Playing with Play-Doh clay is a fun and easy activity that entertains children of all ages. In addition, it can be done individually or with other people. But post-playtime cleanup doesn't always happen when it should, so playdough left out of its container dries, hardens, and cracks quickly. This leaves her unusable for modeling and play. Fortunately, there are a few techniques you can use to restore dry play dough and make it moist, soft, and doughy again so it's ready for the next time kids want to play with it.
Method 1 of 4: Knead the Play Dough with Water
Step 1. Gather all the dry play dough and place it in a bowl
Keep the same colors together to prevent the dyes in the play dough from mixing and creating a brownish color. Clay is made largely of flour, water, and salt, so to restore the hardened dough, you can simply add the evaporated water to it.
If the playdough has been out of its container for a long time (more than a few months) and has completely hardened, it may no longer be able to be restored
Step 2. Sprinkle some water on the play dough
Knead the ball of wet clay with your hands so that the water is incorporated into the dough. Continue by sprinkling water on the ball of clay and kneading it.
Step 3. Knead the ball of clay
Once the dough has absorbed enough water and is again moist and pliable, knead it on a counter for a few minutes until it has returned to its original shape. If necessary, sprinkle a little more water as you knead.
Add half a teaspoon of glycerin to the clay as you knead it to make it even more moist
Step 4. Use the playdough immediately or store it properly
Play dough dries when exposed to air, so keep it in an airtight container. Consider wrapping it in a sealable plastic bag first.
Method 2 of 4: Give Play Dough a Steam Bath
Step 1. Flatten the clay
Flatten the dough ball in your hands or on a counter to increase the absorbency area. Remember that you are going to place it in a steamer, so make sure it is not too big.
Step 2. Prepare the burner or separate steamer
Place the flattened modeling clay in the pot and steam it for five to ten minutes.
Step 3. Remove the dough from the pot
Knead it for five to ten minutes on a counter. If the clay has not returned to its original consistency, steam it again and knead it.
Method 3 of 4: Rehydrate Play Dough Overnight
Step 1. Separate the play dough into pea-sized pieces
The smaller the pieces, the easier it will be to rehydrate them. Place the pieces in a colander and run them under running water, making sure they are all wet. Let them sit for a minute to drain excess water.
Step 2. Place the pieces in a resealable plastic bag
Make sure all of the clay pieces are damp (but not soggy) and store them in the bag. Let the dough pieces rest for about an hour.
Step 3. Remove the pieces from the bag
After a while, when the dough has settled and absorbed the water, place the pieces in a bowl and join them to form a single ball of dough. Wrap the ball in a damp cloth or absorbent paper and put it back in the bag. Close it and let it sit overnight.
Step 4. Knead the dough
In the morning, remove the rehydrated clay from the bag and knead it for a few minutes until it becomes a soft, doughy ball again.
Method 4 of 4: Make a Replacement Play Doh
Step 1. Gather the ingredients
Play dough is sometimes too dry to rehydrate. However, making your own clay is a fun and inexpensive way to replace it. Plus, it's so easy that even kids can help. To make your own play dough, you will need the following materials:
- 2 ½ cups of water
- 1 ¼ cups of salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons cream of tartar
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 ½ cups of flour
- food coloring
Step 2. Mix the ingredients in a saucepan
Cook them over low heat and stir frequently. Continue stirring and cooking until the ingredients are combined and form a ball of dough in the center of the pot. You will notice that it is ready once it has the same consistency as a normal modeling clay.
Step 3. Remove the saucepan from the heat
If the dough is too hot to handle, set it aside to cool. In the meantime, decide how you want to divide the dough and what colors to use.
Step 4. Divide the dough to add color
Form as many smaller balls as you need, depending on how much different colored clay you want to have.
Step 5. Knead each dough separately to incorporate color
Knead each ball of dough on a cutting board or non-porous counter and use one color at a time. Add the food coloring until the desired color intensity is achieved. Repeat the process for each color of clay you want to create.
Step 6. Save as normal play dough
Keep the playdough in an airtight container and don't leave it out if you're not going to use it. Otherwise, it will harden and you won't be able to use it.