I love to make homemade soaps. You can customize the ingredients, fragrance, and even the look of soap. Using a photo to personalize the look of your soap is a project you may have seen before (it’s in our first book, A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book).
But one thing I had never tried before that I was curious about was if I could use transparency paper instead of plain white paper. I really wanted to create a soap that you could easily see through. So I gave it a try, and the first time around I had an epic FAIL. But then I figured it out. I’ll show you both in case you’re curious too.
For this project we are working with our longtime friends at Canon USA. I also used some colorful, pop art inspired photos I recently took of my friend Andie for this project. They’re kind of weird, admittedly. Weird or art? To-ma-to or To-mah-to? That’s hard to type. But I can say for certain that if you have a friend who will try any photo idea you dream up, you have a good friend. Don’t lose them. 🙂
You all ready to make some soap? Get excited! It’s happening!
-clear glycerin soap (can be found at most craft stores)
-essential oil or fragrance (I used Aloe as I love the smell.)
-soap molds or small cardboard boxes (think bottom of a milk carton)
-photos on transparency paper or copy paper, scaled to fit your molds
-packing tape if using transparencies
-microwave safe bowl
–Canon PIXMA iP8720 Photo Printer
First print your photos. I used our PIXMA iP8720 printer to print on transparency paper because we were able to get the richest color here. That’s extra important when you’re printing on transparencies. Although from this photo you really can’t see the images, huh?
I also printed one of my photos to plain white paper so I could show you the difference throughout this post. Both work well, so feel free to use whatever you prefer. They just create a slightly different look, which I’ll show you.
Melt your soap according to the package directions (most have a microwave option). Pour the soap into the mold, then add your photo. The goal is to get the photo directly in the center of the mold. Be careful as the soap will be hot after melting. You can use a spoon or a tooth pick to move the photo around without touching the hot liquid.
I found that the transparency photos lay much flatter in the soap than the plain white paper. The white paper as a tendency to curl once you add it to the liquid. So be sure to use your tooth pick to uncurl it once it’s inside the liquid.
Allow the soap to set for about 30 minutes (or according to the package directions) before you remove them from the molds. If you are using plastic soap molds, you can just press the soap out. If you are using a milk carton or other cardboard, you can tear the paper away after the soap has set.
Here is my first attempt at the transparency photo soap. The ink swirled away from the transparency after I poured the liquid, loosing the image. Although I like the swirly look, it’s not at all what I was going for. So that’s when I figured out that you have to add packing tape to the ink side of a transparency before making the photo soap. Go figure.
And there you have it: see-through photo soap. Fun, right?! I’ll be keeping these in my guest bathroom, but I think this would also be a fun project to make and gift. You can use any photo you have to personalize it. Make some soap this weekend! xo. Emma
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.