A DIY Concrete Soap Dish. Maybe.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Yeah.  I'm weird.  A little strange.  Not terribly normal.  If you've been following me along, you've probably got that figured out pretty well by now.

Why can't I just go out and buy a soap dish like a regular person?  Right?

I'll shop online for hours and hours and hours and not find the right thing.  Or, if I do, it's too expensive because I have horribly expensive taste.  Or it's close but juuuust not quite right, missing one or two key elements.

Like soap dishes.  I found a few that I liked after several sites and many hours, I did.  But, surprise, too expensive.  (Who really spends $100 on a freakin' soap dish?)  Or, a few key elements were not present.

I was poking around Etsy the other day which after hearing about the policy changes over there, I'm not super keen on shopping that site anymore.  I was looking for creative soap dish ideas and came across a few very neat concrete ones.

Heeey, I could try that!, I thought.  I did make that DIY concrete knob thingie a bit ago, how different of a process could it be?

It wasn't really.  I did have a lot of figuring and scrounging around the house to do for pieces and parts, but it wasn't all that different.

Here's what I've used so far (I say so far as the project isn't complete yet.):

  • paper half and half container, waxed interior
  • vinyl patch concrete
  • protective cell phone case packaging
  • zip ties
  • duct tape
  • hot glue
  • mould release spray
  • miscellaneous sundry extra stuff like cups, stirrer, etc., you know

See, the thing, the trick, about making moulds is thinking in reverse.  It hurts occasionally but it's good for the ol' brain.

First house-foraging turned up the packaging for Mike's new cell phone case.  Whoa, holy crap, it had a plastic tray in there that struck me as perfect for the top part of the mould.  Surprise!  Bingo!  Everything was built around that.

Yeah, hard to see since it's clear, sorry.
Next up was cutting up the half and half container.

As a kid, I fashioned sooooo many little paper boxes, folding, cutting, and taping as paper, markers, tape, and crayons were my toys of choice.  Ask my mom, I was a little paper box making factory.  So this wasn't a stretch, and it's not hard to do.

Now.  I eyeballed everything, as I'm wont to do.  But do please measure.  I went with one panel of the container then trimmed up on either sides of the folds about a quarter of an inch or so.  I then folded it up using the existing folds.  Existing folds, handy I tell ya.

Next I snipped along the folds on one end about a quarter of an inch in and folded up the little flaps and the part in the middle to form one squared end.  After trimming the other end to length, I repeated the process and ended up with this below using the duct tape to secure the little flaps on the outside.

Don't forget that whatever is inside will show in your final product.  Seams, pinches, folds, dents....all will be seen so if that's okay with you, cool.  If not, keep a keen analytical eye on everything.

So now here's one of the key missing elements in a bunch of the soap dishes that I did like:  grooves.  As we all know, it's not much fun trying to pry out a blob of previously wet soap from a flat dish, right?  Those grooves are an important design element.

My dilemma was how to create the grooves.  Time to shop around the house again, through my collection of random leftover crazy crafty stuff.

Here's what I found.  Zip ties.  Wood craft sticks.  Wood craft rectangles.  I was looking for my plastic coffee stirrers but couldn't find them.  I didn't throw those out now, did I?  Noooo.  Anyway....

Originally, after laying out the options on the plastic tray, I wanted to go with the smaller rectangles.

But, after trying not to burn myself with the hot glue, and trying not to melt the plastic with the glue, and noticing the wood pieces were bowed, I changed my mind.

Zip ties.  The plus here was that they are plastic so they won't absorb the water from the vinyl concrete patch plus they have an interesting groove pattern all on their own.  I laid a thin thin thin bead of hot glue on the plastic tray so it wouldn't melt and quickly, super quickly, stuck the trimmed zip tie on there.  All of which was hard to do after consuming a sugary caffeinated beverage.

Now, it's not perfect, heh.  If you're a perfectionist like me, try not to let it drive you crazy.  Or accept the fact that it's handmade and imperfect.  Or try harder.  I dunno, take your pick.  :)

Anyway, next up was time to mix the vinyl concrete patch.  Don't forget this stuff is super duper billowy and powdery; wear a dust mask.  I sprayed both forms with the mould release spray as an extra added precaution, though I think it's generally safe to assume these parts will pop right off.  Maybe?  We'll see.

I poured some mix in the bottom and after dropping the base on the counter a few times to even out the pour, I squished the plastic tray on top .  That's when I saw the concrete stuff oozing around the zip ties.  Mild panic.


So it seemed like the plastic tray wasn't staying in very well, or maybe I was panicking, so I weighted it with my can of spray and now it all looks like I've ruined the whole thing.  Stuff oozing over the top, the concrete wasn't even all the way around, getting under and into and onto things, it's a total mess......I dunno.

Neat, an ozone depleting substance.  Never saw that warning before.  Oop's.  Bad green me.
This could be a masterpiece or a big DIY disaster.  Or, a learning experience to be gained from for the next time!  Yeah, let's be positive.

You'll have to come back and find out when it's set and dry.

On another note, I've been collecting and experimenting with that DIY library rug thing here and there.  I picked up a non-slip carpet pad from surprise, Menards.  And using the yarn that my sister in law Yan sent to me, I've been testing out floppy pom-poms.

Using that same phone case packaging, the outer hard case part width-wise and length-wise, I wrapped yarn around a whole bunch 'a times and came up with these.  A project for another day, it is simmering on the burner, so we shall see.

Stay tuned, everybody!


  1. As Becky's Mom, I will verify that she made everything from scratch....using paper, tape, scissors, crayons, markers and the most creative imagination of any person I know, Becky created entire worlds. Who needs toys when you have a few simple things and a "can do" attitude. Everything was possible. Still is!!! So proud of my girl!

  2. Aw, that's just the sweetest...aw, now you've got me all teary! Thank you for such nice words! And happy birthday to you, one great half that made me who I am so you have complimented yourself as well!


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