Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Tween and Teen Crafts: No-Cook Playdough with Robin Willis and Scout Jensen

Slime is still incredibly popular with tweens. And I’m amazed every day about how interested tweens are in arts and crafts that many would feel are “too young” or “retro.” So why not try DIY playdough? This is a fun STEAM activity that requires few ingredients and can provide a lot of fun in different ways. And if you are doing grab and go kits with tweens and teens the ingredients are few, cheap, and easy to measure out and put in pick up craft bags.

No cook playdough made by Scout Jensen

Robin Willis says . . .

During our current situation, we all need a little something to play with, something to make and enjoy. Why not a little playdough? I’ve had great success with the following recipe.


  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons baby oil
  • 1/2 Cup salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 to 1.5 Cups of boiling water
  • Food coloring


Mix flour, salt, and cream of tartar well in a large mixing bowl. Add baby oil and mix thoroughly (it will look crumbly.) Pour 1.5 Cups of boiling water into a large measuring cup and add food coloring. Regular food coloring will produce pastel colors, so use gel food coloring if you’re looking for vibrant colors. Pour about 1 Cup of the boiling water mixture into the flour mixture and stir well. If you still have flour at the bottom of the bowl after stirring well, gradually add small amounts of the water until it comes together.

Allow the playdough to cool!

Get it out and enjoy. You can make several different colors by adding the food coloring after you make it, rather than in the water, but this will leave colors on your hands as you mix it in.

Scout Jensen says . . .

Scout is 11, almost 12, and she’s going into the 6th grade. She is big into arts and crafts and has spent a lot of the pandemic doing arts and crafts that she has found on Tik Tok. One of those have involved making her own playdough. She found a recipe on Tik Tok by this channel and there is a longer YouTube tutorial:

This is a simple recipe that uses 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup salt, and 1/2 cup of warm water. Just add a few drops of food coloring to color your playdough. We used food coloring paste, which could be put into grab and go bags. We also experimented and used both water color paint and acrylic paint, which worked. Robin Willis also recommended using tempera paint powder.

She did this weeks ago and she stores her playdough in a plastic baggy and still takes it out occasionally and squishes it.

Both recipes work well and the ingredients can easily be put it plastic bags or small, plastic food storage containers to share in grab and go kits.