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Homemade Gluten and Wheat Free Play Dough

I am not keen on play dough. There, I said it! It has the bad habit of crumbling everywhere, sticking to the carpet and getting stuck between floorboards, which I find really annoying and impossible to clean, but my children love it! There is always a play dough table at playgroups, so I do not normally feel bad about hiding the stuff at home.

Homemade Gluten and Wheat Free Play Dough

Despite all that, I woke up this morning thinking I wanted to spend time with my children doing something they would really like, rather than something that was convenient for me. It was quickly decided we would have a bit of play dough action. I was also thinking of Jumpy (1 year 3 months), who has not played with it yet as she is allergic to wheat. They use flour in the one they make at playgroups we go to and the industrially made Play-Doh is not wheat free either.

I had a quick look on the Internet. They all replaced wheat flour with a mix of rice flour and corn starch, both of which I had in my cupboard. I was quite happy to find a use for rice flour as the two recipes I used it for (ice cream and cake for Jumpy) were disasters. No one was going to eat the play dough (in theory), so I was not worried about its taste! I removed the flour from a recipe I had used a few times before, went for the amount of rice flour and corn flour suggested in gluten free recipes and added a bit of vanilla essence for the smell.

Homemade Gluten and Wheat Free Play Dough

When Jumpy was having her nap this morning, Crevette (5 years 6 months) and Beanie (3 years 4 months) both got involved with the measuring of ingredients and mixing, getting particularly enthusiastic when we started adding food colouring to our pieces of dough. They kneaded, rolled and played. I have to say I was really pleased with the result. It looked and felt the same as the dough I had made before.

Homemade Gluten and Wheat Free Play Dough

I even joined in with the fun when they took out a few plastic dinosaurs and their favourite bedtime story of the moment, “Dinosaurs Love Underpants” and started making underwear out of play dough. We had a lot of fun talking about the story, about which dinosaur should have which pair of pants, and what shapes they were cutting to decorate their underwear (circles, stars, stripes).

Homemade Gluten and Wheat Free Play Dough

Who would have thought that we would end up doing some geometry and storytelling whilst messing around with play dough? Not me! It is great letting the children have fun whilst learning just for the sheer pleasure of it. That was definitely a magic morning for us!

After we came back from our Saturday swimming sessions, we were all very excited to let Jumpy have a go. I was fondly picturing all three kids having hours of fun together.  Jumpy took an orange ball of dough, walked around with it for a bit, looked at me as if to say, “What do you want me to do with that, mum?”, licked it, realised it did not taste nice, and discarded it. She did make me laugh, bless her!

Just before bed, Crevette and Beanie asked me to read “Dinosaurs Love Underpants” and we decided to match the underwear they had made out of play dough with various dinosaurs. Crevette thought T-Rex should be wearing the pink dotty pants so it would make it look girly and less scary. It was decided the pink and red stripy ones should go to Triceratops just because Beanie thought it would like them. As for the blue with yellow stars ones, the smallest, they went to Diplodocus to stick to the story.

 Homemade Gluten and Wheat Free Play Dough

 The dough went everywhere and I still have some under my nails, but I could not care less.  It was a great day and we kept the dough in a sealed plastic bag to make sure we could all play again tomorrow.

Homemade Gluten and Wheat Free Play Dough

For children with a gluten or wheat allergy, intolerance or coeliac disease Safe recipe for parties, play dates, playgroups, children’s centres, schools and for people minding children
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1 cup (140g) white rice flour
  • ½ cup (60g) corn flour
  • 2 tbsp (30g) cream of tartar
  • ½ cup (170g) salt
  • 1 tablespoon (13ml) oil
  • 1 cup (240ml) water
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • food colouring or glitter optional


  1. Put your dry ingredients together in a sauce pan.
  2. Add wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon.
  3. Cook over a low to medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until the mixture forms a large ball (No more than 5 minutes).
  4. Turn out the dough onto a work surface and knead it until smooth. If you feel the dough is too sticky, you can add a bit more corn flour.
  5. Be creative now! Divide your batch into balls, make a well in the middle of each ball and add food colouring to one, glitter to another, kneading to make sure the colour or glitter is combined well and looks even.
  6. Have fun!

Recipe Notes

I tend to use gloves when first adding in the food colouring. Store in a sealed plastic container or zip bag.




  1. What Jessica Baked Next
    10/02/2014 / 5:41 pm

    Brilliant idea, Mel! 🙂

    • Mel
      10/02/2014 / 9:16 pm

      Thanks Jessica. Hours of fun! Mel

  2. Mummy Whiskers
    10/02/2014 / 11:34 pm

    This is great, I’ve never made it before but I’m going to try this soon

    • Mel
      11/02/2014 / 2:50 pm

      Let me know when you have tried it, I am sure your little ones will love it! Mel

  3. 10/02/2014 / 10:45 pm

    Oh wow these look so pretty-glad you can eat them too! A #tastytuesdays offering perhaps? !

    • Mel
      10/02/2014 / 10:49 pm

      Well I would not choose to eat the play dough, but it is nice to know the little ones should not get sick if they ingest a little bit (or lick it, in the case of my youngest). I will be posting a recipe by the end of the week, so I will be back in the Tasty Tuesdays game next week (promise!). Mel

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  5. sarahhillwheeler
    12/02/2014 / 12:19 pm

    What lovely colours….it as if you coordinated them with the dinos’ underpants! Boy is past that stage now, but I well remember that book and my resistance to play dough (guilt assuaged by occasional forays to the pottert cafe). Your blog looks beautiful. #Magicmoments.

    • Mel
      12/02/2014 / 1:45 pm

      Thanks a lot Sarah, I really appreciate your comment, especially about the way the blog looks. It was one of those rare moments when an activity you think might be a disaster ends up being one of the best days of fun and peaceful play with the little ones.

  6. mummytries
    13/02/2014 / 12:52 pm

    This looks amazing. I really love how you’ve found a way around everything allergy-related! You’re very much a lady after my own heart where this is concerned 😉

    • Mel
      13/02/2014 / 8:47 pm

      Thanks, I make sure she gets included in everything so that when she grows up, she does not feel different. She will just have to learn very early on what she is and is not allowed to have. Her brother (5) and sister (3) already know and they are brilliant at telling people not to give her anything she could be allergic to. x Mel

  7. 02/05/2014 / 11:37 am

    Regards for helping out, superb information.

    • Mel
      04/05/2014 / 12:21 am

      I am glad you found it useful! Let me know if you try making it.

  8. liquoriceuk
    24/09/2014 / 10:00 pm

    That sounds great and the playdough looks great too. Have bookmarked this so I can give home-made dough a try 🙂

    • Mel
      24/09/2014 / 10:12 pm

      Thanks, lovely lady! It really has a great texture and keeps for months in a zip bag or sealed container. I like to add vanilla extract or lemon essence to make it smell nice. x

  9. julie perry
    25/04/2015 / 3:52 pm

    What a great idea…had never thought of making my own. I will now..thank you

    • Mel
      27/04/2015 / 8:24 pm

      It is much nicer than play doh, and if you want it to smell nice, you can just add fruit flavourings. They are really cheap on Amazon.

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