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Fun and Son-Episode 3: Fish In A Bag Soap

May 30, 2020

We Made Fish In A Bag Soap!

Fish in a bag soap is not a new idea by any means, in fact, it’s so popular it’s hard to know who to credit with the idea.  Spencer and I tried our hands at it and it was pretty fun, and turned out really well.  Here are our final fish in bags:

Fish in a bag soap finished product

You Might Say We Beta-Tested This Soap 🙂

If you follow my blog, or my shop products, you’ll know that I’m a fan of a good word play.  When I ordered the plastic fish for this project from Amazon, I was initially upset because there were very few actual goldfish in the assortment.

Holding up the bag of fish, it occured to me that the blue and purple fish look like beta fish.  So while we didn’t end up with a lot of carnival-style goldfish in bags, we did end up with cute beta fish bags instead.  

A Fun Kid-Friendly Soap Project

If you have seen the other Fun and Son posts and videos you will know that I’m typically on the lookout for things that I can do with Spencer that are interesting enough to keep his attention, and interesting enough that I want to do them too. 🙂

This is a great soap project to do with kids.  The fish in a bag soap uses melt and pour soap, so unlike cold processed soap (see my DIY soap video for basics), there is no use of lye or inherently dangerous ingredients.  Obviously, there is melting and pouring to be done, and there needs to be supervision, but Spencer said he would definitely do this project again, so that’s a good sign that it was enjoyable!

Step By Step Fish In A Bag Soap

Below is a brief step by step for how to make this fish in a bag soap, but there is also a link to a video tutorial below.  

Start By Gathering Some Supplies

Not surprisingly, to make fish in a bag soap, you need fish, bags, and soap. 🙂

Bag of plastic toy fish
Bag of plastic toy fish from Amazon. Link is below in the supply list.
Cuffed treat bag
We used 4x9 inch treat bags which we rolled down the tops of to create a small cuff. I like these because they are really clear, but any similarly sized treat bag will work. I have linked several options for you below.
Stephenson melt and pour clear soap base

Unmold The Block of Soap and Chop Into Cubes

Pull off tab of soap container
If you aren't familiar with melt and pour tubs, do yourself a favor and make sure you pop the tab on the side of the lid!
Flip over and pop out soap block
Flip over the container and push from the back to release the block. We put ours on a parchment covered cutting board.
Chopped up soap block
Chop up the soap block into chunks approximately an inch large. Place them into a microwave safe container, preferably something with a pour spout like a Pyrex measuring cup.

Melt Your Soap

Microwave in 30 second bursts until all soap is fully melted.  If you want, you can add a little blue colorant to make the soap appear more clear.  This is also when you would add fragrance if desired.  In the video you can see how adding the blue turns the melted soap from a yellowish color to a more clear color.

You will also want a spray bottle of 91-99% rubbing alcohol to pop the bubbles on the surface of the melted soap.

Almost melted soap
Stirring between 30 second microwave bursts will help break up the last few stubborn cubes.
Adding blue colorant
We added some seriously diluted blue lab color to the fully melted soap, which gives the appearance of additional clarity.
Bottle of rubbing alcohol
Spray the top of the melted soap with 91-99% rubbing alcohol to pop the bubbles, and set the soap aside to cool.

Prep Your Bags

While your soap cools, prepare your bags for pouring.

Open top of treat bag
Open the top of the treat bag.
Fold treat bag top down
Fold down the top of the treat bag into a little cuff. Be careful not to split the sides of the bag.
Prepared bag
This will leave you with a nice open bag that will be easier to pour into.

Pour Your Soap

Skin formed on top of soap
As the soap cools, it will form a "soap skin" on the top. Carefully spoon that off of the top.
hold bag open to pour
Holding the bag open, slowly pour soap into bag until you have the desired amount. We filled our bags about 1/3 full.
Spray with rubbing alcohol
Spray your rubbing alcohol onto the top of the melted soap as bubbles will have formed during pouring.
Bubbles before spray
Here's a closer look at the amount of bubbles before the spray of rubbing alcohol.
bubbles after spray
This is what it looks like immediately after the spray of rubbing alcohol. It's like magic!!

