Fairy Mud with Toilet Paper and Ivory Soap

Whip up a batch of “fairy mud” with a roll of toilet paper, a bar of soap, and some seashells, flower petals and glitter.  It’s a fantastic sensory activity for toddlers and preschoolers!

We’ve done lots of fairy activities lately, and today, we’re busting out the glitter!  Yes.  I actually said the G-word.  You’re probably thinking I’ve lost it because it’s a well-known fact that I’m a self-proclaimed glitter-phobe.

What’s gotten in to me?

Well, it’s like this.  On Thursdays this year, I have only girls here in my daycare, and because they’re all simply mad about fairies and princesses, I decided to make last Thursday “Fairy-Princess Day”.  One of the activities I had planned was to transform a batch of traditional ghost mud into “fairy mud”.

I didn’t think that could be done with out a bit of the sparkly stuff.

Fairy Mud - 4 simple household ingredients (happy hooligans)


And you know what?  It was AWESOME!  Ok, so it helped that we were outside (I never could have been so brave inside), and the glitter was contained in the mud, (maybe I’ll get over my issues with loose glitter one day), but it really was awesome, and added the perfect sparkly touch to this awesome sensory activity.

To make our fairy mud, I simply tweaked our ghost mud (or clean mud) recipe, a pure white sensory dough which yields a slightly smaller amount.  

Fairy Mud ingredients:

for your convenience, I’m including affiliate links to some of the products in this post

Fairy mud ingredients

  • 2 rolls of toilet paper
  • bar and a half of Ivory Soap (grated)
  • 1.5 to 2 cups  WARM Coloured Water (food colouring and water)
  • a couple of tubes of glitter

Tools that we used:

Tools to use with Fairy Mud

  • plastic ice cream cones
  • meatball scoop
  • playdough cutters and stampers
  • scissors

For embellishments, we added rose petals from the garden, and a handful of sea shells.

Making your fairy mud:

We started by taking all the toilet paper off the rolls.  This was an activity in itself.  The hooligans had fun running around tossing the rolls into the air, and pulling the paper off the cardboard tubes. When their mission was complete, we gathered up all the t.p., and put it in a shallow plastic storage container.

pulling the toilet paper off the rolls, to make fairy mud

Then we grated our soap and transfered it into a plastic container.

grating the ivory soap to make fairy mud

We added the warm coloured water into the soap shavings and the hooligans mashed and mushed the shavings until the mixture was fairly smooth.  It smelled so good.

mashing soap and coloured water together to make fairy mud

Then we poured the coloured soapy water mixture over the toilet paper, and the girls squeezed and squished it all together, until the t.p. had turned into a pulpy, moldable dough.mixing toilet paper and coloured soapy water together to get fairy mud

*I started out with 1.5 cups of water, but I had to add a little more (a wee bit at a time) to get our mixture to a consistency that I was happy with.  The amount of water you’ll require will depend on the amount of t.p. on your rolls.

And when we were happy with the consistency of our mixture, we dumped in the GLITTER!

adding the glitter to "clean mud" to make "fairy mud"

And THAT, my friends, is how you make FAIRY MUD!

Fairy Mud:  Clean Mud with a sparkly twist

Now add a little bling: some flower petals, seashells, or whatever else you have on hand – sequins, plastic jewels, glass beads etc., and get playing!

Fairy Mud - a sparkly, gorgeous sensory material made with toilet paper and ivory soap

The girls created cookies, ice cream cones and cupcakes, and had a great time just mucking around in their beautiful mess!


fairy mud ice cream cone

fairy mud

Keep a bowl of water and a towel handy for those who like to clean their hands frequently while playing with messy materials.


 For more fairy fun, check out our fairy soup and pop over to The Imagination Tree to see how they’ve been playing with fairy dust!

Looking for more easy, creative play ideas for kids?  Try our:

Homemade Giant Bubble Mix

Shaving Cream Car Wash

Sensory Art 

2-Ingredient Cloud Dough

Portable Mud-Pit

Dino Dig – Melting ice with salt and water

Get the 3-5 Playful Preschool e-Book!

