Handmade Gifts: How to Make Soap Balls

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I have a pretty bar of wrapped scented soap in my powder room, which was a gift from my sister. It’s probably eight years old, but I love the fact that it still makes the room smell nice. This inspired me to make something scented for the blog, and I decided to make soap balls with fragrant oils, because they are easy, and inexpensive.

How to Make Soap Balls


I can’t remember where I learned this craft. I’m pretty sure it was girl scouts, but it may have been summer camp. It was definitely something I learned as a child. Funny how some kids’ crafts can be equally nice to make as an adult.



Unscented bar soap 
Food coloring
Essential Oils or Fragrance Oils
Hand grater
Plastic bowl


The process is really easy, however, it may take a few tries to get the shape, color and fragrance level you like. Start with grating some of the soap into a bowl. One thing to note, the Ivory soap pictured above is slightly scented. After I made a few balls with the Ivory soap, I went to the store and picked up Dove unscented soap. I liked it much more because the scent did not interfere with the added fragrance. However, you don’t have to use scent at all. In fact, you could use colored soap, instead of coloring the flakes. Ah, but where’s the fun in that?


Add some food coloring, fragrance and a little bit of water; about 1/2 teaspoon. I used orange, peppermint and some rosemary essential oil. I also bought some cinnamon fragrance oil at Michaels, but it wasn’t the best. You can purchase clove essential oil, and it’s pretty inexpensive. I think clove and orange essential oils would be a great combination for the home.


Using your hands (this gets messy), squeeze the soap pieces together. Continue squeezing as you roll the soap into a ball. If it seems too big break off a bit and re-roll.


Set the balls on a piece of newspaper to dry overnight. Just to give you an idea, one bar of soap made between 4 and 6 balls. 


Here I used fall colors, but you could make them any color you like. Red and green for Christmas. Blue and white for Hanukkah. Pastels for spring or Easter. Better yet, why not choose colors that coordinate with your bathroom?


Bag them up to give out at the holidays, or as a hostess gift any time of year.

I’m starting to think about what I will make for the holidays to give to all my family, friends and all the helpers in our life. Last year I made fragrant oil candles. The year before I gave out containers of homemade ranch and barbecue spice mixes. 

These soap balls could be the one. I still have some time to decide, and for now, they’ll make a pretty little fragrant display in the powder room.

Learn how to make soap balls that you can easily color and scent to your preference. This super affordable crafts make a great handmade gift.

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About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Garden Matter, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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  1. How pretty, and easy! Love the colors! Add some pretty packaging and you have a great gift for someone special. With the scent and pretty colors I would just put in a pretty bowl and let the scent fill the room. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Linda,

      So glad you like them and I agree. In fact, they are setting in that same bowl in my powder room right now. I just might make these for my holiday gift too.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  2. You use to be able to buy a laundry detergent made for washing baby clothes. I guess that it has been discontiued because I can’t find it anymore. I wanted to make soap scultures. Now with your idea of grating the soap, I ‘ll be able to make soap balls. Thanks so much.

  3. This is going to be an ABC (auntie by choice) project together with my special girls! We already ordered our scented oils from Natures Garden! We are excited and waiting for the next school holiday to try this out. It looks simple, it is inexpensive, and the results are charming!

    • Hi Wendy,

      That sounds like a great idea. I will say that it gets pretty messy. I found myself washing between balls to remove the dye from my hands. You could try wearing rubber gloves.
      Have a great time with your girls and thanks for stopping by,

  4. looks gorgeous, and love the colors! thanks for sharing on craft schooling Sunday!

  5. What a cute idea! Does the food coloring leave any color on your hands when you wash them with this soap? My kids would love to make these! 🙂 Lisa

    • Hi Lisa,

      I really use them for decoration but have tried using them as soap since a few people asked about this. What I’ve found was that some of the color does come off but it also rinses away with water. You may want to try using color made for soap which is available online and at many craft stores.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  6. This would be a great way to use up my leftover odds and ends of my homemade soap – and something the kids could help with. Pinning!

  7. This is such a great way to make such a wonderful gift.

    Thank you for sharing this with us on the #HomeMattersParty. We hope to see you again next Friday at 12 AM EST when we open our doors again.

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