Most of us consider play-doh to be a child’s toy, which keeps them busy with their hands shaping and making little creations.
However, there is more that you can do with play-doh! Much like when working with other mediums, such as clay, you can make some great projects using play-doh. Instead of squishing their little creation up into a ball at the end, you can keep some of their best sculptures forever.
To preserve it, can you bake play-doh? Yes, you can bake play-doh, but there is a risk it will crack. Be sure to bake it on low heat (about 200 Fahrenheit) and check it every 5 to 10 minutes to help prevent risk of cracking. Flatter pieces tend to bake better.
This opens up so many doors as to what you and your child can make and create at home with only a few basic tools. There are some precautions you need to take to ensure that the play-doh bakes well and that it does not crack.
Below is all you need to know about baking play-doh, and how to preserve your masterpieces and create fun projects at home.
How To Bake Play-Doh In The Oven
You do need to adjust the baking time of play-doh to suit the item that you are baking.
If left for a few minutes too long, the play-doh can burn or crack, and if left in the oven for too short a time, it will not harden properly.
To start off, you can set the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the play-doh items onto a lined baking sheet and place this into the oven. You do not need to do much to the baking sheet, just lay down some baking paper to ensure that you can easily remove the play-doh from the pan.
It should take around 30 minutes to harden, but be sure to check it every 5 to 10 minutes to ensure the items don’t burn. They will look and feel dry when they are ready, but remember to let them cool before you touch them.
The size and thickness of the play-doh creation will determine how long it needs to bake in the oven, so you will just need to check it as it goes. It is best to put similar sized items on a tray together, so you can check one and remove them all at once, rather than checking each one.
Is It Safe To Bake Play-Doh?
As an adult baking play-doh alone, it is safe if you follow the right safety precautions, such as using oven gloves to remove the baking sheet from the oven and using a toothpick to check if the play-doh creation is dry and hard instead of using your finger and being burned.
However, when using the oven to bake play-doh with kids, you need to be sure that they understand the oven gets hot, and that they need to ask you for help when dealing with the oven.
Store-bought play-doh is perfectly fine to be baked, but you can also make homemade play-doh which can be baked as well.
To make your own play-doh at home, you can mix 2 cups of salt, 2 cups of warm water, and around 5 cups of flour. You can add in some food coloring to create your own custom colors!
How To Make Play-Doh Hard Without Cracking
Play-doh is not a high-quality clay when it comes to baking and hardening, so there is always a chance that it will crack or break when baked in the oven.
Because of this, you do need to bake the play-doh on low heat and check on it every few minutes to ensure it does not burn or crack.
It is best to bake flatter pieces of play-doh, as these have a lesser chance of cracking and breaking. Bigger, thicker pieces are more difficult to bake in the oven and keep from cracking.
Start off by baking smaller, flatter pieces of play-doh first to see how you go, and then work towards larger pieces. Once you notice your work cracking easier, it is best to stick to smaller pieces so you don’t waste too much.
If you want to make a larger project or are planning to make something permanent, it is better to use bake-safe clays bought from craft stores. These are actually designed to be baked rather than smushed down for re-use.
What Can I Make By Baking Play-Doh?
There is so much that you can make using play-doh, and then hardening it in the oven. You can make tiny earrings, fridge magnets, ornaments and so much more.
It is also a great way to have your kids create pieces, and then preserve them to keep for years. This also works well if you want to give personalized presents to family members – they will love a bit of art done by the children!
Be wary about placing magnets and metal earring pieces into the oven, and check whether they are safe to be heated. You can buy accessories like this that can be fired or baked, so make sure to look for these. Or plan to attach them after baking.
Whether you use different color play-doh or choose to paint it once it has dried, there is so much that you can do with a simple little medium such as play-doh. Just make sure you leave some for the kids to play with!
Can You Fire Play-Doh?
Play-doh was not created to be fired in a kiln. It was made to be played with by children, and it just so happens that you can bake it gently in the oven to harden it.
Play-doh will not hold up well in a kiln at such high temperatures, and your project will be ruined, cracked, and likely burned. If you do want to preserve your play-doh project, it is best to do so in the oven on very low heat, to avoid risking damage done.
Can You Bake Play-Doh In the Microwave?
It really is not advisable to bake play-doh in the microwave, as it can be difficult to control the power and heat, and even a few seconds too long in the microwave could crack and ruin your play-doh creation.
However, some play-doh recipes do require the use of the microwave. You mix your play-doh ingredients together and place it in the microwave for 1 min, remove and stir it all together. You usually have to cook it in the microwave for another minute again.
You can then knead and work the dough (once it has cooled) and then start creating fun pieces and projects. While it won’t necessarily harden and set pieces well, it does help to get the homemade dough ready to use.
Will Play-Doh Harden In The Freezer?
Play-doh will harden in the freezer under cold temperatures. It will remain hardened for as long as it remains cool, but it might turn soft again as it reaches room temperature.