25+preschool activities, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $6.99 until May 25, 2014. Price increases to $8.99 after the 25th. Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book



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  1. Shannon says

    Your posts make me wish I was back at Nursery school (3 – 6 year olds here in South Africa) It’s Winter here now but it’s still warm out in the sunshine can’t wait to try this with my two and four year old later this week. Thanks for sharing.

  2. says

    LOVE this!! Thank you as always for sharing your wonderfully creative ideas! Man, I wish my toddler and I could hang out with your hooligans!

  3. says

    Oh my gosh, I love your fairy mud! I’ve seen tons of recipes for sensory activities online but I’ve never seen this one using soap and toilet paper. This will definitely be going on my list of things to do with my kids!

    • happyhooligans says

      I can’t say for sure because I’ve never used anything but Ivory, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work with another brand, Liz. Maybe just make sure it’s a white soap so it doesn’t interfere with the colour of your “mud”.

  4. Umm-e-Ismu says

    great idea…first time visitor here…thru Pinterest (LOVE LOVE that site)… my son will love this…i’m thinking of getting his friends over, and they can make it together in the garden… :-)

    • happyhooligans says

      So glad you found us! I hope you’ll follow along with us on Facebook and Pinterest too! You can click on the buttons at the top of my sidebar on my blog. I’m glad you enjoyed this post so much! We have loads of activities that your son might enjoy!

  5. Shannon says

    It looks awesome!! How long will this last? If I make it with a small group of children one day, can I save it and use it in the sensory table for the whole group the next? I figure adding more water to the mixture might make it moldable again. Also, did you store it or throw it away?

    • happyhooligans says

      Hi, Shannon. Yes, we played with it for a couple of days. I don’t know how long you can store it for. I tried storing a batch of the un-coloured “clean mud” once, and when I checked on it a few weeks later it had gone moldy. It should be good for a few days though if you just keep it in a sealed container. When we finished with it we used the star shaped cookie cutters to make moulds, and we dried them in the sun for a few days. I’m not quite sure what we’ll use those for, but I don’t have to worry about it quite yet because it poured rain on them (they were still sitting outside in my “sunny spot”), so now they’re soaking wet again. Haha! Because it’s just soap and t.p., you could just add them to your compost bin when you’re finished with your mud.

  6. says

    This is absolutely incredible! So much fun! I love how the kids are so involved in every step. I have been bouncing around your blog and now I wish I was a little kid at your day care. Can’t wait to try a bunch of your wonderful ideas.

  7. Gina says

    my kids are going to love this, my boy will especially enjoy throwing loo roll everywhere. what do have against glitter? me and my girl loooovvvve glitter. Sparkles. mmmmm…..my hubby less so, tho! lol.

    • happyhooligans says

      I’m ok with messes that can be cleaned up relatively easily – hosed off, wiped off, scrubbed off etc. But glitter – it lingers forever!

  8. says

    I love this idea, and I’ve already pinned it to try soon. Outside messy fun AND glitter — sounds awesome to me! :) Thanks so much for sharing at Stress-Free Sunday!

  9. says

    What an awesome way to use household materials. Toilet paper! Who knew!?

    Thanks for linking up at Artsy Play Wednesday. It’s been pinned to our group board. Hope to see you again this week!

  10. says

    oh my, love this. even though i have all boys i can see us trying this. it just might be blue with dump trucks;-) featuring you today on the kids co-op. thanks for linking up!

    • happyhooligans says

      Well, I guess if they put their soapy hands in their eyes it would be, Bryony. We’ve never had it happen here, but if you think your 2 year old is likely to touch her eyes while playing with it, I’d hold off until she’s a little older.

  11. Cate says

    Thank you so much for this idea! Did it with my two boys aged 3 and 1 and they loved it. They had a great time standing in the mud and making patty cakes.

  12. Vicki Ferrin says

    We don’t have Ivory soap in Australia. Is there something special in it? I thought I could check our labels and find a similar one here.

    • happyhooligans says

      It’s the high air content that makes it so unique, Vicki, and that’s why it expands so much. I don’t think there’s any other brand that is whipped with air the way Ivory is. If you can find a soap that floats, it might work. Ivory is so light and airy that it floats.

  13. Jerri white says

    I w as looking for something to do with my almost four year old granddaughter, who is visiting us this week! She will love this!

