Melt and pour soaps allow you to have the fun of soap making without the mess of making them from scratch. While you aren't making your soaps from scratch you can still have you hand involved in choosing your additives, colors, fragrances, and molds. This lets you make custom soaps that are beautiful for decorative purposes, personal use, and also as gifts.
Gather ingredients. You will need a melt and pour soap base. These are available in several options including opaque and transparent. You can get these online and at many craft stores.
You will also need additives of your choice. Here are several options that people choose:
- Superfatting oils. Soap is harsh on the skin, but you can add oils to make it softer to your skin. There are a lot of different choices and you can add easy to find options such as vegetable oil and olive oil, or richer more nutrient-full oils such as avocado oil and hemp oil which usually have to be purchased from an online dealer.
- Special nutrients. These often include Vitamins (E is excellent for the skin) and Aloe Vera gel.
- Herbs. Dried herbs and flowers of your choice can be added to create soaps with interesting characteristics.
- Other additives. While adding some things to melt and pour can be tricky you can still add milk powders, honey powders, and oatmeal for additional advantages.
- Colorant. Soap colors are created in one of three ways. Either a liquid soap dye is used, a powdered soap dye, or a natural color is used (unsweetened chocolate, brown sugar, cinnamon, Calendula petals, paprika and other items can be natural colorants).
- Fragrance. You have two choices when making soaps. You can use fragrance oils which are artificial fragrances. They tend to smell in a way that we are used to, aren't natural, and are inexpensive. Essential oils are pure, all natural, they often have health benefits and aromatherapy benefits, but they tend to be a lot more expensive.
You will also need soap molds of your choice. Additional equipment is a microwave safe bowl (glass Pyrex is often a great tool) for microwavable soap bases or a double boiler (or two pans that fit one inside the other) for soap base that can't be microwaved. Measuring spoons and cups. And a wooden spoon.
Melt your soap base. This can be done in the microwave for some soap bases or in the double boiler for others. You will need to follow the directions on the soap since each soap base is slightly different in how to melt it.
Mix in oils and liquids. Any oils or liquids that you have decided to aid (except liquid color and fragrance or essential oils) should be mixed in while the soap is really hot. Add each ingredient slowly and stir well to make sure that it is evenly dispersed.
Add powdered ingredients. Add any powders or plant materials that you choose to add now. Stir well and make sure there aren't any clumps in the soap.
Add colorant. Whatever it is you are choosing to color with should be added now. Add only a small amount at a time. You don't want it to be too dark or overwhelm you which can quickly happen with dyes. Start with two or three drops or a small pinch.
Add fragrance. Fragrance oil isn't as strong as essential oil, but both should be added in small amounts. Start with five drops and stir well. Add additional amounts depending on the fragrance you want to achieve and the smell that you are smelling.
Pour into the mold. Pour your soap into the mold. Carefully press it in and set aside to cool.
Unmold. The soap should be in the mold for 24 hours to cool and harden. After this time you can unmold it and use it as soon as you would like. However curing for a short while (a few weeks) will let it get harder and it will then last longer.
Packaging and storing. You can store them out or tucked away. Either way works, but letting it get air will let it harden which will make it last longer. You can package it in several ways including baggies, baskets, or boxes. They make great gifts!
Have fun experimenting with a wide range of additives, colors, fragrances, and molds. You can also do a number of fancy soaps using these concepts including soap balls which are rolled in your hands, miniature soaps made in tiny candy molds, and multi-colored soaps (several different options for making them). Enjoy the making of your soap as well as the using!