How to Make Playdough

This easy and homemade play dough recipe is made with body lotion and corn starch and provides the framework for a fun activity for children of any age. It is simple to put together, and fun to play with. Learn how to make playdough with this easy tutorial – even a toddler could do it!

how to make playdough

Homemade Playdough Recipe

Recently, I’ve been trying to come up with some fun toddler-friendly activities to help occupy Jack throughout the day. Unfortunately for Jack, he has a not-so-creative mama, and most of my ideas keep his attention for about 1.3985 seconds. However, I’ve had a few successes, and I hope to share those with any other moms of toddlers looking for simple activities to occupy their toddler.

For awhile, I’ve been avoiding play dough. I feel like it gets everywhere, finds it way into the carpet, and, I hate how it makes my hands feel so dry…am I the only one?! Regardless, I decided it was time to let Jack play with play dough — it’s like a rite of passage for a child.


There’s tons of homemade play dough recipes out there, and I wasn’t sure which one to make. I came across one (I can’t remember where!) that used corn flour or corn starch, along with hair conditioner. It seemed really simple, and I was curious if it would work. However, I didn’t really want to use our hair conditioner (we’re almost out, and it’s kind of expensive) so I rummaged through the cupboards until I found something I thought might be a good replacement — a big container of Suave Body Lotion that I used for another project awhile back. I don’t usually use a lot of body lotion, and when I do, it’s usually something from Bath and Body Works. I feel like conditioner and body lotion are similar in consistency, and thought it was worth a shot!

Homemade Play Dough: This homemade play dough is made with two ingredients (body lotion and corn starch) and is fun for any age (plus it leaves your hands nice and soft!)


As you can see, it did work! I’ll admit, it was a bit messy at first to put together (especially when I made the mistake of putting the corn starch on the edge of the bath tub, and Jack thought that was a signal for him to knock it over…I’ll just let you picture that scene), and I was a little worried that it wasn’t going to work…but it did! It took a little trial and error to get the proportions right, but in the end it turned out really well. And, best of all…it didn’t make my hands all dry — actually, it made my hands nice and soft, and Jack’s too.

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Obviously, since there’s body lotion in this…I wouldn’t recommend letting a kiddo use it who has a tendency to eat anything that looks remotely like food (or just doesn’t know any better!) However, this is some of the best play dough I’ve used, and I think Jack had a lot of fun. It kept him occupied for at least 30 minutes (which is a big deal for him, haha.)

Homemade Play Dough: This homemade play dough is made with two ingredients (body lotion and corn starch) and is fun for any age (plus it leaves your hands nice and soft!)

How to Make Homemade Playdough

Easy Homemade Playdough
  • 1 part body lotion I used about 1/2 cup
  • about 2 parts corn starch I used about 1 cup, maybe a little more
  • Food coloring optional
  1. Place corn starch in a medium to large bowl (just so it doesn't get everywhere) and then add body lotion.
  2. Add 2-3 drops of desired food coloring.
  3. Mix with hands, kind of like you are kneading bread. It will be pretty sticky at first, but keep mixing it until a firm dough starts to form. If this doesn't happen after about a minute, add in a little more corn starch. You don't want it to be sticky when you are done.
  4. Store in a plastic bag, and have fun!


Originally written in 2014; updated in May of 2018. 


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