How Do You Harden Playdough Without Cracking It?(10 Steps)

While many people consider playdough to be a child’s toy, several others admire the beautiful sculptures and compelling masterpieces it can make. After making beautiful sculptures from play-doh, we want to keep them for a few days. But, the barrier comes with maintaining its original shape, which isn’t possible without hardening it.

So, how do you harden playdough without cracking it? You can preheat the oven at 220-degree Fahrenheit for a few minutes. Then, cover the baking sheet with foil and place the playdough over it. After baking for 10-15 minutes, the playdough will harden without any cracks.

Now, let’s get to know more about baking and hardening play-doh.

Can You Bake Playdough In The Oven?

Yes, you can bake playdough in the oven. However, improper baking techniques can make the play-doh susceptible to cracks, which can spoil the overall appearance of your beautiful sculptures.

So, make sure you follow the right baking methods to keep the playdough in the same condition for several days.

Baking playdough has become a common practice because it is a simple process. Instead of squeezing the sculpture at the end, you can make your kids happy by keeping their lovely creations. The only way is to harden the playdough, which can be done by baking it in the oven.

How Do You Harden Playdough Without Cracking It?

You can harden the playdough by baking it in the oven. But, this process needs care. Baking the playdough at a higher temperature and for a long time can make it burn and even crack.

On the other hand, less temperature and a shorter baking time will not harden it properly. So, here are a few steps you can follow for hardening the playdough in the oven without cracking it.


  1. Preheat the oven to 200-degree Fahrenheit (93-degree Celsius) for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Take a non-stick pan or baking tray.
  3. You need an additional layer to prevent sticking the playdough items on the pan or baking tray. So, make sure to cover it with foil, baking paper, or wax paper.
  4. While people might not consider it necessary, this step can harden your playdough without burning it from the bottom or sticking to the pan.
  5. Also, don’t forget to place the playdough in the middle of the tray. This step will help it get heat from all sides without burning one side.
  6. If you’re baking several small sculptures together, place them in the middle of the tray at a distance.
  7. Now, put the tray in the oven.
  8. The playdough will take 5-10 minutes to harden. While flat pieces require less time, large sculptures can take more time to harden. So, keep checking it every five minutes.
  9. After taking out the playdough from the oven, use a toothpick to check if it’s hard.
  10. If the playdough is hard, you’ve done your job! If still soft, you can bake it for a few more minutes while making sure it doesn’t burn.

You have now preserved your beautiful playdough sculptures, and they are ready to be put as decoration pieces in the house!

How Long Does It Take For Playdough To Harden?

There is no specific time for the playdough to harden. The time depends on its thickness. As mentioned before, flat pieces of playdough tend to harden fast when baked in an oven. You can expect them to harden in around five minutes.

However, if you have large and thick playdough creatures, they will take a longer time to harden. In general, you can bake the playdough for at least 10-15 minutes. This time is enough to remove the moisture within and harden the playdough.

In some cases, the playdough may take half an hour to harden. So, keep checking the playdough every few minutes. When you see a dry and tough appearance, check the hardness using a toothpick.

Quick tip:

If you have large and thick playdough sculptures, prefer baking them at a lower temperature. It will help the inside of the playdough to get hard first. Then, the outside will also harden. Although it may take more time, your playdough won’t burn.

How To Make Playdough Harden Fast?

The only method to make playdough harden fast is by baking it in the oven. When you heat the playdough at 200-degree Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, it will get hard fast.

Many people think that increasing the temperature is the best option, but they’re wrong. Baking the playdough above 200-degree Fahrenheit will only burn it from the outside, while the inside will remain soft.

So, the best idea is to wait for a few minutes and ensure even hardening throughout.

Does Playdough Harden In The Freezer?

Yes, you can harden the playdough in a freezer. It won’t also become cracked. However, one thing comes into consideration with this step.

The playdough will remain hard till the time it stays cool. When you bring the playdough back to room temperature, you’ll see it becoming soft after some time.

While freezing can harden the playdough for a short time, it isn’t the best option for hardening the playdough permanently.

Can You Bake Play-Doh In The Microwave?

The play-doh recipe requires you to bake it in the microwave for a few minutes. However, when hardening the play-doh structures, we don’t recommend using a microwave.

When it comes to hardening play-doh in a microwave, you need to be very careful. If the play-doh gets more heat, even for a few seconds, it can crack and even burn. So, you’ll need to check it regularly.

While making playdough, you put all the ingredients in a container and blend all of them until no lumps remain. Then, you cover the container and bake it in the microwave for two minutes.

Can Play-Doh Grow Mold?

Yes, play-doh can grow mold if you leave it uncovered in damp conditions. Most people leave the play-doh out to dry but end up seeing crystallites across the surface of the play-doh. If you want to avoid it, make sure to cool the playdough completely. It will help prevent mold from growing.

As uncovered play-doh also grows mold, you can store it in an air-tight container or seal it in a zip-lock bag. There would be no air circulation, preventing the mold from growing and spoiling the homemade play-doh.

Can You Dry Out Playdough?

Yes, you can dry out playdough by leaving it out in the air. However, make sure to avoid putting it in damp conditions as it can grow mold due to excessive moisture.

You can air-dry the playdough for 2-3 days. However, it can get cracked when dry, and you might see an ashy texture on the surface.

What Can I Add To Playdough To Make It Soft Again?

Adding water to the playdough is one of the easiest techniques of making it soft again.

Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

  • Put the playdough in a bowl and add a drop or two of water.
  • Don’t add too much water at once. The technique is to use water drops and knead.
  • Try to fill the cracks with a few drops of water.
  • Then, knead it again until the water completely absorbs in the playdough.
  • If you still feel the playdough isn’t soft, add another drop of water and knead it again.
  • You can repeat these steps until you get the desired softness of the playdough.

Final Thoughts

To preserve the beautiful sculptures made from playdough, baking it in the oven is the best choice. However, you need to be careful because overheating can burn and crack the playdough.

Another short-term method of hardening playdough is freezing it. When you air-dry the play-doh, make sure it stays covered and away from damp conditions.

All these precautions can help you store your playdough and decorate your house with beautiful playdough creatures!