Tuesday, March 2, 2010
The playdough you buy from toy stores was initally designed as a cleaning product for wallpaper. Aside from water and wheat flour it contains a retrogradation inhibitor borax, salt, lubricant silicone, surfactant, preservative, hardener, humectant, fragrance, and color. All of these additives are not ideal things to be on little hands - let alone mouths! Here is a recipe for a lovely gluten free Playdough that is smooth and elastic, I find that using cornflour gives a much nicer texture to homemade playdough and it means you can let babies who are gluten intolerant play with it!
3 cups cornstarch (I find that asian food specialty stores tend to have better value sized packs)
1/2 cup salt
2 cups water (approx)
1/2 cup oil
Food safe colouring
Dry beach sand
Essential oils - lemon, lavender and orange
Mix all of the ingredients together in a heavy bottomed saucepan excluding the colour and optional ingredients. Slowly heat the mix until it thickens and pulls off of the side of the pot. You may need to add more flour or water depending on your brand of flour/humidity etc but it will be quite sticky still until it cools down. Once it has heated right through tip it out onto a flat surface and knead. If the dough is too stiff once it is cooled add vegetable oil rather than water to loosen it up a bit. I like to add the colouring at this stage as you can knead a few drops into small amounts of dough and get more variety of colours. I also like to include sand in some batches for texture or glitter for sparkle. A nice way of preventing mould and giving the dough a lovely smell is to add a tiny drop of essential oil to the mix. I would only ever do this if the dough is for older children and use the less toxic oils recommended above.
The dough is best kept sealed and refrigerated in between uses and will last a couple of weeks if treated well. A thin coat of vegetable oil helps to keep it from drying out and keeps it pliable. Always use a mat under your children as they play with it. Dried playdough is IMPOSSIBLE to remove from carpets.