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Make a Week of Mess – 7 DIY Play Dough & Goo Recipes, Tested

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DIY Sensory Recipes for Homemade Playdough

This winter was pretty mild, but we’ve still spent more time inside than I’d like. Pinterest is full of recipes and ideas for different goo and play dough recipes, so much so that it’s overwhelming. I tried out 7 different types and am reporting back the results! This has probably been my son’s favorite blog project/post yet.

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Here are the 7 different types we tried!

1. Easy Play Dough

Easy DIY Play Dough

Recipe Source: I emailed this recipe to myself without a link, figuring I’d find it again but Google isn’t pulling anything up. If you recognize it, please let me know where to credit!

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
    Mix, heat on medium to form ball.

Overall thoughts: This stuff is awesome. The large amount of salt made it a little drying on our hands the first few days, but other than that I have zero complaints. It didn’t dry out easily, it didn’t get crumble-y until the very end, and molded really well.

How long did it last: For weeks! At least 4 before it molded, with daily play.


2. Oatmeal Dough

Oatmeal Dough

Recipe Source: Love Play and Learn (no longer online)

Overall thoughts: It wasn’t anything exciting. The oatmeal chunks were too large to make it any more malleable  and it didn’t offer any advantages over the standard recipe.

How long did it last: Maybe a week? The oatmeal definitely made it moist, which turned to mold quickly.


3. Cornstarch Dough

Cornstarch Dough

Recipe Source: Adapted from The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions: More Than 65 Wacky, Wild & Crazy Concoctions* by John Thomas and Danita Pagel Thomas

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Mix, cold.

Overall thoughts: This was a tie for our favorite – it was super smooth and nice to play with. The white color would lend itself  to food coloring as well!

How long did it last: About 3 weeks before mold.


4. Cotton Dough

Cotton Dough

Recipe Source: The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions: More Than 65 Wacky, Wild & Crazy Concoctions* by John Thomas and Danita Pagel Thomas

Overall thoughts: This stuff was gross. I’m not sure if I did something wrong, maybe not tearing the cotton balls up enough? The book is hand illustrated so there weren’t any pictures. My son wouldn’t even touch it!

How long did it last: I can’t say, because we threw it away right after trying it!


5. Cloud Dough

Cloud Dough

Recipe Source: Learn Play Imagine

Overall thoughts: After looking at the original blog post/recipe again, I think maybe I needed to add more oil. It did smoosh together for a semi-formed ball and packed well, but my son was more interested in pouring it like it was beans or gravel. This made a HUGE mess. I’ll probably make it a bathroom sensory activity so it’s easier to clean up!

How long did it last: It’s been a few weeks and no issues! I store it in a Ziploc baggie.


6. DIY Model Magic

DIY Model Magic

Recipe Source: Southern as Biscuits

Overall thoughts: This is neat! It formed up better after a day of rest in a Pyrex, it was a little smoosh-y right after it finished. I made a little heart to test out the air dry part, it was dry after about 48 hours. These would be perfect for holiday ornaments or other crafts to paint and gift.

How long did it last: It took about 2 weeks in a Pyrex before it started to completely dry out.

7. Handmade Flubber

Homemade DIY Flubber

Recipe Source: Live Craft Eat

Overall thoughts: This was so cool! It gelled together even better after a night in a baggie. I wasn’t sure what to expect in texture; it bounced but also was malleable into snakes, balls, etc.

How long did it last: Two weeks before it started to dry out and get grody.

Whew! Ready to get messy yet? I’d love to hear if I missed any of your favorites; we will definitely keep making the playdough recipe and I think the flubber will make a regular appearance.

Homemade DIY Sensory Goo Recipes


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Vicky Myers

Thursday 2nd of April 2015

What a great idea to try so many different recipes, never made flubber- think my 4 year old would love it:)


Wednesday 1st of April 2015

My boys are obsessed with Play-Doh - I'm pinning this to save it! Even if I do get a little nauseous looking at that cotton ball one....

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Thursday 2nd of April 2015

Haha.. it is grody isn't it! Like mummy flesh.


Wednesday 1st of April 2015

This must've been really fun to try out all these recipes!

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Wednesday 1st of April 2015

Definitely, and my son's favorite project ever :P


Monday 30th of March 2015

Nice! I use a stovetop recipe that had cream of tarter in it, but I'd have to go look it up. I love making my own (though i did purchase that 24 pack cause new baby).

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Wednesday 1st of April 2015

Haha ME TOO! Gotta have some ready to go on those long, long no one is napping days right?

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