  14. Rosie says

    I love this idea. I’m an SI occupational therapist and am always look for new ideas. I’ve used quite a few of your things in therapy and with my kids. I just wanted to know how long the fairy mud lasts for? Is it just for the day or could I keep it for the week?

    • happyhooligans says

      Not long, Rosie. The flower petals really discolour everything after several hours. If you left those out, you could probably get a couple of days out of it, but it will eventually either dry out or if it’s kept air tight it will go mouldy.

  15. Crystal says

    I wonder how it would do if I froze it after initial play (made without petals) and then thawed it a few weeks later for an encore. I might have a go as a worthwhile experiment. If nothing else we have a fun time with it and I throw out a weird aoppy mess in a few weeks.

    • happyhooligans says

      We’ve never had a problem with either, Kent. Ivory is a very mild soap, and it’s never left our hands feeling dry, even after playing in the mud for an hour. I suppose if someone were to rub their eyes with soapy hands it could be a problem, but we’ve never had it happen. You could keep a basin of clean water and a towel nearby if you felt someone might need rinse off before touching their eyes while playing.

      • Bryony says

        We (nearly 2 and 4 yr old daughters) used a normal bar of soap and it worked well.. We used a teaspoon of coconut oil afterwards to help replenish the skin afterwards 😉

  16. Rosemary says

    What type of toilet paper did you use? I have a feeling if you use the wrong type it won’t turn out quite as well.

    • happyhooligans says

      Any kind should work, Rosemary. I never take note of the brand that I use, and we’ve made it lots of times over the year. I’m sure I probably use a different brand every time because I only ever buy what’s on sale, so it varies from week to week here.

  17. says

    This is one of my 3-year-old’s favorite activites! We have made it many times with many different colors. There’s ALWAYS glitter involved. My daughter is very much in a princess phase though so she calls it “princess play-doh.” :) Thank you for sharing this fun post, I’m going to feature it on my own blog very soon!

  18. Sidfires says

    I’ve been reading through some of your posts and while I like most of what I have read, I do wish you wouldn’t perpetuate the outdated idea that some things are “girly” things while others can be for boys too. Little boys should not be discouraged from liking glittery, ‘fairy’ stuff any more than little girls should be discouraged from playing with building blocks or Tonka trucks. jussayin…

    • happyhooligans says

      Oh we do lots of glittery, feathery, flowery crafts and baby doll activities when the boys are here, just as we do lots of muddy, dinosaur, cars and trucks activities with the girls. None of our activities are exclusive, nor do I pitch them to be “for girls” or “for boys”. On the day of this activity, I simply stated that because I had only girls with me, I provided them with an activity that I knew they would particularly enjoy. We’ve repeated this activity many times with both boys and girls here.

  19. marja says

    back in the day (15 ys) I would make clean mud out of powder laundry soap, just make sure you use the Woolite or other sensitive brand, and Once I did a glitter activity inside and the next day my co teacher started a fight and cried to the boss how disrespectful i was to have left glitter on the chairs (complete mistake) so no more glitter for me <3

    • happyhooligans says

      Oh gosh, we glitter-phobes do make things difficult, don’t we, Marja? I’m so sorry she took her glitter-intolerance to such an extreme!

  20. Donna says

    We also call it clean mud. We play with it inside and the glitter just makes everything shine. It’s really fun to add a hand held egg beaters with it too.

  21. Bridgette says

    Does it have to be Ivory Soap or would any white block bar soap be ok…live in UK so Ivory soap os imported so expensive? ?

    • happyhooligans says

      Any white, mild soap will be fine for the Fairy Mud, Bridgette. It’s just the expanding Ivory Soap experiment (microwave) that you can only use Ivory for. Other soaps can scorch and burn.

  22. Lydia says

    HI, just found and explored your website I have girls 5 and 8 who loves arts and crafts. I am going to surprise them today after school with some activities. It is raining here in New Zealand so we will need to play inside but I dont mind a mess that can be cleaned up, and they are pretty good at being tidy. I am thinking puffy paint, cloud dough (reminds me of the new kinetic sand you get) and fairy mud sounbds yuck but looks a lot of fun. Cant wait.

  23. Heather says

    Will these harden? Or will it just pliable? I am thinking if it hardens can do cookie cutter cut outs and poke a hole and string to hang in bedroom.

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