How to Make Cloud Dough


Are you ready for some really messy sensory play? Cloud dough feels wonderfully soft, is moldable yet falls apart easily, and can be made in the color(s) of your choice to fit any theme!


Recipe for fluffy, colorful, moldable, wonderful cloud dough!

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To make Cloud Dough, you’ll need:

  • Flour.
  • Vegetable or baby oil.
  • Powder tempera, powdered food coloring or crushed sidewalk chalk (optional).
  • Spoon, whisk or similar (optional).
  • Bowl for mixing (optional – you can simply mix right in your sensory bin).




Note: Cloud dough is really messy, especially when it’s colored! It’s hard to keep it all in the box, it’s pretty dusty and clings to clothes and other fabrics. When you add powder tempera, those fabrics need to be washed in order to get the color out. It’s always come right out for me in the washing machine {I use the stain cycle just to be safe} but I’m not going to do cloud dough activities on the carpet anymore… {I didn’t know this the first time, and it was pretty hard to get that cloud dough out of the carpet – E’s dumping a glass of water on it didn’t help. At least it was plain cloud dough that time.} Things tend to be less messy for us when E is sitting at a table but my preference is taking cloud dough outside where I can just hose down the area when we’re done. Or you could use a large shower curtain or tarp to play on that you can just put in the washing machine when you’re done. {Read how E played with this in a sensory bin: Halloween Cloud Dough Sensory Bin. Even though she was very careful, most of her clothes ended up covered in the stuff.}




Recipe for fluffy, colorful, moldable, wonderful cloud dough!


For the basic recipe, combine eight cups of flour with one cup of oil. Mix well with a spoon, a whisk or your hands. It doesn’t take long at all.

You want a consistency that allows you to press the cloud dough into a ball that falls apart easily when you poke it. If it falls apart too easily, add a tad more oil, if it sticks together too well, add a little more flour.


Recipe for fluffy, colorful, moldable, wonderful cloud dough!


Plain cloud dough is a lot of fun – but colors can make it even more awesome!

To get colored cloud dough, simply add powdered paint, preferably before you add the oil. You’ll spend a bit more time mixing it to get an even color but it still goes pretty fast.




Here, I added a tablespoon of orange powder tempera to four cups of flour. {Be aware that eight cups is a LOT of flour – especially if you’re planning on making several colors.}


Recipe for fluffy, colorful, moldable, wonderful cloud dough!


After mixing, this is what I got:


Recipe for fluffy, colorful, moldable, wonderful cloud dough!

I wanted a more vibrant color, so I added an additional tablespoon of orange powder tempera.

Recipe for fluffy, colorful, moldable, wonderful cloud dough!

Still not quite what I was shooting for but I didn’t really want to add more paint, so I went ahead and added half a cup of oil. {Remember, I was using half the recipe above.}

I’d used a spoon to mix the dry ingredients but started mixing with my hands once the oil went in. Now that’s orange!


Recipe for fluffy, colorful, moldable, wonderful cloud dough!


For the black, I made the same amount but added the oil first


Recipe for fluffy, colorful, moldable, wonderful cloud dough!


and mixed before adding two tablespoons of black powder tempera, then mixed again with my hands.

You can still see a few white specks in the finished black cloud dough.


Recipe for fluffy, colorful, moldable, wonderful cloud dough!


It’s easier to get a uniform color if you mix paint and flour before adding oil but if you’re making several colors, you have to clean the bowl between batches. It’s up to you what you prefer. In retrospect, the tiny white specks didn’t matter at all – but next time, I’ll still mix the dry ingredients first 😉

For this project, I wanted to fill a 28 quart underbed storage container, and the two batches would’ve been enough to do that. But I decided to be really fancy and add a batch of white cloud dough made with just one cup of flour and 1/8 cup of oil to separate orange and black.

I actually added some white powder tempera but I honestly don’t think it made much of a difference 😉 Compared to the very vibrant orange and nice and dark black, it was definitely white enough!


Recipe for fluffy, colorful, moldable, wonderful cloud dough!

Now head on over to the Halloween Cloud Dough Sensory Bin post to find out how E liked it!




Have you played with cloud dough before? Have you colored it? Tell me about it in the comments, and feel free to leave a link if you’ve posted about it!




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  1. This looks like so much fun! Can’t wait to try it. I love the idea of using the dried tempera paint.

  2. Hi,
    As a preschool and toddler teacher for over 30 years, maybe I can offer some assistance. You can color dough with food coloring. I add the food coloring to water first and then mix, or it gets all over you and the children! Learned that early on 🙂 ..Or I have used powdered kool aid or Jell-o gelatin mix (powder form) and add it. They are safe and if eaten it wouldn’t harm your child..although you would try and keep it out of their mouths as much as you can..smells great, too! (sensory experience)

    1. Thank you for the great suggestions, Linda! It makes me so happy that there are so many ways to make sensory materials taste safe for babies and toddlers!