Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bath Soap Crayon Flotation Devices

The best part of bath time as a kid was when mom let us pick a toy we could take in the bath with us. Anyone else have the awesome Fisher Price Marina? That was a favorite.
But sometimes Mom just didn't want to deal with the inevitable mess that we made when we took toys in, so we just had to take a boring ol' bath (I don't blame her at all). So the bars of soap became boats and dolls and great objects to chuck at the siblings. We fought over who got the soap and who had to make a doll out of the wash cloth. I think one bath we ended up dissolving two entire bars of soap in the water. My poor mother, hahaha. 

Well, in an attempt to create a fun and clean "toy" for her kids bath time, Becky tried making soap crayons and sent us her story. Here it is, just as she sent it to us:

Becky's Story:
(Just so you know, this is my third attempt at sending this blasted pinstrosity. First I tried, then Sending it has become a bit of a "pinstrosity" itself. Third time's the charm...) 
Hello PinStRosity!
I can't say I've always wanted to make a pinstrosity of my own to submit to your site, as I'm usually pretty optimistic that my pinterest ventures will, well, WORK!
Unfortunately I can't say it went so well with my latest attempt at these nifty DIY bath crayons made from glycerin soap.

The Original Pin 

Pinned Image
(Pretty ain't it?)

As the directions on the pin, as well as in the blog itself simply state, melt glycerin soap, add food coloring, pour into a mold (such as ice cube trays), let cool and pop out. And VOILA! Bright and shiny bath crayons any toddler would go crazy over. 
Here's the step by step of my failure...

1. I went to the store and picked up some glycerin soap. Not as easy as it sounds. Apparently the stuff is being phased out by all the super moisturizing shea buttery bars and the like. The only glycerin bar I found was Dove Cranberry Antioxident something or other.

2. I set one bar in a double boiler (I felt putting the bar over direct heat would probably not be a good idea.) But I found that the bar wasn't really melting so much as gumming up all over the bottom of the double boiler.

3.My sister suggested I try the crock pot. Slow gentle heat, but more direct heat than a double boiler. After about 2 hours in the crock pot, this is what came out...

The Pinstrosity

Total lumpy sticky mess. I was confused. I didn't know exactly what I was looking for, but I figured it should be a little more... liquidy and clear.

4. I decided to go back to the post and see what the blog said about how to heat the soap... MICROWAVE! Gotcha! So off the the microwave I went. Though the directions in the blog said nothing about how long or on what power level. I figured one minute at a time should do it. Well, it was a good thing I was watching because this is what happened after about 15 seconds... (Kinda hard to see, but if you look closely, you'll notice I gigantic soap explosion)

After removing from the microwave, I gave it a quick stir and it was still very much the same lumpy sticky mess as before.

5. At this point I decided to just get through it. I was all in. Pot committed. So I portioned the melted soap out into separate dishes, mixed in red, yellow, and blue food coloring to each portion, and then spooned the goop into an ice cube tray. Still holding onto the hope that they would be all clear and shiny after they solidify.

And not-so-voila. Here's the finished product...

They did NOT write on the bathtub or walls as expected, but fortunately my kid is easily entertained and thought it was fun just having them float around him in the tub while he tried to grab onto the slippery soapy cubes. So that's that. I hope you had as much fun reading this as I had creating this Pinstrosity. 

Our Take On It
First off, props to Becky for sticking with it and trying different techniques when the first didn't work. 

So now...where to find glycerin soap. It can be hard to find ready made glycerin soap bars in the beauty/soap aisle. It's just not that in right now. Where do you find it then? The craft aisle or craft stores. I've seen blocks of glycerin soap in Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and even Walmart. These are just the plain soap, no additives, which is exactly what you need for this project. You can find some that are already colored or that have fun scents already mixed in, but you can find plain soap as well. 

I'm thinking that maybe perhaps it was the soap itself that Becky used that made this not as big of a success as she had hoped...but I'm not positive as I don't know exactly what was in the soap she used. While you can find ready made glycerin soap bars in the soap aisle, some of them are not just pure glycerin soap...they can have additives (various creams or whatnot). It's possible that Becky's soap wasn't just pure glycerin soap and so it didn't melt and reset quite as the pin directed. 

The Microwave. I love it. I hate it. One day I can nuke my leftovers and they come out perfect...the next day I can nuke more leftovers for the same amount of time and either create new life or char it to pieces. Sometimes I think my microwave hates me (I learned not to put towels in there to warm them up for vicks vapor rub...burned a hole in them).  Often microwaves are set to automatically nuke at the highest temperature. For projects like this I suggest setting the heat lower and then only heating in 30 second intervals (stirring between each nuke). 

So if you try this out, definitely see if you can get your hands on the craft glycerin soap. Those packages will often have directions for melting it, but if not...go the slow microwave method. I know...none of us are patient, but sometimes it just works best to slow life down. 

If this seems like more work than you're wanting to do, here's another fun idea for you from a blog called "Playing to Learn". Super easy homemade Edible Finger Paints that they can use to draw on the tub and then you just wash it down the drain. 
 While it won't really accomplish the goal of your child getting clean in the bathtub...they sure enjoy it and it's less work than making the glycerin soap crayons. 


