Thursday, June 27, 2013

Finishing Michelangelo with some Soap Sculpting

Well we finally finished our Michelangelo study with some soap sculpting! A lot of thought went into that dynamic title of this posting ey? Bet you were wondering what this post would be about until I explained it.

We started with a bar of Earthwise natural soap cause I only have natural soaps in our house and of course never thought to google a good soap for carving. Thankfully these held up really well under the carving process. These particular bars were a lemongrass and manuka honey flavour (do you use the word flavour when you are not going to eat it?) anyhoo my lounge room smelt (or smelled for you in the US) soooo good whilst they were carving their soaps ... bonus!

They started by drawing a shape on their bars with a marker. I highly recommend the shape being as simple as possible, for the first time at least.

I had some tools that I used to use when I did ceramics and worked on greenware so I pulled those out for them to use.  Check out this link to The Wonder Years: Soap Carving for Kids which has some fabulous ideas for homemade tools, the best soap to use, etc. I also cut up a new pot scrubber (they only need a wee piece) to use to smooth the soap, instead of using sandpaper. 

Agent Smelly made a fish in less than 90 minutes

The Fashionista carved a leaf in about 120 minutes (all the veins are hard to see)

Both really enjoyed this relatively inexpensive and simple craft and I was hardly needed ... score! It also started some debate on how Michelangelo carved marble and how he made it look so real and smooth. It was concluded that he was one very patient fella!

Some tips.
- If your children have cuts on their fingers get them to wear plastic gloves, Agent Smelly got some soap in a cut and it stung.
- Make sure newspaper is under the carving and use the shavings (of which there will be loads) to wash your laundry.
- If you child is asthmatic or has allergies you may want to use little painters face masks on them, as there is a bit of soap dust and it does cause sneezing (and shavings to go everywhere ... sigh)

In ending, I must share this story. Part of their artist's study is writing down their very favourite work of art by the particular artist. Agent Smelly was taking an awful long time and she is usually more of a rusher head first kinda gal than a ponderer so I asked why she couldn't make up her mind and she confessed that he had so many "winkies" in his art and she didn't like to choose one of those. She doesn't like nudity in art yet, so I very maturely held back my giggles and nodded and said that I understood her dilemma and helped her find one that didn't have a "winkie" in it.

Highhill Homeschool


  1. Lisa,

    I have happy memories of soap carving when I was a child. I have a heart shaped soap one of the older kids carved for me. I couldn't bring myself to use it! I must suggest this activity to the younger girls. Did you save all the off-cut bits of soap? The soap sounds so special it would be a shame to waste any shavings.

    Love the end story!

    1. I can't recall ever soap carving but I do remember carving at school using soapstone so I am hoping to get my hands on some of that and get them to have another go (me too) using that.

      The soap shavings will go into one of my homemade laundry mixes. It's just supermarket soap but it is a nice natural brand.

      The things kids come out with!

  2. I love this idea and pinned it for when we study the Renaissance. It reminds me of the ivory carving activity we did for ancient China.

    1. Thanks for that link up. I've pinned just pinned that for when we do our bit in China for history. I have linked so much of your anatomy study over the term too ... maybe I should fly my kids over to join in with yours.


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