If you've ever seen soap sculptures, you know that the detail that can be achieved from a simple piece of soap is amazing. Very basic soap sculptures can be made out of a clay-like substance that is made from flake soap and just enough water to make it the consistency of bread dough. Mix the soap and water together until you reach this dough-like consistency, and it can then be molded and shaped just like regular clay.
More advanced soap sculptures are made from actual bars of soap, and aren't nearly as difficult to create as you might think.
- The first thing that you'll need to do is to gather your materials. Choose a soft bar soap (as opposed to a hard soap such as some lye soaps), making sure that you have several bars on-hand should you need them. The tools that you'll use for carving the soap are pencils, craft sticks (the ones that look like sticks), toothpicks, and possibly a fork or other tools (depending upon the design that you have in mind). You'll also want some newspaper on hand, so as to catch the pieces of soap that you carve off of the bar.
- Begin by gently holding the soap in your off-hand (which is the hand that you don't write with), making sure not to hold it too tightly or else you could crush it or overheat it. The longer you work with a bar of soap, the softer it's going to get because of the heat of your hand...make sure that you take your time, but take breaks every now and then to let the soap become firm again.
- Using your pencil, very lightly sketch any major parts of you design directly onto the soap. You could also use a fine-tipped permanent marker for this, though certain types of markers may be absorbed into the soap. (You also run the risk of damaging your marker.)
- Take one of your craft sticks and, using gentle-yet-firm motions, begin scraping off small portions of the soap bar. Make sure that you've spread out newspaper to catch the soap that you scrape off; if it gets on the floor, it can become a slip hazard.
- As you gradually begin to form the soap into the shape that you want, use toothpicks, forks, or other household items to create detail work or unique textures.
- In order to smooth rough patches of your soap, use your fingers. The heat from your body will help to soften the soap, making it easier to create a smooth surface.
- You can repair small cracks in a soap sculpture by using a wet toothpick to dampen the area and then using your fingers to smooth the cracks over. Larger cracks shouldn't be treated in this manner, as it will simply hide the crack, which may reappear later.
- Once you've completed your soap sculpture, store it in a cool and dry location. Too much heat or exposure to moisture can cause it to lose its shape or suffer other damage.