Did you know that not only can you make your own gluten-free playdough but that it is simple to do, and easy to dye with a couple of tea bags? The beautiful pink playdough in the picture above was made with a raspberry tea! As usual, a homemade and natural substitute to store-bought can easily be made at home.

I always liked playing with the stuff sold as Play-Doh as a child, but even then the smell was strange to me. I suppose it's the preservatives. So I especially liked it when my mom made homemade play dough for me, which smelled simply like salted dough, and was soft and easy to play with.

I continue that tradition and sometimes make homemade playdough for my girls too. My oldest is still young enough to enjoy it (she’s almost 6), while my youngest (at almost 2) is just getting to the age of really being able to participate fully in playdough fun. All to say, my girls really enjoyed their afternoon of playdough.

Whether you are a homeschool mother, a childcare provider, nanny, or have young children at home with the bigger kids at school, it is nice to have an activity like playdough for the young ones.

As far as coloring goes, if you are looking for natural dyes, India Tree has an excellent, but expensive dye set. I used what I had on hand. I used a chlorophyll supplement for green and raspberry tea bags for pink — both a success. But I am thinking that you could use a wide variety of things to dye the dough, if you like: Turmeric for yellow, green tea for green, rooibos tea for brown, etc. I’d love to hear your ideas! The important thing when using tea to dye your playdough is making a strong and dark brew.

Gluten-Free Playdough


1/2 cup of white rice flour

1/2 cup of cornstarch (I understand that arrowroot powder, or potato starch can also be used)

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1/2 cup of salt

2 teaspoons of oil

1 cup of water


1. In a small pot, combine the dry ingredients and give it a whisk. Add the water and oil, and whisk until smooth.

2. Put over low heat on the stove, and stir with a wooden spoon. It will slowly thicken and start pulling away from the sides of the pot. You know it’s done when you lift a large spoonful of the dough and it doesn’t drip at all, but remains a firm ball. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

3. Once cool enough to touch, you can knead in more starch or flour to firm it up, if necessary.

4. Keep well wrapped, and it will keep indefinitely.

To color:

Pink: Add three bags of raspberry tea to 1 cup of hot water. Brew for 10 minutes. Use in place of the water in the recipe.

Green: We used 30 drops of chlorophyll concentrate, kneaded into the finished and cooled playdough.

For other coloring ideas, see above.

Related DIY story on MNN: 7 things you can make yourself instead of buying

DIY gluten-free playdough
If you have child who is sensitive to gluten, it's easy to make a homemade, gluten-free version of playdough at home. And, while you are at it, why not dye it n