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.

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. 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!

  2. “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!

    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!

  3. 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!”

    1. That’s kinda what I was thinking. Ivory doesn’t have all of the extra fragrances and dyes that could interfere with any chemical reactions 🙂

  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. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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. 😉

  8. Hahaha! Someone beat me to the punch. It’s comforting to know that other Mom’s let their kids watch Ninjago too!

  9. Despite the title, I fully expected to read these were the remains of Rediwhip cans. *laugh*

    Fun project though – next shopping trip may include a bar of Ivory *grin*

  10. This looks awesome. I’m always afraid of making messes with my kids, but playing with soap seems less scary. I guess I’ll be adding Ivory soap to the shopping list.

  11. Great Devourer from Ninjago! My boys (7 and 5) are obsessed right now. And I was so sure that the red ninjas sister was going to be the green ninja. So, yes, I watch it too 🙂

  12. And if you make homemade laundry soap, this is way easier than grating the soap. By the way, I hear this works with Fels Naptha soap as well. In fact, it may work with any SOAP (as opposed to detergent bars, which is what most of our store-bought “soap” really is.)

    1. Very smart! I thought of making my own laundry soap but it was all that grating that got me. I may try it now.

      1. I felt the same way. I HATE grating! I cut my soap into chunks and put it in the food processor with the powdered ingredients and *VOILA!*. I’ll never buy laundry detergent again. It’s wonderful!

    2. My grand-daughters tried it with the cranberry dial soap. It made a pink cloud but it smelled and started to burn before it got very big. The perfumed soaps may not work!

    3. We just tried this tonight and I was thinking the same thing-no more food processor for laundry soap. Guess I can’t get rid of my micro :-).

    4. I was actually wondering about that for the ver purpose of laundry soap! Thanks, I will try it that way instead!

    5. That was one of my first thoughts…the grating is what has kept me from making the one with the bar soap. I’ve been making the one with the borax washing soda and dawn. I have a couple of bars of ivory now I just need the grand kids

      1. I was thinking ivory soap might be best in the laundry soap. I think the fels-naptha has a petroleum base or at lest it did when it first was made.

    6. What a GREAT TIP about the soap grating when making your own detergent, Darlene! You just saved me about 10 precious minutes! Thanks!

  13. Not only do I love that I can add this to my summer boredom busters…but I love that even though you didn’t intend to you shared some of your behind the scenes…we get a glimpse into non-rock-star-blogger land…Thanks for being so awesome!

  14. This looked like so much fun, I had to try it right away! Since I didn’t have Ivory soap, I tried the soap I had (Irish Spring). It worked…but now my ENTIRE house smells like a giant bar of soap!! So, next stop, the store…for unscented soap!!

  15. “It’s the great devourer! The great devourer is getting unleashed!” haha That snake thing from LEGO? I feel like maybe my little brother plays that or something….ha

    1. I just had to say hi! because I rarely find anyone who has the same name spelling as I do. Looks like we both had parents that were into originality (and french)!

  16. I’m with Darlene from North GA…I normally grate Fels Nappa for making homemade laundry soap (Soooooo much cheaper than store bought!) and I HATE the grating part. I’ve heard you can also use Ivory. I may just try this for my next batch!

    1. I use my food processor to grate Fels Naptha for homemade laundry soap. It is so much faster and easier.

    2. I always use ivory for laundry soap. it works great. i used this microwave trick last week when i made laundry soap. it was great fun for the kids and the mom.

    3. I make home made laundry soap and the grating of FelsNapha only takes me 2 minutes. Just need a sharp grater with sizable holes.

  17. at Christmas time my mom would whip ivory flacks detergent with her hand mixer it get all fluffy she would than smooth it on top of the Christmas tree branches and it looked just like fresh snow and the room smelt so nice.

    1. My mom did that with us too. I’ve done it a couple times with my family but we’ve now had to switch to using a fake tree. I miss doing that.

      1. Forty-five years ago my husband used to do the same thing for our Christmas tree. Sadly, he’s gone now and I have a “fake” tree, but our trees were always beautiful with the “snow” on the branches.

  18. Haha, Ninjago! I recognized the reference immediately too – I also have two boys that are pretty obsessed w/ that show. 😉

    Thanks for sharing your video! I’ve seen this idea before, but not with a video. It’s amazing how it appears to be doing nothing for a few seconds, and then it suddenly “explodes” into clouds. FUN!

  19. I went to the SNAP conference in Utah this weekend and saw a lot of really cool things. This is the one my kids will pick I can promise that. I can’t wait to do this. I love the shaped soaps too. Won’t my neighbors be impressed that I “make” my own soap.

