Super Soap: A Tutorial

When I saw this pin, I knew I wanted to do something like it. But rather than take new photos of my kids, I wanted to use photos I already had and add some text. I made these as Christmas gifts, but I figure you could make them for any one of 543 other holidays and occasions. And make fun (self-congratulating) labels.

The first one I made with a photo of my brother. The one I was just talking about the other day. Because he started a new pedicab business this year, I figured my Mom, Dad and grandparents would enjoy a little reminder of that success and of the grandkids, too. Two birds, one stone and all.

I did two different versions as indicated by the above labels. I like the hand soap, but also did dish soap. What I like about dish soap is that you’re more likely to actually pick dish soap up and turn it upside-down, so it’ll make the inserts wiggle around a little.

All you need for this is:

  • a soap bottle
  • Goof Off
  • images
  • a trip to the office printing place to print your images onto laser transparencies ($1-3 each)

There are two basic ways to get your images onto laser transparencies so that you can wrangle them into the container. Nope, inkjet won’t work. It’ll run. I don’t have a color laser printer at home, so it required a trip to see the office printing people. You can:

1) Physically cut out your already printed images and place them onto a white page to copy onto a laser transparency ($1 around these parts)


2) Use photo editing software to clip the backgrounds out of your photos and save them. Arrange them in an 8.5 x 11 document and save as a JPG or PDF or similar and have the office people print them ($3 around these parts)

In theory I guess you could print your images on paper, cut them out and seal them with a laminator. My guess is that the soap would eventually soak through somehow, since you’ve got to roll or bend the image to get it into the bottle and that tends to make lamination crack or split open. Lots of variables there that I didn’t feel like dealing with.

So I went with approach 2. I left some room around the photos to give them some help in orienting themselves in the bottle. Lemme show you what I mean. Here’s an image that I didn’t leave an arrow sort of shape at the top of. So it wants to flop sideways. Which is totally fine if you want it to do that. My recipients are much too type A for that, though. (At least I know where I get it.)

And here’s the same image where I did keep some space to help keep it right-end-up. Can you see the shape I left at the top and on the bottom right?

So when the soap bottle moves around, the shapes will eventually float back into place. At least that’s the idea. All you have to do to get the pieces into the bottle is roll it up and slide it in. If you don’t get it right the first time, you can always pull it out and try again. I found that was a good time to use the giant tweezers that came with my serger. But chop sticks or two butter knives or something similar would work too.

So here’s the same image in a bottle– after I let K choose and count out 10 plastic beads to add in. (She took this job very seriously.)

And here’s the same image in a Method bottle. It’s pricey for soap. But you don’t have to remove a label, because the labeling is so minimal. (And it’s printed directly onto the bottle anyway, and thus would seemingly require radioactive somethingorother to remove from the bottle.)

Speaking of labels, I tried both nail polish remover and rubbing alcohol in an effort to avoid buying Goof Off. In the end I wish I’d just bought the Goof Off to begin with. The rubbing alcohol works but takes forever, and the nail polish remover left smudgy spots on the plastic. Goof Off was much easier.

So when I was done with my brother’s bottle, I decided to play with other photos. And add some related text. For example, my little M wouldn’t say “wash your hands please”. She’d say “Wass hans pwease.” I cut these out on two different pieces of transparency, leaving lots of space on the text shape so it will stay above the image. This one’s for Bella, since M is proudly wearing Bella’s reading glasses here.

And then I took a menacing photo of my godson and used it with the words “Don’t make me make you wash your hands.” I think I made his head too big. Let’s say I was trying to make him look even more menacing.

Anyway, I loved making them, K loved helping, and the recipients laughed a lot. An inexpensive thing to make, and I’m finding them especially fun for the great-grandparent types who really don’t need any “things” but are bound to use soap.


  1. says

    No such printing available round these parts, sheesh! So I am going to try …ready? Transparent or clear contact paper over an image. You think it might work?
    Love your soap bottles!

  2. Anonymous says

    I just received one of these for Mother’s day…best preschool gift EVER! My husband and I laughed like crazy. The photo the teacher used was an action shot of my daughter. She said one of the kids in her class posed like she was trying to bust out of the bottle. Anyhow, now I want to make some for the grandparents. Great idea!! LOVE IT!! ~Lisa

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