This past weekend, we had the pleasure of taking a Bramble Berry Soap Making Kit for a spin. And what a fun spin it was!

We tested out the Kids Amphibian Soap Kit (listed here, about a 1/3 of the way down the page). For $19.75 this kit includes the amphibian soap mold, 1 lb each of opaque and clear melt and pour, .2 oz each of orange and aqua pearl mica, .2 oz iridescent glitter, and 1 oz each of watermelon and pearberry fragrance oil. The kit makes a dozen soaps and if you wanted more, you simply need to purchase any extra supplies, such as the mica and melt and pour. So the more you make, the less each soap costs.

We tested the kit out with a very enthusiastic 4 year-old (though he would insist on being referred to as a 4 and 3/4 year-old). With an adult supervising, here are the steps to do it yourself:

Step 1: Chop the clear base into small blocks, add to a Pyrex dish, and melt in the microwave. Repeat with the white base.

Step 2: Add mica, food coloring, fragrance, and glitter to the clear melted soap and stir.

Step 3: Pour the soaps into the mold in any color and style combination — let the kids (or you!) go wild. For example, use the white eyes and spots on the lizard with a glittery orange body.

Step 4: After 4 hours, carefully press the soap out of the plastic mold.

FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!! If you’re not into making soaps with kids, other great ideas: soaps for wedding favors, Easter soaps, Mother’s day soap kits, and there’s even an Eco-Chic soap kit! But to tell you the truth, Bramble Berry had us at amphibian…

Why make your own soap? For the cost of one kit (kits range in price, the one we tested out retails for $19.75 and makes 12 soaps) you can make a bevvy of soaps at a cost far less than you would pay for these individual, unique soaps in stores. When you’re done, you can purchase additional mica, and any other needed materials, to continue to make soaps at an even cheaper cost.

Is it really environmentally friendly to make your own soaps? It really depends on the reason you’re purchasing soap and how you normally purchase. If you’re simply looking for a bar to throw into the shower, and you normally buy homemade soaps out of a bin, with no packaging (similar to what you would see at a Whole Foods, or a Farmer’s Market) then you are being about as responsible as you can with your soap right now. But…if you purchase soaps for fun (to throw Easter soap chicks into your kids’ Easter baskets, for example) you’d be better off making those soaps as a project with your kids — check out the ‘Easter Soap Kits’ on this page. Or, if you’re looking to give soaps as gifts, or wedding favors, making your own would drastically cut down on packaging, as well as cost.

Why we love DIY soaps for kid projects: Making soaps with kids was not only FUN, it allowed us a rare moment to teach and impress our kids (and to look way impressive, besides!). But more importantly, it also spawned a discussion about waste, about why making things yourself is not only fun, but responsible. In other words, it allowed us to once again sneak our eco-chic lessons into the malleable little brains of the ones who will eventually be tasked with taking on the torch of responsible living.

For more creative soap making ideas, visit the Soap Queen’s Blog.

Now that you’re itching to make your own soap…see below for information on how to enter to win your own Kids Amphibian Soap Kit!

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below by Wednesday, April 1, at 5:00 P.M. PST — one winner will be chosen at random on April 2. The winner will receive one Bramble Berry Kids Amphibian Soap Kit.