How To: Create An Exquisite Soap Carving

Earlier this week, my friend @mayhemstudios sent a tweet about a “Facial Soap” Doodle Carving by @Vonster.

That tweet reminded me of my great Grandmother who used to carve soap. She was so skilled at it and she would create these amazing little pieces of soap art which she always gave out as gifts for the holidays.

Every year when we were kids we looked forward to getting her little soaps. They were pink and shaped liked roses, and of course, they smelled heavenly.

I would like to share with you this timeless tradition by teaching you how to create your own soap carving:

You will need:

1. A new bar of soap – Many people start with a plain bar of ivory soap; however, I’ve found that using a colored piece of soap is more fun. I’ve also found that when you are a beginner, it is easier to carve a rectangular shaped bar of soap instead of an oval shaped bar of soap.

2. A knife – Since soap is easy to carve because it’s so soft, it doesn’t have to be a very sharp knife. However, if you want to get fine detail in your carving, you will need one with a fine pointy edge. I usually use a few different knives in each carving.

3. A large dish to hold all the soap carvings – Soap carving can be a bit messy, so you’ll want to have a dish to catch all the shavings as you carve.

4. Creativity – Decide what you want to carve before you start. A lot of people like to carve flowers into their soap, but I prefer animals. It is really a personal preference.

How To:

Step 1 – If you are a beginner, cut out a picture that is the same size as your carving will be, then trace that image onto the soap with a pen or fine point marker. Here are some sample patterns from Ivory:

Step 2 – Begin by cutting away the edges of the soap with your knife. Be sure to cut off a bunch of small pieces instead of cutting one big hunk since soap may break if you cut large pieces.

Step 3 – Begin the details. You can use a fine pointed knife, an orange wood stick, a plastic fork, whatever you can find that works for you. Slowly start adding detail. This is similar to carving a pumpkin, it takes a bit of practice.

Step 4 – Brush off the excess little pieces of soap off your carving with a paper towel or even your fingers. Be careful, I’ve found these soaps to be very fragile at this point if there is a lot of detail in the carving.

This is such a fun project and since you can use plastic cutlery to do the carving, it is even something kids can enjoy. I hope your family enjoys this fun and creative art together!