  20. Just make sure it is a new bar or relatively new bar of Ivory soap. We did this at my parents house with a bar of soap we found. Age is undertimined but old…and it burned out their microwave.

    1. My son and I tried this with a very old bar of Ivory too. We also had it on a paper towel and it caught the towel on fire when it started to expand!

  21. Ninjago. I got a five minute history on him. We will have to try this. Thanks 🙂 personally, I buy Lever 2000 so we can see if that works.

    1. Not likely. The microwave works because of the way it heats. The rays are specifically aimed at exciting water molecules. Ivory soap is whipped with air and traps moisture better, so when the rays excite the water molecules they start moving and turning into water vapor and burst out of the soap. The oven would just make it hot is my guess, but you could always turn it into a science experiment and make your kids “test’ it and then research why it does/doesn’t work. 🙂

  22. Ahhhh, this brings back memories— my mom used to grate the Ivory soap then whip it until it was fluffy and put it on the tips of our Christmas tree ( guess this was before spray snow). I was in 1st grade, saw the white fluff in a mixing bowl and put a BIG scoop in my mouth thinking it was whipped cream! oh my goodness- soap tastes BAD! I’m still not particularly fond of whipped cream or Cool Whip to this day 50 years later.

  23. You can also take the soap cloud and make french milled style soap out of it by adding olive or coconut oil instead of water to re-emulsify, maybe some essential oils to scent it too, then just proceed in the same manner. It may take a bit longer to set up (couple days? I’ve only tried it with grated soap) but it makes a really luxurious soap.

  24. I’ve been meaning to try the ivory soap thing with my son for a while, but I never knew there was something you could do with it afterwards (besides just using it as soap). When I saw this I literally went straight to the cupboard for a bar of soap and called my son (2.5 years) into the kitchen. He loved it. I did a quarter of the bar in the microwave to start, and he kept saying “more?” and after the first time he was telling me what to do, lol (“more”, “crush”, “water”, “mix”, “pink”… his color of choice, lol). Now we’ve got some soaps made up that we’ll use in a few days.

    … hubby’s not impressed, considering we’re supposed to be cleaning and packing because we’re moving in a week… but we just laid a towel out on the counter to work on. Afterwards, I shook it over the garbage and threw it in the wash.

  25. I love it! Can’t wait to try it with my kids! I’m wondering though… Does the food coloring stain them when they wash with the newly made soaps?

    1. You’re literally using a drop or two of food coloring, mixed with soap, which then only trace amounts of mix with water. I’ve never had anything stain. I know a lot of crafters make tub crayons with large amounts of food coloring and those work as well so you shouldn’t have a problem.

  26. I couldn’t find my Ivory soap so I used Lever 2000. Yep, not a good idea. It puffed a little until it started smoking and smelling burnt (it was only in there for about 45 seconds). But my son LOVED it. The only problem is now he wants to put more things in the microwave. =o

  27. For those of you wondering about the food coloring staining when using the new soap….It shouldn’t. I make bathtub paints for my son using baby shampoo and food coloring and it has never stained him or the bathtub.
    I can’t wait to try this with my little guy, he’s VERY I to science experiments right now. 🙂

  28. Ha, ha. I was just going to write on here that we tried Irish Spring and it made my house smell HORRIBLE. I see in the previous comments that I wasn’t the only one with this problem. Make sure to try this with a mild smelling soap.

  29. WOW!Ivory is the only sop he likes. Now if the store is out of the non skin drying one I can do this and with a bit of water and olvive oil I can fix it.

  30. I had a boss once that lived for these science experiments. Another one she did was make arcs in the microwave with an old CD. You cut the top off a styro cup for a base and set the cd in the cup so it stands vertically (makes a “right angle or inverted “T” shape from the side). Turn the microwave on and watch the arcs. The silver side of the cd is what does it. When it comes out of the microwave the CD will be spiderwebbed…Yup, she whipped this out at the company christmas party so we could all be geeks too.

  31. Thanks for posting!

    I’m going out at lunch today to buy some Ivory soap so my 5 year old daughter and I can do this over the weekend. I can’t wait!

  32. We used soap clouds for 4-H Fun with Science day camp to teach kids about molecules (which they can’t see). The air molecules in Ivory soap expand when it is heated, causing the soap to expand.
    We usually use some other kind of soaps to compare floatability, density, and reaction to heat (microwave). The other soaps just melt and ooze all over the place.
    I heard that the air bubbles were an accident with the soap mixing machine at the factory. Maybe that is an urban legend. :0)

  33. question: does it only work with ivory brand soap, or can I try with other brands too? this looks like a lot of fun, I’ll try it asap :).

