Homemade Lye Soap
by Stewart’s Crafts

Kids’ Activities

Not Recommended!

I DO NOT recommend that anyone use soapmaking (from the beginning using lye) as a project for children in a group.

It is hazardous enough for adults to make it, even when they are properly equipped with a respirator, face mask, and plastic gloves.  Vapors from lye quickly burn your skin and eyes, and hinder your breathing if you are not properly protected.  That’s just the vapors.  A direct spill or splash is even more harmful.

There is NO reason on earth to put a child in that jeopardy.  When you ask your elders, you’ll find out that children were never a part of the family soapmaking.  The only task I’ve been told that children had was to “keep the fire going.”

Recommended!

I DO recommend some activities for kids that are a lot of fun, provide them with a craft to take home, give them a sense of the soapmaking process, and are easy to clean up!

  1. Grate by hand, or food processor, plain bars of soap (like our Pure N Simple, or Ivory®) to get soap chips.  One-half cup of grated soap plus one-fourth cup of liquid is a good amount for each child.
  2. In a double boiler, crock pot or carefully in a pot over direct heat, melt the soap chips with the liquid (water plain or colored) to keep it from sticking to the pot.  (Two measures of soap to one measure of liquid is a good ratio.)
  3. Stir CONSTANTLY with a whisk to keep the lumps out.  Add more liquid as necessary.
  4. When completely melted and all lumps are gone, pour into styrofoam cups, muffin pans lined with muffin papers, egg cartons, candy molds etc.
  5. Let the children add any of the following to their cup of melted soap, stir with a plastic spoon, press the soap down into the bottom of the cup with the spoon, put a lid or cover on it, and let it harden for a few days.
    • For Color (school colors, seasonal colors):  add grated crayons, Jello® powder, Kool-Aid® powder, etc.
    • For Fragrance:  add drops of perfume, food flavoring, etc.
    • For Fun:  add a loop of ribbon or cord for soap-on-a-rope; add plastic bugs or toys for prizes in the middle of the soap appropriate for the age of the child; be creative with the wrapping and labeling of the soap.
  6. Let the soap sit to dry and harden for three or more days.  Then tear away the styrofoam cups, or remove from the muffin pans.  And enjoy!

At the end of the craft session, the kids are still healthy, and to clean up you just add water!