2-Ingredient Cloud Dough (No-Cook + Gluten-Free)


Published: September 22, 2021 · Updated: October 23, 2023 by Sacha

Looking for an easy play dough alternative that won’t dry out your child’s skin? This DIY cloud dough is the softest 2-ingredient play dough you’ll ever make. It’s no-cook, gluten-free and super soft—and best of all, it only requires only a couple minutes to make!

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Whether you’re looking for a recipe that is no-cook, scented, edible or something else, there is definitely a way to make play dough in a way that suits your child’s unique preferences and needs.

And if you’re looking for a recipe that is super soft and easy to make, this easy cloud dough recipe definitely fits the bill.

Not only does it require under 5 minutes to make, but it is also no-cook, gluten-free, and soft on sensitive skin. Make sure you keep it on hand for days when you don’t have time to make regular play dough!

 
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How to Make 2-Ingredient Cloud Dough

Required Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make a batch of super soft homemade play dough using only two ingredients:

Note: I used ⅓ cup of lotion for ⅔ cups of cornstarch, but feel free to adjust the quantities to suit your needs. To maintain the right consistency, simply make sure to follow a 1 : 2 ratio of lotion to cornstarch, meaning twice as much cornstarch as baby lotion. For instance, use ¼ cup of lotion for ½ cup of cornstarch, or ½ cup of lotion for 1 cup of cornstarch.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Place Baby Lotion in Bowl

Start by placing some baby lotion in a medium bowl. I used Johnson’s newborn face and body lotion, which I bought at my local Walmart.

When in doubt, use a larger bowl than you think you’ll need—this will make things easier once you get to step 3.

2. Add Colouring (Optional)

Once you’ve measured out your baby lotion and placed it in a bowl, you can add a bit of liquid watercolour paint or food colouring to make it more colourful. I like to use liquid watercolour paint because it’s washable and costs less per unit than food colouring.

(If your home is dye-free, you can use one of these natural alternatives instead.)

Note: This step is optional and the play dough will turn out just fine if you leave it white, but my kids love choosing different colours for their play dough, so I thought yours might too!

3. Mix in Cornstarch

Add the cornstarch to the bowl, making sure to use double the quantity of cornstarch than baby lotion, and mix it in with a spoon.

You’ll have to mix it gently initially to prevent the cornstarch from flying out of the bowl. (Using a larger bowl helps with this.)

But once the cornstarch is humid with baby lotion, it should become a little easier.

4. Knead Dough

When you’ve gotten as far as you can with the spoon, continue kneading the play dough with your hands until it’s even and smooth. (You may want to wear gloves to avoid staining your hands.)

Once you have a smooth ball of play dough in your hands, feel free to adjust the quantities if needed by adding a bit of cornstarch if it’s too sticky, or a bit of baby lotion if it’s too crumbly.

If the texture doesn’t need adjusting, then your cloud dough is ready to play with! Wasn’t that so easy?!

We can’t get enough of this easy cloud dough recipe. Who knew you could make play dough using nothing but cornstarch and baby lotion?

Unlike salt-based play dough, this homemade cloud dough won’t dry out your child’s hands. So this recipe is a good option for children who have dry, sensitive skin.

Because cloud dough is gluten-free, it is also a good option for kids who have gluten intolerance/sensitivity or coeliac disease. (Note: If you’re looking for an edible play dough recipe that is gluten-free, check out this recipe for Baby Rice Cereal & Applesauce Play Dough.)

I do recommend keeping the cloud in a bin as you play with it, as it can get a bit crumbly during play (just add more lotion if this happens). Playing with it inside a sensory bin limits the mess and makes the cleanup a bit easier.

That being said, if ever the cloud dough does get on your floors, let it dry out and a vacuum cleaner will clean it right up!

How Long Does Cloud Dough Last?

Unfortunately, cloud dough does not last as long as traditional salt-based play dough. It typically starts to dry out a bit during play, or when being stored after play (especially if it is not stored in a way that is completely air-tight).

