An easy 2-ingredient cloud dough recipe made with lotion and cornstarch. A versatile homemade kid playdough recipe perfect for sensory play activities and 100% natural.
What is cloud dough?
2-ingredient Cloud Dough is a dough made with cornstarch and body lotion or baby oil. It’s a dough that parents and teachers love to use for kid sensory play activities because it can have many different textures.
In fact, contrary to regular playdough recipes, cloud dough even lets your kids experience different textures while you make it.
When you first start mixing the ingredients together, it has a crumbly texture, like damp sand.
Then, as you squeeze it, it looks like Moon sand. It becomes moldable but still crumbles apart.
Finally, after squeezing it for a few minutes and gathering the pieces together, it turns into soft, smooth play dough.
How to make 2-ingredient cloud dough?
All you need to make a cloud dough recipe at home with your kids are two ingredients plus decoration:
- Corn starch – see the paragraph below to read my recommendations on how to make cloud dough without cornstarch.
- Body lotion – we recommend using baby body lotion or plant-based natural body lotion. These body lotions contain no perfume and only natural ingredients that won’t create allergies or reactions to kids’ hands.
- Food coloring – this is optional but much more fun! You can use liquid or powdered food coloring. Many spices or food make great food coloring for play dough like beetroot powder for a pink color, turmeric powder for orange, cinnamon for brown, and spirulina powder for a green/blue color. Other options are to buy liquid natural plant-based food coloring.
- Sprinkles or sparkles – you can add food sprinkles to the dough to add more sensory experience to this easy cloud dough recipe or sparkles to let the dough shine.
Measure the ingredients precisely
Like for food recipes, craft recipes require precision. I recommend using proper measuring cups to measure your 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of lotion.
Make sure you fill the cup to the top, then level up to remove any extra. If you add too much corn starch, the texture will be very crumbly, like sand. On the other hand, too much lotion makes the dough super sticky.
Combining wet and dry ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, add the body lotion and liquid food coloring if used. Use a silicone spatula or spoon to stir in cornstarch. It will look very dry and crumbly like sand, and that’s normal.
Dig your hands in the mix and squeeze to bring all ingredients together. Watch out! If you add food coloring, it stains your hands easily. Kids don’t mind color on their hands but use gloves for kneading the dough if you do.
How to make 2-ingredient cloud dough with baby oil?
Simply use the original cloud dough recipe here and swap the body lotion by baby oil.
How to make cloud dough with conditioner?
Simply use the original cloud dough recipe here and swap the body lotion by conditioner.
How to store cloud dough?
Cloud dough doesn’t store well, and its properties change a lot after 30 minutes of play. However, you can store it in an airtight container. You can also use ziplock bags. It will become extremely crumbly and dry after storage, so you will have to adjust the consistency by adding lotion. Usually, a few teaspoons of lotion are enough to fix a dry cloud dough.
How to fix dry cloud dough?
Cloud dough dries out very quickly, changing from soft and moldable to dry and crumbly. To fix that, add a little bit more lotion, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, squeeze the dough to bring the ingredients together, and bring the crumbly pieces back into a dough.
How to make cloud dough without cornstarch?
Cornstarch is the main ingredient in any cloud dough recipe, but the good news is you can use other starchy flours to make it. However, note that you may have to add a small amount of extra flour for these flours to reach a similar texture to a cloud dough recipe with cornstarch.
Other gluten-free flours to make cloud dough without cornstarch are:
– Arrowroot powder
– Tapioca flour
– Potato starch
You can’t use all-purpose flour to make cloud dough. The texture wouldn’t be the same.
How to play with cloud dough?
There are many ways you can use cloud dough.
You can simply ask the kids to dig in and squeeze the ingredients together. Children love to play with cloud dough from the start of the recipe to the end. They will enjoy a three-step sensory experience:
- Crumbly like sand
- Damp sand sticks together when you apply pressure and then falls apart easily like moon sand.
- Soft play dough after a few minutes of hard squeezing, the dough is soft and moldable like homemade playdough.
Sensory Bin fillers
Roughly mix the ingredients. Don’t squeeze and add them to any sensory bins. It will mimic the look and texture of damp sand.
It’s not the best moldable dough to play with, in the sense that cloud dough dries out fast and crumbles apart like Moon sand. So it’s not the best to create shapes or objects, but it is still very fun to squeeze. It is more like slime. You play with cloud dough for its fun texture, not to create things.
More playdough recipes
For moldable playdough recipe, the kinds that resemble the store-bough ones, use my playdough recipes below:
Have you made this 2-ingredient cloud dough with lotion recipe? Share a comment or review below. I love to see your feedback on my kids’ craft activities.
Have fun, Carine
Cloud Dough Recipe with Lotion
- 1/2 cup Corn Starch
- 1/4 cup Lotion
- 2-3 drops Natural food coloring or 1 teaspoon spices * see notes
- Measure all the ingredients precisely with measuring cups that you fill up to the top and level up.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add lotion, liquid food coloring if used, and corn starch.
- Stir with a spatula at first. It will form crumbly sand, that's normal, and kids love this part. Dig your hand in the mixture, squeeze and run the ingredients together to form a dough. It will look like damp sand that holds together as you apply pressure on it then crumbles again.
- After 1 minute of kneading the dough, it should form a moldable dough similar to classic playdough, but that breaks much more easily into pieces.
- Play with it as is or crumble in a plastic tub to create a sensory bin.
How to fix cloud dough?
- If the dough is too sticky, add more cornstarch, 1 teaspoon at a time, knead between each addition.
- If the dough is drying out – this always happens after 15-20 minutes – add more lotion, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, knead to incorporate, and adjust if needed.
How to store the dough?
- Store cloud dough in a sealed lightly oiled box for few weeks. The dough will dry as it goes, use the steps above to fix the texture.
- Beet powder for pink
- Turmeric for orange
- Cinnamon for brown
- Spirulina powder or Matcha powder for green/blue
Slime & Playdough Safety
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