Christmas Tree Scented Play-dough

This isn’t our usual play-dough recipe. I was out of cream of tartar, so I turned to Google. It turns out you can use a variety of things instead, including lemon juice, which I thankfully had on hand.

My usual play-dough recipe also makes at least double this amount, and I knew I didn’t need a ton for this purpose, so I reduced the amount of ingredients, crossed my fingers… and voila – worked!


1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
3/4 cup water minus 3 tablespoons
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon oil (I used vegetable)
Green food colouting
Siberian Fir essential oil (optional)


1.) Combine water and lemon juice in a microwaveable measuring cup until just boiling (was about 2.5 minutes for me).

2.) Meanwhile, mix flour and salt.

3.) Remove water/lemon juice from microwave. Add green food colouring (I did about 15 drops, but could have done more) and 5-10 drops of Siberian Fir (or other essential oil), if using.

4.) Stir in to dry ingredients carefully (I used a silicone spatula). Mix until dough starts to form slightly.

5.) Drizzle oil over top, then knead until dough forms. Be careful, it is still hot!


It felt really sticky when I first started to knead, but once it cooled the consistency was perfect. You can add a little bit of flour once it has cooled if it still feels sticky. This recipe seems equivalent to the one I usually use.. but it’s cheaper without the cream of tartar! If it holds up to my kids, then this may become my new go-to recipe.

Invitation to play

Now the fun part. Set the play-dough out with a tree shaped cookie cutter and various items to decorate your trees with. We used some beads, pompoms, pipe cleaners, jingle bells, and little gingerbread men. My sister gave Rory some wooden vehicles last weekend and they came in this awesome wooden tray… I couldn’t wait to repurpose it!

Rory really loved this activity and I know it’ll be a hit with Ayla once she’s home from school. I think it’d be even better with a bigger Christmas tree cookie cutter as ours is quite small.



This is a really simple Christmas activity! Play-dough is wonderful for fine motor development, but adding scent makes it even more fun to play with.