It might surprise you that Play-Doh’s original purpose wasn’t to be a toy and loved by millions around the world but originally used as a wallpaper cleaning product!
A man by the name of Cleo McVicker in the late 1920’s was in the renovation industry and found people were looking for a wallpaper cleaner due to all the soot on the walls from coal burning to keep their homes warm. Cleo and his brother decided to design a dough like substance to roll across dirty walls to clean the soot and dirt away. It was sought after by many and their business venture began!
Then with the decline of using coal furnaces and the introduction of vinyl wall paper (which wiped clean easier) it meant that there was less need for their inventive dough.
Tragically in 1949 Cleo died in a plane crash and his son and brother in law took the company over. Another family member, Kay who was a nursery teacher, needed inexpensive materials to make Christmas decorations and purchased some of the wallpaper cleaner to use as modelling clay. They rolled it out and used cookie cutters to make shapes which they dried out in the oven to make Christmas ornaments.
After Joseph heard about this the reinvention of the cleaning product began. The detergents were removed from the dough so it was safe for children and it became known as Play-Doh. Originally it only came in a white colour, but is now enjoyed in range of colours, including sparkles and can be found in millions of homes around the world.
With a history of reinvention it’s not a surprise there are more life hacks that can be done with this resourceful and historic toy.
Here are our Top 6 Favourite Play-Doh Hacks:
Play-Doh Hack #1 Reuse and re purpose old Play-Doh Containers. There is a range of options for these tiny Play-Doh pots including:
- Storing small toys or household items e.g bobby pins, small Lego pieces, buttons.
- Planting seedlings or succulents inside the pots
- Making a travel kit for when on the go to hold a sharpener, eraser and small pencils
Play-Doh Hack #2 Play Doh and Nature (DIY fossils). Hunt around the garden for leaves, flowers and seed pods. Create mini hamburger patty sized pieces of Play-Doh and carefully press the items into the Play-Doh. Pull them off gently to reveal a fossil print made into the Play-Doh.
Play-Doh Hack #3 Make DIY stress balls with balloons and Play-Doh. Cut the top off two balloons. Roll Play-Doh into a snake shape and stuff firmly into one balloon until it is the desired size. Then, via the open section of the other balloon, pull it over the opening of the stuffed balloon so there are no openings left. Then you have DIY stress ball and no mess if they accidentally break.
Play-Doh Hack #4 Reviving dry Play Doh. Forgot to pack the Play-Doh away? We’ve all been there! Restore moisture back into dried out Play-Doh by tearing it into manageable amounts so that you can add a few drops of water into it and knead it through. Your tired and dried out Play-Doh will be just like new again.
Play-Doh Hack #5 Clean your car with Play-Doh. This one is a game changer, even the kids will help with this one! Roll Play-Doh into a sausage shape and then roll it over the dirt, sand, fluff, and the holy grail of car mess with kids – GLITTER that has built up in your car floors or seats. Hey presto! Clean car. Thanks Play-Doh!
Play-Doh Hack #6 Everyone loves a game of UNO. Little hands can find it hard to hold all the cards. This is where Play-Doh come in handy. Literally!
You can buy Play-Doh at great prices from Amazon Australia here.
Elise is the founder & consultant for award winning brands What’s On 4 Kids AU & What’s On 4 Travel and a mum of three busy kids who love sport, art & music. She’s also a paediatric Occupational Therapist, coffee lover and an eternal & unapologetic optimist.