    1. Yes, I tried ti with diel soap, but it didn’t puff out much. My son still thought it was cool though

  34. My first thought about this was that it would make a fantastic science experiment on the difference between physical and chemical changes! Plus, the kids could each take their own little bar of soap with them. So excited to try this in my classroom!

  35. Hi! Just tried this today and the kids loved it! Just a note that our “cloud” had hot spots out of the microwave. So I had to take it from them and let it cool down a few minutes.

  36. DO NOT USE DIAL SOAP!!! It started the puff up but began to melt & burn. The smell wasn’t bad but now my son keeps asking about soap clouds 🙂

  37. I found this on pinterest several months ago and my kids loved it so much that we’ve done it a couple of times and every time they have friends over they ask if they can show it to them too!

  38. Fun craft idea but it doesn’t work with other soap, FYI. I did it with Dial soap and just got a bubbly mess… still cool but not near as cool as the clouds. And my home smells like a lot of soap… not that that is terrible either… )

  39. This is so great; I so appreciate all of your wonderful ideas! My husband leaves soon for Singapore and will be gone for two weeks (including Mother’s Day). I have been racking my brain for fun things to do with my kids while he’s gone. Then I log on to your website and there it is! That will make for a great afternoon with them, and hopefully stave off some of the we-miss-daddy-blues. Thanks for another awesome idea!

  40. My daughter’s birthday is on Monday and we were trying to think of something fun to do…..well, thank you for this! We are going to have so much fun!!!! I can hardly wait!

  41. I found this info today. How does it work?
    Ivory soap is one of the few brands of bar soap that floats in water. But when you break the bar of soap into several pieces, there are no large pockets of air inside. If it floats in water and has no pockets of air, it must mean that the soap itself is less dense than water. Ivory soap floats because it has air pumped into it during the manufacturing process.

    The air-filled soap was actually discovered by accident in 1890 by an employee at Procter and Gamble. While mixing up a batch of soap, the employee forgot to turn off his mixing machine before taking his lunch break. This caused so much air to be whipped into the soap that the bars floated in water. The response by the public was so favorable that Procter and Gamble continued to whip air into the soap and capitalized on the mistake by marketing their new creation as “The Soap that Floats!”

    Why does the soap expand in the microwave?

    This is actually very similar to what happens when popcorn pops or when you try to microwave a marshmallow. Those air bubbles in the soap (or the popcorn kernels or the marshmallow) contain water. Water is also caught up in the matrix of the soap itself. The expanding effect is caused when the water is heated by the microwave. The water vaporizes, forming bubbles, and the heat causes trapped air to expand. Likewise, the heat causes the soap itself to soften and become pliable.

    This effect is actually a demonstration of Charles’ Law. Charles’ Law states that as the temperature of a gas increases, so does its volume. When the soap is heated, the molecules of air in the soap move quickly, causing them to move far away from each other. This causes the soap to puff up and expand to an enormous size. Other brands of soap without whipped air tend to heat up and melt in the microwave.

  42. what fun! and I was wondering , when putting it together again, if you could add a little of your favorite oil scent, if that would work. (I must try)

  43. I can’t wait to try this with my grandkids when they have their grandma day with me this summer!! Awesome Idea..Thanks for sharing!! I know my preschool classes would love it too but I am not THAT brave!

  44. Lego Ninjago ! Moms with three boys know lots of random trivia! ( :
    Awesome fun! Thanks for sharing!

  45. “The Great Devourer” is a Giant snake on Lego Ninjago. No worries it was destroyed in the season finally.

  46. Coolest idea ever!!! I’m a preschool teacher, and we only have 3 weeks left, but I’m going to make this work into my lesson plan somewhere. It’s an awesome activity on so many levels…and ends with their most favorite thing of all…taking something home with them!!! Thanks a mil for sharing!

  47. Doesn’t it smell when you microwave soap? I microwaved soap one time for another project (plain old Ivory) and the smell was nauseating and lasted for days.

  48. I’ve read nearly all of the comments before asking this: do you use a separate food processor for soap than you use for food? Or does it clean up enough that it doesn’t effect the taste of your food?

  49. Just a quick note for the points. The Great Devourer is from Lego Ninjago, lol. My boys love that show. (And I can`t help but I love it too!)

