Monday, May 9, 2011

Floral Sculpted Soaps and Candles - Part 1

Now that the seasons have changed and flowers are blooming, this is a perfect time for a tutorial on how to make 3D sculpted floral floating candles or glycerin soap.  The method is the same for both, and they are quite easy once you get the hang of it.  Since our example shows glycerin soap becoming a rose, we will discuss the soap first. (Sorry for the lousy photos...I need to learn how to use my camera.  One of these days...)

Sculpted Rose Soap

Melt and pour soap base
Measuring cup
Rubber 9x9 baking pan
Cutting board
Cookie cutters or knife
Ball/ Veining tool (cake decorating tool) optionalSmall piece of foam optionalHair dryer

Using a microwave, melt the soap base in a measuring cup for ease of pouring reserving a small amount for leaves and sepals.  Add your colorant and fragrance and blend well.
Step 1

Step 2Pour the melted soap base into the baking pan no more than 1/8 inch deep.  You really want the layer as thin as you can so that the soap is pliable enough to sculpt, but thick enough to not follow apart when you touch it.  If you find that you have poured the soap too thick or too thin, don’t worry.  Place it back in the measuring cup, melt it, and try again.  Allow to cool and solidify

Step 3Peel the soap sheet out of the pan.  This is where the rubber pan comes in handy.  You can use other pans, but rubber makes it easy.  Place the soap sheet on a cutting board.  Cut a corner of the soap sheet off in a triangle.  No need for perfection. 

If you are good with a knife and particularly artistic, slice some nice rounded petals in the soap sheet.  If you are like most of us and fear both slicing off a finger and creating the most deformed flower ever, use a cookie cutter to cut 3-4 flowers, each is another layer in the completed project.  The cookie cutter used in this tutorial is found in the cake decorating section of the craft store and is used to sculpt roses into fondant.  You can use just about any cookie cutter and make most kinds of flowers. 

Step 4Place your rose on a small piece of foam.  The foam shown has a vinyl backing perfect for placing your flower piece.  This can also be found in the cake decorating section or you can use a scrap of a padded table cloth base found at the fabric store.

Note:  If at any point you find that the soap sheet is not pliable enough even though it is very thin, use a hair dryer to soften it a little throughout the process. 
Depending on your cookie cutter, you may need to make small slices in the cutouts to separate the petals from each other, but be sure not to cut too far towards the center.  Using the ball/ veining tool, press the petals and the center of the flower cutout to thin the soap and round them a bit.  Repeat this process for all of the petal layers.

Step 5Take the triangle piece of soap sheet and roll it into a teardrop shape.  This will act as the bud.

Step 6Use the hair dryer to slightly heat the bottom of the teardrop bud just enough that it will adhere to the center of one flower cutout.  A spritz of rubbing alcohol can aid in tacking it as well (on soap only).  Place the bottom of the bud in the center of one of the flower cutouts.  Fold in each petal around the bud one at a time.  To make it realistic, try to curl the edge of the petal outward while pressing the base of the petal toward the bud. 

Step 7Use the hair dryer to soften the bottom of your flower and place in the center of the next layer of petals. 

Step 8Bring in each petal toward the bud and fan out the top edge.  This takes some practice.  Repeat this process until the flower is the size you want, usually 3-4 layers.

Step 9Using a microwave, melt the soap base for the leaves and sepals in a measuring cup.  Add your colorant and fragrance and blend well.  Pour the melted soap base into the baking pan no more than 1/8 inch deep.  Allow to cool and solidify.  Peel the soap sheet out of the pan.  Cut out leaves and sepals using a cookie cutter or knife.

Step 10Soften the sepal using the hair dryer.  Press it to the bottom of the flower.  Place the leaf on the foam.  Using the tip of the ball/ veining tool, create little creases or veins in the leaf, and round inward along the edges using the ball side of the tool.  Soften the leaf and apply to the bottom of flower. 

You now have a beautiful rose.  If you are worried about the delicate nature of the flower, you can embed it in clear melt and pour soap base, but be sure the temperature is as low as possible.  You can also make floral arrangements out of your soaps.  Just insert a wooden skewer into the bottom of the flower and you can design your own arrangements. 

Bath Alchemy
by The Bonnie Bath Co.


  1. That's just amazing!! Sounds labor intensive, even if you think it's easy. :) Great idea for a gift!

  2. Wow! They can be mistaken as icing on cakes or cookies. I really like your post because it gives me new idea on how to create one. Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. Amy, you would be surprised. You just cut the soap out with a cookie cutter and fold in the petals and repeat. It can be a little fiddly though.

    YINT, I took a few cake decorating classes a few years ago. You use the same technique as with icing flowers. Hope it gives you lots of new ideas.

  4. A great little tutorial! I wish I had such talent for making my soap look as creative and decorative as yours. (Sorry if my comment appears twice - first time I pressed post nothing seemed to happen).


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