To go with the window frosting, I wanted to flock my evergreen wreath and Christmas tree. Yeah, flocking is not cheap. While discovering this fact, I came across website after website that gave recipes for making fake snow from Ivory Soap Flakes. Which, would make an awesome Christmas craft, if they hadn’t discontinued Ivory Soap Flakes back in 1978! How the hell do these recipes make it to the internet? Perhaps some old lady has a bomb shelter full of Ivory Soap Flakes that she pulls out each year to whip up some faux snow? Then she blogs about it… and everyone just copies the blog without actually trying it out. So, if you have a huge stock pile of Ivory Soap Flakes AND liquid starch here is the original recipe:
- 2 cups Ivory Soap Flakes
- 2/3 cup liquid starch
- 4 tbsp hot water
- glitter and 2 drops of blue food coloring
Unless you live in 1950 it’s going to be a lot of hassle to get your hands on at least two of the three ingredients, so, here is my DIY, modified recipe for Christmas tree flocking. Makes enough for a wreath and a bunch of pine cones with left overs:
- 1 bar plain Ivory Soap* (grated) Get as close to one bar as you can without grating your fingertips
- 1/2 cupish heavy spray starch (sprayed from the can) or Powdered Starch* mixed according to the instructions
- 3 tbsp warm water from the tap (the hotter the better)
- glitter and/or blue food coloring
Grate the soap. My mother (Granny) had magically seen the elusive Ivory Soap Flakes in person, so, I went to her house to consult. We gathered her 15 or so graters (They have a bit of a kitchen equipment obsession. Though as hobbies go this is a tasty one Patrick and I take advantage of) and tried them out. We finally decided on one size that made little curls of soap. You definitely want to err on the side of too big, if they are too fine then they just dissolve.
Spray your starch into a measuring device. I wasn’t very particular and I got tired of spraying it, so, I ended up with slightly more than 1/2 cup. DON’T turn the can upside down! The propellant will shoot out without any starch. Though, most people probably already knew not to do this. Sorry there isn’t a picture of me spraying starch. If you need help with this step… Please email Patrick, I want to read his response.
The old recipe had you put the contents in a mixing bowl and add glitter and food coloring. I wouldn’t bother; neither of them made a difference. Just throw the starch and soap in a mixing bowl and start whipping it with electric beaters? Mixer? Whatever the hell you call the things you use to make cake batter with.
Add the warm water and whip on high till it really stiffens and foams up. It will look and have the consistency of whipped cream with lumps.
Plop on branches and let dry overnight and/or if you want a lightly flocked look put some in your hands and just stroke the branches. Try not to giggle at “stroke”. The first time I did this (yes I tried this a couple of times before actually putting it on my wreath) I didn’t A) whip it enough and B) wasn’t sure what the hell it would look like when dry. Dig to the bottom of the bowl and get some of the chunks mixed in with the foam. Put more than you think you need because some of the foam disappears as it dries. However, it does a good job of mimicking thick, wet snow and clings very well to the branches.
I made a new project from soap flocking! See my Perfect Faux Snowballs for more ideas on how to use this recipe.
Just a few notes
This recipe worked surprisingly well and as Patrick pointed out it was one of my only craft projects that made the kitchen cleaner than when I started. I was pretty dubious when I gooped it on the branches but I went online and looked at pictures of actual snow on wreaths and tried to mimic the layout. I just wish I given it a thicker coat. I also wanted the sparkle of ice crystals in the snow, but the glitter I mixed in didn’t show. I experimented and sprinkled glitter on the snow after I applied it and before it dried. Sprinkling glitter on the flocking worked much better.
It might be fun to tint the snow (retro pink?) but if you just want white then the blue food coloring didn’t make any difference. The only other issue is that up close it still smells like soap. For the wreath (hanging outdoors but under cover) it doesn’t matter, but I am going to try adding some evergreen essential oil before I do the tree. I want the house to smell like Christmas not soap.
I’m going to give the faux snow a thumbs up, and maybe after tinkering I’ll be able to give it two thumbs up. Anyone else have a fake snow/flocking recipe?
Edit: I ended up doing this recipe a couple more times to flock garland etc… The evergreen essential oil got rid of the soap smell and sprinkling crystal glitter over the top gave it the ice crystal sparkle. Finally, using hotter water doesn’t change the consistency at all but it gives you more working time. It starts to set as soon as it gets cool.
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