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Eco-friendly soap packaging ideas for your own handmade gifts. All can be recreated simply and inexpensively using paper, string, lace, fabric, and other natural materials
It’s the run-up to the holidays and you might be starting to think about presents. If you’re like me, there will be quite a few handmade gifts and goodies on the to-do list. Making handmade gifts can be a lot of fun, save money, and make give giving more personal. If you’re smart about it, making a few batches of soap and packaging the bars up with pretty materials is a good way to go. They can be given on their own with a small card, put into a small gift set, or tucked into Christmas stockings.
These are some ideas that you can use to make your handmade soap stand out as gifts. I like to use materials that are natural in make or feel and that also look good. All of the ideas below can be remade in your own home using bits of paper and string you already have. The rest can easily be picked up at a craft store.
Make Handmade Soap for Gifts
If you want to make your own handmade soap but don’t know where to begin, don’t worry. Whether you’re making it for yourself or to give as gifts, my free natural soap making series will help. It includes the basic principles you need to know, terminology, and instructions on how to make soap from scratch.
- Natural Soap Ingredients
- Soap Making Equipment & Safety
- Easy Soap Recipes
- Soap Making Process
- How to Cure Handmade Soap
I also highly recommend that all your soap that you give as gifts is properly cured. The curing process is mainly about drying the soap out — wet soap will dampen paper and string and could cause quite a mess. Trust me.
Simple Soap Packaging with Bows
The most simple way to decorate handmade soap is with a bow. You can use all kinds of materials to make them including raffia ribbon, plain string, bakers twine, cooking twine, or even embroidery thread. Use what you already have in the house or head to the craft or dollar store.
One thing that I’d recommend is to choose colours that contrast. If your soap is all cream and white, then go for colourful materials. With coloured soap, choose more natural tones like the raffia ribbon in the picture above. Even the most rustic of your soaps will look great with a bow dolling them up.
Taking this idea a step further, I’d recommend taking four small bars of soap in different colours or scents and putting them in a box together. Imagine how pretty they’ll be, each adorned with its own bow.
Wrap Soap in Wash Cloths
One of the most eco-friendly ways to decorate handmade soap is to use a reusable material. You could use a piece of fabric but the most obvious that comes to mind is a soft wash cloth. It could be your standard terry cloth type or a basic cloth like the one in the photo above. Don’t you think it looks pretty? I’m going to let you in on a little secret behind that cloth.
It’s actually not a cloth meant for washing faces. It’s one that’s retailed as a kitchen wash rag and comes in packs of five at my local grocery store. In Britain you’ll be able to find these at the Co-op. In other parts of the world you might be able to find them online or ask your mom or grandma. Grannies know where to get all the household things.
You can also knit or crochet your own soft cotton wash cloths. I can’t imagine they’d be that difficult or expensive to make and they’ll make your handmade gift even more special.
Decorate Handmade Soap with Lace
Another brilliant and simple idea is to decorate handmade soap with lace. Just cut enough lace to wrap around the soap once and then place the bars in a gift box. Different patterns and colours of lace will look beautiful together. I can see these being really pretty presented alongside a vintage tea cup candle. If you’re into making candles then this could be a fun project.
You can pick up lace at fabric shops or online. I’d probably steer clear of vintage lace since it will be much more expensive. Another bonus is that a lot of modern lace is mainly acrylic which means that it won’t absorb moisture like old fashioned lace might do.
Though a lot of lace comes in narrow ribbons, you could also get wider types. These ones could cover most of the bar and be really pretty next to others that might have only a thin strip of lace. With decorating and gifting soap, contrasting decorations can really make your handmade bars look even more beautiful.
Wrapping Soap with Paper
If your soap is fully cured, it’s perfectly fine to wrap the bars in paper. It could be brown parchment paper, gift wrapping paper, tissue paper, handmade paper, or even baking paper. Wrapping up bars of soap in paper makes each one like a mini- gift. Literally any paper will do too!
The image above is of soap that I’ve wrapped up in translucent grease-proof paper. This kind of paper is marketed as wax paper and can come in brown, white, and other colours. Over the holidays you can even find it in festive patterns. What I like about it is that I can tuck some dried flowers inside and use them to add even prettier natural decoration.
One thing you might find is that tape just don’t stick to some wax papers. In this case, tie a string around it to hold it in place.
Decorate Soap with Herbs and Flowers
You don’t have to stop at ribbons and paper when it comes to decorating handmade soap. You can use both dried and fresh foliage and flowers to add even more interest. There’s a few ways that you can do it though and if you’re using fresh materials you need to be more careful.
First of all, you can decorate handmade soap with flowers or herbs in the soap making process. In this case, the soap IS the packaging and can be given as is, or with a simple bow tied around it. I have quite a few recipes on Lovely Greens showing how to do it. One that springs to mind is my recipe for how to use fresh cedar leaves to create a natural leaf etching on handmade soap.
Decorating Soap with Greenery
Another thing you can do is tie greenery or dried herbs onto your bars with a bow. It could be a few stems of dried lavender, dried sage like you already saw above with the wash cloth decorated soap, or a sprig of holly. Take a cutting of one of your succulent plants and tie it in if you’re giving a gift to a gardener friend. They can propagate it into a new plant so it’s like two gifts in one.
When using fresh greenery, make sure that you decorate your soap on the day you plan on gifting it. Otherwise it can wilt, dampen the soap and any other packaging materials, and create a mess.
Packaging Soap in Gift Sets
One really fun thing about making handmade soap is being able to create matching items. Peppermint lip balm to go with peppermint soap, lavender body balm to go with lavender soap, or if you like the photo above, I have recipes for herb garden soap and bath fizzies. Set them together in a paper box, tie a ribbon round them, and voila — handmade gifts at a fraction of the cost.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to making and packaging handmade soap. These are just a few ideas and I’m sure you’re already thinking of even more.
If you enjoyed this piece I invite you to have a browse of some of my soap recipes. Some of them come with packaging and decorating ideas already and all would make beautiful handmade gifts.