Kitchen Craft: Soap Clouds! {And homemade kiddie tub soaps}

You know what question Kate and I get a lot?  “How do you girls do it it all??”  Our schedules are full, just as many of yours are, and it comes with the constant struggle of balancing Mom-life with work-life.  And like most other Mothers out there, when it comes down to it and one has to take priority, the Mom gig wins- no contest.  If something has to fall through the cracks it’s not Mom thing; it’s usually the doing-laundry, cleaning-bathrooms, or showering-before-noon thing.  So to answer the question, how do we do it all?  Ha!  We don’t!  Those of you joining us at TOFW get to hear all about how we don’t do it all.  In fact, most times sometimes we barely keep it together!  The past few weeks have felt like that for me.  I’ve been traveling a lot, and working on some huge projects (we finished our book!), so when I got home the other day after spending the weekend in PA (SO much fun- thank you East Coasters for a great time!) the last thing I wanted to do was pull out my big camera and cook.  And then edit photos.  And then write a big recipe post for today.  What I did want to do?  Play with my kids.  Be goofy, be silly, be loud and crazy and do whatever they wanted to do.  I asked them what they wanted to do, and lucky for me (and you) they picked something that I thought would actually be fun to share with you!  So ironically, my intentions of turning off my blog brain back-fired, but it worked out in the end.  I got to play with my kids, and you get a fun kitchen craft.  Or something to entertain friends at the office when you’re tired of working.  Since I had no intentions of making a big ol’ photography project out of this fun little activity, I just snapped some quick photos on my Phone  and edited them right on my phone too, with the Thumba app.  Come next Monday I’ll have my brain fully functioning again and I’ll bust out my big camera have an amazing recipe for you!  Until then, let’s just play 🙂  This is sort of awesome.

We call these “Soap Clouds.”  Where are all of our chemical engineers?  I need to know why every awesome science project involving soap, hinges on the use of Ivory soap.  Thoughts?  Are there magical ingredients in there?  I’ve always wondered that.  I bet whoever came up with the original recipe never expected that so many science experiments would ensue with its use!  I think the same thing about Elmer’s glue.  Anyway, grab a bar of Ivory soap-yes, only Ivory!  It’s cheap, but don’t worry, you can even use it as soap when we’re done here so we’re not being wasteful.  So you don’t need to write us lengthy emails about being earth-hating-soap-haters.

Place a piece of waxed paper, parchment, plastic wrap, or paper towel in your microwave.  Just don’t use foil, or we’ll have issues on our hands that are much bigger than  your next burrito tasting slightly like a fresh mountain spring.  This really doesn’t make a mess, so don’t be scared.

Start your microwave for a couple of minutes on high power.  You don’t need to let it run that whole length of time, but you can just stop it when you need to.  Want to see what happens??  It’s a little hard to see through my microwave door, but check it out (and ignore me when I say you need to turn your microwave turntable off, that’s for if you’re trying to video this experience:))

Ten bonus points for anyone who can reference my children’s ramblings about “the great devourer.”

I don’t know how it does it- but it starts growing!  Sometimes the “clouds” are seriously HUGE, and other times they are sort of wimpy.  I’ve noticed generally, the fresher the soap (as in the more recent I have purchased it) the bigger the result.  We’ve done this a million times and my kids still get a kick out of it.

It looks like it should be foamy and wet, but it’s not.  You can actually pick up the whole big chunk.

If you smash it, it will break into pieces and you’ll end up with soap dust everywhere, so be careful with little hands who like to smash things 🙂

It’s the weirdest looking thing.  I love how it’s different every time.

Now.  You have a giant blob of dried soap fluff and your kids were entertained for a total of 3.5 minutes.  That’s a start!  Sometimes I let my kids just take the whole darn thing in the bath tub and have at it.  It’s one way to make sure they actually get cleaned in there.  Or sometimes I hold it up over them in the tub and let it “snow” by smashing it and letting it sprinkle down like little snow flakes.  Or, you can let them make their own little soaps.  First, put the fluff in a bowl and let them do what they’ve probably been trying to do already- smash it to smithereens. It just kind of falls apart, so it’s actually kind of fun.  And if it gets all over your counter, take my advice and sweep or vacuum it up first, then wipe it down.  Otherwise you’ll end up with a big soapy mess.

Then, either in a bowl with a spoon, or with an electric beater, or in a food processor, like I’m using, add warm water, just until it comes together.  Just like pie crust, folks!  This is why I love kitchen crafts.  To test it, grab some with your hands and hold it in your fist.  If it holds together in a ball, it’s ready.

Take the mold-able mixture and let kids press it into cookie cutters.  Make sure kids are old enough to know it’s not food, or they are likely to attempt to eat it!

These photos below are from a batch I made a while back, (and photographed with my regular camera) and I let my kids add just a couple of drops of food coloring to make colored soaps.  After the soaps are molded, but still wet, you can gently push them out of the molds.  Let them sit in a cool, dry place for a few days and soon you will have little soaps to wash (or play!) with.  I would only use a small amount of food coloring as to not stain anything!

