Woodcarving is a hobby that many wood craftsman have turned into a profitable side line. Wooden crafts make great gifts as well. Wood is an ideal material for crafting everything from the simple projects to more detailed works of art. A wooden soap dish is something that would be perfect for gift-giving and is not too complicated to carve, even for a beginner. Learning to carve well takes some practice, but with a little patience, you may be able to carve a wooden soap dish in just a few hours.
Choose a block of wood to carve. The size of the wood block depends on the size you want your soap dish to be. The closer your starting wood is to the size of your finished soap dish, the less cutting you will need to do. The type of wood you use will depend largely on what you want to spend or your carving ability. Hardwoods like mahogany and cherry are more expensive and harder to carve, but they make beautiful soap dishes. Pine and ash are cheaper and softer.
Use a sharp carving knife to cut away the wood necessary to make a rough shape of your soap dish. It may be helpful to use a black marker to draw your cut lines onto the wood as a guide. Begin carving away the outside area first. Don't worry about smoothing it until you're finished.
Cut away from the center of your wood block in the area you want to make the depression for the soap. Work from the center out, widening the depression a little at a time. To begin this step, you may want to use the tip of your knife and chip away some of the wood to get your depression started.
Sand your finished soap dish with very coarse (between 30 and 50 grit) sandpaper to remove excess wood and to polish it smooth. Apply a wood stain or varnish to the wood for appearance, let it dry, then paint on a clear coat of water-resistant lacquer for protection.