Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Volume 3, Number 10: Behold The Megasliver

(Note: I originally posted this blog entry on February 26, 2008, to my Yahoo! GeoCities blog.)

Right about now, you may be thinking to yourself, "What the heck is that big blue bar of crud sitting in the soapdish?"

That, my friends, is what I like to call a Megasliver. It is a bar of soap that is built from soap slivers (my guess is about 10-12; I generally don't count the number of slivers I use).

Given that I spend more than an hour making one, and it would take much less time to just go out to the store and buy a new bar, you may ask, why on Earth do I do this? A few reasons, honestly:

  1. To prove I can actually re-use the slivers (as opposed to people who just collect them, and talk about how one could make a bar of soap once they had a number of slivers, but then don't actually do anything to accomplish this end)
  2. I've been getting better at making these things. The first one I ever made, I dropped it and it broke apart into a mess. Since then, each one I've made has been more solidly-built than the one before it. As a result, I want to keep finding ways to make the next one even better.
  3. I just don't like throwing something out if I feel I can get some more use of it--even though I know bar soap is cheap to begin with.

So, how the heck do I make one?

  1. First, the easy part: collect slivers. I usually go through at least one bar of soap every month, meaning I end up having enough slivers to make a Megasliver at least once a year.
    Then, grind up the slivers in a food chopper (just enough so that I have a mix of tiny pieces and powder--the powder will end up becoming "mortar" and the tiny pieces will be like "bricks"). I recommend breaking or cutting up the slivers into smaller pieces before putting them into the chopper.
  2. Then, I take a soap bar wrapper left over from one of those bars of soap (this wrapper will serve as the "container" in which I make the Megasliver). I should clarify one thing at this point: The wrapper is open at only one end.
  3. Then, I mix small amounts of water and the ground-up slivers inside the soap wrapper (so first, I pour a little bit of the ground-up soap, and then a little water, then mix them up; I then repeat this a number of times until the soap wrapper is just about full). This part is tough because I need just the right amount of water--too much and the Megasliver will be too wet and mushy; too little and it'll be powdery and will break up into a mess when I drop it in the shower (I know about the latter because it happened with my very first Megasliver).
  4. Once the wrapper is "full", it's time to leave it to dry (in other words, I don't take it out of the wrapper yet). I leave it on top of something warm--usually my furnace--to speed up to drying process.
  5. Finally, I peel off that soap wrapper (note: you can't actually take the Megasliver out of the wrapper because the wrapper's stuck to it), and if you're crazy enough to follow these instructions, hopefully you'll have something like what you see in the picture.

One tip about making Megaslivers: I used to take all the slivers I had, regardless of color, and would wind up with an ugly pale green bar. I've since decided to separate the white, off-white and "gold" slivers from the green and blue ones. The Megasliver in the picture is made entirely from blue and green soaps (such as Dial for Men, Irish Spring, Zest, Walgreen's blue deodorant soap, and Lever 2000).

Another thing about bar soap: I even have a system for using bars of soap. A new bar of soap starts its "life cycle" in my shower. When it gets small enough that, when I hold it in one hand, the tip of my middle finger is touching the base of my thumb, that means it's time to move it from the shower (which is where it goes when it's new) to the bathroom sink. The next new bar of soap then goes into the shower. As both the "shower soap" and the "hand soap" get smaller, not only is the "shower soap" small enough to become the next "hand soap," but the "hand soap" should have gotten small enough to become... you guessed it, a sliver, which I save. Yes, I even save slivers that are left over from Megaslivers. And obviously, once I make a Megasliver, it becomes the new "shower size" soap.

So in summation, a bar of soap in my house has four lives: Shower soap, hand soap, sliver, and finally, part of a Megasliver.

And the cycle continues, ever so viciously... :)

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