Soap Making Experiments

We made soap wrapped in hand-painted paper for Mother’s Day! I’ve never made soap before, so this was a fun experiment for us all.

First: Hand-painted paper…


  • liquid watercolors
  • assorted paintbrushes
  • pipettes
  • a big sheet of watercolor paper to cover her work area
  • small pieces of heavy, absorbent tissue paper that came with some packaging in the mail
  • scissors
  • large sheets of newspaper or newsprint for completed paintings to dry on
  • containers for paint

N squeezed watercolor onto the larger paper so that she could absorb it with the smaller scraps.

A while ago we talked about papers that can absorb paint, and she knew right away that she wanted to test out tissue paper, paper towels, and Kleenex. Sweet! She also requested those tongs up there for picking up the wet papers.

Next: Soap Making…

A few days later, we got our soap-making experiment up and running. I wanted to use an organic soap base, but couldn’t find any on short notice. And you’ll see in a moment why I opted to go with two glycerin soap bases that they sell at Michael’s: Shea Butter suspension soap base and Olive Oil suspension soap base. We broke the base up into pieces and microwaved it for about a 1.5 minutes. Clear directions are on the box. This could also be heated in a double broiler.

Once melted, we added some Lavender essence and oatmeal and mixed it up.

To keep bubbles out of the soap, N prepared the molds (also from the craft store) by spraying them with rubbing alcohol. Adult supervision with rubbing alcohol is obviously recommended!

We stuck rubber stamp-like pieces to a little bit of soap (to keep them from sliding around), and then I poured the soap mixture on top. In subsequent batches I didn’t bother “gluing” the stamps down, which improved the appearance of the soap.

Waiting for it to cool is the hardest part! But to keep our spirits high, this was a good time for lunch. Oatmeal, of course!

Aren’t they pretty?! The two cupcake-looking soaps you can see way back there came out of some silicone food containers.

I thought that I could take a bar of vegetable glycerin soap from Whole Foods and give it the same treatment. What do you think? I should have known better since I’m familiar with the Microwave-Ivory-Soap-Experiement, which is something to try on another day. It puffed the soap up into a stiff cloud…pretty to look at but useless for soap-making.

Then it was time to wrap them up.

Good real-world practice with tape cutting, folding, and wrapping.

We had a play date with our friends from Paint Cut Paste today, and N made these two especially for them (she knows how much they like rainbows!). And the rest are for N’s two grandmothers.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful, nurturing, intelligent, kind, selfless, and inspiring moms!! Moms are amazing!

This post was happily shared with It’s Playtime, Tot Tuesdays


  1. says

    Oh, that ivory soap experiment is fun, isn’t it? We had one of my sons’ birthday parties at a local science center last year and that’s one of the things they did. You’re so good to make special grandmother gifts. I swear, mothers of young children do the most work of anyone for Mother’s Day, and it’s a totally unfair system.

    • rachelle says

      Ha! Yes, I can imagine it will get easier once the kids can make their own projects happen from start to finish. Happy Mother’s Day!

    • rachelle says

      It was fun, and totally held N’s attention because she gets so invested in figuring out how things work.

  2. says

    these are just so lovely and yummy!!! THANK YOU for giving them to us yesterday – what a treat! the rainbow wrapping is so so so pretty that i hardly want to peek inside, but now seeing how beautiful those bars look in the picture, i want to! beautifully made. i am loving your photography on this entry, rachelle (as with every entry you post!)

  3. Chelsea says

    Awesome project! I feel like I missed something in regards to the rubber-stamp impression. How did you do that in the bottom of a plastic mold?

  4. says

    WOW! I love it and you make this look waaay too easy! haha!!!

    I’ve given you an award today! Head on over to my blog to pick it up!

  5. says

    That’s amazing! I love the ingredients that you added. I have no idea where I would source those soap bases you speak of but I will do some googling! i love that you wrapped them in homemade paper too. Please tell me that (1). you are giving them wrapped in the lop-sided wrapping she did and (2). that you kept some for yourself?? Hope so!

  6. A.Hilton says

    What a fun and adorable project! Rachelle you never cease to amaze!! Looking forward to trying this out 🙂 I hope you have a lovely mothers day and thank you for inspiring me (and I’m sure a lot of other mums around the world) to spend more time nurturing our kids creativity.

  7. says

    You look like you’re having so much fun 🙂 And a wonderful finished product I must say with the wrapping!

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