Its perfection, so fleeting, its form ever diminishing. Until one day it slips out of your hand, a discouraging mushy remnant of its former beauty, and swims down through the watery abyss of your tub to get stuck in the drain.
Yet in recent years, DIY soap-making has experienced a major resurgence, and this craft is now a true art form with a cult following appreciative of the temporary nature of this lowly cleanser. You'll find many members of this movement on Etsy, where the offerings are highly skilled and vary from summery slices of watermelon soap to the soap layer cake shown here.
Both invite you to bite right in to soap making -- and that has become easier to do, with inexpensive DIY soap kits (Feto Shop has one for $8) and melt-and-pour soap bases that take out the step of turning lye into soap, so you don't have to deal with this harsh chemical in your kitchen (handling lye means noxious fumes and safety goggles. Unfortunately, lye is a necessary evil in all hard soaps).
The following eight DIY soap recipes range from the kid-friendly to hardcore.
Let's start off with the hardcore. One of the top figures in the DIY soap circle is the woman behind blog Soap Queen
, Anne-Marie Faiola, also founder of Bramble Berry
, a one-stop destination for soap-making supplies. Faiola does a great job of breaking down the process of soap layering into easy steps in this video
The layering options with soap are just endless -- and a little overwhelming. What prevents the colors from bleeding? How do you know when to add the next layer? Faiola fills you in. This recipe is not for beginners, but it gives you a good idea as to what to work up to.
Or you can buy this gorgeous handcrafted glycerin multi-layered soap cake through Etsy seller Soapmuchlove -- a slice of heaven sprinkled with rainbow jojoba beads and scented with a fragrant oil called "Energy" for hints of citrus and fruit. ($6.50 for a 4.7 ounce cake)
Click on to page 2 of this slideshow!