Many people believe that soap making is a difficult process reserved only for professional companies and expert-level arts and crafty types, but there are products available today that have turned soap making into a simple and easy activity the whole family can enjoy.
The melt and pour method of soap making has opened up a world of fast, frugal and ecologically-friendly creativity that even amateurs can use to make their own bars of soap. With a variety of different additions to cater to your particular skin type—such as goat milk powder for dry skin, or tea tree extract for oily skin—melt and pour soap can be a great way to save money on costly all-natural beauty products.
Below are the steps to making your very own melt and pour soap:
1. The first thing you need to do is find soap molds.
These should be the shape and size in which you’d prefer your soap. Some favor the classic and easy-to-use rectangular bar shape for their soap, while others enjoy more whimsical shapes, such as starfish, hearts and flowers. If you are making decorative soaps for a guest bathroom bowl, for example, you might choose fanciful designs such as these.
2. Next, clean your workspace.
This is important because any impurities in your surroundings will potentially end up in your soap, rendering it unusable. And there’s not much point in using dirty soap to get clean, right?
3. Prepare your melt and pour soap base.
Melt and pour soap bases are sold online and in craft stores, in various forms. If the soap base you buy is in large chunks, you will need to use a knife to cut it into smaller pieces that will easily dissolve when heated.
Melt and pour soap base also comes with skin-friendly additions, such as goat milk, olive oil and shea butter, or in vegetable-based glycerin formulas.
4. Place chunks of soap base into a plastic-covered glass bowl, and microwave.
Be sure to microwave slowly, in 30 second increments, because burned soap base smells bad, and overly-hot liquid can cause bubbles in your finished product.
Stir the soap base well between microwaving until mixture becomes melted enough to pour without residual chunks (note: soap-making bowl and stirring spoon should not be used for food).
5. Blend any soap safe dyes, fragrances and beneficial skin additives into the warm liquid soap mixture.
These might be vanilla extract, lavender oil, oatmeal, coconut oil, almond oil, aloe, avocado or cocoa butter, for example, but the sky’s the limit. If you think chocolate soap sounds like fun, add cocoa powder and give it a try!
6. Give the soap and additives one last microwave and stir very gently.
This is important to fully blend the ingredients into your soap without adding the bubbles that vigorous stirring can add.
If bubbles do form in your soap mixture, they can be removed with a fine mist of rubbing alcohol, either purchased from a craft store, or created at home with your own mister.
7. Pour melted soap mixture into molds and allow it to cool.
If you have a fine mister with rubbing alcohol, giving the soaps one final light mist once poured can create a smoother finish. Soap can be cooled at room temperature or in the refrigerator, and will turn out smoother if not covered because condensation can cause a bumpy surface.
8. Once cooled, you can pop your new handmade soaps out of their molds.
Run molds under hot water briefly to loosen soaps if you’re having trouble getting them out, and wrap them in plastic to preserve the moisture.
In addition to being a great family project, these all-natural soaps are free of the chemicals and preservatives found in many brand name soaps, making them better for the environment as well as for the user. They also make excellent holiday and birthday gifts and party favors. Get creative, make your own special blends and styles of soap, and have fun!