I came across a tutorial for making home-made bath crayons the other day, and was inspired by the photograph accompanying it to try my own. In the end I used the post more for inspiration rather than anything else, because my bath crayons looked absolutely nothing like the beautiful translucent ones shown in the photograph there – all I can say is that I have my suspicions that those may not have been created with normal soap flakes using the very simple method described. Still, after a certain amount of trial and error based on the instructions given, I did manage to produce some workable bath crayons. I should point out that unlike some of the commercial ones available, these cannot be left to float about in the bath, as they will just turn to gunk very quickly, so they are best kept in a soap dish. Me and the kids had great fun making them though it was a wonderfully messy activity, although my youngest who is rather fastidious about these things, did not want to get his hands messy by rolling them. I did try moulding them instead, but I didn’t find this was terribly successful.
Anyway, here is the technique I used in the end:
You will need
- Packet of soap flakes – about 1 tablespoon of flakes is needed to make 1 crayon, depending upon the size of the crayon
- Assorted bottles of food colour
I gave each child their own small plastic bowl and metal spoon so that they could each make their own crayon. In a small bowl they mixed about 1 tablespoon of soap flakes with a teaspoon of hot water so that it formed a stiff paste. We then added a drop or two of chosen food colour, mixing the colours where necessary to extend the range available. I found that I had to help them mix the colour into the paste properly, by effectively creaming it together rather like when making buttercream. The overall consistency is quite important – it has to be just stiff and ‘waxy’ enough to hold together, yet not too soft and sticky to roll properly. Of course adding the food colour will make it softer, especially if you add quite a lot to get a deep colour, but you can always make it stiffer again by adding a few more soap flakes if necessary.
Scoop out, roll into a ball, and then into a sausage shape – you could do this on a board, but I found it easier to do in my hands, even though this probably resulted in a slightly bumpier more ‘home-made’ looking crayon.
Repeat this for as many crayons as you like, then leave the crayons to dry for a day or two before using.
The kids were keen to try them out in the bath as soon as possible, and they turned out to be quite successful – they were especially effective for painting themselves and each other, and had the added bonus of colouring the water too, so there was lots of giggling and laughter, squeals and exclamations as they explored what they could do with them. All in all after an unpromising start we had a successful conclusion, and when these run out I think I may be be put under some pressure to make some more!