Funny how my kids are always very interested in getting extra clean when it’s with soap they’ve made themselves.

Now go have some fun with your own kiddos today!  Or, just grab some soap and have fun in your office break room at lunch.  C’mon- you know you want to.

Reminder:  Once again, only use IVORY soap.  Lots of people asking this in the comments, or commenting they have a burned mess in their microwave because they didn’t read it earlier in the post!  Ivory!


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  1. This is cool and I know my son will be impressed. I also know that no matter how many times I remind him that it is soap, he will for sure try to eat it since it looks a lot like cotton candy, his new obsession. But, that should just happen once and then there will be a powerful opportunity to remind him why it’s always a good idea to listen to his mama. 😉

  2. Love it! I’m with Ellie – these would make GREAT kid gifts! I sense my daughters next Christmas gift for everyone! Does the food coloring dye your skin when you use the soap later though?

  3. Now I’m wondering who in the world would have ever have thought to try this in the first place? When I think about putting stuff in the microwave, soap isn’t the first thing that comes to mind! My grandson will LOVE this!

    1. Maybe they were trying to clean their microwave and didn’t know a bowl of water with a little vinegar works better! 🙂 I agree – I would never put somethings in the microwave – soap would be one of those things…until now!

    2. Some of my college guy friends used to put ALL KINDS of things in the microwave. It was probably someone like them! …and, does the food coloring stain once it’s in the soap? I’m guessing not or it would have been mentioned, I just thought I’d check before Smurfs emerged from my bath tub.

      1. The food colouring is not a good idea. They make soap colouring that will not stain skin, clothing, or anything else,but food colouring will stain anything! Any craft store should have the soap colouring.

          1. I’m 62, and I want to play too! I homeschool my granddaughter, and we’re always looking for kitchen experiments to do. Thanks! I have some Ivory in the closet, so we’re going to try this tomorrow.

  4. My kids will LOVE this! Teacher appreciation week is coming up (is that the same week for the whole country?) and with some kind of cute tag these would make a fun gift for one of the days. Any of the brilliant designer type folks out there want to create one and post a link? I can do one, but it won’t be nearly as cute. Thanks for a very fun idea!

    1. maybe something like “Thank’s for keeping me afloat!” Or “You never let me sink”, and yes TEACHER APPRECIATION IS SAME week for everyone.

  5. Fun idea! Ivory soap probably works for 2 reasons: 1) there are less ingredients in Ivory soap than most other soaps, and 2) Ivory is whipped with air, which in this case is probably why it works in the microwave so well. “Ivory soap, it floats!”

  6. “It floats” is an Ivory tagline, and that’s what makes it different. More air has been whipped into the soap, making it useful for all kinds of fun uses, and it also dissolves faster than other bars compelling consumers to buy more. Very clever, P&G. 🙂

    1. I’m from the area where P&G is…and ivory soap was a big accident 🙂 The inventor of the soap accidentally left a batch in the mixer for too long which ended up putting too much air into the mixture. He at first thought it would be a big failure but the soap turned out looking normal. From what I’ve heard, P&G began receiving letters from folks saying how much they loved the NEW ivory soap!! Turns out that ivory soap now floats…so people who had to bathe in ponds and creek pools could accidentally drop their soap and it wouldn’t sink to the bottom and be lost. It would just float on top 🙂 (Maybe I should look this up on snopes to be sure 😉 but it’s what my dad always told me.)

      1. This is funny to me. When I was in the 1st or 2nd grade we went on a tour of the P&G factory (I grew up in Cincinnati) and I was told this story too. And Have believed it for all of these years! i am disappointed to know that it isn’t true. 🙁 But I will have to try microwaving it!

        1. Well, perhaps Snopes got it wrong. I’d think that if anyone would know the truth of this story it would be P&G. After all, it’s their product!

      2. The ad’s for Ivory Soap said “It’s 99/100% pure, it floats! I was told in 1976 by a dermatologist to only use Ivory or Dove. because they were the mildest soaps on the market. I use Dove because Ivory makes me itch and really dries out my skin!

    2. You can harden all makes of soaps by taking them out of the wrapper weeks before use. They last much longer that way. The “older generation” used to put them open in their dresser drawers(before air conditioning)for a nice smell then into the tub for use when the scent disappeared.

      1. my therapist told me when i was having anxiety attacks to sleep with a bar of strong scented soap at night (i slept with irish spring) my bed and pillows smelled amazing, lol it was supposed to help my breathing, idk if this trick worked really, but i did it anyways for the smell xD not really on topic but whatever lol

      2. I remember my Gram telling me the same thing. Take bar soap out of wrapper and let it sit somewhere away from water, for a weeks and it will last much longer!

  7. Oh Sara, my 5 year old son will LOVE this!!! Tomorrow is experiment day at school, I think I will carry on the day at home and do this!

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