There really is no point in leaving play-doh to harden in the freezer, unless you are looking for a way to make the play-doh hard for a short amount of time, just to see what the finished project might turn out like.
Leaving the play-doh in the freezer might also damage the dough, however, so it isn’t necessarily worth it to try this. If you do want to freeze play-doh, place it in an airtight container to protect it from freezer-burn.
Can You Leave Play-Doh To Air Dry?
Yes, you can leave your play-doh out to air dry and harden. It is probably safer to do this than placing the play-doh in the oven.
If your child has ever left their play-doh out, you probably found some dried pieces of dough lying around, which just goes to show that play-doh can air dry!
To do this, you can simply leave the play-doh art to sit out in a safe area, in the open air to harden and cure. It will probably take around 2 to 3 days to fully dry out and cure, but this will depend on the size and thickness of the play-doh project.
You might notice that the piece appears ashy once it has dried, but this can be solved by painting it with some varnish.
How To Varnish Play-Doh
Once you have left your play-doh to bake in the oven or to air dry, you might want to give it a coat of varnish to bring out the colors more, remove the ashy surface, and preserve the piece for longer.
Here is how to varnish play-doh:
- Wait for the play-doh to cool if you baked it in the oven.
- Cover your work surface with newspaper so that you do not ruin the surface.
- Dip a clean brush into a waterproof, clear varnish. Allow the excess varnish to drip off of the brush and back into the tin.
- Gently brush a light coat onto the play-doh, applying it to all areas of the item to ensure it is protected from all sides.
- Leave the varnish on the play-doh to dry for a few hours.
- Keep the play-doh in a dry location, away from direct heat and light. Make sure it is kept somewhere with little moisture in the air so that the play-doh does not soften.
You also have the option of using a spray-on varnish, which makes it easy to cover all areas of the item.
If you do not have varnish to use, you can use or make your own Mod Podge to paint over the play-doh. To make your own version of Mod Podge, mix 1 part of water with 2 parts of white craft glue.
Can I Paint Play-Doh?
Yes, you can paint play-doh once it has been shaped and partially baked. You can use regular acrylic paints on semi-dry items of play-doh. It can be difficult to apply the paint smoothly to the play-doh, as the surface might be bumpy from the dried salt.
To avoid this, you could just make use of the wide range of colors that you can find with play-doh. However, sometimes you just feel like a little bit of painting, and that is fine.
It is better to try and seal the play-doh piece with Mod Podge or varnish before painting on top of it. This helps to smooth over the surface a little, which makes painting easier. It also prevents any salt deposits or crumbles from gumming up your paint, which doesn’t look too appealing.
Can You Use Superglue On Play-Doh?
If you need to stick any pieces of dried play-doh together, you can use superglue. (My favorite is this one.) Simply place a small amount of superglue onto the area and stick it down. It should dry fairly fast, but keep in mind that the play-doh might absorb quite a bit of the superglue.
Apply enough to stick the two pieces together, but not too much that it drips and then ruins other pieces of the play-doh project.
You might need to use superglue to stick magnets or earring pieces to the actual play-doh, and it might take some time to find the best glue to use for your project, but both super glue, craft glue, and hot glue should be fine to use.
Try to varnish the play-doh piece before gluing, so that it does not absorb into the play-doh too much, with the varnish acting as sort of a barrier.
Can You Make Play-Doh Soft Again?
If you are not happy with the way the project has turned out, you might be able to soften the play-doh to use it again without letting it go to waste.
In order to soften play-doh, you should place it into a bowl and add in a few drops of water to it. Let the water soak in for a little while, and then knead the play-doh, using your fingers to work the water into the dough and spread it around.
Continue to knead the dough and add in more water as you feel it is needed. It might take some time, but the dough should become soft and pliable after a while.
How successful you are at softening your play-doh will likely depend on how dry or hard it was to begin with. This definitely won’t work on anything that has been fully dried or baked, but if your child left play-doh out all day, there’s a chance you can revive it.
Does Play-Doh Go Moldy?
Yes, play-doh can go moldy over time if it is left out. To avoid this, keep the play-doh in the air-tight tubs it is sold in, or keep it in a tightly sealed bag, squeezing as much air out of the bag as you can.
Make sure the play-doh does not get wet and is not too warm when it is stored away, as this will increase the chances of it developing mold.
Once your play-doh has developed mold, it is best to just throw it away and either buy or make a new batch to use at home.
Does Play-Doh Have an Expiration Date?
Yes, play-doh does have an expiration date, so be sure to look for this on the play-doh tub and to keep it in mind. Play-doh usually lasts well past the expiration date, but you need to make sure that it is stored properly, away from moisture, heat, and light.
Is Play-Doh Washable?
Play-doh can be washed out of clothes, rugs, and couches quite easily without leaving a trace. Some mild detergent, water, and elbow grease should remove any play-doh from a surface. You could also just pop the item into the washing machine and the play-doh should come off quite easily.
When working with play-doh to make little items, it is better to wear an apron to avoid having to wash out any play-doh stuck on your clothes.