Handmade Gift Idea: Soap Chains (That Look Store Bought)

Handmade Gift Idea:  Looking for a handmade gift idea but don’t want it to look homemade?  Then this idea is perfect for you!  These super easy decorative Hanging Soap Chains (Zeep Kettingen) make great gifts for any occasion (Mother’s Day Birthdays, Teacher Gifts, Wedding Gifts, Christmas etc).

And what’s more, you don’t need any expensive ingredients or special equipment to make them (like you normally do with handmade soap).  All you need is ordinary soap, a cheese grater and things you probably have lying around the house.

Handmade Gift Idea: These easy to make soap chains actually look shop bought so they look great displayed around your home or to use as mother's day, birthday, wedding and Christmas gifts.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which I think you may find useful – any purchases made via these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you. This helps me keep the blog up and running.

 

I shared this idea over on Kenarry.com back in November as a handmade gift idea for Christmas but thought I would share it here too now because they also make fab Mother’s Day Gifts.

 

Handmade Gift Idea: These easy to make soap chains actually look shop bought so they look great displayed around your home or to use as mother's day, birthday, wedding and Christmas gifts.

 

These Soap Chains (called zeep kettingen) are pretty popular here in the Netherlands and you see different variations of the them hanging in a lot of Dutch homes.  Not only do they look pretty but they smell really good too.

 

Handmade Gift Idea – Soap Chains

 Materials Needed:

  • 2 bars of soap (you need quite soft soap – I used Dove)
  • Water
  • Twine, string, cord or ribbon
  • Beads & decorative embellishments (optional)

 

Equipment Needed:

  • Cheese grater
  • Plastic bag (a freezer bag is ideal)
  • Plastic embossed dinner mat (or anything else with a raised pattern to make an imprint)
  • Wooden bamboo skewer
  • Drinking straw
  • Scissors

 

Directions:

How To Make The Soap Mix

 

Handmade Gift Idea: These easy to make soap chains actually look shop bought so they look great displayed around your home or to use as mother's day, birthday, wedding and Christmas gifts.

 

Step 1.  Use the cheese grater to finely grate your soap.

I was a bit lazy here and got bored grating the soap so I decided to throw it into my old food processor and despite it making a really scary noise, it actually did the job beautifully.

*WARNING*  There could be a risk of damaging your blades so if have a nice new machine I probably would not recommend that you do this.  But if you are super lazy like me and want to risk it, make sure that you cut the soap up into smaller chunks.

 

Step 2.  Put the grated soap into your plastic bag.

 

Step 3.  Add a tablespoon of the liquid soap together with approx 3 tablespoons of water (add this a little by little to make sure the mixture doesn’t become too wet – every soap brand will react differently).

 

Step 4.  Seal the bag and knead the soap through the plastic until it becomes smoother and begins to stick together.

 

Handmade Gift Idea: These easy to make soap chains actually look shop bought so they look great displayed around your home or to use as mother's day, birthday, wedding and Christmas gifts.

 

How To Make The Soap Shapes

Step 5.  Take a handful of the soap mixture out of the bag and knead it to soften it further.

 

Step 6.  Roll the soap into a ball then flatten with your hand.  Aim for a thickness of about 2.5 cm (1 inch).

 

Step 7.  Using your plastic embossed mat (or whatever you have) and a small rolling pin, roll the imprint into the soap – be careful not to roll your clay out too thinly.  Aim for approx 1.5cm  – 2cm (3/4 of an inch) depth (it needs to be thick enough that you can get a straw through the soap shape to a make a hole).

 

Handmade Gift Idea: These easy to make soap chains actually look shop bought so they look great displayed around your home or to use as mother's day, birthday, wedding and Christmas gifts.

 

Step 8.  Now, select a part of the pattern you like and cut out a shape using your cookie cutter form.

 

Step 9.  Re-roll the scraps of soap and repeat until you have enough shapes and have used it all up.

 

Handmade Gift Idea: These easy to make soap chains actually look shop bought so they look great displayed around your home or to use as mother's day, birthday, wedding and Christmas gifts.

 

Step 10.  Take a wooden skewer and carefully make a hole through the soap.  Push it through a few more times to widen the hole.
 
Step 11.  Now take a plastic drinking straw and carefully push through the hole to create a larger and cleaner hole that will be big enough to put your twine through (if your soap crumbles you need to check it’s not too dry, knead it a little bit more and/or make your shape a bit thicker).