  50. Great devourer! NINJAGO! I am totally doing soap clouds with my son tomorrow, I was looking for some fun stuff to do at home tomorrow thanks!!

  51. So excited to have discovered your blog!! I’m going with Ninjago for that great devourer quote…? This is definitely something we’ll try in my 3 children household (ages 1 1/2-5) in which I am the sole nanny. We love easy, quick, & awesome projects!! 🙂

  52. You can do something similar with a putty made with icing sugar and eggwhite. Roll it into balls then line the microwave tray with baking parchment and arrange marble sized balls in a circle. nuke on around 800 for around 10 seconds, you will need to tweak it a bit depending on your microwave. If you want coloured puffs, add a little food colouring to the putty.

  53. If you use food coloring to color the new soaps and the kids use them to wash with wont it dye the kids colors as well?

  54. Could you be so kind and write down the ingredients of ivory soap, because here in Slovenia we don’t have such brands, but perhaps we have something similar. Thank you. I really want to try this.

    1. Hi Vida,

      I’m sorry I don’t have the package to look at the ingredients. It’s just a particular brand of soap so I don’t know if that would be much help. You could always order it online though!

    2. Vida, maybe you could buy several different bars of soap. Test them to see if one floats. If it does, you might have Slovenia’s version of Ivory!

  55. I teach a Pre-K class and will be hosting Summer Enrichment soon, this will be a definite project, thanks for the inspiration!

  56. We are studying clouds and just did this whole experiment right down to making it into our own shapes! I wish I had a video camera for their reaction while watching the microwave! VERY cute!!!

  57. brilliant….. i want to know the back story…. who first thought… hmmmm lets put soap in the micrwave lol

  58. These soap clouds are really cool. I can’t wait to do this with my third grade class. After we press them into cookie cutters, they’ll make great Father’s day gifts!

  59. my girls loved this! thanks 🙂 they actually kept stirring with the left over until it made a gooey slop, it kept them busy for 20 minutes!!

  60. When I was attending Weight Watchers, my friend1 told me to come by her house. She had a birthday present for me to take to my meeting. When I got there, she had made me a cake with a figure in a bikini bathing suit! My first thought was that I could not take that to my meeting!! She started laughing and told me she had made it with Ivory snowflakes and had dyed them! I took it to my meeting!

  61. I will have FUN with this at the Senior Activity Center as we like to do lotsof fun and unsual things…thanks!

  62. This looks awesome! Can’t wait to see my grand-kids faces when we do this! Thanks for the video, I think I would be afraid to try it if I hadn’t first seen it done.

  63. I am SO doing this TODAY!!! Only like week 2 of summer break and the kiddo is already going bonkers lol! As I only have my one beautiful son as of yet, I’m loving being able to look up these awesome things to do with him! Glad I found you guys, so totally looking forward to SOAP CLOUDS!!! 😀

  64. You can also use koolaid instead of food coloring– and they smell great!! (the soaps and the kids!) didnt know about the microwave thing! definity going to do that with the kids I nanny! 🙂 thanks for the idea!

  65. This would totally make grating ivory soap for my laundry detergent SOOOOO much easier!!!! Thanks I really will try this~!

  66. Ok, I asked my husband the Chemical Engineer about the soap. He said “the magnesium is reactive and the different sodiums are corrosive.” The different elements make them good for so many different science experiments. We can’t wait to try this experiment.

  67. This is so cool! My kids are going to love it. Thanks for sharing your kitchen crafts.

    Oh and “the great devourer” is from the cartoon Lego Ninjago. My son watches this too.

  68. I wanted to let you know that I shared your site on an article. I even enjoyed playing with the fluffy soap!!! Like other poster’s, I would have never thought to put a bar of soap in the microwave!
    Thank you!

  69. Can’t wait to try this with my boys! We have ALWAYS used Ivory! Thanks for such a wonderful activity!

  70. Hi! I just did this with my kids and it was a total disaster, they really want to do it so I wanted to know where I messed up. I put a regular bar of soap in the microwave over a paper towel and I had to take it out at 40 seconds because it started to smell like it was burning, so when I opened the microwave all the soap was brown and flat (burned)….is it supposed to be a special kind of soap, or different paper?
    Thank you

  71. This is a totally exciting project for me. We have a vacation rental business here in Guadeloupe. I wanted to make my own soap bars with specific colors and scents to leave for our clients. Now I can have fun making them in the microwave as well. Can’t believe I’m still learning new things everyday. Thank god for the internet! BTW, we do not have Ivory here in “France” but we do have an all natural soap called Savon de Marsaille. It works great and puffs up nice and white in the microwave. Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

  72. Looking forward to trying this! Maybe we can mold it into a giant snake and Cal it the great devoured with Lego ninjas battling it…….gotta love ninjago!

