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Play-Doh is as fun as it is messy, and children love making and creating many different shapes. Often parents want to save the cute, precious creations and will attempt to harden the Play-Doh
Sculptures formed from clay are normally hardened to keep the shape, but Play-Doh is more malleable and meant to be reformed over and over again.
Play-Doh will harden in the microwave, but it will dry out and crack very easily. The ingredients are safe to heat up, but the shape will most likely be destroyed and change colors once it’s handled.
If you feel the need to quickly dry a Play-Doh creation, cover it and cook it in for no more than two minutes. The microwave will be difficult to control the hardening process though.
You can instead put the precious Play-Doh creation in the oven on the lowest temperature and allow it to harden that way. Although this will take quite a bit longer you won’t destroy the creation and it should harden in the same shape this way.
Children who love playing with Play-Doh will come up with some really creative sculptures that may be inspired by events in their lives. The sculptures are little captured memories that family can look at and enjoy.
Though Play-Dog has similarities to molding clay, it does react differently when hardened. The Play-Doh can easily crack and lose its integrity.
To see the most popular Play-Doh sets on the market just click here.
How Can You Harden Play-Doh?
Play-Doh can be effectively hardened in two simple ways.
Just remember that hardened Play-Doh means the end of the life of that Play-Doh. You can help soften old Play-Doh, but once hardened using these methods you are better off buying or making new than you are trying to re-use the hardened stuff.
Hardening Play-Dog can be done in the oven at a low temperature (200 degrees) or it can be left out in a dry place for a few days.
To harden Play-Doh in the oven, you should set the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and place it on a baking sheet wrapped in nonstick foil. You should let the Play-Dog bake for about 15 – 20 minutes.
If you do not need the Play-Doh hardened immediately, you could place it on a plate and put it in a dry place for a couple of days.
Hasbro does make a Play-Doh display case which will harden the Play-Doh as well as protect it from things in the air while still keeping the shape of the creation.
The display case should really only be used for smaller creations since it has limited space. Hasbro’s display case comes in one size, but you could also make something similar if you really want to.
Some people like to go the extra mile and cover their hardened Play-Doh in a clear varnish to help preserve it even longer. A simple varnish could be created with 2 parts white glue and 1 part water.
I remember when I was younger and every time I wanted to play with Play-Dou I had to get out the tarp we kept with the little tubs of Play-Doh. My mom would be so excited to watch me play and I definitely wanted to keep some of the shapes/creations that I had made.
I know that my little kid brain thought I had made the coolest thing ever.
The memorialized creations of mine never stood a chance however as I always wanted to play with them again and inevitably broke them or lost interest because they were too hard.
Such is the way of children and their toys.
How To Soften Accidentally Hardened Play-Doh
Sometimes Play-Doh gets left out after play time or the lids on the containers are not put on completely. You always seem to notice the Play-Dog is hard right after you already got everything out and the kids are excited to play with it.
What should you do when you don’t have time to run to the store and get more Play-Doh or really want to save what you already have?
Water is your best friend when it comes to softening hard Play-Doh.
To fix hardened Play-Doh slowly add water into it while constantly folding the water and hardened Play-Doh together. You can also wrap your hard Play-Doh in a wet paper towel or washcloth and let it sit overnight.
You can use water in a variety of creative ways to rehydrate your Play-Doh and make it just as pliable and soft as it was the day it was opened.
You really just need to get some water into the Play-Doh to soften it up. Since Play-Doh is mainly flour and salt, you do not want to add too much water or it will lose its composition entirely.
Just be sure to add the water slowly and work it in or let the Play-Doh absorb the water at its own pace. This will ensure that you don’t have a watery form of Play-Doh that is just as worthless as when it was hard.
What Can You Do With Hardened Play-Doh?
Just because you have some Play-Doh that is hardened doesn’t mean that it can no longer be used for anything.
Hardened Play-Doh can be used for a variety of things including for crafts or decorations. You can make some fun things on purpose that will last a long time.
Hardened Play-Doh Christmas ornaments and sentimental keepsakes make great gifts for parents and grandparents.
Children can help shape ornaments for their parents or other family members who enjoy sentimental gifts that bring up nice memories.
My mom still has some ornaments my little sister and I made in 1997. Every year she puts them on the tree and laughs at how cute we used to be.
And every year my sister and I cringe at the things we made.
Play-Doh ornaments could be easily constructed with cookie cutters. Your little one could pick out the shape, roll out the Play-Doh, and make the cutout themselves.
Before you bake the ornaments you can also punch out a little hole to run ribbon through once the Play-Doh is hardened. After the hardening process, you or your children can paint on the finishing touches and add their name and year.
Some kids have even made handprints or footprints in their Play-Doh. You can roll out the Play-Doh and have your child make a hand print that can then be painted and have their name written on it.
Be sure to paint after you hardened the Play-Doh, and if you want the structure to keep its shape, you should bake it to seal it.
Microwaving Play-Doh will work but the shape will most likely crack and fall apart easier so it’s not something that I would recommend that you do.