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Housewife’s ‘fragrant’ hobby pays off

23rd December, 2020

ALOR SETAR: Attractive and unique floral arrangements can brighten up any room. Just add some blooms made of fragrant soap to a flower arrangement and their sweet-scented fragrance will permeate in the air for months.

Housewife Suria Budin, 45, took up crafting flowers out of soap as a hobby in 2018 and she became so good at it that she started getting orders from her friends. Today, her hobby is generating a rather satisfactory income for her. “Those days after my husband went to work, I would use my free time to sew but two years ago, I decided to learn to make flowers out of soap as I have seen my mother doing it.

“Initially, my work was not that good but over time, my skills improved. Friends started to praise me and said my flowers looked like the real thing and since then I have been taking orders for my soap floral arrangements,” she told Bernama at her residence at the Taman Flora flats in Kuala Sungai here.

Suria, who has two daughters aged 14 and 20, said the speciality of flowers crafted from soap is their ability to retain their fragrance for a much longer period compared with fresh flowers which tend to fade quickly.

She said it is easy to make flowers from soap as all one needs is a bar of soap, cornflour, gum, cotton buds and wire.

The soap has to be grated first before it is ground into flour. After adding the cornflour, the mixture is kneaded into a dough.

Suria revealed that she also adds a “secret ingredient” that she sources from overseas to reinforce the floral structure and enhance its fragrance.

“It usually takes me about four hours to knead the dough… my husband and daughters would help me with this task. I then leave the dough to ‘rest’ while I sketch some floral arrangements on a piece of paper. The arrangements are designed according to the type of flower ordered by my customers,” she explained.

Once the dough is ready, dyes are added in accordance with the colours requested by her customers after which the dough is pressed into a mould in order to create realistic-looking flower petals and leaves complete with veins.

Suria takes about seven to 14 days to create a small flower arrangement while the larger ones take about a month to complete.

“Most of the orders I receive are for red roses and ranunculus (buttercups) with each floral arrangement priced at between RM500 and RM1,500. I have also sold a flower arrangement for RM2,000,” she said, adding that she also gets orders from as far as Kuala Lumpur.

Sharing some tips on how to take care of flowers made of soap, Suria said although her flowers can last more than two years, it all depends on how well they are taken care of.

“Use a piece of dry cloth or vacuum cleaner to clean the flowers. But don’t ever use water because it will soften the flowers and make them less durable,” she said.

She also said that the fragrance from the secret ingredient added into the dough can last between six and 12 months. She, however, advises her customers against spraying perfume as it would cause the flowers to become mouldy.

Suria also intends to conduct classes for women to teach them how to fashion flowers out of soap.

“I’ve been getting a lot of requests to hold classes but I’ve not been able to do so because right now I am busy with other things,” she added. – Bernama

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