  73. Has anyone in the UK managed to do this successfully? If so, which soap have you used? I see Imperial Leather won’t work, but Dove? Cussons Cream?
    My kids would love to do this!

  74. I heard that Ivory is so light and floats because they whip it, less soap, more money, cost cut .
    Not sure how this would work with a reg/high density soap?

  75. This is awesome! My daughters (8 and 4) and I did this today and we all had a blast. We pressed our colored soaps into candy molds, they had SO much fun! 🙂 Can’t wait until they’re ready.

  76. I’m suprised that no one has thought of soap on a rope for father’s day. Press it between two molds. Great for Dad and for the kids.

  77. Wish I’d read all the comments first 🙁 I bought Dove soap while out today without three kids in tow, so when I reread and saw it was Ivory, I didn’t realize it truly mattered. I was so excited to do this with my kids and it ended up burning and smoking up the entire house. 🙁 I now see in the comments WHY Ivory is what HAS to be used. Is there a way to put that at the very top of the information for dingbats like me??? 🙂

  78. Sara, my 7 year old and 5 year old and 2 year old had a BLAST doing this, and they are making the molded heart soaps as birthday presents for people. It was soooo fun!!! Thank you for letting us in on this cool activity!

  79. We did LOVED this! The kids thought it was AWESOME! Just wondering WHO thought to put a bar of Ivory soap in the microwave to begin with! 🙂

  80. Oh my gosh, I’m already drowning in housework, in kid messes, in never-ending chores and you’re talking about making “a big soapy mess” and using up half my baking utensils (which i’d have to wash by hand since we don’t have a dishwasher) & stuffing them with soap??? Come on!!! It must be a personality thing because while you & your readers regard this as a “fun day”, it would make me cry and collapse in a heap on the floor.

    1. Kids, mess, laundry, cooking, chores. Gotcha. Getting out the food processor, cookie cutters and whatnot and then cleaning it all up is not my idea of “fun”. BUT, throwing a bar of soap in the microwave and watching it turn into a cloud with the kids is something I think sounds cool. So, I’m going to do this and send them outside with it and let them have at it while I clean the house! 🙂

    2. Unless each day can be looked back upon by an individual as one in which he has had some fun, some joy, some real satisfaction, that day is a loss.
      ~ Anon~

      YOU need to laugh and smile too!

      1. AMEN!!! Laugh and enjoy the kids. Put the dishes, utensils in water, let them soak…. rinse them off… how big a job can that be? As a grandmother to 7, I know they grow up too quickly and I’ll miss the fun times, the laughter, and the hugs we’ve shared. This is what life is about. Don’t miss out on it! Thank God you have kids to share these fun times with.

    3. Take time to have fun while they are little. You will be surprised how fast the time flies. I will be doing this with my three college age kids tonight. We will see if any of them can guess what is going to happen to the soap in the microwave.

  81. Oh man I knew I did something wrong lol. I left them in the cookie cutter shapes and tried to let them dry but it took forever. So I re-read how to do them and I didn’t read the part where you take them out of the cookie cutters then let them dry lol. Next time I will know. Thank you so much. My kids love doing this and it’s super easy!!

  82. To “PJ” it lets kids be kids!! And have them wash the utensils after they are done. It comes off super easy. Trust me when I read it can get everywhere I was not to excited. But after doing it they had so much fun, yeah it gets every where but it’s so much fun. I have an 8, 7 and 4 year old.

    I tried it on safeguard big mistake it just burns the soap yuck!

  83. The quote is from Ninjgo (not that I can spell it).

    This project looks amazing and would make great gifts too….fun things to do at parties too!

    many hugs fellow “in the trenches Momma”!

  84. I’m babysitting two pre-schoolers for the next two weeks. We willake our own bar soaps tomorrow! Btw…Fels Naptha can be softened in the microwave, cut into cubes, then run through the food processor to make your own detergent. I grated it once…no more. I make detergent with Fels Naptha and Ivory. Love them!

  85. I wonder if you saturated/soaked/colored the IVORY soap first with food coloring then microwaved it…would the cloud have a color tint to it. Hmmmmmmm….

  86. I had a small piece of Jergens soap to break off the bar. I put the small piece in the microwave and it actually worked. I’ll have to remember to purchase Ivory soap the next time I need bar soap.

