carved monogrammed soaps

November 10, 2010 § 5 Comments

I carved my first soap with the helping hand of my very crafty grandmother when I was 7 years old.  The chronicles of my crafting experiences with my grandmother are endless.  But of all those many memories, our soap carving afternoon is most distinct.  It was as though in the blink of an eye, she had made magic by turning a white detergent bar into an architectural wonder — a nipa hut with all the details of bamboo stilts and a thatched roof.  I wish I had taken a picture.

With the variety of soap-making kits and molds sold at craft stores these days, the art of carving soaps is antiquated.  And that’s what I love about it.  Soap carving makes me wax nostalgic.

For my holiday gift-making, I thought to dust off my memories and bring back some soap carving into my list.  I like monogrammed soaps as gifts.  They’re very personal and sentimental.  Even more so if they are carved by hand.

For this project, I used 100% olive oil soaps and designed monogrammed boxes to match.

1. Take a circle cookie cutter and press into the center of a bar of soap.

2. Carve the sides away until you are left with the circle.  I just used a regular kitchen knife.

3. Using a printed letter as a stencil, draw the initial using a sharp pencil.

4. Carve outside of the letter using a smaller knife.  I used a craft knife.

5. Using a sharp pencil, create hatch lines.

6. Carve beveled edges around the circle and the perimeter of the soap.

7. Using a moistened paper towel, polish the soap until all grooves are even and free of soap shavings.

For the box, you will need to measure the size of the soap and cut the top and bottom of the box accordingly.  I used two colors and, as an added touch, made sure the top of the box is shorter so the bottom of the box peaks through when closed.  I added a band by layering a strip of Japanese chiyogami paper on another strip of stock .  I attached a round monogrammed tag on the top of the band.

Don’t forget to put the shavings in a sachet for use as potpourri!

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