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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Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. 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!

  2. 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!!

  3. 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.

  4. 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! 🙂

  5. Ninjago… my sons love that show. In other news, I’m trying this today. Looks fun!

  6. 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!

  7. 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??? 🙂

  8. 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.

  9. I would dearly love to know how to insert a “Pin It” button into my blog. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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. 🙂

  15. 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

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

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

  21. 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!