Cloud Dough Recipe (2 Ingredients!)


Published: September 22, 2021 · Updated: May 3, 2024 by Sacha — This post may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure.

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

We always have a batch of homemade play dough at home, but on days where the kids want to try something a little different, this cloud dough recipe is one of my favorite things to make.

Not only is it super simple, but it’s also lots of fun. It has a really unique texture that makes it feel like you’re playing with a cloud, and you probably already have all the ingredients you need to make it.

If your child loves play dough, you can also try this Homemade Jell-O Play Dough (our all-time favourite), this Chocolate-Scented Play Dough or this Cinnamon Vanilla Play Dough. They all smell awesome and last for months!

Why You’ll Love This Activity

  • Easy to make: This simple recipe only requires 2 ingredients, and no heating or cooking. It takes less than 5 minutes to make from start to finish.
  • Super smooth texture: Even if you love regular play dough, this recipe is worth trying at least once. It has a smooth, silky, airy consistency that is unlike anything else we’ve tried.
  • Soft on sensitive skin: Unlike traditional salt-based play dough, cloud dough won’t dry out your child’s hands. It is a great option for children who suffer from eczema or dry skin.
  • Gluten-free: This activity is safe for kids who have gluten intolerance/sensitivity or coeliac disease. (If you’re looking for a play dough recipe that is gluten-free and edible, you can try this Baby Cereal Play Dough Recipe.)

Required Ingredients

Ingredients required to make cloud dough.
  • Baby lotion: My favorite is Johnson’s newborn face and body lotion, but any type of skin or baby lotion will do. You can also use conditioner, but lotion is soft on sensitive skin and gives the cloud dough a light, silky texture.
  • Cornstarch: You may know it as “corn flour” if you live in the U.K.
  • Food coloring (optional): Liquid food coloring and gel food coloring will both work, but I recommend gel food coloring because the color is very concentrated and you won’t need to use as much. You can also use one of these natural food dye alternatives, or even liquid watercolor paint (which is cheaper than food coloring and has the advantage of being washable).

The full ingredient list, quantities and instructions can be found in the recipe card.

How to Make Cloud Dough (Step-by-Step)

White bowl containing baby lotion.

Step 1: Place lotion in a bowl. Pour some skin or baby lotion into a medium bowl. Make sure the bowl is large enough to accommodate all of the ingredients, plus a little extra.

White bowl containing baby lotion that has been colored pink.

Step 2: Add color (optional). Add a few drops of food coloring or liquid watercolor paint. This part is just for fun, so you can skip it and leave the cloud dough white if you prefer.

White bowl with cornstarch added to the pink lotion.

Step 3: Add cornstarch. Add the cornstarch (you’ll need twice as much as the lotion) and stir it in with a spoon. Make sure you stir very gently to prevent cornstarch from flying out of the bowl. The mixture should become easier to stir over time.

White bowl containing a smooth ball of pink cloud dough.

Step 4: Knead the dough. When you have gotten as far as you can with the spoon, start kneading the dough with your hands. Keep kneading until the play dough feels nice and smooth. If it feels too sticky, add a bit of cornstarch; if it feels to crumbly, add a bit of lotion.

Once you are happy with its consistency, your cloud dough is ready to play with! My kids love its soft, airy texture.

3 balls of cloud dough, stacked one on top of the other.

Helpful Tips

  • Stick with a 1:2 ratio: I used used ⅓ cup of lotion for ⅔ cups of cornstarch, but you can make more or less as long as you stick with the same proportions (twice as much cornstarch as lotion).
  • Use a bigger bowl than you think you’ll need: This will help prevent the cornstarch from flying all over the place during the mixing process.
  • Wear gloves: Consider wearing gloves to avoid staining your hands with food coloring while you knead the dough.
  • Use a bin during play: Cloud dough can get a bit crumbly, so playing with it inside a bin will help limit the mess and make the cleanup easier.
  • Keep some lotion on hand: If the dough dries out and gets too crumbly during play, add a bit of lotion and work it in with your hands to make it soft again.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner: If some of the cloud dough gets on your floors, a vacuum cleaner is the easiest way to clean it up.
3 balls of cloud dough side-by-side.

Storage Instructions

To store homemade cloud dough, wrap it in plastic wrap as tightly as you can and place it inside a sealed zip-top bag or airtight container. (Zip-top bags work best because you can push the air out.)

Make sure to wrap it in a way that is as airtight as possible, as cloud dough dries out very quickly when it comes into contact with air. If it dries out during storage and becomes too crumbly to play with, you can work in some lotion with your hands to restore its consistency.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cloud dough tends to dry out pretty quickly during play and while it’s being stored. Once it dries out, you can revive it by adding more lotion and massaging it in with your hands.

If your cloud dough feels too dry and crumbly, add a bit more lotion. If it feels too sticky, add a bit more cornstarch. Make sure you only add small quantities at a time and keep working them in with your hands until the dough feels smooth.

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.)

While you can technically use conditioner to make cloud dough, I prefer to use lotion. I have found that conditioner can make cloud dough feel a bit sticky or oily.

If you don’t have any lotion on hand, you can follow this tutorial to the letter and simply replace the lotion with conditioner. Make sure to use the lightest, least oily brand of conditioner you have.

Cornstarch has unique properties that mean it can’t be replaced by all-purpose flour in this recipe, but you can replace it with another type of starch like potato starch, tapioca powder or arrowroot powder.

Have a question that wasn’t answered here? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to help!

More 2-Ingredient Sensory Recipes

If you have tried this Cloud Dough Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how it went in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Stack of 3 balls of cloud dough.

2-Ingredient Cloud Dough

Sacha
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
Servings 1 color

Ingredients
  

  • cup baby lotion or skin lotion
  • food coloring or liquid watercolor paint as needed
  • cup cornstarch (known as "corn flour" in U.K.)

Instructions
 

  • Pour baby lotion into a mixing bowl and add a few drops of food coloring. Stir 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 as needed to achieve the perfect consistency. Start playing immediately.

Video

Notes

1. Storage instructions: To store cloud dough, wrap it in plastic wrap as tightly as you can and place it inside a sealed zip-top bag or airtight container. (Zip-top bags work best because they are more airtight.)
2. Fixing cloud dough that has dried out: To restore the texture cloud dough that has become dry or crumbly, add a bit more lotion and work it in with your hands.
3. Limiting the mess: To limit the mess and make the cleanup easier, keep the cloud dough in a bin during play and vacuum up anything that lands on the floor.
4. Helpful tips:
  • Stick with a 1:2 ratio: Recipe proportions can be modified as long as you respect the 1:2 ratio of lotion to cornstarch.
  • Use a bigger bowl than you think you’ll need: This will help prevent the cornstarch from flying all over the place during the mixing process.
  • Wear gloves: If you decide to add color, consider wearing gloves to avoid staining your hands while you knead the dough.
Have you tried this?Mention @thecraftathomefamily or tag #thecraftathomefamily to let us know how it went!

1 thought on “Cloud Dough Recipe (2 Ingredients!)”

  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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