 


 
Step 12.  If you do want to use the air-drying clay shapes in your design then you can do this using the exact same process as with the soap (knead it, form a ball, flatten it, imprint the pattern, cut shape out and make a hole through the centre).

Allow the soap and clay shapes to dry out for a day or two.

 

Soap Chain Assembly

Now, you can begin assembling your soap chains.

This is where you can really get creative and create your own designs by adding different combinations of soap shapes, beads and embellishments etc.

When I first thought about making these I actually had another design in my head.  I wanted to use large wooden beads and either some burlap or some thin red gingham ribbon.

Unfortunately for me, it’s not always possible to find certain things locally where I live, so I had to re-think the design.

In the end, I decided to create some shapes using some stone look air drying clay and some natural twine that I already had at home.

 

Step 13.  Cut 1 meter (1 yard) of the twine, then fold it in half and knot it about 10cm (4 inches) down from the top to create your hanging loop.

 

Step 14.  Feed the two ends of the twine through the soap and pull the soap up to the knot.

 

Step 15.  Carry on threading and knotting the rest of the soaps and embellishments that you want to use in your design.

 

Handmade Gift Idea: These easy to make soap chains actually look shop bought so they look great displayed around your home or to use as mother's day, birthday, wedding and Christmas gifts.

 

Step 16.  To make the tassels, you need to cut 4 x 40cm (15 inches) lengths of twine, place it directly underneath the soap and tie in place with the two pieces of twine from you main chain.

 

Handmade Gift Idea: These easy to make soap chains actually look shop bought so they look great displayed around your home or to use as mother's day, birthday, wedding and Christmas gifts.

 

Step 17.  Next, cut another 20cm (8 inches) length of twine, then unravel it and split the strands so that you have a thinner piece of twine. Set this aside.

 

Step 18.  You should now have 10 pieces of twine hanging down from your main chain.  Divide them into 3 sections (3/4/3) and plait (braid) them as neatly as you can.

 

Step 19.  When your plait (braid) is long enough, use the thinner piece of twine to secure it (I knotted mine at the front and the back to make sure it was secure).

 

Handmade Gift Idea: These easy to make soap chains actually look shop bought so they look great displayed around your home or to use as mother's day, birthday, wedding and Christmas gifts.

 

Step 20.  Now unravel the 10 lengths of twine at the bottom to create your tassel and trim any uneven lengths.

 

Handmade Gift Idea: These easy to make soap chains actually look shop bought so they look great displayed around your home or to use as mother's day, birthday, wedding and Christmas gifts.

 

You may think this is a lot of work but it is in fact really easy to do.  I have broken the instructions down into really small steps to make the tutorial easier to follow.

 

Handmade Gift Idea: These easy to make soap chains actually look shop bought so they look great displayed around your home or to use as mother's day, birthday, wedding and Christmas gifts.

 

You can also use your basic soap shapes to make all kinds of different designs too.  You don’t necessarily have to make them into a soap chain as they would also look nice just displayed on a shelf, in a glass jar, or in a little dish.

In addition to them being a great handmade gift idea, I think they would do really well at craft fairs and markets.  I am actually thinking about making some to sell at one of the next King’s Day free markets that we have every year here in the Netherlands.  I think they would sell really well.

Do you have a handmade gift idea?  I’m always looking for new ideas so I would love to hear your DIY craft ideas (just leave a comment below or tag me in on Instagram).

 

Oh yes, and don’t forget to sign-up for the Happy Home In Holland Newsletter (<—– click here!), that way, you won’t miss any updates or new DIY tutorials that get added to the site. 🙂

 

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5 thoughts on “Handmade Gift Idea: Soap Chains (That Look Store Bought)

  • March 10, 2017 at 2:48 am
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    What a great idea. I want to start making soap, you make it look so easy.

    Reply
    • March 10, 2017 at 10:30 am
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      It can be a bit messy but it really is easy to do and the great thing is it costs hardly anything to do.

      Reply
  • March 21, 2017 at 8:02 am
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    I love your soaps! Wonderful idea …. I am going to try to make them. Thanks Andi

    Reply
  • March 23, 2017 at 6:58 pm
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    This is so cute! I haven’t ever tried to make soap, but you made such a beautiful chain with your soaps

    Reply
  • March 25, 2017 at 1:31 am
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    This is an ambitious project, thanks for showing us how it’s done. Also, thank you for sharing with us this week at Celebrate Your Story, have a great weekend.

    Reply

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