Insert Your Fish!

Next, you need to insert your fish.  I will warn you, this sounds like it’s going to be the easy part, but it’s actually quite tricky.  The fish toys naturally wanted to float upside down….which is not a good look for a fish in a bag soap. 🙂

Drop your fish into the bag
Drop your fish into the bag. He's going to go wherever he wants, so your only real goal here is to get him into the bag without making too many bubbles. If you do happen to make bubbles, just spray with rubbing alcohol again.
Get fish to front of bag
Gently lift the bag
Once you're comfortable with your fish placement, gently lift the bag and squeeze together at the top, being careful not to squeeze out any warm soap or dislodge your fish.
Clip bag and leave to cool
Clip the bag closed with a chip clip, clothespin, or baggie clip and gently put it in a container to cool and firm.
Tie with ribbons!

Glycerin Soap Notes...

Glycerin is a widely used ingredient in skin care products.  It’s water-soluble, odorless, colorless, and is a natural humectant.  Because it is a humectant, it draws moisture to itself (which is one reason it is so popular in bath and beauty products!) 

Because glycerin draws moisture to itself, glycerin soap has a tendency to “sweat”. This “glycerin dew” is totally normal and is a result of the glycerin pulling moisture from the air around it. 

If you want to keep your glycerin soaps from sweating (assuming this bothers you at all…I personally don’t care), you can wrap it in plastic wrap or put it in a container once it’s dried in order to keep moisture out of it’s way. 

In the case of the fish soap, I would recommend a small soap dish since it’s probably not going to last long in your house because little people will want to get to the fish inside as quickly as possible!

Video Tutorial and Product Link

If you love the look of this fish in a bag soap and don’t want to make your own, they are for sale in my shop here:  https://shop.amandatoryactivity.com/product/beta-test-fish-in-a-bag-glycerin-soap/

I think they would be a natural choice for a party favor for a carnival-themed or fish-themed birthday party! We ended up getting 5-6 fish out of each 2lb block of soap base, so if you are making these for yourself, plan accordingly when you order supplies for favors. I will list supplies for you below.

Finally, here is a link to the video tutorial.  You can laugh along with the fish stuggles…getting that little plastic fish to stay put was laughable. 

Materials used for this project are listed below.  Some links are affiliate links, and if you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  If you do, thank you in advance for your support of this blog.


 
 
4×9 cello bags: https://amzn.to/2M91G8V
 
Soap base: 
 
 
If you are an Amazon shopper, this one may be more convenient with no shipping costs: https://amzn.to/3eymeUi
 
Blue color (totally optional):
 
I used the one from Brambleberry (again, I was already ordering a bunch of other stuff, so shipping wasn’t a concern):  https://www.brambleberry.com/shop-by-product/ingredients/colorants/dyes/brilliant-blue-lab-color/V600002.html
 
If you are an Amazon shopper, I have also used these soap dyes, which are food grade and skin safe (and can also be used to color slime if that’s something you’re into!): https://amzn.to/2M9Tmpt

We did not fragrance our batches, but you could obviously fragrance yours with a small amount of essential oil or fragrance oils.   This set of fragrances offers some fun scents including an ocean breeze scent: https://amzn.to/2MbYKbK.  

I personally think plain glycerin soap has a nice clean smell without any additives. Spencer suggested “fish scented”, but I didn’t think that was a great idea. 🙂 

Love, Amanda

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I'm Amanda, and I put the AMANDA in A MANDAtory Activity (and I like a good bad pun). This blog is a focused on baking and crafting for gatherings and gifts! I LOVE making things a little extra special and I love sharing those ideas with you. Have a look around, or read more here.

Amanda

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