A soap craft to accompany a lesson on forgiveness and reconciliation
BY SARA JONCKHEERE
Making soap is an easy craft, and it’s the perfect way to remind your students about what happens during the Sacrament of Penance, whether they are preparing for their first reception of the sacrament or their tenth. These soap bars not only serve as a reminder that their sins and hearts are washed clean, but they are also practical and come with an Act of Contrition prayer card that students can use in the confessional.
Goat’s milk soap base (2 lbs. will make about 12 bars of soap, depending on mold size)
Microwave (or crockpot with plastic liner)
Microwavable glass measuring cup
Silicone heart or rectangle mold
Essential oils (try citrus flavors like orange, lemon, and grapefruit)
Printable Act of Contrition cards (free download below in Step 5.)
1. Cut the soap base into smaller pieces and put them in the measuring cup. Depending on the size of your measuring cup, you might need to do half of the soap base at a time. Microwave for 30 seconds to a minute. Carefully remove the cup and stir. Put it back in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until the soap is melted.
Note: If you do not have access to a microwave, you could use a crockpot; it will just take much longer for the soap to melt. Use a spoon or ladle to pour the soap into the molds. Use a plastic disposable liner in your crockpot to make cleanup easier. Depending on your crockpot and how small your soap pieces are, it takes about 40 minutes on high to melt one pound of soap.
2. Once the soap is melted, add the essential oils. Add about 15 drops of each oil, remembering that pure essential oils are strong, and a little goes a long way. Test it out and add more or less to your liking.
Optional: At this step, you could also use soap coloring (works similar to food coloring) to color your soap. Let students try mixing different combinations of colors to create a soap color of their choosing. Goat’s milk soap without added color will make pure white soap bars, which is a great visual of a pure heart.
3. Stir the soap again. If the soap has started to cool, put it back in the microwave for 30 seconds so that it is hot and easy to pour. Pour the hot melted soap into the silicone molds.
4. Allow them to cool for at least 40 minutes or even overnight, depending on how deep the mold is. Once the soap is cool, pop the bars out of the trays.
5. Print out the Act of Contrition cards.
Click on this link for the free printable: Act of Contrition Tags
Laminate for durability so this can be a tool for students to use during confession. Hole punch the cards in the corner. Use the ribbon to tie the cards to the soap to serve as a reminder that they are being washed clean by the Sacrament of Penance.
Let us pray
Jesus, wash me clean of my sins. Create in me a pure heart. Amen.
SARA JONCKHEERE, MA, is an elementary-school teacher turned work-at-home mom. Creating digital curriculum and resources, she shares teaching ideas at SaraJCreations.com.
This article was originally published in Catechist, January 2020.
This article is available for download here: CAT.Jan20_CraftforCat_WEB (Don’t forget to download the Act of Contrition tags, above, too.)
Image credits: Courtesy of Sara Jonckheere.