Conker Soap

We kept track of ‘our tree’ through the seasons. We watched as the buds grew into leaves and as the leaves grew in size until they were bigger than our faces. We observed the flowers blossoming throughout summer and then swelling into spiky fruit high above in the tree.

We kept track of ‘our tree’ through the seasons. We watched as the buds grew into leaves and as the leaves grew in size until they were bigger than our faces. We observed the flowers blossoming throughout summer and then swelling into spiky fruit high above in the tree.

Then one day about a month ago, it was time for us to go and visit ‘our tree’. We found three fruit on the ground and extracted our first ever conkers! I was way more excited than the children! And since that first discovery, our conker love hasn’t waned one bit. Every few days, we’ll put on our wellies and run outside to see if there any more fallen giant marbles, because that’s exactly what they look like when you first take them out. Shiny, marbled, smooth, beauties. No one has sanded, polished or varnished them, and yet, that is what they look like. A child’s fitrah, or natural disposition, leads him to wonder about the Being that created this, and all you have to do is guide that wonder and connect it to our Deen. Teaching the children tawheed through our nature study has elevated our lessons tenfold and showed me how fitri/natural it is for children to understand all three types of tawheed, or the Oneness of Allah.

Needless to say, we have quite the collection of conkers. So then I started looking for conker crafts, because I love crafting with nature finds. Once I learnt that conkers contain saponin, a compound that becomes foamy when shaken with water, we set about making our conker soap. There are many different methods, but I chose the quickest.

We began by hammering our conkers to break them up a little. The children tried but it was hard work so I ended up doing most of the smashing.

Since saponin is toxic, I didn’t want to use any of my kitchenware for this project. Thankfully, I had a broken food processor jug that I was about to chuck out, so we used it one last time to grind the smashed conkers.

We then poured boiling water on top. Many tutorials I’ve read have a specific ratio of water to conkers but I didn’t measure.

We left the mixture alone for 1.5 hours to release the saponin, then strained it using tinfoil that we poked. It didn’t have a very strong smell, but it was definitely quite soapy.

The next day was the day to test it. The soap has a tinge of yellow so I didn’t want to use it with white clothes in case it stains. I used a whole cup of conker soap along with a few drops of essential oil for about 1/2 of a load. Mind you, I should have soaked the clothes before, because my children’s clothes are always heavily soiled. They came out reasonably clean. The mud, food, and oil stains were all gone. They smelled ok but then conkers don’t have a particularly strong smell. I think next time I would add more drops of essential oil to give it a stronger clean-clothes smell.

And there it is! Our first conker project! We do use them as counting beads, add-ons for play dough setups, and snail shells, though.

Aalia built a forest using homemade play dough and nature finds.

Till next time, friends!