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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

make a soap boat

My kids are gearing up to do some real wood carving soon. But first, we are honing our skills with soap. Soap carving is a classic craft, and it still captures the imagination of kids today. Ivory soap is recommended because it is so soft and easy to carve, but I am sure if your kids are older you could easily try other brands.

We used wood, plastic and metal knives, as well as a pocket knife and wooden skewers. Each kid carved over a plate so we could save the scraps. You can add a bit of hot water to the scraps and gather them into a ball to use later in the tub. I saved my scraps to make my own clothes detergent, which I will share soon.

We started with the idea of making boats, but as we got into the project new ideas emerged.

We made people, cash registers and birds.

We cut, scraped, scored, poked, added soap back on and burnished. Each child sharing their their discoveries of the medium with the others.

This was engaging and enjoyable(and smelled so fresh!) My kids have already asked me to get more soap to work with. The ideas for new projects are flowing!

At the end, we tested which designs floated the best, and made some hypotheses for what changes to make next time.


  1. We love ivory soap around here! But we usually like to watch explode in the microwave! I think we'll carve one instead today, thanks so much!!

  2. Will definitely be trying this with my girls. Your photos are beautiful, too!

    Heather (


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