  1. I actually tired the craft soap and it didn't work much better, it melted nicer but the crayons still didn't write worth a darn on the tub or on my daughter like the pin claimed. And I did folllow the instructions exactly so I don't think user error.

  2. I make my own laundry soap, and use the microwave method to "melt" my bar soap. It looks to me like the glycerine soap she used had some normal soap mixed in it. Normal soap poufs up when you microwave it. It's really cool to watch, and it crumbles nicely when it cools, but I wouldn't think glycerine would have the same reaction.

  3. You need to get Melt & Pour soap available at soap supply companies like 'Brambleberry' or at craft stores like Michaels. What you have actually done is 'rebatch' which is exactly how it turns out. Good luck!

  4. Each time I've seen that "bath crayons" pin, I've thought to myself "I bet it doesn't really work." And this is from someone who's done a fair bit of melt-and-pour soaps as were suggested here. The problem is the amount of food coloring you'd have to add to get something really colorful: I'm guessing the whole bottle *might* be enough. It's just not made for this purpose.

    On the other hand, I have made my kids the "edible" (well, non-toxic. No-one would eat it intentionally!) bath finger paints a couple of times. I've used a cornstarch rather than flour based recipe, but the principle is the same. The kids enjoy it, but you do need to take into account how your kids react to being sprayed off. Mine (ages 2 and 3) hate it. So they have a great time with the paint for 20-30 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of major trauma while Mommy tries to get it all off them before the youngest scrambles out of the tub and hurts herself.
    Also, I would definitely Not recommend that you do this in a tub without one of those nifty hose sprayers so you can get it off the walls without a ton of scrubbing. It sticks harder than you think!

  5. It's definitely the soap that went wrong - I used to make soaps when I was more wee, and you definitely need the craft soap, not regular soap. But, I seriously doubt they'll "write" on anything even with the proper soap (again, from experience - one can't have a very colorful bar of soap and not try to scribble on the bathtub with it! ;) or maybe I was just a strange child!) so don't be surprised if it doesn't leave so much as a scuff mark. They're very fun to bathe with though!

  6. I spent the majority of my late preteen years "making" (because you're really not making soap, you're just melting it and pouring it into a mold!) soap with different colors, scents, and designs. You can buy clear or solid white soap blocks at most craft stores. So if you're looking to do this project, also check out the different molds, sent, and color additives in the craft aisle! The crafty soap stuff is usually right next to the candle making supplies. Candy molds also work well!

    Something else that might be fun for bathtime is putting small objects (legos, fake flower petals, bouncy balls)in the soap (though it might get used very quickly then!)

  7. I know very little about soap, lol, but you could go the shaving cream/food colouring bath paint route instead or check out They have tons of bath ideas.

    There's also the route of (washable) liquid watercolours. Might work better than food colouring, yeah?

  8. Solution! I make soap often! :) Hobby Lobby sells bags of clear AND white opaque glycerine soap. They also sell essential oil that should in no way effect the bath crayons if you want it to smell good. Ok, first, when you melt the blocks in the microwave it HAS to be in a glass measuring pitcher. I have one by anchor hocking that works wonders, it's a 2 cup glass. use ONE of the small bars at a time. microwave on high for 5 seconds, stir, and microwave again IF NEEDED. Soap is like chocolate, you can melt it a little and try and convince the rest to melt by stirring it, but if you take too long it will start to harden. Second, if you use the opaque soap and more food coloring (they WILL appear more pastel) you may have better luck, I dropped a bar that I made and there was a huge streak of colored soap on the bottom of my shower. Three: little known secret is to shock your soap in the freezer for up to 30 seconds and take it out and let it set room temp the rest of the way. If it doesnt work with opaque glycerin soap, I'm not sure if it will unless you add a wax of sorts.

  9. I had to laugh at this have to use melt and pour glycerin soap. To the novice, you would create a mess like this. You cannot get the same result from an already made bar of soap. While your blog is funny and very interesting you have to use the right ingredients, use some common sense and do a little research before you jump into some of these projects.

  10. I'm with Laina. The shaving cream + food coloring/liquid water color is a fun bet. You can also do water baloons with dyed water in (water plus either food color or liquid water colors) this is fun because when they pop them (with safety scissors of course) it turns the bath water colors so they can experiment with color mixing etc and you don't have to do as much "spray off" because it all just goes down the drain and not on the walls or anything. and both have great bathtime ideas.

  11. I don't really see this working since the soap bars are soo light. I've used the melt and pour soap with the special dyes and scents for soap. When you do it so light, the dye is too far dissolved throughout the soap. Food coloring worries me as well. We have a fiberglass tub and goodness knows what type of tiles. I'd be concerned about the food dye staining anything. If you really had your heart set on doing so, I would suggest using the frosting dye that is sold. Same stuff, just super concentrated. By the end of it, it seems that it would just be cheaper to buy bath crayons.


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