Soap making. It took me a few years to get up the nerve to try my hand at making my first batch of cold process soap. It’s such a fun, creative process and there is a quality of love and care to it that I never get over. Making a gift for someone that they will use everyday is a quality to homemade items that can be lost in many DIY projects. The important thing about soap making though is to tell the recipient to use that gift! Don’t sit it on a shelf to collect dust.
While I love cold process soap, it’s not a project that is child friendly. In fact, very easily they can be injured or collect scalding chemical and heat burns from the use of Sodium Hydroxide (lye). A remedy to this is to utilize something called “melt and pour” soap. Essentially, the soap base has already been made so you just have to melt the base, add any scent, colorant, and additional botanicals, glitters, or skin loving ingredients to create a fun, yet simple project!
During the remainder of this post, I will be using some links to products that can be found on Amazon. While I purchased most of my products through my local craft stores, you can also find Brambleberry and Nurture Soaps to be incredible resources. If you choose to purchase an item through one of my Amazon links, you won’t pay any more than usual, but a portion of your purchase will come back to support my blog. Thank you as always for your support.
Soap Base – I chose this Goat Milk Melt & Pour Base from my local craft store (the link provided is to Amazon, and it’s actually a better price there at the time of writing this post). Really, any Melt & Pour Base is going to work for this project. You can go simple with a white or clear base, or get an Avocado or Honey base to add different properties to your soap.
Fragrance – This part can be a little tricky. You can purchase Soap Fragrance oil from your local craft supply, Etsy, Brambleberry, Nurture Soaps, or Amazon. A comparable one to the Honey Almond we used is here. You can find the Vanilla Oak fragrance we used in the second loaf here. No matter where you purchase your fragrance oil, make sure it is formulated for soap making, and specifically for Melt & Pour soap. Since you can’t use very much without messing with the formulation of your base, it needs to be skin safe and highly concentrated.
Colorant – For the first loaf we made, we used beet root powder to give us that rustic speckled look with pink and burgundy. I couldn’t find a comparable product at the same price I paid through Brambleberry, so be sure to check it out here if you’re interested in using this colorant. I used cappuccino mica for coloring the second batch in this tutorial, and that can be found here. However, if you think you may be doing more projects using micas in the future, I’d suggest getting an assortment pack of mica (such as this one) and you can use the mica for upcoming lotions, soaps, slime, even try your hand at tinted lip balms!
Additives – For the first loaf, we sprinkled calendula flowers all over the top of the loaf. You can find them here. Usually when you purchase calendula petals they’re going to be in a rather large container. You can infuse body oils with them, add them to bath bombs, and so much more. If they’re not your jam, you can sprinkle an eco or biodegradable glitter on top of the loaf, rose petals, or really anything else you choose. Mold – In the picture here I had planned to form individual bars so I have this mold pictured. However, I chose instead to create a loaf and slice individual bars from that. Since I already had this mold I decided to use it instead. However, if you have any tofu containers, quart size milk cartons, or plastic takeout boxes, I highly suggest you reuse those after cleaning them thoroughly! If you only plan to do this project once or twice, there’s no reason to purchase molds to complete the project.
Now that we have our supplies, let’s make some soap!
First you’re going to want to slice up the soap base into small chunks and place them in a microwave safe container. I find that the thinner the slices are the more evenly they will melt in the microwave. While you can always melt the base over a double boiler, I find that using a microwave is the quickest and cleanest way for me to get it melted evenly . You’re going to follow the instructions on the package your base came in. I melted 1 lb at a time, and melted the base for 30 seconds the first round, then stirred and continued melting in 15 second increments while stirring thoroughly between sessions in the microwave until it was completely smooth.
Once the texture is completely smooth, you’re going to stir in your colorant and fragrance oil if you’re using them. For the first loaf I made, we stirred in a tsp of beetroot powder and used an electric whisk to combine and 8 drops of honey almond fragrance oil. Because we were shooting for a more rustic look to the loaf, I didn’t melt it again to make it smooth before transferring to our loaf mold. After it was transferred to the loaf mold, we applied the calendula petals liberally to the top of the loaf and set it aside to cure.
For the second loaf, we started the same way as we did with the first. We melted down 1 lb of soap base into our microwave safe container. From there we added 1/2 tsp of cappuccino mica, and about 8 drops of the Vanilla Oak scent. We melted the batch again before transferring to the loaf mold this time so it would have a more smooth and consistent appearance.
From there we set them aside to cure. I left them at room temperature for about an hour and a half before carefully unmolding them by breaking the seal from the silicone and then gently sliding them out on to a tea towel. I sliced them at about an inch thickness with a nonserated edge. I laid the tops down on the tea towel and cut from the bottom so the petals on top of the loaves wouldn’t drag through the slices.
I then laid out the slices with space between them to cure and harden for a few more hours.
For more step by step instruction and for more information about the process, be sure to visit my YouTube video here!
Thank you for visiting the blog today. I hope to see you again soon!