DIY Play Dough {Jar Mix Gift Idea}

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Homemade play dough was something I learned to make over 30 years ago when my children were small. I quickly learned that it was cheap and simple to make, the kids liked using it, and it lasted for a long time too. Many of the recipes I see around the internet today for DIY play dough still use the same method and ingredients as my old faithful recipe. Making your own play dough is a strategy that’s been around for a long time!

Even though this easy homemade play dough is an “oldie but goodie”, I do have one new little twist on this classic recipe for you to try – making it as a jar gift!

Homemade play dough mix in a jar to give as a gift

How to make Play Dough Mix as a Gift in a Jar

The dry ingredients used for homemade play dough are flour, salt, and cream of tartar. These three ingredients can easily be mixed together ahead of time and put in a jar. For this recipe, I mix 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup salt, and 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar.

Ingredients for homemade play dough jar gift

I then put this mixture into a pint size mason jar. I like to use this type of plastic lid for canning jars when I make jar gifts. Once the dry ingredients are in the jar, you can add a small cookie cutter as a jar decoration if you wish, which is also something that can be used when playing with the play dough.

Then it’s time to add a label so the recipient knows how to make the play dough mix. I’ve got a couple of free printable labels to help you out on that too! I made a couple different label shapes – a rectangular label that works as a tag, or a circular label that can be used on the top of the jar – or either one can be glued to the front of the jar too.
You can print them here – – > Play Dough Jar Mix Instruction Labels

Homemade play dough jar mix in a canning jar with a cookie cutter

When It’s Time To Make The Play Dough Mix

When it’s time to make this play dough mix in a jar, it does need to be heated on the stove, so that part of the process will need a grown-up helping or supervising.

First, you’ll empty the contents of the jar into a saucepan. Next, you’ll add 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of oil and stir things together. Then the mixture gets heated over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture gets thick and starts forming into a ball. After that, you can move the mixture to a piece of wax paper and when it’s cool enough, you can give it any additional kneading and form it into a ball.

Steps for making your own homemade play dough

Adding Color To Your Homemade Play Dough

The recipe above will give you a white ball of play dough and you can leave it that way if you wish. However it’s fun to add some color, and that’s a part of the process that kids can help with too!

I like to divide my ball of play dough into four smaller balls. I make an indentation in the middle of the ball, add 3 or 4 drops of food coloring, then I fold the play dough around the food coloring and start kneading and squeezing until I have a colored ball of dough.

How to color your homemade play dough

And that’s how you turn the play dough jar mix into happy little colorful balls of play dough that are ready to be played with and enjoyed.

Balls of homemade play dough made from a jar mix gift

Jar Mixes Are Great Frugal Gifts!

If you’re looking for a quick little frugal gift for a neighbor mom, or a teacher, or for a family gift exchange, this play dough jar mix is something a little different than the normal sweet treats or gift cards. You could use this idea as a gift bag kit too, and include several small play dough utensils as well as the other ingredients to be added to the mix (a small bottle of vegetable oil and the food coloring).

And once the play dough is made, it’s a gift that will be enjoyed for many more months to come!

jar mix gift ideas

More Jar Mix Ideas:

DIY Play Dough Jar Mix

Jar mixes are a simple and frugal way to give a homemade gift. This play dough mix in a jar is a fun way to give a jar mix that kids can enjoy too. When it's time to use the mix, just add a 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of oil to the jar mix and heat it up on the stove until it's thick (a grownup may need to help with this part). You can then divide the cooked dough into smaller balls and kids will have fun kneading in some food coloring to create the color play dough of their choice.
Keyword: Jar Mix
Yield: 1 Pint Jar of Mix
Author: Beverly


  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1/3 cup Salt
  • 2 tsp Cream of Tartar


  • Combine the flour, salt, and cream of tartar and place in a pint size mason jar with a lid.
  • Add a label with the following cooking instructions:
    Empty contents of jar into a sauce pan. Add 1 cup of water and 1 Tbl of oil (vegetable, olive, etc.). Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until mixture is thick and starts forming into a ball. Remove from heat and place mixture on waxed paper. When cool enough, knead into a soft ball of play dough. A few drops of food coloring can be kneaded in as well. Keep in a covered container.
    You can also find printable labels using this link:

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One Comment

  1. I have thought so many times of entering the blogging world as I love reading them. I think I finally have the courage to give it a try. Thank you so much for all of the ideas!