My mother was always the type to have gorgeous hand towels and guest soaps when we had company. I remember more than one time a guest came out of the bathroom with dripping hands and a distressed look because they didn't want to mess up Mom's pretty arrangement of folded embroidered towels in a basket and felt equally bad about using mom's pretty guest soaps. Her favorites were always brightly colored soap balls. They looked almost like toys instead of soap because they were so bright and shiny. I think she would have loved these slightly grubby soap balls that look like cookies that E made.
With adult help, kids as young as 4 can make these. At 14, E made them by herself which means they are a good project for tween spa type parties if you've got tweens who might enjoy making their own soaps and such.
The color, scent and inclusions all come from a bag of herbal tea. You can get everything you need at the grocery store.
You will need:
For each person doing it:
An herbal tea bag, we used a Stash brand raspberry herbal tea
a bar of unscented soap- we used Ivory for this example, but we've also used bars of Dr. Bronner's in the past
chopsticks or spoons to stir
A cheese grater
a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or waxed paper
Boil some water, microwave is fine. For one bar, zap 1/4 cup of water. Drop tea bag in the water.
While you let the tea steep, grate the soap.
Rip open the tea bag and mix the tea leaves into the grated soap. Stir in 3 Tbs of the hot tea. The soap will get mushy.
It should be cool enough to handle almost immediately. Roll into balls. E made ours about walnut sized, and got 7 balls out of one bar of soap. If you make them golf ball sized, you'll get 3 or 4. She wanted little soaps we could bring to the gym in a side dish container.
Spread them on the cookie sheet and let them dry for 12-24 hours. Every so often, go in and roll them so they don't get a wet spot just on the bottom.
They look sort of like cookies or seasoned rice balls don't they? You could make some deliberately to look like cookies or maybe little onigiri soaps?
Hints and Tips:
If you are doing this with little kids, you'll want to handle the hot water and grate the soap, but they can absolutely pick the tea and roll the balls.
You don't have to use unscented soap, lavender or tea tree soaps like Dr. Bronner's make are excellent for acne, and with 3 Tbs. of uncooked quick cooking oatmeal (which you can find in the bulk section of your supermarket really inexpensively) you've got a very nice complexion soap.
If you are doing this with more than one teen, have them grate the soap first so the tea doesn't get cold while they are waiting for their turn with the cheese grater.
This is the box I put them in. You could easily fit a small crocheted/knit washcloth in it and nest a couple soaps on top. Click on the images for the full sized versions.