Thursday, August 4, 2011

Decorating on the cheap (a.k.a. dollar store magic)...

My Labeled Ladies
(plus a dude soap)

Let me start off by saying that I'm no photographer.  I use a crappy, tempermental, I-wish-I-could-give-it-Midol-so-it-would-play-nice camera that I bought used.  It was a floor model that people would pick up and play with at the store and I was mighty proud of myself for buying it so cheap instead of having it thrown away when it was done being abused.  As a result, I take crappy pics with my crap cam.  It might help if I signed up for photography classes or at least read the owner's manual, but I'm far too stubborn for such nonsense.  Pshaw, I say! 

Today I wanna talk about my dollar store finds.  I love going on the prowl in dollar stores for stuff I can use in soapmaking.  The last trip I took there was to find stuff to dress up my soaps with.  I had a bunch of naked soap laying around that I needed to give to some friends for their birthdays (several real birthdays and one fake birthday because the fake birthday girl was eager to try my soap but her real bday was over a month away.  I'm looking at you, Charlene!!  ;)  Happy fake birthday to ya, and many mooooooore!!!!  *jazz hands*).  Some people make soaps that look absolutely fabulous in all their naked glory.  Not this chick.  My soaps are modest and like to cover up.  They're ladies.  They don't go prancing around in their birthday suits showing off their goods to anyone who will look at them.  They wait for that one special person who is going to unwrap them... and rub themselves all over them... and use them until they've wasted away after giving all that they could give.  It always starts off so sweet and romantic-like and ends up tragically, doesn't it?  But I'm not bitter or anything.  *sigh* 

So anyways, I was very excited to find decorative paper for only a buck at, you guessed it, the DOLLAR store!  Imagine that?!  For one little dollar, you get a pack of 40 sheets of fancy paper.  Each sheet gives you several strips of papers (us soapers like to call them cigar bands) that you can wrap your soap with.  So for less than a penny, you can make yer soap purty.  Momma liiiike!

Pile o' Papery Goodness

Back in the day, I tried my hand at rubber stamping and failed miserably.  A stamper I am not, alas. It just wasn't in the cards for me.  Or should I say, it just wasn't in the handmade cards for me.  Boo hoo.  However, one of the best things to come out of that fiasco was that I found the world's coolest little paper cutter.  No, it doesn't cut little papers.  It's little and it cuts paper.  Check it out:

My cutter. 
Noooo, it's not emo.  It's not that kinda cutter!!

Before finding this little gadget, I had to use those big scary paper cutters at school that could cut your paper into nice, straight strips but could also cut your entire hand off in the process.  This little guy won't even give me a paper cut.  So nice!  You just slip your paper in under the clear thingy and then push down on the orange thingy and then slide that thingy down to the other end of the thingy and VIOLA, a perfectly cut paper!  I give great directions, don't I??  :D

Cutter In Action.
(No blood was shed in the making of this strip.)

Pretty Paper Strips
a.k.a. cigar bands
(Heyyyy, wouldn't it be cool to start a band named Cigar?? Cigar band?  Get it??)

Once you have your strip of paper cut and ready, you wrap it around the soap and then tape it together.  I like to use double-stick tape because I consider it the ninja of tapes, which automatically makes it awesome, because I really like that it hides between the layers of paper instead of being out in plain sight.  Once the band is taped in place, I write whatever I want on the labels so that people know what kind of soap they're getting.  Pretty darn cool, eh?  The labels instantly jazz up the soap and make them more presentable.  Hope this inspires you soapmakers out there to check out the dollar stores in search of soap "clothes."  I'd love to see what you come up with!  :)

My Soap Labeling Tools
(all dollar store items except for my snazzy cutter)
((...the markers are washable, just like my soaps!  teeheee))


  1. I love your fantastic (and educational) posts! Thank you for my awesome *Fake Birthday* Soaps, too!

    Interesting that I could not find it in my heart to toss the "Cigar Band" around the soap. Now I know why! So much love and awesome Dollar Store attention went into it. I will keep it forever! ;-)

    But, the soap is an entirely different matter - I will savor it until its tragic end!

    You rock!