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Add a little style to your home spa with a minimalist cradle for your bar of soap—or use it elsewhere as a platform for something pretty. For more stability, add cork or felt dots to the bottom. If your vanity space is tight, adjust the final size accordingly. Because this dish may see lots of moisture, I chose cypress, which is naturally water-repellent; another option is to seal pine or basswood with a water-resistant polyurethane coating.

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  • 2018-03-19-105328-902_Abra_9780451498960_art_r1.jpg 714 KB [ Download ]
© 2022 Melanie Abrantes / GMC Publications · Reproduced with permission. · Reprinted from Carves. Copyright © 2017 by Melanie Abrantes. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Melanie Riccardi. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC (£12.99, available from www.thegmcgroup.com).
  • How to make a soap dish. Carved Soap Dish - Step 1
    Step 1

    Using the template, draw the top, bottom, and sides of the soap dish onto the wood. Use the ruler to mark 10 dots every ¼ inch across the width of the wood. Repeat on the other short side and then connect the dots to make 10 straight lines across the width of the wood.

  • How to make a soap dish. Carved Soap Dish - Step 2
    Step 2

    Position the wood on the bench hook with a short side facing you. Use the gouge to slowly cut a groove between the first two lines; try to make only one cut to get the cleanest results. (If you don’t have a gouge, use the V cut to get the same results.) Cut a groove between the next two lines and repeat until you have dug out 5 stripes.

  • How to make a soap dish. Carved Soap Dish - Step 3
    Step 3

    Turn the soap dish over. Using the whittling knife, push-cut to whittle the wood to the pencil lines you marked on the bottom in step 1. Repeat for the remaining three sides.

  • How to make a soap dish. Carved Soap Dish - Step 4
    Step 4

    Sand the soap dish with the grain until the wood is smooth and no knife marks remain. Begin sanding with the 100 grit and work your way up to the 220 grit as each sandpaper dulls. Be sure to round each groove for an even finish.

  • How to make a soap dish. Carved Soap Dish - Step 5
    Step 5

    Apply a water-resistant polyurethane coating to the soap dish if desired.


    A water-resistant polyurethane coating is a good choice for items that will see heavy use, especially in the bathroom or the kitchen. Some brands offer one-step poly and stain coatings, so you can change the color of the wood and give it the protection that it needs at the same time (some are even available in a convenient spray can!). I recommend applying two coats for a rock-hard finish.

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