    ~ Marjorie ~

  87. I can tell you how it works, it’s the same concept as popcorn. The reason that Ivory is the only soap that floats is because there is air inside of it. When you put the soap in the mic, the air expands and *poof*! Only unlike popcorn you can actually see it in action. What a fun idea. My kids will love this!

  88. I use Dove soap and I know how strong the smell is. How long before you food stopped smelling or tasting like soap? I think this would be fun to try but am afraid it would leave a smell in my microwave.

  89. I did this today with my 3 grandsons ages 12, 7 & 5. They all LOVED it! Next we will make little soaps for gifts for their Mommies. Thanks for the quick, easy, super fun craft. I liked it as much as they did. I made them come over so I would have a good excuse to play.

  90. I read that Ivory soap floats because a worker left a mixing machine running while away at lunch. Extra mixing added air that caused the bars to float. Customers who got that batch were delighted, and future batches had air whipped into the soap. That probably has something to do with what happens to it in the microwave.

  91. Apparently my Ivory soap is too old?!?! Mine broke apart but didn’t increase in size and then it burned. I promise it’s plain old Ivory soap! Scouts honor… weird.

  92. OH MY GOODNESS! This was the most fun ever. My 5 daughters and the babysitter had a blast. Watching the microwave was an incredible sight the kiddos could not take their eyes off the magic.We will do this again and again. Thank you.

  93. This is “Camp Grandma,” week. Can’t wait to try this. Boy, will I be a hit! Thank You! 9 year olds can be hard to please at times. The other times they are absolutely wonderful.

  94. We tried this, and it did not work for us. We placed wax paper in the middle of the microwave, and put the bar of Ivory soap on it, put 3 minutes on the clock and pressed start. after about 1 minute, it bubbled a bit but then split into pieces, at 2m45s it started smoking. Maybe it is because we had popped popcorn the night before, and I didn’t bother wiping it down, because I figured the wax paper would provide a barrier. I suppose we might try it again another time, but so far no good.

    1. The other commenters indicated at the beginning of thread that it had to be a New Ivory Soap bar. old dried up bars don’t have enough air left to bubble.

    2. The exact same thing happened to us. We used parchment paper which caught on fire after 2 minutes 45 seconds. Be careful.

  95. Thank you for a maaaarvelous soap idea. My husband is going to Haiti on a mission trip and I was looking for an interesting this to do with soap for the orphanages he will visit. Along with sending boxes and boxes of clothes, I will be sending these fun soaps. Thanks again.

  96. Clever, Clever, Clever! Tomorrow I’ll be spending some time with my daughter-in-law’s five year old sister (20 year age difference going on there) and I will be able to surprise, amaze and delight not only her, but my daughter-in-law and her mother!!! Thank you!!!! Now, I’m off to the store to buy some Ivory.

  97. I am so going to have to try this with my kids. Every time I perform a random “magic act” they absolutely love it.

  98. Love this idea and I also want to use it for kids to make cloud formations. They could shape the clouds in the different types and even add some color where needed–it looks like fun and can’t wait to try it next year.

  99. For those in the UK who can’t get Ivory soap-
    I tried this today with Morrisons savers soap (3 bars for 35p!) and although it didn’t fluff quite as much as the Ivory ones, it did work. It did start to steam a little bit, but no smoke or burning. My house smells soapy right now – it’s quite pleasant!
    I’ve also bought their own brand Pure soap to try too, but really happy with this savers version.

  100. Can’t wait to try this with my grandson. Hope he’s old enough to enjoy at 3 1/2yrs! If not, his mom and I will have a blast!

  101. I’m 25 years old and I can tell you this is an old VBS craft project for me. We would mild the soap buy instead of adding color we (with help from the craft leader) add a few drops of scented oil. I am glad I found your post cause I totally forgot about this craft until just now. Can’t wait to do this (well part of it) with my 20 month old son. Thank you do much. 🙂

  102. First off, Ninjago! 🙂 It’s late here, but I am going to do this in a few minutes. It’ll keep the kids happy before they go off to bed.

  103. My Grandkids had a great time with the Ivory. I would recommend cutting the bar in half or quarters so it doesn’t rub all over the inside of the microwave.

  104. Just tried this with a not quite new bar of Ivory. Don’t know why, but there was sparking in my microwave and the wax paper started to burn. We may try it with a new bar of soap……

  105. How do you get the soaps out of the molds? Ours keep falling apart. Do we need to let them dry more or did we use too much water?

