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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 15, 2007

Creative designs make great gifts: Soap

By Melissa Rayworth
Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Leah Kramer displays one of her clear soaps with an embedded figurine.

Photos by MARY SCHWALM | Associated Press

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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Here's an easy craft and holiday gift from Leah Kramer, founder of www.Craftster.org and author of "The Craftster Guide to Nifty, Thrifty and Kitschy Crafts." Items needed: petroleum jelly; a large block of transparent or opaque melt-and-pour unscented soap (available at most craft stores); soap molds or chocolate molds (also available at craft stores) in whatever shapes you want; a microwave, glass measuring cup, disposable chopstick and a knife; and fragrances, colorings or decorations.

6 SIMPLE STEPS

1. Coat the molds with a very thin layer of petroleum jelly.

2. Place soap on a cut ting board and chop into ice-cube-sized chunks, placing them in measuring cup.

3. Place measuring cup in microwave and heat on high for 30 seconds. Stir with chopstick, making sure the soap is fully melted. If necessary, continue heating for 15-second intervals.

4. Remove from microwave and use chopstick to stir in ingredients, customizing for each person on your gift list. Fragrances, colorings and herbs are all possibilities. Be sure anything you add is safe and/or cosmetic-grade. The Web site www.teachsoap.com offers information on possibilities.

5. Stir melted soap with the chopstick to cool it slightly, until a very thin skin forms on the top. Then pour it into the molds until it reaches the top of the cavity. If you're using transparent soap and wish to embed something in it, pour half the melted soap into the mold then add flowers, tiny plastic toys, etc. Fill the remaining space in the mold with more melted soap.

Allow the soap to harden completely, which takes about one hour at room temperature. Then pop the soap out of the mold.

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