CarolinaCottage has gotten the ball rolling with her soap gift trays. The concept is easy:
1. The first thing you'll need is a container. You may only want to make one soap or, like CC did, two or more. I would suggest finding the container first and then making the soap to work around it. It's just easier that way. Something wood is highly recommended as it is the easiest to work with.
2. Find scrapbooking or decoupage papers that tickle your fancy. You may already have some laying around the house! If not, all craft stores and even Wal-Mart carries them. You will only need a few sheets – but be sure you buy enough to cover your container.
3. Basecoat the container with an acrylic paint that coordinates with your papers – I recommend FolkArt paint by Plaid because it has the best coverage with the fewest coats.
4. Measure your container and trim the papers to fit both the inside and the outside. It's not necessary to cut for the bottom of the tray (on either the inside or outside) unless you really want to!
5. Spread Mod Podge liberally on the backside of the paper – the side that will adhere to the wood. Affix to the wood and smooth down. Coat and affix each piece separately. DO NOT spread the Mod Podge on all pieces of paper at once, because Mod Podge begins to cure quickly. Allow to dry for 15-20 minutes.
6. Coat the entire surface of the project, inside and out, with a coat of Mod Podge. Wait a few hours and then coat again. Allow to dry completely.
7. Make your soaps and then wrap with pieces of the decoupage papers to match. I found some information on soap crafting here; most craft stores have very easy kits for cheap gifts!
Now wrap up your creation and give to your co-worker, neighbor or friend. What an awesome gift. . . and once you get production going on these babies, you can make them for everyone you know!