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Shopping for a crafternoon of soap making and letterpress printing

We’re really lucky to live near to Victoria Retail Park in Nottingham, which has some great shops for keeping the kids busy, crafting and present finding. One of our favourite ways to while away an afternoon is crafting, so when the park invited us to go for a little pre Mother’s Day look around, we immediately planned an afternoon of making stuff together. We ended up making soap and trying letter press, with lots more things to try next time. It’s probably my dream way to spend Mother’s Day, sat at the table with tea, cake, my kids and a load of creative ideas.

So off we went to Victoria Retail Park, we decided to stock up at Hobbycraft, meanwhile my sister in law went duvet shopping, The Range and B&M always have great bargains – she came out with the most gorgeous red duvet cover from B&M, covered in gypsy print flowers.

My daughter wanted to make more soap, so we bought some melt and pour soap. It’s so easy, cut off a slice, microwave it in 30 second increments, until it is liquid. We sometimes add colour or perfume, but this time we decided to use dried rose, heather and lavender petals.

Next pour into moulds. We had some heart shape plastic moulds, but you can use all sorts of things to get the shape you want or silicone moulds, especially ice cube tray ones are amazing for kids as they just peel off when the soap solidifies. Our heart shape moulds are plastic and a bit tricky to get the soap out of – top tip – grease the mould with almond oil, freeze it after it dries and run under a hot tap to release it from the mould.

I love the amazing glassy effect, it’s like looking at amber.

We had a little soap left over so this went in a silicon chocolate mould, lots of little gingerbread men soaps to encourage the kids to wash hands. You can also ‘trap’ little toys in melt and pour soap for the same reason – clean your hands to reach the lego man! It’s so much fun and a great craft for kids – which teaches about solids and liquids – as long as they are careful around the hot soap.

My eye was drawn to this Kirstie Allsop Letterpress kit in Hobbycraft, eventually I want to use it to inscribe spoons and old metal goblets we seem to have collected. But I had a sneaking suspicion it might also really appeal to my son. We were nearly late for school this morning as he decided to start tapping out a get well message for his sister who is ill today. I didn’t have the heart to stop him though, as he’s a very reluctant letter writer normally!

Hope you get better soon!

Just to show how else you can use the letter press we wrapped up a soap and made a tag for Mother’s Day, we used a gold or silver gel pen to fill in the indentations made by the letter press.

We’ve also picked up some material to play with on the sewing machine and some cute little Easter chicks and eggs to make an Easter tree! I love this little retail park, it’s a real gem in Nottingham, I always come home with lots of creative solutions and bargains, without having to venture into town. I also spotted some great birthday presents for the kids’ friends when they have parties.

Thanks to The Crown Estates and Victoria Retail Park for collaborating on this post.

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Making flower petal soaps



  1. 21/03/2017 / 4:02 pm

    Sounds like my ideal afternoon! Your soaps look beautiful.

    I too want to letter press some old spoons so I’d be interested to hear how you get on, I’ve always been nervous of investing in case it doesn’t work!

    • Penny Alexander
      22/03/2017 / 9:16 am

      I was disappointed when I found out they have to be soft metals like silver i.e. expensive! Hoping we can find some at a car boot or something. I did see they now do ones that work on stainless steel too – cheaper maybe!

  2. 22/03/2017 / 9:08 am

    I’ve always wanted to make my own soaps or bath bombs. This looks so much fun.

    • Penny Alexander
      22/03/2017 / 9:13 am

      It’s so easy to do and very rewarding!

  3. 22/03/2017 / 9:33 am

    Oh wow! Thise soaps are amazing, and your photos are stunning. I think I know what I’m going to be doing this weekend..!

  4. 22/03/2017 / 9:37 am

    The soaps are so pretty, and I love the letter press, so much potential!

  5. 22/03/2017 / 11:28 am

    Ooh I’d love to give that soap making a go – never mind the kids, eh?! What a lovely day of crafty fun!

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