DIY | Two Ingredient Play Dough

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Here’s a simple two ingredient sensory play dough that kids will enjoy making and playing with. If you want to color it, you will need to add a third ingredient, but it’s still pretty easy to mix up quickly and get into the hands of kids.


You’ll need:

  • Conditioner
  • Cornstarch
  • Bowl
  • Spoon/spatula
  • Coloring (optional)


Let’s jump into how to make two ingredient play dough. It’s all about the 2:1 ratio. Two parts cornstarch to one part conditioner. Just vary the amounts based on how much dough you want to make. One cup cornstarch to 1/2 cup conditioner will get you a small ball of dough, 2 cups cornstarch to 1 cup conditioner will result in a nice hunk of dough, and 2 gallons cornstarch to 1 gallon conditioner will create a mountain of dough.

Once you have the two ingredients measured, just combine them in an appropriately sized bowl and mix. As the ingredients combine, you can dump the mixture onto a flat surface and knead with your hands to finish the mixing process.

If the dough sticks to the surface and your hands, dust both with a bit more cornstarch. If the mixture is flaky and doesn’t hold together, add a tiny amount of conditioner.

If you want to add some color to your dough, we recommend using a bit of tempera paint instead of liquid water color. It results in smoother dough. Dough colored with liquid water color tends to be crumbly. We speculate it is due to the liquid water colors higher water content. When added to the dough, the water wants to bind with the cornstarch to create oobleck, a non-newtonian fluid.

Anyway, there are two ways to color your dough. If you want the whole batch to be the same color, just add coloring to the conditioner before mixing it with the cornstarch. The other option is to make a large batch of uncolored dough, divide it, and add color to the smaller hunks of dough. In this case, you’ll probably need to add a bit more cornstarch as well since you’re adding more liquid to the dough.

Cleanup is easy–a warm damp cloth does the job. If the play dough gets onto clothing, rugs, or blankets just wait for it to dry then brush, vacuum, or shake off.


  • If your dough dries out as kids work with it, you can just add more conditioner, drop by drop. Just smear a bit on a helpful little hand and let them mix it into the dough.
  • If the dough is left out and gets really dry, you can bring it back to life–just slowy mix in small amounts of conditioner until your get a nice doughy dough.
  • Be prepared for the conditioner’s scent to fill the room.
  • Dispose of old dough in the trash. Do NOT pour down a sink drain–unless you want to show children how to snake a drain or have a plumber visit. Store in an airtight container or baggie.


If you give this recipe a try, we’d love to see and hear how it goes in the comments section. If you’re looking for more play dough recipes, you might like Slow Cooker Play Dough.

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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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