Kids have been squishing, squashing, and shaping this colorful dough for decades! Originally made to clean wallpaper in the 1930s, playdough quickly turned into an iconic children’s novelty product. It is the perfect tool for indulging your kid’s creative juices and it can even be used in various arts and crafts projects!
If your little Michaelangelo wants to savor his creation, many folks wonder if they can put playdough in the oven. The answer is a resounding yes! Just like when you fire pottery in a kiln, you can also bake playdough to preserve it, right in the comfort of your own home! However, there are some important guidelines to follow to ensure that your kid’s latest project doesn’t crack. We go over how to successfully bake playdough so that you can cherish your child’s work for years to come!
- How To Bake Playdough In the Oven
- Playdough Type Matters
- Tips For Achieving Optimal Results — Baking Playdough
- Final Steps In Preserving Your Playdough Piece
- Frequently Asked Questions — Baking Playdough
- What can my kids make with playdough that would need to be baked?
- Can I cook it at a higher temperature to speed up the hardening process?
- Will microwaving it achieve the same results as baking it in an oven?
- Is it better to bake the playdough or allow it to dry out over time?
- If we want to make fridge magnets, can we bake the magnet in the oven?
- What are the benefits of letting my child play with playdough?
- Final Thoughts — Baking Playdough in the Oven
How To Bake Playdough In the Oven
First, get a regular baking sheet and line it with either aluminum foil or wax paper. Then place your child’s creation in the center of the tray. Next, set your oven to 200 degrees. Let it preheat and then put the playdough in the oven.
There are two important things to note — first, the time it takes for the playdough to harden will directly depend on the thickness of the object. This can range from as little as five minutes all the way up to an hour!
Secondly, it is best to constantly monitor the process, checking the item every five minutes. This can be done by taking a toothpick and gently pressing it to determine the level of firmness.
Finally, once you have reached your desired consistency, pull the items out and allow them to cool before handling them. Now you have a mold that you can display and admire for decades!
Playdough Type Matters
While you can technically bake any variety of this moldable compound, the homemade versions tend to fare better in the oven. This is likely due to the fact that the playdough you make from scratch doesn’t contain any chemicals, just basic cooking ingredients.
If you want to make your own malleable concoction, it is quite actually simple! All you need is four common ingredients — flour, salt, water, and food coloring. Just mix two cups of salt with five cups of flour. Then slowly pour in two cups of warm water.
Finally, knead the mixture until you achieve your preferred thickness and texture! Lastly, add in your colors to make this messy mold a bit more fun!
Tips For Achieving Optimal Results — Baking Playdough
Larger playdough molds are more susceptible to breaking compared to smaller and flat designs. This is likely due to the pockets of air that can form while making the sculpture. For the best results, there are two removal methods that you can implement.
The first option is to roll the playdough into a ball and then use a rolling pin to push out any bubbles from the material. Conversely, your second option is called wedging. This is a technique used in pottery making.
Essentially you roll the block of playdough forward with the heels of your hands, pushing the compound into itself. Repeat this at least four to six times for a good result. However, when doing this, ensure that your child doesn’t make the playdough too flat while rolling it. This can cause them to actually fold air pockets back into the medium.
For those creative souls who want to build more intricate designs, use one of these approaches for each part of the intended mold. However, if your little artist just wants to construct fun shapes and unique decor, cookie cutters are a fantastic tool!
Final Steps In Preserving Your Playdough Piece
Once the masterpiece has had time to bake and cool, there is a simple extra step to strengthen this work of art! Head to your local arts and crafts shop and purchase some varnish or mod podge (a mix of water and white craft glue). Then take a small paintbrush and lightly glaze the item with your chosen sealant.
Finally, put the item in a dry location and leave it overnight. Voila! Your child’s sculpture is complete! By conducting this additional step, you will not only reduce the likelihood of the item breaking, but you will also enhance the piece. This brightens the colors of the playdough by removing the ashy texture that sometimes results after this concoction dries out.
Frequently Asked Questions — Baking Playdough
What can my kids make with playdough that would need to be baked?
While your child’s sculpting abilities may not fit well with your overall decor, you can actually make a lot of practical items out of playdough! Ornaments, earrings, coasters, pencil holders, fridge magnets, the list goes on and on! All you need is a little imagination, and as we all know, kids have plenty of that to go around!
Can I cook it at a higher temperature to speed up the hardening process?
If you bake the item at an increased temperature you run the risk of burning the creation or causing it to crack. Just like when you cook a brisket, your best bet is to go low and slow. However, if you choose to forego this advice, keep a close eye on the sculpture to help prevent problems from arising.
Will microwaving it achieve the same results as baking it in an oven?
While you can microwave your playdough sculptures, you won’t achieve the same result as in the oven. Expect the outside to become hard, but the inside will likely not develop the necessary firmness to prevent the creation from breaking. Unfortunately, this method does not allow you to control the temperature, making it easy for issues to occur.
Is it better to bake the playdough or allow it to dry out over time?
Either method will work, but the oven definitely expedites the drying process! If you would prefer to air dry your child’s work, just place it in a warm and dry environment for two to three days. This will allow ample time for the moisture to evaporate.
One thing to note — this is an effective method for small, flat cutouts. For those more eclectic sculptures that are composed of various chunks of playdough melded together, baking does a better job of further solidifying everything into one piece.
If we want to make fridge magnets, can we bake the magnet in the oven?
The answer to this question is yes and no. Yes, if baked at a low enough temperature, under 200 degrees, and for a short snippet of time, the magnet will likely not melt. However, most magnets will lose their effect when exposed to heat for prolonged periods.
In this case, you would have to bake the playdough at a lower than recommended temperature. This would increase your necessary bake time in order for the playdough to harden properly. Therefore, the magnet would likely still melt and lose its magnetism due to the extended time in the oven.
Thus, while you can technically bake a magnet, it is best to attach this item after you have baked the playdough separately.
What are the benefits of letting my child play with playdough?
Sensory play is a spectacular way for your little one to build their fine motor skills, improve their hand-eye coordination and it encourages creativity! Moreover, this activity boosts cognitive development and memory function as well as your child’s speech proficiency.
Additionally, the earlier you start implementing this type of play, the better off your child’s learning capabilities will become. Let them engage their artistic side with this simple, yet valuable arts and crafts project!
Finally, if you choose to make your own playdough, this is a wonderful chance to teach your kids about math! Let them measure out ingredients, mix various colors to create different hues and then calculate the time at which their project will be done baking!
While these may seem like simple tasks, they teach addition, fractions, telling time, color mixing as well as the concept of cause and effect!
Final Thoughts — Baking Playdough in the Oven
Play-Doh is in the Toy Hall of Fame for a reason! This pliable putty is fun, educational, and has the potential of becoming so many things! Helping your kids preserve their handiwork by baking the playdough in the oven can make this activity even more exciting.
Remember that it is important that you teach your child how to remove air from the material. This is a crucial step to take prior to melding it together and then baking the result. By doing this, you will lessen the possibility of cracks, therefore bettering your chances of obtaining a pristine final product!
Also, just like in the story of the tortoise and the hare, patience is a virtue. Rushing through the steps can lead to broken masterpieces and broken hearts. Remember that baking it on a low temperature, for a longer period of time will yield the best results!
Heidi is a wife, mother, Newfie owner, writer and Meteorologist. She was born and raised in Texas and has worked in the broadcast industry for going on a decade.