Our homemade silly putty recipe was originally posted in February 2016. I’m updating the post in August of 2020 with step by step photos, additional tips and instructions, and a second recipe for a larger batch of silkier colorful silly putty.
This homemade silly putty recipe uses only two ingredients that you probably already have at home! With corn starch and dish soap, you can make a fun easy silly putty that’s great for sensory play and stress relief.
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Science Experiments and Non-Edible Recipes
Some of our favorite recipes to make are actually not for eating. This homemade silly putty recipe is a great example. I think it’s something my mother instilled in me when I was a kid.
Back before the days of Pinterest, my mom had a big book of science experiments that I would pore over trying to decide which ones looked the most fun and exciting. In addition to doing experiments from the book I would often come up with my own, trying to find the right combination of ingredients.
I remember one specific experiment when I was so excited to have
found the right ratio of flour and water to turn strips of toilet paper into a make believe cast.
My poor mother must have thought I was in some major digestive distress when I locked myself in the bathroom for an hour waiting for it to dry and harden, claiming I just wasn’t done going to the bathroom yet.
It’s been a lot of fun seeing my son gain that same excitement for science, which will hopefully give him the same confidence to experiment in the kitchen as it did for me.
Homemade Silly Putty Recipe
Last week I wanted to get some good playtime in with Corban, but I also wanted to get some work done on my huge undertaking of completely reorganizing our whole house.
So I jumped onto my Kid Crafts and Activities Pinterest board, and looked for a fun recipe type craft. I wanted an activity that would give us some interacting time, then keep him busy playing while I worked.
This goop recipe is a lot of fun, but I thought it might be too messy unsupervised.
Fluffy slime is always a hit but uses liquid starch, which we didn’t have.
Then I spotted a two ingredient silly putty recipe, and was so excited to see it just used corn starch and dish soap, which we always have on hand. So we got out the ingredients and supplies, and Corban helped me measure what we needed.
It was delightful watching him intently measure and stir, then seeing his eyes light up as he kneaded the ingredients by hand and felt their texture change between his little fingers.
We played with the silly putty together for a little while, then I headed into the guest bedroom/dumping ground to continue sorting through stuff to get rid of.
It was 35 minutes before he called for me saying he was done playing. That’s like 8 years in 3 year old boy strapped into a booster seat time!
How to Make Silly Putty
I introduced Larkin to homemade silly putty at the same age Corban was when he first made it. We also upped our silly putty recipe game a bit with adding color and making it a little silkier.
Here’s step by step photos from Larkin showing you how to make silly putty at home.
Silly Putty Ingredients
This homemade silly putty recipe only requires 2 ingredients: corn starch and dish soap. But there are a couple optional ingredients to add.
If you want to make your silly putty colorful, you will also want to mix in some food coloring. And if you’re looking to make a silkier silly putty, you can also add a bit of baby oil.
DISH SOAP – For making putty I just use our normal dish soap we wash dishes with. We prefer an environmentally friendly dish soap free of fragrances and dyes.
FOOD COLORING – We used this neon purple for Larkin’s silly putty recipe.
BABY OIL – We really only use baby oil for projects like this and our kinetic sand. We use Johnson and Johnson but any brand will work.
Start by dumping cornstarch into a large bowl. If you want to measure you can use one cup of cornstarch for this larger batch silly putty recipe. I let her just dump cornstarch in and eyeballed the amounts.
Next you need to add half the amount of dish soap. So in this case about 1/2 cup.
Begin mixing the cornstarch and dish soap together. You can use a fork, or a small silicone spatula.
The putty won’t form together just by mixing, and that’s okay.
Add about a tablespoon of baby oil. You can also use a cooking oil like avocado oil or canola oil.
If you would like to dye your homemade silly putty recipe, add in a few drops of food coloring. Then mix everything as well as you can with your fork or spatula.
Once everything is mixed as well as possible with the fork (or spatula), start kneading the putty with your hands until it is smooth and evenly colored.
You may get food dye on your hands but we found that the soap and oil in the homemade silly putty recipe help make the color easy to wash off with soap and water.
This homemade silly putty recipe is not one that you save to play with again, as it does begin to dry out after an hour or so. But making silly putty is half the fun!
If you’d like to save some you can choose to play with just 1/4 to 1/2 of the batch, and seal the rest up in a really airtight container for future sensory play.
Homemade Silly Putty Recipes
Do you have a favorite homemade silly putty recipe for us to try next? Feel free to leave it (or a link to it) in the comments below!
You can also click here to save the two ingredient recipe to Pinterest, then leave a photo in the comments of the pin when you give it a try.
- 2 Tablespoons corn starch
- 1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons liquid dish soap
- Measure the two ingredients into a bowl, and use a fork to mix them together. They won't really mix very well yet, don't panic!
- Now use your hands to began squeezing and kneading them together for a few minutes, until they magically begin to combine and form your silly putty. SCIENCE!
Click here to save the large batch silky recipe to Pinterest. Don’t forget to leave a picture in the pin comments. We love seeing your creations!
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup dish soap
- 1 tablespoon baby oil
- 3 drops food dye
- Use a fork to mix the cornstarch and dish soap in a large bowl.
- Add baby oil and food dye and mix as much as possible with the fork.
- Then use your hands to knead the putty until it is smooth.
- You will get some food dye on your hands when kneading the putty, but the oil and dish soap in the recipe make it easy to wash the color off with soap and water.
- This putty begins to dry out within an hour of play. Since this is a big batch, you could store half or more of it in an airtight container for later, and play with smaller batches at a time.