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  • Writer's pictureStudent Wellbeing Service

Try Something Different to Ease Your Stress.


Try a fun and creative and simple activity to make an aromatherapy stressball.

Making playdough is quick and simple activity and incorporating essential oils can be a fun, unique way to experience the benefits of aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy playdough engages not just your sense of smell, but your sense of touch, too. It’s a wonderfully tactile physical experience for the hands. It can also be especially therapeutic like squeezing a scented, mouldable stress ball. With the right essential oil, it may also be helpful for sinus congestion or any number of conditions relieved by aromatherapy.


Choose an oil with soothing or sleep-inducing side effects for a dose of calm, such as:

  • lavender

  • rosemary

  • chamomile

  • frankincense

  • clary sage

  • ylang ylang

When buying an oil, look for “pure” oils and note that some oils can be irritating to some people.

DIY aromatherapy playdough for stress relief


  • 1 cup flour

  • 1/2 cup salt

  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive or other cooking oil

  • 6–8 drops essential oil of your choice

  • food colouring of your choice (optional)

1. Mix the dry ingredients

Begin by measuring the dry ingredients: 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, and 2 teaspoons cream of tartar. Mix together in a large saucepan.

2. Add the wet ingredients

Add the wet ingredients except the essential oil.

3. Heat up the mixture for approximately 5 minutes

Place the saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the mixture begins to clump and form a ball.

Stove heat can vary, but this may happen faster than you expect —about 5 minutes or less.

4. Remove from the heat to cool

Remove the ball of dough from the saucepan and set on clean, dry surface to cool for a few minutes.

Although kneading the warm dough adds to the sensory experience be careful the dough isn’t too hot to handle before you proceed.

5. Knead the essential oil into the dough

Add a few drops of your choice of essential oil into the dough. The amount you use will depend on the strength of the oil you’ve chosen and your own preference.

Start with about 6 drops and add more, if desired. Knead the oil into the dough to distribute.

6. Squeeze and play your stress away

You’ve now made aromatherapy playdough! This homemade variety can be used just like commercially-prepared playdough, and has a texture that’s every bit as satisfying.

Whether you choose a calming lavender, an invigorating peppermint, or any other essential oil, the pleasing scent plus squishy goodness makes this a creative and calming activity.

Store in an airtight container and can keep for up to 3 months.

Vivien Farrand Wellbeing Advisor - Faculty of Science

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