Homemade Dandelion Play Dough (Naturally Dyed)


Published: May 15, 2022 · Updated: February 22, 2024 by Sacha — This post may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure.

Do your kids love picking dandelions? Extend the fun by using those dandelions to make a batch of naturally dyed play dough for them to play with! This easy homemade play dough recipe is a great way to make use of the dandelions that you have growing in your yard.


Do your kids love picking flowers? Whenever we go for a walk, ours like to make little bouquets for us out of whatever flowers they can find.

As a result, we often get bouquets of dandelions… and much to our kids’ chagrin, they tend to die pretty quickly.

That got me wondering whether there was anything else we could do with those dandelions instead of letting them die. And given how much play dough we make in our house, it stands to reason that play dough was the first place my mind went.

My kids were really excited to help me make this because it gave them an excuse to run around the yard picking as many dandelions as they wanted. As for me, I loved the fact that this recipe provided a way to use up the whole plant (we usually save the leaves to make salad) and provided a natural alternative for dyeing play dough.

So if your yard is overrun with dandelions (it can’t just be us, right?) and you’re looking for a fun way to use them to entertain your kids, this recipe is a great way to accomplish that!

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Required Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to whip up a batch of homemade dandelion play dough—no artificial dyes required:

Ingredients to make dandelion play dough.
  • 1 cup dandelions
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (optionally baked on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes at 350°F if you need the recipe to be taste-safe)
  • ¾ cup salt (we buy ours in packs of three at Costco)
  • 4 teaspoons cream of tartar (if you’re going to be making lots of homemade play dough, I recommend buying this item in bulk—it lasts forever and you’re sure to go through a lot of it!)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

How to Make Naturally Dyed Dandelion Play Dough (Step-by-Step)

1. Prep Dandelions

Start by gathering some fresh dandelions and removing their stems. This will make it easier to measure the quantity—you’ll need about 1 cup, but your measurements don’t need to be extremely precise. My kids were happy to do this job for me!

Once you’ve gathered all the dandelions you need, use a knife to separate the yellow petals from the rest of the head. There may be a bit of green mixed in and that’s totally fine.

Cutting board with chopped dandelions.

2. Blend Dandelions & Water

Pour 2 cups of water into a blender and add most of the chopped dandelions.

I like to set aside 2-3 tablespoons to add in later, but I do so purely for aesthetic reasons because I like seeing larger bits of dandelion in the play dough. Feel free to use all of it during this step if that doesn’t matter to you.

Run the blender for 20-30 seconds, until most of the dandelion has been reduced to pulp and the water has turned yellow. You will be using this mixture as a natural dye for your play dough instead of using artificial dyes like food coloring.

Water and dandelion in blender.

3. Combine Dry Ingredients

In a medium wok or saucepan, combine 2 cups of flour, ¾ cup salt and 4 teaspoons of cream of tartar. If you set aside some of the dandelion during the previous step, stir it into the dry ingredients.

Wok with dry play dough ingredient and extra dandelion.

4. Add Water & Oil

Add the dandelion water and the vegetable oil, and stir them into the dry mixture until they are well combined.

Wok with wet play dough ingredients mixed into dry ones.

5.  Cook Play Dough

Turn on the element on medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a ball of dough that no longer sticks to the pot or wok.

Ball of dandelion play dough not sticking to wok sides.

6. Knead Play Dough

Remove the dough from the pot or wok and set it aside to cool. Once it’s cool enough, knead it with your hands until smooth.

Then, it’s time to play! This DIY play dough was super soft and stretchy, and I loved that you could see little bits of dandelion in it.

Hand squishing ball of dandelion play dough.

I also loved that the play dough was naturally dyed and didn’t require any food coloring. This makes it great for kids who are allergic to yellow food dye, or simply for families who would rather use more natural means to color their sensory activities.

How to Store Dandelion Play Dough

As with all our (non-edible) play dough, we usually store dandelion play dough inside a sealed sandwich or freezer bag with all the air removed. Storing it that way will ensure that it lasts for months!

Dandelion play dough surrounded by dandelion flowers.

Dandelion Play Dough (Naturally Dyed)

Sacha
Do your kids love picking dandelions? Extend the fun by using those dandelions to make a batch of naturally dyed play dough for them to play with!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Cooling Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Play Dough
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup yellow dandelions packed
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup salt
  • 4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions
 

  • Use a knife to cut off the yellow petals from each dandelion, discarding the stems.
  • Set aside 2-3 tablespoons of dandelion petals (optional), then pour the water into a blender and add the remaining dandelions. Run the blender for 20-30 seconds, until most of the dandelions have been pulverized and the water has turned yellow.
  • Combine the flour, salt and cream of tartar in a medium wok. If you have set aside some of the chopped dandelions, mix those in as well.
  • Add water and vegetable oil and stir until combined.
  • Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes a ball of dough that no longer sticks to the sides of the wok. This should take no more than 5 minutes.
  • Set the play dough aside to cool. Once it’s cool enough, knead it with your hands until smooth. Then, give it to your child to play with!

Notes

We like to set aside some of the chopped dandelions for aesthetic reasons, because it means that the finished play dough will have larger pieces of dandelion in it. Feel free to simply blend them all up with the water instead.
Have you tried this?Mention @thecraftathomefamily or tag #thecraftathomefamily to let us know how it went!

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