How to Make Decorative Soap

By Jeri McBryde , last updated March 3, 2011

Making decorative soap is not only a fun artistic hobby, but the soap makes one-of-a-kind gifts. Finding molds to match your bathroom will add just the right touch to your décor. Shells from your beach vacation make fun molds. There are several ways to make the base for the soap using lye. This soap is made from existing Ivory Soap bars. Ingredients can be found at craft stores and your local grocery store.


Start off with 3 bars of pure Ivory Soap and a large bowl. Then, using an ordinary kitchen grater, grate the bars of soap into fine flakes or powder. You will need 3 cups of soap flakes. If you don’t have a grater, a knife can be used to make the flakes instead.

If you want a color besides white, add 10-30 drops of food coloring to 1/3 cup of water, stopping when you reach the desired shade.

The next step is to add the colored water to the soap powder. You want a consistency of modeling clay or play dough. If the mixture is too stiff, slowly put in more water. Scented soap can be made by adding a few drops of essential oil or perfume, but be careful not to add too much. Simply use one drop at time until you get the scent you want.

Coat your hands with a few drops of vegetable oil to keep the soap from sticking to them. Then mix the mixture with your hands until the color is spread throughout. You can make the soap solid or create a swirled pattern.

Once the color and texture is to your satisfaction, take the mixture out of the bowl and begin shaping it. Lightly grease the molds of your choice, including candy molds to make small decorative guest soaps. You can also pat the soap flat and use greased cookie cutters to make shapes.

All that's left is to let your creations dry until hard. This may take a few days. You now have handcrafted soap you can be proud of.

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