Soap carving is a great way to begin your adventure, towards becoming a woodcarver. It's even safe for kids!
Wouldn't it be wonderful, to pick up a chainsaw or a
knife, grab some wood, and create something amazing? This talent, doesn't just
appear overnight. Why not start small, and practice your woodcarving skills, on something easier
Age: 6 and up
Time Scale: 2 out of 5
Carving into a three dimensional shape, can be challenging. Just because you may be able to draw or paint, doesn't necessarily mean you can carve. Soap carving is a safe and inexpensive way to start out. It's a great kids activity, but fun for adults, too.
Safe? Really? Yes! It doesn't require dangerous, sharp or expensive tools. Nope, not for soap carving.
Make your own carving tool with a popsicle stick. Use pruners or heavy duty scissors, to cut an angle on one end of the popsicle stick. (Kids will need help, with this part!)
Sand with medium grit sandpaper to smooth the edge. You now have a tool to use.
If soap carving, becomes one of your favorite activities, you may want a heavier duty carving tool. Make a sturdier one with a dowel, instead of a popsicle stick. The round handle, will be easier to grip.
Prepare the work surface by putting down a piece of wax paper, newspaper or non slip liner. This is going to get messy, but it's a clean mess...It's soap, after all!
Disclaimer*: Ivory soap has quite a strong smell. Be careful, if you have allergies!
I will not be held responsible for any possible reaction, that may occur.
My husband carved an ice cream cone, which tasted so bad, it brought tears to his eyes! Actually, while carving it, he had a fairly severe, allergic reaction. He completed it, but I'm not sure how he could see, what he was doing.
Place a bar of Ivory soap, onto a piece of paper.
Use a pencil to draw around the outer edge. The pattern you choose, will have to fit inside this rectangle shape.
Draw out a pattern on a piece of paper, inside the line. Does drawing a pattern, sound like it would be stretching your artist abilities? Find a clipart picture on the internet and print it out, or... surprise, I have free craft patterns, perfect for soap carving.
Print out the pattern.
Cut around the outer edge of the pattern.
Place the shape, on the soap.
With a sharp pencil, trace around the edge of the shape. The pencil should
carve a line into the soap, but won't actually make a pencil mark.
The inside details, can be etched in, by firmly tracing over the lines.
Start removing the excess soap, around the outer edge, using the popsicle stick tool. Work from the edge of the pattern, outwards.
When most of the excess soap has been removed, flip over and trace the pattern, on the other side. You will need to also flip the pattern, front side down.
Continue shaping, including the
top edge and underside.
Smaller children may prefer to only do the front side, for a more 2
dimensional image. Once they have practiced soap carving, their skills will
improve, then 3 dimensional shapes can be done.
Here is a bit of a trick to smooth those carved marks...
Just rub a damp Q tip over the surface.
When the soap carving is complete, there are going to be a lot of soap shavings. Don't waste them!
Cut the toe off a pair of pantyhose. Slip over a glass. Push
the center, down into the glass.
Place the shavings into the pantyhose.
Wet the pantyhose with water.
Squeeze, until the pieces have glumped together. Yes, glumped is a word, I just made it up. Now, you have a new little bar of soap.
Have fun soap carving. Just remember, if you make an ice cream cone, it's not
going to taste as good as it looks!
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