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Japanese-Motif Soaps

Create extra sets of these pretty soaps to have on hand for unexpected guests.




Return to Patterns by Pixel.


  • White soap with flat sides
  • White water-slide decal paper
  • Clear acrylic coating
  • Scissors


  1. Step 1

    Start with bars of white soap with flat sides. (The side where you will place the pattern should be smooth, with no etched words or designs.)

  2. Step 2

    In a photo-editing program, draw boxes that are the same size as the bars of soap. Import desired patterns into boxes, and print onto white water-slide decal paper.

  3. Step 3

    Spray printed sheet with a clear acrylic coating to set colors. Cut out patterned boxes, rounding corners as required to match the shape of the soaps. Affix patterned cutouts to the soaps, following the manufacturer's instructions.

Martha Stewart Living, December 2007



Reviews (24)

  • crafty4860 31 Jan, 2013

    We used to use fancy stickers (especially at Christmas time) and seal the image by dipping the soap slightly up the sides in paraffin wax. This sealed just fine. Some soaps (Camay I think) had a fancy pattern around the front side which framed the stickers beautifully. Be careful not to have the wax too hot. Try using tongs to lower and dip the soap . Thicker soap bars are easier to hold on to. I think I used a mat knife to trim the wax evenly on the sides if I got them a bit crooked.

  • MotherInDuluth 20 Dec, 2012

    I've always dipped the soap top (with the paper, decal, sticker, etc.) of the soap in melted paraffin to seal. You'll only want the paraffin on the top. If the soap you use has "etchings" on both sides, you can use a potato peeler to remove and smooth by rubbing with a dry cloth before putting on the decoration. I've done these for my own use, gifts, group craft projects, etc. As you use the soap, you don't notice that soap is only coming from the bottom of the bar.

  • rootabaga 10 Apr, 2011

    Try sealing the decal with clear nail polish.

  • Lindseym84 5 Dec, 2009

    has anyone done these yet? i am working on some candles and i have had NO luck with spraying the varnish on the paper, what settings did you use on your printer?

  • HeresDebbieK 28 Nov, 2009

    I'm so excited about this. I ordered the papers and can't wait to make some pretty soaps for gifts. I'll pour my own soaps though, rather than hunt down some without any impressions or raised parts on them.

  • Anna_Marie 14 Jun, 2009

    I'm with crewtondix....what happens to the decal when you get the soap wet? Does it stay on a long time, does it wrinkle and come off the first time it's wet?

  • MsEdmonds 12 Jun, 2009

    Where did the Martha Stewart people get the patterns for the soaps shown in the photographs?

  • Learner10 12 Jun, 2009

    I would just like to say thank you to everybody who has provided these websites to help us find the products to make the soaps!! Very kind to share.

  • cookiesgalore 12 Jun, 2009

    You can make your own soap by buying the molds (and white glycerin soap to fill the molds) at any craft store in your area (or online). You can make any size soap and it will be cheaper as well. Glycerin soap can be easily heated on a stove or microwave and poured into molds. Just use caution and follow the directions on the package,etc.

  • carabau 12 Jun, 2009

    Lazertran makes water-slide decal paper and should be found in any good art retail store.

  • carabau 12 Jun, 2009

    Lazertran makes water-slide decal paper and should be found in retail art stores.

  • kylev53 12 Jun, 2009

    Who has found a good brand of soap to use?
    Thanks for all the other information, sometimes Martha leaves out essential details.

  • chefette86 12 Jun, 2009

    cont'd: The source listed for patterns is "Japanese Design" (DoverPictura) from

  • chefette86 12 Jun, 2009

    cookiesgalore -thank you so much for sharing the website!
    In the magazine in the guide, the website listed for the decal paper is The bar soaps can be found at (groove everyday collection, they come in many scents) -however, all I found was candles, and when I searched on the website, the links for the bar soap didn't work. Krylon #1303 crystal clear acrylic coating from (or try a craft store, or walmart)

  • mthree2 12 Jun, 2009

    Thank you niceross1!! I found a whole lot of ideas at the site you listed.

  • niceross1 6 May, 2009
    THis website sells the soap decal paper.

  • dnd 22 Apr, 2009

    Can someone please tell me how they did this and where you got the soap from!

  • crewtondix 6 Dec, 2008

    HELP, i must be missing something. This decal is going on the soap directly. what happens when it's wet?

  • cookiesgalore 4 Dec, 2008

    Here is a website I found on google images with some nice patterns. Just scroll down 1/3 of the page to get to the patterns. Click on any pattern and it will give you an enlarged version.
    Here's the website:

  • maitai326 4 Dec, 2008

    I dont understand this last sentence: Affix patterned cutouts to the soaps, following the manufacturer's instructions. Which manufacturer? Are these instructions found on the decal papers?

  • rowdysunsetart 4 Dec, 2008

    Null All you need to do is go to Google image search type in Japanese patterns or art and you get tons of websites...

  • neelhtac 26 Nov, 2008

    Where can you get soap like that? Where, or which brand?

  • BonnieSantaRosa 8 Dec, 2007

    Click on the link for either inkjet or laser jet decal paper

  • asang 1 Dec, 2007

    where can I purchase the white water-slide decal paper?