A pretty powder room can look even prettier with lovely soap on display. Decorative soap is not only fun to make, but as you'll see throughout this post, it's super easy too.
I'll also show you how to dress up the finished product with beautiful packaging that will take you from ordinary soap maker to super soap star.
There are loads of beautiful soap molds available at crafts stores and at on-line shoppes. You can find the crown and lion molds that I used in this post if you click here.
By the way, my pretty soap project and photos are featured in the July 2010 issue of Romantic Homesmagazine which is on newsstands now.
I hope you pick up a copy to enjoy at home.
It's always fun to see my efforts highlighted in a national publication and Romantic Homes magazine is one of my favorites.
This is a great issue too, filled with beautiful home decor ideas, seasonal recipes and decorating inspiration.
The supplies for this soap project are easily found at most crafts stores and include (1) Soap block, (2) lavender pieces which add texture and additional color, (3) liquid coloring and fragrance additives, (4) and a soap mold.
This particular brand of soap is super easy to work with. Just scoop out the desired amount and melt it in the microwave. About 3/4 this block was enough to create two hefty molds.
Of course, smaller molds will require less soap.
Melt the soap in the microwave. It's fine to use an everyday, microwavable glass bowl because any soap residue washes away easily and completely.
After the soap is melted to a liquid consistency, add the coloring and the fragrance. Start with a few drops and stir. Build up to the desired color by adding a few drops at a time and stirring until you get the shade you want.
This is also the point where you add one or two pinches of lavender flowers or other elements that will be suspended in the hardened soap. Stir thoroughly.
Carefully pour the liquid soap into the soap molds and set aside to gel for at least an hour depending on the depth of the soap mold. You can also speed up the gelling process by putting the soap molds in the freezer.
Because the front of the molds have a raised, irregular shape, I propped the molds up on top of bowls so the soap could harden evenly.
Tip: Stir the liquid soap slowly or you may create unwanted air bubbles as you can see in the photo of the lavender soaps above. While air bubbles will not impact the integrity of the soap, the soap does look better without them.
One the soap has hardened, carefully pop it out of the plastic mold.
It's fun to experiment with the different colorants to see how the soaps look in different shades.
Here's a look at how the crown and lion look in pale green.
In the lavender version you can also clearly see the little specks of petals I added after the melting process.
I think these petal flecks add a little extra interest to the soap but next time I'll add a few more pinches so they show up a more prominently.
Gifts of handmade soap deserve pretty packaging.
Everything you'll need can easily be found at most crafts stores and includes: (1) tissue paper, (2) raffia, (3) small gift bags and organza, draw-string sachets which can be found in the bridal section of the craft store (4) artificial flowers and (5) hand-pressed paper.
After the soap has completely hardened, gently wrap it in tissue. No need to use any tape since the bar will be wrapped again.
Wrap the soap again with hand-pressed paper. I love this lavender-colored pressed paper because of it's natural texture and highly visible fibers that run throughout it. It's also a bit more out-of-the-ordinary than regular wrapping paper.
Pressed paper typically comes on a large roll and iinstead of using scissors to cut it, I suggest you carefully tear it instead.
By tearing the paper as opposed to cutting it, you'll get a wonderfully irregular and rough edge that makes the packaging even more appealing.
Again, no tape required here. Just secure the pressed paper wrap with several strands of raffia. Add a few extra strands, clip the ends and fan them out for a open-ended bow.
This may look like the front of the packaging but as you'll see further down, this is actually the back.
Regular readers of this blog already know I put a handmade tag or card on practically every handmade gift.
If these rubber stamps look familiar it's because they're among my favorite and I use them over and over for various projects. The Susanna stamp can be found here and the floral background stamp can be found here.
After stamping the image on the front of the card, cut it out, round the corners. Then, cover the back of the card with the overall stamp.
Use small alphabet stamps to spell out the contents of the packaging or any other desired message.
Place the wrapped soap inside the organza sachet and then slide the card inside.
I love how this particular stamped image looks through the sheer organza. That's the beauty of organza and I think it's oh-so feminine.
Remember the pretty fanned-out raffia ends? As you can see in the photo below, they make the back look just as pretty and finished off.
Here's a look at another page from the Romantic Homes spread.
You can clearly see how changing the organza bag to an ivory-color slightly alters the mood of the presentation.
Different exterior, but same pretty approach.
Take the gift presentation to the next level by cutting a few stems from the artificial flower bouquet.
Pull out your trusty hot glue gun and put it to good use. Apply a thin line of glue the length of the stem and attach it to the far edge of the gift bag.
Pop the soap-filled organza bag inside the handled-bag and you have a fantastic looking gift ready to give away.
They would also look just as good wrapped in a tissue-filled box or paper gift bag.
This is a great all-in-one-day project that kids will also enjoy making under appropriate supervision.
Consider making these pretty soaps as birthday presents, for a bridal shower, teacher gifts or as a housewarming gift.
Whatever the gift occasion the recipient of this gorgeous soap will definitely sing your praises.
With a few quick steps and a pinch and dash of creativity, anyone can become a soap star. ♥