Making soap is an easy activity to do with kids. Credit: Amy Allen

Little boys aren’t generally known for their cleanliness. While playing in the dirt is fun and even good for you, we have discovered a way to have just as much fun getting clean. My son first tried his hand at soap making thanks to a Kiwi Crate project, and now he can’t get enough. It’s a fun, relatively easy project that you can make as elaborate or simple as you want or as time allows. And in the end you have useful products to enjoy over and over during bath time.

If you’re short on time or crafting patience, a simple solid colored block of soap will take only minutes to make, plus about 20 minutes of cooling time. If you want to get a little crazy, try layering (just be sure to let each layer cool first), adding flower petals or slices of fruit such as lemons or oranges, embedding different shapes, marbling colors, adding essential oils and more. You can even mix in sugar for a sugar scrub soap.

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We found inexpensive molds at a local craft shop — some were meant for soap, some were meant for candy. They all worked fine. Silicon molds work particularly well and will release the shape very easily. There’s tons of inspiration available online — get creative and have fun!

What you’ll need:

—Soap base — there are lots of options out there, like goat’s milk or honey soap. We kept it simple with a clear and solid glycerin soap. They break apart easily and melt quick in the microwave.

—Food coloring

—Molds (candy or soap molds)

—Extras: dried flowers, lavender, fruit slices, sugar, essential oils, etc. Sky’s the limit!

Directions & tips:

  1. Start by making the shape you want to embed in the soap. We found lots of cute molds at local craft stores — molds made for candy work just as well as those made for soap. Silicon molds are particularly easy to use, but the hard plastic ones tend to be less expensive.
  2. Melt a block or 2 of your solid soap base according to the package directions — typically about 20-30 seconds in the microwave in a heat-proof container. A glass measuring cup with a spout works well. Add a few drops of food coloring (and essential oils or anything else you’d like to include) to the melted soap and stir. If there are still unmelted bits of soap, microwave for another 15-30 seconds. Stir to help release any air bubbles.
  3. Slowly pour the colored soap into the shape(s) you plan to embed in the final soap. Let cool. We found carefully setting the mold in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes cooled the soap pretty quickly. Once your shape is cool, remove it from the mold.
  4. Set the cooled shape in the bottom of the soap mold. Melt 2-3 blocks of clear soap base, stir, then pour slowly into the soap mold, starting in a corner to avoid melting the shape inside. You can embed additional shapes in the soap at this point, or wait for it to cool and then add a thin layer of solid color as the background.
  5. Let your final soap cool completely before removing from the mold. Get creative and try different patterns, marbling colors, or adding funky layers. There are tons of ideas online to spark your creativity!

This story was originally published in Bangor Metro’s May 2019 issue. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.