How to Make Crayon Play Dough Recipe

Did you know that September 16th is National Play Dough day?  Me either, until a blogging buddy brought it up.  What a better day than to share our DIY Rainbow Crayon Play Dough recipe?  It’s one of our many crayon play dough recipes that we have here on the site. 

We first made our crayon play dough recipe to go along with a book activity that called for purple play dough.  But when the kids started playing with this dough every single day?  I loved it for the fine motor benefits.  My kids just thought it was cool to make play dough from old crayons.  I knew we had to make a few other colors.  
And that turned into every color of the rainbow. 
This Crayon play dough recipe is so easy, that you’ll want to make it in every shade, too.  Here is everything you need to know about How to Make Crayon Play Dough:
How to make crayon play dough using broken crayons.
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How to make Crayon Play Dough:

You will need just a few ingredients to make play dough using old crayons. The other ingredients are probably in your kitchen cupboards right now!

crayons, chopped into pieces.  We used 2 and a half of each crayon color.
vegetable oil 
cream of tartar

This DIY crayon play dough recipe is great for kids.

Now, when we made play dough in a rainbow of colors, things were moving very quickly over the stove.  I didn’t get a chance to take many action shots.  With the heat of the stove, hot oil, and chopping up the crayon bits, this is a job for the mamas or papas rather than helpful kids.  Older children certainly could do this recipe.  I wasn’t able to take pictures while making our dough. 🙁

You can see how the crayons were chopped in our Harold and the Purple Crayon post that inspired more colors of play dough.  Start by chopping up your crayons into pieces.  This is where your broken crayons will come in handy.  We used a variety of brands of crayons mixed together and it didn’t seem to alter the texture of the dough.

How to make crayoon play dough. Use this crayon recipe as a sensory play activity
The kids had fun picking out the shades of the colors for our dough.  Baby Girl insisted on having pink.
Use broken crayons to make rainbow crayon play dough recipe.


Use Broken Crayons to Make Crayon Dyed Play Dough:

You’ll need the following ingredients:

2 Tbsp oil
2 and half broken crayons (each color)
2 cups water
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cup salt
2 Tbsp. cream of tartar

I halved these ingredients to make each shade.  If you read our Harold and the Purple Crayon post, you saw that we used 2 and a half chopped up crayons for the full recipe as well.  When I halved the ingredients, I kept the amount of crayons and we got bright, bold colors for our dough.  Perfect for playing!  

First, chop up 2 and a half crayons.  

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, cream of tartar)
Next, heat the oil in a pan.  Add the chopped crayons.  Stir until the crayons are completely melted.  Slowly stir in 2 cups of water while stirring.  Certain types of crayons will either make a clumpy and gooey looking liquid.  Other types will make a smooth liquid once the water is added.  Either way is fine.  Just keep stirring. 
Slowly, stir in the dry ingredients.  The dough will pull together in a ball over the heat.  Once the dough pulls together, dump it out onto a cutting board or counter.  Let the dough cool until you can tolerate kneading.  Knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth.  
By the time we got to our last color, we ran out of cream of tartar.  I know that in certain areas of our readership, cream of tartar is unavailable.  Without the cream of tarter, the dough recipe still worked fine, just a little less smooth.  

To make all of the colors of dough, I had to hustle a little; I made one color, plopped it onto a cutting board, let it cool while starting the next batch.  When the first color was cool enough to touch for kneading, I took a little break from the stove mixing and crayon chopping.  It got a little hectic in the kitchen, and you may want to completely mix up one color at a time.  For your own sanity 😉

Note: If you have an old pan, use that to melt the crayons down.  I was able to get any waxy residue out of my pan with soaking and boiling dish detergent on the stove, though. 

This dough is such a soft dough but is it is still a great way to incorporate fine motor skills and strengthening in a vividly colorful way.  In fact, playing with crayon play dough would be a great way to work on pencil grasp and an awesome addition to one of the top 5 blog posts that we’ve shared, on improving pencil grasp with fine motor activities

A few more play dough recipes that look like a fun way to celebrate National Play Dough Day:

If you like the idea of using your broken crayon pieces in something as fun and creative as play dough, then you will love to try a few different ideas, too.  We’ve given crayon play dough a run for it’s fun and tried a few different versions.  Check them out and if you make a batch, let us know how you get creative with crayon play dough!

Favorite Play Dough recipes and activities for kids:

Click on the images or the links below each image:
 3 Ingredient Kinetic Sand Play Dough
 Fizzy Baking Soda Play Dough RecipeGLitter glue salt dough recipe for kids to play with in sensory playPatriotic Crayon Play Dough Recipe Crayon Salt Dough Recipe
 Body Wash Play Dough Recipe Frozen Pixy Sitx Candy Play Dough Pencil Grasp Play Dough Exercise
Do you LOVE using play dough as a sensory and fine motor tool in therapy and in play? I have a subscriber-only play dough mat that is designed to work on the intrinsic hand muscles which are needed for pencil grasp and fine motor skills.  Read more about the play dough mat and the areas it will help with HERE.  

This play dough mat is available for FREE only for our Play Dough is Awesome newsletter group.  (This is a different email list than our regular subscribers.  If you’re on our subscriber list, you’ll still need to sign up for this one to receive the play dough freebies coming your way!)


Use broken crayons to make crayon play dough
Recycle broken crayons to make crayon play dough

7 thoughts on “How to Make Crayon Play Dough Recipe”

  1. I love this idea. What a great way to re-cycle broken crayons. This is a perfect winter activity with my granddaughter. She loves play dough. Pinned it and posted it to Twitter. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Love this! I have seen and tried recipes that use equal amounts of either vinegar or lemon juice instead of the cream of tartar and they work well! I lucked into cream of tartar cheap at an Aldi's so now I am back to using it.

  3. Thank you for the recipe! I made a bunch of colors for my kids. Even though I halved the dry ingredients, I needed the 2 cups of water. Worked very well and my twins are loving it. Even halved, this makes a lot of playdoh (mine was about 2lbs each time!).

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