Here’s a great activity to whittle away the hours on a long summer day: soap carving. Soap makes an amazing base because it’s easy to whittle with either a plastic utensil or popsicle stick. Soap is a forgiving material, so even young children can master the technique quickly. It’s clean fun for everyone!
AgePreschool, School-age, Tweens, Teens
Number of Players1, 2, 3 to 4, 5 to 10
Prep Time5 minutes or less
Time Length15 - 30 minutes
DifficultyEasy peasy (fun and simple)
Space NeededSmall (a clearable open space the size of a 1-car garage)
Mess FactorGet the push brooms
1. If you are working indoors, make sure to cover your entire work surface and the floor if possible. Soap chips will get all over!
2. Unwrap your bar of soap.
How to Play
1. With a pencil or toothpick, trace the outline of the basic shape you want to make directly onto the bar of soap. (I like fish, they are pretty simple and you can just download our template!)
2. Hold the bar of soap in your non-dominant hand.
3. With your dominant hand, hold the plastic utensil (or popsicle stick) upside-down, so that the handle of the utensil sticks up between your thumb and fingers. I like to support the upper part of the handle with my pointer finger, it gives me more control.
4. Use the handle part to gently scrape the excess soap away from around your traced shape.
5. Once your shape has been roughed out, you can come back and smooth out your shape and add details.
6. Feel free to use the pencil, or toothpick to add features like eyes and scales.
7. When you’re done with your artwork, place it in the bathroom soap dish, and let people enjoy
1. Different brands of soap have different consistencies. Some soaps are dry and flaky, while others are softer and more malleable. You may want to experiment with different brands to find the one you like best.
2. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on your soaps; thrift store soap usually works just as well as expensive name brand soaps.
3. When using a plastic knife, always whittle AWAY from your body.
4. I’m much more comfortable whittling towards myself, I feel like I have more control. However, if you use this technique then you should never use a knife, it’s too easy for an accident to occur. Use a spoon, fork, or popsicle stick, it works just as well as a knife.
5. This is a very messy activity, and best done outdoors. However, as long as you cover your indoor area well, you should be fine. Just make sure that any soap shavings that end up on the floor don’t get tracked throughout the house.
6. The serrated edge of a plastic knife makes a great texturing tool. Use it to make fur, or patterned lines. Just be safe when doing so!