DIY Naturally Dyed Play Dough

Like most toddlers, Brooks likes to taste anything that resembles food, so play dough looks like a giant ball of colored yumminess to him. I saw loads of play dough recipes on my beloved DIY project touchstone, Pinterest, and wanted to take it a step further and try using natural dyes like I did on my Easter eggs. Clearly, my play dough making was a much more simple endeavor than the eggs, but the sacrifice we make for beauty!! I loved those little eggies. I better start thinking now of how I’m going to top those babies.

But I digress, today it is ALL about the play dough people. It's super easy to make and if I’m going too hippy dippy on you with my natural coloring you can easily substitute regular food coloring or meet me in the middle by purchasing natural food coloring. I promise this is super easy and not much trouble to end up with a great play dough your kids will love and is worry free on all accounts.


Naturally Colored Play Dough


  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Cream of Tartar - this is what gives dough the elasticity
  • 1 cup naturally colored water (specific color recipes below)

Colored Water Recipes:

Place your ingredients in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 25 minutes. Remember to turn the heat down or your liquid will evaporate completely. Let liquid cool before straining.


2 cups water + 2 large beets cubed


2 cups water + 1 medium sized red cabbage


2 cups water + 4 Tablespoons Turmeric


Now that we have our “naturally colored water” made, combine all the ingredients (one color at a time/per batch) in a pot and stir together over low heat. It will first start to look a little like mashed potatoes as it begins to thicken. Continue stirring until the dough starts to pull away from the sides and clumps in the middle (AKA a big mess!!). Remove the pan from the heat. Not just turning off the burner but move the pot away from the heat. Let dough cool until you are able to handle. Once you are able to handle it should easily form into a ball. If it is too sticky then you need to cook a bit longer. Store in an airtight container to keep from drying out. I like to use mini mason jars for storing our play dough.

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