But the good news is that you can revive cloud dough that has dried out by adding more lotion and massaging it in with your hands. We often add a squirt of baby lotion to the ball of cloud dough as our kids play in order to keep it soft and malleable.

How to Store Homemade Cloud Dough

Like all cornstarch-based play dough recipes, cloud dough tends to dry out pretty fast and become a bit crumbly. That being said, it is possible to save it for later once your child is done playing with it.

When storing cloud dough, you’ll need to make sure it is as air-tight as possible. The more contact it has with air, the faster it will dry out.

To store homemade cloud dough, start by wrapping it in plastic wrap. Then, place it inside a sealed zip-top bag or air-tight container.

Make sure you don’t skip the plastic wrap, as cloud dough that is placed directly into a zip-top bag or air-tight container will dry out more quickly. I have tried both, and the cloud dough I stored inside a container performed the worst (probably because containers are not as air-tight as zip-top bags).

That being said, the cloud dough may still dry out a bit during storage. If this happens, simply work some more baby lotion into the cloud dough to restore its consistency before you give it to your child to play with.

How to Fix Cloud Dough That Is Crumbly or Sticky

If your cloud dough feels too dry and crumbly, add a bit more lotion and work it in with your hands. Make sure you only add small quantities of lotion at a time in order to avoid making the cloud dough too sticky.

On the other hand, if your cloud dough feels too sticky, you’ll need to add a bit more cornstarch. Once again, make sure you only add small quantities at a time to avoid having to compensate by adding more lotion.

How to Make Cloud Dough Soft Again

If your cloud dough has become dry or crumbly, you can restore its consistency by working in a bit of lotion with your hands. (Continue to add small quantities until you’re satisfied with the texture.)

Can You Use Conditioner Instead of Lotion?

You may have seen cloud dough recipes that call for conditioner rather than lotion.

While you can technically use conditioner to make cloud dough, I have found that conditioner can make cloud dough feel a bit sticky or oily. (Though of course, this depends on the brand of conditioner you use.)

For this reason, I recommend that you make your cloud dough without conditioner and stick with baby lotion instead. This will give it a much softer, lighter feel that your kids will love.

That being said, if you don’t have any lotion on hand, you can follow this tutorial to the letter and simply replace the lotion with conditioner. The process and proportions remain the same no matter which one you use.

What Can You Use Instead of Cornstarch?

Cornstarch has unique properties that mean it can’t be replaced by all-purpose flour in this recipe. But may be able to replace the cornstarch with another type of starch, such as potato starch, tapioca powder or arrowroot powder.

Stack of 3 balls of 2-ingredient play dough

2-Ingredient Cloud Dough

The Craft-at-Home Family
No time to make play dough? Whip up a batch of this super soft, no-cook cloud dough for your kids to play with!
4.89 from 9 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Play Dough
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • cup baby lotion
  • food colouring as needed
  • cup cornstarch

Instructions
 

  • Pour baby lotion into a mixing bowl and add a few drops of food colouring, stirring until combined.
  • Add cornstarch to the bowl. Stir with a spoon until you can no longer continue, then knead the dough with your hands until smooth.
  • Add more baby lotion or cornstarch if needed to achieve the perfect consistency. Start playing immediately.

Video

Notes

If the cloud dough becomes dry or crumbly, you can restore its consistency by working in a bit more lotion. Tightly wrap your cloud dough in plastic wrap and store it in a sealed zip-top bag or air-tight container when not in use.
Keyword baby lotion, cloud dough, play dough
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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1 thought on “2-Ingredient Cloud Dough (No-Cook + Gluten-Free)”

  1. 5 stars
    The children really love this. We bought different colored marshmallows, so we wouldn’t have to use food dye. Also, with my gluten allergy, we used gluten-free flour with xanthan gum, and it turned out perfect.

    Reply

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