Art Project #91; Ivory Soap Carvings

I had been scrounging around for ideas for a few days for some sort of new art project for our 100 Days of Art Project. The boys sighed or rolled their eyes with every suggestion so I knew I had to keep brainstorming.

When my eyes landed on the two bars of Ivory soap in our closet I thought I might be able to get them to try soap carving with the lure of using tools and knives!

It worked and the boys were eager to get started.  I had them start by drawing their designs on paper first; assuring them that they might end up changing them as they went along.

Evan decided to try soap carving using a cookie cutter.  He found a shape he liked; the crescent moon and we gently pushed the cookie cutter into the soap.  He then used a plastic knife to carve a few layers of soap away from around the cookie cutter.

I tried my hand at carving a butterfly.  I used a pencil to draw my design right onto the soap and then used the back/ flat side of the knife to scrape off the Ivory words.  I then used the bladed side of the plastic knife to carve out the shape of my butterfly.  Using the very tip of the blade I then made outlines and details onto the top of the butterfly shape.  Using my fingers I was able to smooth away any rough edges.

Alec wanted to make a bear face and then thought it might be easier to carve a heart... once his heart was done I was showing him how easily a dull pencil carves into the soap and encouraged him to go ahead and try to make his bear's face using the pencil instead of a carving knife.  It came out so adorable and he loves it so much more than the plain heart he had been thinking of leaving it as.

Ian wanted to make a motor boat.  He had a great drawing but he wasn't sure how he was going to carve it out of the soap.  He really wanted a  3-D boat not a 2-D boat and I wasn't sure what advice to give him.  He just started carving and while it took him an hour he did an amazing job.

It was a fun afternoon of creating together; even if we did have soap shavings everywhere.  At least the kitchen was pretty clean once we added water to all that soap!

Other Projects in this series:
Project 3: Star Wars Crafts
Project 5: Floral pens
Project 6: Watercolor outlines
Project 13: Water gun art
Project 14: Watercolor Kits
Project 15: Dragonfly Silhouettes 
Project 16: Painting pet rocks 
Project 17: Spray Paint Resist
Project 18: Water bottle windsock
Project 20: Tin can windsock 
Project 21: Firework glue art
Project 22: Qixel art kit
Project 26: Spray Painted Canvas
Project 28: Tin Foil Art
Project 29: Oil Pastel Bubbles 
Project 32: Drip Painted Pots
Project 33: Sun Art 
Project 36: Art Museum field trip. 
Project 39: Painting Pikachu 
Project 40: How to Draw Books
Project 42: Splatter Paint Canvas
Project 46: Tissue Paper Leaf Art
Project 50: Drawing Cat Faces 
Project 51: Making Homemade cards
Project 53: 3-D printing 
Project 54: Gingerbread Train
Project 57: Candy trees 
Project 66: Washi Tape Cookie Cutter Ornaments
Project 67: Learning Origami 
Project 68: Art Books and Artist Study
Project 69: Playing Go Fish Art
Project 70: Edible Chocolate Art
Project 71: Geometric Hearts 
Project 72: Marble Swirled Hearts
Project 73: Solid Tempera Paint Drawings
Project 74: Qixels 3-D Maker
Project 75: Making Cupcakes
Project 76: Window Marker Art
Project 77: Shamrock Zentangles on Scratch Paper
Project 78: Painted Pandas 
Project 79: Minecraft Digital Art
Project 80: Charcoal Drawings
Project 81: Chalk Pastel Lighthouse Drawings
Project 82: Dying Easter Eggs With Bleeding Tissue Paper
Project 83: Painting Pottery
Project 84: Drawing En Plein Air
Project 85: African Savannah Paintings
Project 86: Woven CD Garden Decoration
Project 87: Working with Clay
Project 88: Art Lessons with Art Academy
Project 89: Melted Bead Wind Chimes
Project 90: Perler Bead Projects

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  1. This would be a great gift idea! Guest bathroom soaps made by your kids!

  2. I received this e-mail and since the author tried to post it here and had no luck; I thought I could copy and share it....

    "What an awesome idea! In fact, I love all the ideas you have posted're almost to the end of your challenge!! Next time I need an art project, I will certainly be checking your list out. I love hearing about your field trips and your other great homeschooling ideas. I really enjoy reading your blog and I find lots of inspiration here. Because of that, I have nominated you for a Blogger Recognition Award! Check out my post for more info:


  3. Love the idea and I know the boys love it too.

    1. Yep, my oldest son actually wanted to do another one the very next day. He carved a different boat and I think I now might need to buy more soap!

  4. This is such a cool idea, it looks so fun! You can even melt down the shavings to make another bar of soap to carve for next time! So glad your boys had fun with this, thanks for sharing! I'm visiting your post today from #FridayFrivolity.

    1. I really wish I had thought to do that! I kept thinking we were wasting all those soap shavings by throwing them away but I really wasn't sure what to do about melting them down. I should have googled it!

  5. I'll bet you guys had a lot of fun! 3D sculpture is so challenging. Your son did a great job with the boat. Thanks for sharing with us at Creatively Crafty #ccbg :)

    1. Thank you! It was certainly a challenge but he loved it (and ended up sculpting another boat the very next day).


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