  106. Ninjago…I know you have already had this answered, but do I get points for knowing it immediately? lol. I am definately trying this with the kids. They will LOVE making little soap forms. Bonus that I can also use it for laundry soap! I will say, though, I have a hand crank cheese grater (Pamp Chef) that I use for grating the Fels Naptha soap, and it’s pretty easy that way. Another trick I learned to get the lumps out of the concentrate is to use an immersion blender. Fabulous!

  107. Someone may have said this already, if so I apologize, but you can buy soap dye in lots of colors for cheap at Michaels. Food coloring is risky because of the stain potential should the kids drop the soap on a nice white towel, bathmat, or in the tile grout. Soap dye is washable and works great! Find it in the candle/soap making section.

  108. Tried this with a bunch of two year olds. Except they each had a bowl and a spoon a d I put a few drops of water in each bowl enough to make it thick. Added a few drops of food coloring and the kids had body wash to take home and take a bath in that evening. I LOVE this…

  109. I’ve done this before with church kids and they love it. As for the question of “Why Ivory?”… it has air pockets in it that allow expansion when heated in the microwave (similar to how a piece of popcorn pops). It’s also the reason Ivory floats while other soaps sink. :o)

  110. this is cool for teaching about the weather. you can make clouds to hang in the class. anyhow, is it cool to the touch the second you take it out of the microwave or do I need to let it cool before taking it out?

  111. Seriously awesome! Thank you so much! I burst out laughing at the Ninjago reference. The hilariousness of kids:)

  112. WARNING: it almost burned my house house down. i only had it in there for 1 min 40 sec and it bursted into flames. scary

  113. This is an awesome idea! At first I was like hmm this looks like a disaster waiting to happen and then I read the whole article. Looks like FUN! Imagine you can make little soap gifts for people! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!!

  114. For New Zealanders, this worked for me with a leftover bar of Palmolive that had been recently used, so not too dried out.

    1. Cool! I didn’t expect to see a comment from another Kiwi. I’ll try it with Palmolive. I was considering making a trip to the American store (in Auckland) to see if they had any Ivory in stock. Thanks for the tip!

    2. Thanks! Was scrolling thru wondering if there might be hints for kiwis on what works for us but expected not to find anything. You’ve made my day 🙂

  115. I’m thinking if you are worried about food coloring staining you could use washable watercolor for coloring it…I may have to experiment…lol

  116. This sounded so amazing that I sent it off to all my nieces with kids. First report from Lauren, who said tbey did it twice today, and then made piggy soaps. Can’t wait to get some Ivory, and let my little girl try it. She’ll love it. She’s almost 19. 😉 Thanks for the fabulous trick.
    Oh, the secret to Ivory soap floating (which is what makes it unique, and probably what makes this possible, is that is it overly whipped. The person who made that first special batch whipped it too much, and aerated it. Have you tried other soaps? Now I’m askeered to try that!

  117. I love this. As a Grandmother I love to have projects, keeps them busy and out of trouble. One question. Does the food coloring come off on your skin when you use the soap? I quess what I’m asking is will it stain? Thanks

  118. I think the Ivory soap does this because of how it is made– it’s whipped longer to add air. Remember the old ads. It floats. I always got a kick out of how it was originally made. It was an accident! lol! Worker fell asleep and whipped it WAY too long… lots of air in the mix.

  119. I can’t wait to try this with my 6 yr old! Ivory is going on this weeks grocery list.
    I’m so glad to see I’m not the only Mom who watches NINJAGO with her son! I have to say I wanted to cry this week when Lloyd grew up in a flash! I did however have to explain to my 6 yr old what a hemeroid was when Lloyd was called “Lloyd the Hemeroid Garmadon” That name must have directed at moms since some mom’s probably feel that way somedays about their little darlings : )

  120. This is neat! We used to do this as children at Christmas. Blend it with water until it is sticky, and then use the mixture to “paint” the limbs of a real tree. It dries hard and looks like real snow on the branches! This is so fun!

  121. Your kids are saying, I see something happening, I see something happening, it’s growing, it’s growing. It’s the great devourer too cute and cool craft

  122. the great devourer. Obviously your child watches Lego Ninjago. 🙂 Love the idea will be trying it tomorrow. thank you

  123. I used this experiment when I was a high school teacher. To find the science behind it you can go to Thanks for teaching me that I can do other things with the soap after the experiment. I feel bad now because I always threw the soap away. I teach elementary school and I probably will do this experiment with them sometime this year. It would make cute Mother’s day or Christmas gifts.

  124. So cool! I’m going to try this with my 3 year old soon! Also, I laughed out loud at the Ninjago reference! We are big fans in this house! Thanks for the idea…can’t wait to do it !

