels like playdough.
Just keep cooking a bit longer and it will work!

Turn the dough out onto a clean counter or silicone mat, and knead vigorously until it becomes silky-smooth. Divide the dough into balls for coloring.

Make a divot in the center of the ball, and drop some food coloring1 
in. Fold the dough over, working the food color through the body of the playdough, trying to keep the raw dye away from your hands and the counter. You could use gloves or plastic wrap at this stage to keep your hands clean- only the concentrated dye will color your skin, so as soon as it's worked in bare hands are fine.

Work the dye through, adding more as necessary to achieve your chosen color.

1 If you use unsweetened drink mix for color, test on a small ball first- it won't go as far as the "real" food coloring.

(To prevent my hands from becoming stained, I put my dough in a plastic resealable bag, then drop in the coloring. Let all the air out, seal, then massage the coloring through the dough.)

Play with your playdough- I really don't need to help you there. It's entirely edible, if a bit salty, so it's kid-safe.

When you're done, store your playdough in an air-tight container.
- If it begins to dry out, you can knead a bit of water in again to soften the dough back to useability. Once it's dried past a certain point, however, you'll just have to start over; thankfully it's not terribly difficult.
- If it gets soggy, you can re-heat it to drive off the extra water the dough absorbed overnight.  This is usually the result of high humidity, but is fixable!

You can also bake it in the oven to make hard dough figures and ornaments, then paint or otherwise decorate the surface.


2 comments:

A Cooks Quest said...

I make this for my kiddos too. They love helping and it is so much better than the old fashioned salt dough!

Carrian said...

kelli, are you on facebook? If so, find and add me so I can add you to the utah bloggers meetup. I want you to come to an event next tues.