Easy Cloud Dough Recipe

How to Clean up Cloud Dough Collage

  • Cloud dough, or moon dough, is like soft play dough and only requires two main ingredients. 
  • Kids can use toys, cookie cutters, and utensils to make shapes and designs with cloud dough. 
  • Cloud dough helps encourage sensory play by fostering a sense of exploration, emotional regulation, and independent play. 

My daughter loves homemade playdough, but I was inspired to make cloud dough because I prefer the dough-like consistency. My daughter also thought it was a great idea—she was ready to play and had so much fun! 

Cloud dough is easy to make and smells great because it contains minimal ingredients, including your favorite conditioner or lotion. 

When I say this recipe is quick, I’m not kidding. Playtime is way longer than prep time for this cloud dough recipe! 

Ingredients for Cloud Dough 

Ingredients for Cloud Dough Collage

Cloud dough is easy and fun to make—you probably already have the ingredients! It’s also a great no-cook recipe, which means your kids don’t have to practice their patience before they can play. 

Here’s what you’ll need for your cloud dough recipe:

  • Corn starch 
  • Conditioner or hand lotion 

Other cloud dough recipes call for vegetable oil or flour, but I prefer cornstarch and conditioner. Unlike a traditional playdough recipe, cloud dough doesn’t require salt! 

Optional materials and ingredients 

  • Rolling pins 
  • Cookie cutters
  • Food coloring
  • Essential oils 
  • Small toys 

My daughter had so much fun playing with the cloud dough and asked for more toys. I rummaged through the drawers and found pumpkin carving tools, cupcake holders, and cookie cutters! 

She had a blast making a pretend cupcake out of cloud dough. (Please don’t let your kids eat the cloud dough—I imagine it would taste pretty terrible!)

DIY Cloud Dough Recipe

DIY Cloud Dough Recipe Collage

A basic cloud dough recipe has equal parts cornstarch and conditioner (or lotion), so you can decide how much you’d like to make. However, a lot depends on the quality of the conditioner you use, so you may notice you’ll need to tweak the recipe. 

Steps for making a DIY cloud dough recipe:

  1. Add a cup of conditioner to the bowl.
  2. Add a cup of cornstarch.
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring for colored cloud dough. (optional)
  4. Mix until it begins forming a ball.
  5. Keep mixing until it’s not a crumbly or sticky dough.
  6. Have fun! 

I laid the finished product on a sheet of parchment paper to make it easier to clean. I generally like grabbing inexpensive tablecloths, but I use what I have. 

The goal is not to spend more money than you would if you bought the activity at a store! (DIY projects can get pricey before you know it!)

Note: While you don’t want to break the bank by making cloud dough, you may notice that cheaper conditioners produce thinner dough. However, if this happens, just add more cornstarch. 

Tips for Perfect Cloud Dough

Tips for Perfect Cloud Dough Collage

Making the perfect cloud dough is easy since you only need two ingredients. However, sometimes things don’t go as planned, and it’s always good to have a few tricks up your sleeve. 

Here’s a look at a few things to consider when making DIY cloud dough:

  • If your conditioner is thicker, use a tiny bit less cornstarch. 
  • If your cloud dough is too watery, add more cornstarch.
  • Knead your cloud dough until you get a fluffy consistency. 
  • Put your dough into a Ziploc bag to make the kneading process less messy. 
  • Wrap cloud dough in plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container.
  • For a fun twist, add a few drops of essential oils to give your cloud dough a lovely fragrance.
  • Make a few batches of cloud dough using various colors of food coloring. 

I ended up using about an extra half cup of cornstarch before I was satisfied with the consistency of my cloud dough; however, I added it a little at a time to ensure I didn’t overdo it. I bought the cheapest conditioner, so I wasn’t surprised when I had to do some tweaking. 

Sensory Play Ideas 

Here are some great ideas for using cloud dough for sensory play activities:

  • Put cloud dough in a sensory bin with trucks and toys, and let your kids explore the dough. 
  • Lay it on wax paper and use cookie cutters to make shapes and designs. 
  • Let your child explore the texture of cloud dough while discussing how it feels. 
  • Engage in sensory storytelling by molding the dough into characters and telling a story.
  • Have your kids make handprints in the cloud dough or other objects that make imprints in the dough. 
  • Use cloud dough as a sensory calming activity. Let your child knead and manipulate it in a quiet place. 

If your child enjoys activities like making cloud dough, consider creating a sensory room, allowing your child room to roam and discover. 

Benefits of Sensory Play 

According to The Cleveland Clinic11. What Is Sensory Play? The Benefits for Your Child and Sensory Play Ideas. Cleveland Clinic. 2022. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/benefits-of-sensory-play-ideas , sensory play is vital in a child’s development from birth to early childhood, helping build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways. I love it when a fun activity also gives my kids a chance to work on developing essential life skills. 

Cloud dough is a great way to encourage sensory play while helping to develop:

Cloud dough is also great for messy play, encouraging children to learn through hands-on experiences, which is an integral part of their development. (Even if it means we have more to clean!)

How to Clean up Cloud Dough 

Like every fun, messy activity, cleaning is necessary when you’re finished. You can use a spatula to scrape cloud dough from surfaces, followed by a sponge to clean up the remaining residue. If you use food coloring, clean up the area immediately to avoid staining. 

I also recommend wiping down your kids’ clothes before putting them in the wash to avoid getting cloud dough in your washing machine. Also, let it dry completely before removing it from their clothes; otherwise, you might rub it further into the fabric. 

Once I’ve cleaned up the rest of the area, I use my dustbuster to pick up tiny pieces on the floor. You can also use a bigger piece of cloud dough to pick up small pieces since they will stick together. (I do that when I make my own homemade playdough, too.)


How do you stop cloud dough from crumbling?

If your cloud dough is too crumbly, you’ll want to add extra lotion or conditioner. Frequently, you need to play around with the amount of your ingredients before you reach the desired consistency. 

Is it possible to make gluten-free cloud dough for children with allergies?

A basic cloud dough recipe is gluten-free, using only cornstarch and hair conditioner. While most food coloring is gluten-free, you’ll want to double-check if you add color to your cloud dough. 

How long does homemade cloud dough last before it needs to be replaced?

Cloud dough has no exact expiration date, especially if you store it well. If the dough dries, add a few drops of baby oil to restore it to its original consistency. It’s also best to store cloud dough in an airtight container or Ziploc bag to help it stay soft. 


  1. What Is Sensory Play? The Benefits for Your Child and Sensory Play Ideas. Cleveland Clinic. (2022, March 17). https://health.clevelandclinic.org/benefits-of-sensory-play-ideas
Easy Cloud Dough Recipe

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