Easily Change Up Your Playdough With Scents

Easily Change Up Your Playdough With Scents

Are you looking to make amazing playdough? Or are you tired of your regular playdough and want some way to change it up? Why not make your playdough smelly…. in a good way? I wanted to share with you how we’ve made our playdough smell great in the past by adding scents and for fun, since the smell can’t be captured in a photo, I figured I’d also throw in some glittery playdough too.

Pinterest Image showing a collage of found images, also shown below, along with the blog's title and the main URL.

If you haven’t made playdough before or are looking to see how I make mine you can check out my favorite go to playdough recipe here. If you’re out of food dye you can easily leave it out for a plain white playdough (and later use washable markers if you want some color) or use kids’ paints to dye the playdough different colors. Or are you having issues with your playdough? Here’s how I troubleshoot mine when it becomes too wet or too dry. Now on to the scents.

Flavor Extracts

From the very beginning of me making playdough I’ve often used McCormick® Extracts to add a scent component to my playdough. After making my first batch I loved it so much that I actually ended up buying all of the current McCormick® Extracts I could find from my regular grocery shopping spot at the time. I loved it… although over the proceeding years I became lazier and stopped using them. That said I can now see jumping back into using more scents now that the kids are older as it would allow them to truly be able to plan out their custom playdough.

To use the extracts I add them to the playdough at one of two different points in the playdough making process. First just a word of caution… it’s better to add too little of the extract rather than having too much as you can always add more later if the scent isn’t strong enough. If I’m making a batch of playdough with a single scent I always add the extract to the boiling water, along with any water-based food dye I want, before adding the water to the dry ingredients. I then knead the playdough so it all comes together and I end up with a large ball with only one scent. If I’m wanting to have multiple scents I first make the playdough and divide it so I have one ball of playdough for each scent I want to use. I then use my fingers to create a well in the center of each playdough ball before dropping any extract and food dye I want in. I next close up the hole by covering it with playdough and then kneading the extract and dye into the playdough while attempting to not come into direct contact with it.

The photo shows a closeup of a white plate. On the plate rests five balls of playdough where one rests in the center and the other five surround the first one.
The time I made this playdough I mixed up a single, or doubled(?), batch of playdough and after kneading it together I split it into five groups. I then pushed a well in the center of each ball and then dropped a bit of flavor extract, along with some food dye, into each before pushing the playdough into the hole and kneading it all together. For these I used six different extracts and made sure each playdough would be a unique color to help tell them apart.

Spices and Cocoa Powder

Last year I made cinnamon scented playdough for gifts using my regular recipe and adding a bunch of ground cinnamon to it. I followed a similar process using cocoa powder (not hot chocolate powder) to make a chocolate scented playdough too. Both smelled truly incredible! To make them I first looked online for inspiration and then once I knew it was possible I jumped in by adding the cinnamon or cocoa powder to my dry ingredients, mixing it in, and then continuing along with my recipe. For both recipes I skipped the food dye and let the cinnamon and cocoa powder shine through.

Specifically for the chocolate playdough I used the Imagination Tree’s Best Ever Chocolate Play Dough Recipe as inspiration while for the cinnamon playdough I first read over both the Simple Southern Mom’s Easy Cinnamon Play Dough along with the Imagination Tree’s Gingerbread one before jumping in. Just remember since we’re adding more dry ingredients, the cinnamon and/or cocoa powder, you may need to add more water later on to bring it together. If you want to see how to easily recover it check out this post I made on troubleshooting playdough.

Image shows a ball of brown playdough with bits removed at the top. Around it is a squished path of playdough with Zoey leaned over squashing a section with a blue spatula. Off to the right you can see the edge of some plastic wrapped balls.
At first I gave Zoey the cinnamon playdough with just spatula I had just used to help mix the playdough up with.
Image shows a table coated in heart cookies, Play-Doh tools, a plate of decorated cookies, and a single ice cream cone.... all brown and cinnamon scented.
Later the kids went to town making many cinnamon-scented desserts with their Play-Doh tools.

Essential Oils

Twice now I’ve used essential oils to add an element of scent to our playdough. The first time I used lavender oil and dyed the playdough a dark lavender to match. This time around, just last week, I added a kids pure essential oil blend called Peace and Calm I purchased through Fabulous Frannie. I can’t remember how I combined the oil into the playdough the first time but this time around I looked online first and found an Essential Oil Play Dough Recipe through The Pinning Mama who used 10-12 drops for a recipe that looked similar in size to mine. Since I was quadrupling my recipe I added just over 40 drops to my canola oil before then combining it in with the dry ingredients and continuing with my recipe resulting in one large batch of hopefully peaceful and calming playdough.

Just be careful adding essential oils to playdough especially for children. Some essential oils shouldn’t be used around kids and/or pets so it’s always good to check before using. I’ve been following Using Essential Oils Safety on Instagram to get tips and tricks.

Photo shows a tube of light lavender playdough cut into eleven slices.
It ended up not being as pretty as I wanted it to be but I made a lavender-hued quadrupled batch of playdough with the Kids Peace and Calm essential oil added in for gifts this year.
Photo shows nine equal-ish sections of playdough with my playdough-making tools laid out behind it.
I wanted nine balls of playdough from the quadrupled batch so I attempted to cut it into equal sections, counted out nine of them, and then took the excess playdough and added it to the smaller portions. After I took this photo I grabbed each section of playdough, rolled it into a ball, and used plastic wrap to seal it keeping it soft until Christmas.


Okay, I know glitter isn’t a scent but since you’re here figuring out how to change up your playdough and since it’s so hard to photograph a smell I wanted to throw some glittery playdough your way. So far I’ve only added glitter when making my own homemade playdough but I’m guessing you could also mix it into store-bought Play-Doh too if you’d like. Whenever I make glittery playdough I always dump the glitter into the dry ingredients and mix it in before adding the boiling water and bringing the playdough together.

Image is of a floured tabletop. Both girls are sitting down with their glittery playdough in front of them.
This time I had either girl make their own color, I think it was for a birthday present, and we liberally sprinkled both silver and gold glitter into either bowl of dry ingredients, and canola oil, before adding the boiling water and kneading the playdough together. Afterwards, either kid got some of both colors, some extra flour (which can dry out the playdough), and a bowl as a stepping point to play with before they went to get out their playdough toys.
Image shows my countertop with seven small balls of sparkly white-ish playdough and one large ball. Behind them sits a metal measuring cup with some flour and my electric kettle.
With this batch I wanted to make different colors of playdough but I wanted them to all be glittery. To simplify the process I made a batch of glittery playdough and then split it up into smaller balls so I could dye each one individually.
Image shows a closeup of seven glittery balls of playdough with wells full of food dye in each.
After making the balls I poked my finger into each one and then added the food dye in. If you want each one scented differently this is the time to also add your extracts or essential oils.
Image shows a row of sparkly colored balls of playdough and a spatula. The balls are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, black, and purple.
After mixing the dye in I was left with seven gorgeously colored sparkly balls of playdough.

Have you made scented playdough before? Did you make it a similar way to one of the ones above or do something different? What’s your favorite playdough scent? I’d love to branch out so feel free to share what you did in the comments below. I hope your December is going well and you’re staying safe. Hope you have a great day.

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