DIY Heat Sensitive Color Changing Playdough

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This color changing playdough recipe is super easy to make and one that your kids will love! With math, science, and sensory all wrapped up into one activity you have to try making this thermochromic playdough at home!

Color Changing Playdough Recipe

Play dough is one of our favorite sensory materials to make at home. It’s quick to make, cheap on the wallet, filled with developmental benefits, and incredibly versatile. You can literally make a playdough recipe to go with any mood you are in!

Lately my kids have been really big into mood rings. How a mood ring changed colors was fascinating to my kids. To dig a little bit deeper into how heat can affect color we made this heat sensitive playdough.

Thermochromic Playdough Recipe

Items Needed to Make Color Changing Playdough:

  • 1.5-2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2 T. cream of tartar
  • 2-3 T. baby oil
  • Thermochromic Pigment (we used these ones)
  • 1 cup of very hot water

Watch This Video to See How We Made Our Color Changing Playdough:


1. In a heat safe bowl, mix 1 cup of hot water with your thermochromic pigments. There is no right or wrong amount of how much thermochromic pigment to use. We used 1g for our batch of playdough. It is a bit difficult to judge how much you would want to use because once you add it to the hot water it lightens up. Give it all a good stir and make sure all the pigment clumps are dissolved.

2. Add in baby oil (or vegetable oil), cream of tartar, and salt. You can use either baby oil or vegetable oil, I personally like to use baby oil for the color changing playdough because this is a very stiff playdough and the baby oil gives it a softness that a vegetable oil just cannot achieve. Once everything is added in give it a good stir to help the salt dissolve a bit.

3. Then add in the flour and mix until it no longer sticks to your hands.

4. Play!


This playdough fades to a baby blue when hot that appears white when mixed with flour. Rolling it around on a cold counter will help the blue slowly come out or pop it in a freezer for 5-10 minutes.

It is easier for this color changing playdough to go from hot to cold color wise than it is for it to go from cold to hot. We had to play with it for about 15 minutes when it was in it’s cold stage before our hands heated it up enough to see some color changes.

This playdough kept for about 3 weeks in an airtight container before it started to degrade.

More Ways to Play with Playdough

Dandelion Playdough
Alphabet Playdough Mats
The Secret to Making a Vibrant and Soft Playdough
DIY Bubble Bath Playdough

Not making this playdough right this second? Then pin this post so you can easily find it later!

Color Changing Playdough Recipe

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