DIY | Play Dough Rollers

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Here’s instructions for making play dough rollers–a variation of our Play Dough Stamp DIY.

The fact that kid’s will have fun with them is enough reason to squeeze some melted glue onto hunks of wood. But, if you need a developmental reason to justify taking on the project, all the play dough rolling fun will strengthen fingers, refine control of hands and wrists, hone visual skills, and more.

Supplies

To get started, you’ll need:

  • A hot glue gun.
  • Hot glue. (Regular glue works fine, but we like the look of colored hot glue.)
  • Wooden dowel slices. We recommend a dowel over one inch in diameter–anything smaller is harder to roll in easier to break. We used 1.25 inch diameter dowel sections about 8 inches long.
  • A bit of sandpaper.
  • A pen and paper.

Process

It’s pretty straight forward:

Take a moment to sand the ends of your dowels to help prevent splintering and chipping.

Make sure the dowels are clean and dry so that the glue sticks.

Glue away–make whatever designs, shapes, letters, numbers, or words you like.

To avoid mistakes with hot glue, it may help to trace your design in marker first.

It’s also important to remember that whatever you create with glue will appear as a mirror image when it’s stamped into play dough. That means you have to hot glue all words, letters, and numbers backwards so they appear correct when stamped. This is where the pen and paper come in–they are a big help when visualizing how to correctly mirror things.

A Few Tips

  • To create rollers that’ll make deeper imprints in play dough simply glue slower. You’ll lay down a thicker bead of glue that’ll leave a beefier imprint.
  • Preschool aged kids can hot glue with proper supervision. They understand what HOT is and don’t want to get burnt, so with some basic instruction and support they can make their own rollers.
  • Clean your rollers with a damp cloth as needed.
  • Check your rollers regularly for damage and repair as necessary. These rollers are pretty darn durable–over an 8 year period a set that we used in presentations traveled nearly 250,000 miles with us. They were used a lot and banged around even more during travel. 

Conclusion

If you give it a try, we’d love to see you finished stamps! You can post pictures in the comments below.

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Jeff is an early learning speaker, toymaker, podcaster, content creator, author, and founder of Playvolution HQ who is really bad at getting his picture taken.

After nearly 30 years working in early learning programs, Tasha now devotes her time to making Explorations Early Learning and Playvolution HQ work, quilting, and taking care of her pet duck, Tape.

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