  125. I found out tonight that a fresh bar of Ivory. I had a bar that was about 3 years old in the linen closet. I tried it in the microwave. It split apart and looked neat but didn’t turn to fluff. I’m definitely going to try again!

  126. I figure that experiments tend to use Ivory as it’s a plain, basic soap with not many added ingredients. It’s also readily available and easy to recognise. As far as I’m aware Elmer’s glue is just plain PVA so it’s being recommended for the same reasons as Ivory. In the UK we have neither brand so if I have a go at making soap clouds I’ll try a very plain, basic soap.

  127. First I must say that your son is awesome! He is talking about a scene in Lego ninjago where the great Devourer is unleased and he busts out from underground! So cute! And second this is amazing I keep seeing the same things over and over for kid activities and this is something i have never seen and by far the most fun! I mean who cares if they make a mess it is soap!! I am so in love with this I thank you so much for sharing it.

  128. I will have to try this. I am surprised that people today would not have a microwave. I dont think there is a day goes by that we don’t use ours. I will use the old one we have in our shop. Does it smell like soap after you do this? Neat idea for a rainy day.

  129. When my son was younger he so enjoyed doing this project simply useing marshmallows and eating them once cooled, they are actually fun to eat that way. Our church does the Christmas Boxes to send overseas to the children in poor countries and because Ivory Soap Bars are so gifted enough that they float, I always send them in the gift boxes for the children who receive them simply because we do not know there cleansing accomodations so if there washing in a river or stream they can’t loose there soaps. We have always also sent the plastic storage containers for the children to store there soap bars in. Such fun bar of soap and for so many helpful and fun reasons…enjoy.

  130. sure looks fun i will have to give it a try this adult has an inner child
    locked inside her thanks for the cute idea. Frances Bowman

  131. I’m a couponer & Ivory soap is always on sale @ Target for $1.18 for a 3/pk (of course I use my q’s to get it extra cheap) but even if u don’t have coupons its still a cheap soap to experiment. I just tried it & its too cool. I kept microwaving with the little pieces & they still grew extremely large. Great project for kids of all ages!

  132. I pinned this tutorial for cub scouts, and decided to try it out ahead of time. I used an old bar of Ivory that the cubs had previously used to practice widdling… and it puffed up a little, then burnt. So, in case you were wondering, Im guessing you should open a fresh bar. Will have to pick up some fresh soap and try again.

    1. Mine did the same thing, and it was fresh out of the package…hum, wonder why it didn’t work?

  133. This was awesome. Definately going to try it!! Oh, and for the bonus points…both of mine LOVE Ninjago too. I can’t wait for them to make the same reference!!

  134. Hi there all you overseas people…. please could someone in the UK or Australia comment on the soap that they used… we do not have your kind of soap in south Africa. Dove, Palmolice, Lux, ????????

  135. Hi! I tried this with Ivory soap and all mine did was puff up in the center and then start turning brown and smelling burnt. I used Ivory Pure, does that make a difference? My boys were so bummed it didn’t work, please help!

  136. Oh Ninjago….so many great lines in those shows. All of my kids love that show. Anyways, great idea. I will have to do this soon. Looks like I will be going off to the store to buy me some Ivory soap!!!

  137. This was a super fun experiment BUT it did make a mess in my microwave!! Maybe my microwave was smaller than yours, BUT once again, we all had a blast. When my grandkids got thru with their project, each one got in the tub and took a bath with their own soap. We will defintitely do this again. By the way, you were right about little hands liking to crush the soap. My middle one acted like it was SNOW and I really had a mess to clean up . It was still worth every second of cleaning up!!!! FUN FUN FUN

  138. did this with my grandkids. by the time I did three bars, i have lots of it still stuck to the sides of my microwave. any ideas on how to get it all off?? by the way, they enjoyed playing in it.

  139. When visiting the Soap Factory in Hawaii the tour guide told us that what we call ‘soap’ is actually not soap. I checked and indeed most all bar ‘soaps’ actually say ‘beauty bar’ or something similar. They are made from petroleum byproducts and are chemically different from soap. Ivory soap is based on animal fat and is not a petroleum byproduct.

    I could not find any documentation for this but it seems reasonable to me.

    Thanks for sharing such a fun thing to do with IVORY soap! It’s good to teach kids basic sculpture as well. Carves up nicely. 8^)

  140. To heck with the kids….mine are 27 and 31…and no grandkids yet, but I wanna play all by myself with this! 🙂

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