Monday Made It with Holly from Research and Play

Hey everyone, happy summer! I'm Holly Hodges from Research and Play. I'm joining Tara this summer with her Monday Made It series, and I'm excited to show you what I made!

This is me with my sweet nephew!
I am so loving this first week off from school. Although I absolutely loved my class this past year (seriously, the sweetest class I've ever taught), I feel no shame in how much I love being done for a few weeks. I can finally accomplish that personal life to-do list that seems to always get pushed aside during the school year. And even though today included buying new tires and getting those installed (woo, #adulting), it also included some fun crafting and making!

I'm sure many of you have made your own homemade playdoh before. Being a kindergarten teacher, playdoh is part of our everyday routine. We literally use it all 180 days as part of our Play Centers (click to read more about that). So as you can imagine, we go through a lot of playdoh. It isn't super expensive, but I knew it was about time to learn how to make it myself to be even cheaper smarter with my money. And all in all, I probably spent about $4 since I had most of the ingredients already at home!

I followed THIS RECIPE I found on Pinterest. Like the pin says, it takes about 10 minutes. I made three batches and added essential oils, so it took me about 20 minutes. But if $4 and 20 minutes is all it takes for, supposedly, a batch of playdoh that lasts a year (!!!!) then why not try it out?

Here are the ingredients you need: AP flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil, water, food coloring, and wax paper. I added essential oils and vanilla extract, but you don't have to!

First, add the flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil, and water to a pot. Turn it to medium-low and begin stirring. It will be pretty lumpy, but that's ok.

Once the mixture starts to become less liquid-y (yes that's not a real word), add your food coloring. About 7-8 drops should be plenty, but you'll be able to see if you want to add more.

When the playdoh starts sticking to the spoon, it's time to take it out. It takes about 2 minutes total in the pot!

Put the playdoh on some wax paper. This is when I added essential oils/extract, but you can skip this step.

Let cool for just a minute, then start kneading until all the lumps are out and you're left with a smooth ball of playdoh!

Voila! Not only were they super fast to make but they smell SO GOOD. Each color is about twice the size of a regular tub of playdoh - yet another win!

This next one made me feel like the smartest person ever. So I'm not a seamstress, I can't sew at all. I also have an obsession with throw pillows, both at home and in my classroom. The dilemma is that throw pillows are way too expensive. Just a few days ago I was at HomeGoods and noticed most throw pillows were priced from $20-30. With the amount of pillows that I have, there's just no way I could afford to keep up my addiction. So, what's a non-sewing person to do? This GENIUS HACK. It cost $10 for the sham that was on clearance at Target (I got a sham instead of a regular pillow case for sheets because the material is thicker, much better for high-use areas like couches). I already had the feather pillow insert from IKEA, but I think those are around $7. Now I will say, the one thing I can do (as I'm sure most people could) is sew on a button. So since I have a little mini sewing kit at home with thread and buttons, I already had most of the things I needed. I'll never buy a pillow from HomeGoods again! (Well that's asking a lot...)

What you'll need: A pillow insert, clearance pillow case or sham, a needle, thread, and two buttons (not pictured).

First, put the pillow into the sham and push it all the way to one end. You'll have a floppy end.
Fold over the floppy end to the back. You'll be sewing two buttons underneath this flap.

Sew on a button, then cut a small slit in the back of the sham for the button to go into! Medium/large buttons are best for this.

There you have it! A super cute pillowcase for MUCH cheaper than the stores. 

Last step, marvel at your work and enjoy.

For my last "craft," I used Powerpoint. As in, I've been crafting away on a brand new resource for your classroom! If you're wanting something new and fresh and clean for your class decor, I've got what you need. Watercolor foliage in aqua, seafoam, teal, blue, green...what's not to love? Included in this growing resource are schedule cards, alphabet word wall cards, number wall cards, and class jobs.

But just for you, a freebie! Here is a classroom voice levels chart that matches the watercolor foliage theme. You can introduce this chart early in the school year and explain when to use each level. Ten, display this chart somewhere where students can see it throughout the day. Use a magnet or sticky note to place next to the level that the students should be using at the moment. Easy peasy! Click on the picture below to grab yours!

Thank you so much for reading along! Hopefully you can use some of these crafts in your classroom or home! Have a wonderful summer!


  1. Your projects are great. Last year I bought playdough, but this year I think I'll make my own. And even though I do sew, I think your pillow hack is an idea I may try.

  2. I've always wanted to try making my own play dough! Thanks for sharing those directions :-) Your decor looks beautiful!

  3. I used to make my own play-dough when my younger son was a toddler. He has autism and was on a special gluten-free diet for years, and the store bought brands all contain gluten. So I made it with rice flour and xanthan gum, but similar to your recipe otherwise.....great idea to add essential oils to it!

  4. I love your pillow idea.....I just may that a try!! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas!

    Teaching at the Beach

  5. Love your playdoh! The colors are fantastic!


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