Customizing Pump Bottles


Since I’m getting ready to make liquid soap, what better way to procrastinate than to play with liquid soap bottles? The least expensive way to get into making all of your own liquid soaps is to recycle the bottles you already have in your house. You can do this with hand soap bottles, shampoo bottes, and so on. (Also a great thing to do when starting out making homemade cleaning products. Of course, don’t reuse any bottles that contained toxic liquids.) Peel off the labels, wash off the sticky goo under the labels, thoroughly clean out the bottles, and you’re good to go.

But now what? The bottles, they are so plain!

Here are a couple of fun ideas, even if you aren’t going to make your own liquid soap. Take the brand labels off and do it with your store-bought liquid soap!

After the bottles are completely cleaned out, stick in some fun, cute stuff before adding the liquid soap. You can use anything that is of a hard and insoluble material–ceramic, stone, plastic, etc. (Nothing metal.) It has to be small enough to get through the top of the bottle, and large enough not to get stuck in the pump. Here are a few examples.

Grapes and leaves, stones, and flowers.

If the items are heavy, they’ll stay at the bottom of the soap. If they’re light, they’ll float to the top, as with the grapes. It’s pretty either way. (I especially love the grapes and grape leaves. Some light amber liquid soap–and it would look like wine.)

This will work for any transparent liquid soap, whether it’s colorless or not. You could use beads (large enough not to get in the pump), marbles, decorative glass pieces, etc. There are all kinds of cheap little cute doohickeys at the craft stores that would be great for this if you can’t find something around the house that you already have. For a kids’ bathroom, little plastic fish would be fun. It would be a neat gift idea to personalize for someone. Make it elegant, or make it fun.

For pearlized or creamy liquid soaps, you wouldn’t be able to see what’s inside, but you could still decorate the outside of the bottle. I have a post here about using pressed wildflowers on candle jars. This would work for liquid soap dispensers, too, but you’d have to apply a waterproof clear coat sealer for this use.

I wonder how else I can avoid actually making liquid soap?


  1. Neal says:

    That is awesome! What a great idea. I refill my soap bottles for dish soap and hand soap, so this is a GRAND idea! Thank you.

  2. Mountain Blessings says:

    You know I have tossing that very idea around for a few days! Thanks you have given me a few great ideas! πŸ˜†

  3. BethieofVA says:

    Cute! I “cuted” up my soap dispenser by using a Ball pint sized canning jar. Love it!

  4. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    Look at these! I want one! I love zinc lids! Love the idea of cuting up recycled bottles too!

  5. susan says:

    I’m going to put in some sprigs of lavender with a bit of lavender essential oil….just as soon as my lavender gets going again. You could also use a bit of evergrean, and tiny pinecones for winter. The possibilitys are endless. Now all I have to do is make the soap!

  6. Linda says:

    Can’t wait to make some!


  7. Carmen at Old House Kitchen says:

    Great ideas! Check out Factory Direct Craft HERE. They have some neat pumps, lids, and all sorts of other crafty stuff!

  8. lavenderblue says:

    Nu-Scents soap and candle making supply has the pumps for only seventy-five cents a piece, I think. But they were clear pumps. When my son wakes up (it’s Saturday, he’s 18, this may not be until tomorrow) I’ll have him put my laptop back the way it was and provide a link. He had my laptop last night and now my tool bar is missing. Like I’m not computer illiterate enough with these things, he’s taking away stuff I need. :hissyfit:

  9. holstein woman says:

    I think I’d make him lavenderblue. Sorry, my defensive side sticking it’s nose in again.
    Those are all wonderful ideas, the hill behind the house is calling my bottles.

  10. brookdale says:

    Love this idea, Suzanne! I have a question…how on earth do you get the labels off? Will they soak off in time? Is there a quicker way? (Oops, that’s more than one question, sorry…)

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      It can be really frustrating and time-consuming to get the labels off (and mostly to get off the sticky goo left behind by the labels). Some come off easier than others. There is a product called “Goo Gone” that I use on stubborn label goo. You can find it in the cleaning aisle at the store. (It works!)

  11. Heather :) :) :) says:

    OH, that’s a great idea πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ It’s makes thsoe bottles look so much nicer. I’m still using up some homemade soap that I have at home. Liquid hand soap will be great, too!!! Thanks for the cute bottle ideas πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather πŸ™‚

  12. Minna says:

    Cool! Now I know what to do with those little toys that are inside Kinder chocolate eggs. I already have found use for the little plastic containers that cover the toys: I turn them into Halloween decorations:

  13. Dee says:

    Here’s site where you can find free graphics for many uses. Today some antique pharmacy graphics are featured. There is a clear vinyl-like paper that sticky on one side that works wonderfully on these bottles. The graphic site is and if I can find the site that did these same bottles with the stick on labels I will send that.
    If you have trouble getting to the site let me know and I will try to send a link.

  14. Luann says:

    So Simple and so beautiful! Thanks Suzanne for the ideas, keep ’em coming!

  15. BeverlyC says:

    Ohhh, you are such an enabler… LOL!!! GREAT ideas!

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