Today I decided it would be a fun idea to try some soap carving. This is a great activity to do with your kids. I don’t have any kids. I don’t have a husband. I don’t have a single good excuse for wanting to try soap carving. But I don’t need an excuse. I soap carved. It was great. I made a fish.
You want to know how to soap carve? It’s really pretty easy, and super fun. If you’ve never done carving or whittling before, soap is a great medium to start on because it’s soft, malleable, and forgiving. You really don’t need any fancy knives; soap is soft enough that you can even use plastic knives!
- Bar of Soap
- Ivory is a great brand to use – soft and cheap
- Could be plastic knife or butter knife. I used a metal butter knife
- X-acto Knife
- This one is optional for basic patterns. I used the X-acto Knife at the end for some detail work
- Paper for carving pattern
- Pencil, toothpick, or pointy object for tracing on to the soap
- Scissors for cutting out the patter
That’s it! I already had all these materials at my house. The only thing I had to purchase was the X-acto knife, and I quickly discovered that it was pretty optional.
Cut out and trace the pattern
You can print out a free, downloadable pattern that I created here.
However, if you don’t want to use a pre-made template, that’s totally fine, just draw your own!
You’ll just want to make sure that your pattern matches the dimensions of your soap bar, and that you account for not only the top of the bar, but the shape of the sides as well.
The dimensions of the Ivory bar I used were 3.1875″ x 2.125″ x 1″
Once you have your pattern either drawn or printed out, cut it out, and lay it ontop of your unwrapped soap bar. Take your pencil or toothpick and trace the outline of your pattern onto the soap. It does actually mark the soap, it just creates inscribed lines.
Now comes the fun part. With your pattern laid out on your soap bar, you are all set to start carving!
With your knife, start carving along the outline you drew. It doesn’t have to be super precise, as you’ll be refining the cut a lot more later. Just get the basic outline chiseled out of the block. Remember when it comes to carving, less is more. You can’t exactly add soap back on to the block once you chop it off, so be conservative in your chiseling at first.
Once your basic shape has emerged from the block you can proceed with the refining of your shape. This is the part that takes the most patience and skill. Thankfully, soap is a really easy medium for beginners, but it still takes a lot of time and precision to slowly work away at the rough edges to create something smooth and more realistic.
And now behold, the final creation: