EDIT: Oops... I forgot to add flour to the ingredients' list. A lovely reader caught my mistake, and the recipe my includes 2 cups of flour. Thank you, Laura :)
I have a confession to make. Actually, not really a confession because that would imply that I am apologizing, and I'm not :) I guess this is more of an admission. Sometimes, oh, probably 4 or 5 times a week, I look at the clock before going to bed and I think... just 6 more hours and I can have a cup of coffee! Pretty pathetic, right? I'm telling you this just to let you know I'm always looking for things to do with coffee grounds. Yep, I do compost them, and I frequently use them in place of dirt in crafting projects, but still, I generate a lot of coffee grounds.
So, it's no surprise, that I'm drawn to making coffee playdough. Besides the abundance of coffee grounds in this house, it is a fun sensory dough. Yes, it does smell like coffee, but not enough to make wee ones wrinkle their noses. It also gives the dough an interesting texture and unique appearance. Over the years we have used this playdough as mud for pigs to wallow in, for dinosaurs to leave their foot prints in, and to make "brown stuff" like tree trunks, mushrooms, and at some point, someone will inevitably make doggy doo-doo... just happens :)
This playdough does tend to dry out fast, so always keep the unused playdough in an airtight container. Also, if you allow the playdough to dry out, the color does lighten up. You can intensify the color by rubbing a little oil on the finished piece or coating it in a sealer like Mod Podge.
Another comment... the original recipe I got many years ago called for instant coffee and plain water. Instant coffee in my house... blasphemy! So, instead, I add very hot, very dark brewed coffee to the dough as a substitute for plain water. It still will not have a dark brown appearance, the instant coffee does make the dough darker, so I do add enough red and green food coloring to achieve a nice, deep brown.
COFFEE PLAYDOUGH RECIPE
1/2 cup of coffee grounds
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 cup of very hot coffee
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon vegetable glycerin (available at grocery, drug stores and some craft shops in the cake decorating section)
optional: brown food coloring
optional: 1 tablespoon instant coffee
Gather all your ingredients.
If the wee ones are making this with me, we mix it up in a big bowl.
However... if I am making it myself, I sometimes cheat and mix it all in my food processor :)
If you want your dough a deeper brown, knead in food coloring by hand.
Store in an airtight container.
I love to make mushrooms and tree trunks with this dough. To make a mushroom, simple make a round disk with an indentation in the center for the cap. Roll out a stem.
Wet the end of the stem and add it the indentation.
Wah, lah... a mushroom. Make many for your wee folk and woodland friends :)