Sunday, 13 January 2013
make your own soap!
Posted by Jen
I decided to make my own soaps to give to family and friends as part of their Christmas presents this year. I've made soap before and it is so much fun, and really quite simple. You can do it the hard (and potentially dangerous) way of making it from scratch, using chemicals and all that jazz, or you can do like I did and buy a melt and pour soap base to take the dangerous part away but keep the creativity! Here's how you do it...
You will need:
1. Melt and pour soap base. There are loads of really good online soap-making shops you can buy this from, in all different quantities and qualities, and in opaque or clear.
2 and 3. Moulds. I used a variety of different moulds. Silicone moulds in cute shapes are good for making small individual soaps, and you can also use large tupperware containers to make a rectangular block of soap that you then cut into chucks. I made lots of different types, as you'll see!
4. Colouring (optional). I bought this along with my soap base from the same online shop, in red. Food colouring may well work too, or you can do without colouring entirely.
5. Fragrance oil. I also bought mine from the same online shop, but you can use any essential oil. I used sweet pea essence to make a lovely floral smell!
6. Dried flowers (optional). I used dried lavender buds, but any dried flowers or seeds look and feel nice.
7. Large microwaveable bowl.
8. Wooden spoon. One you don't mind not cooking with again!
You'll also need clingfilm and a sharp knife.
Start by cutting your soap base into small-ish chunks. Calculate the right amount you need by measuring the capacity of your moulds and using the equivalent amount of soap. Pop the chunks into your bowl and cover with clingfilm.
Melt your soap in the microwave, 1 minute at a time, stirring inbetween until it's totally melted.
You can then add your fragrance. Add a drop at a time, stirring thoroughly inbetween, until the smell is as strong as you want it. For a small amount of soap (e.g. a few bars) you probably only need a few drops.
If you're colouring your soap then add it now. Stir in a few drops at a time, until you reach the strength of colour you want. Mine took quite a lot to make my hot pink colour!
Thne start filling your moulds! This can get a little messy so if you have a pouring jug with a spout it's a good idea to use it - see mine above before I started using my pouring jug and was just using a large spoon - the soap went everywhere! This is also the point where you would add your dried flowers or seeds if you're going to use them.
Then leave them to solidify. Small ones don't take very long at all - about half an hour - and you can put them in the fridge to speed up the process.
Once solid, pop the soaps out of the moulds and there you go! Here are my little flower soaps. I used a small sharp knife to trim the edges as you can see they were a bit messy.
I used a large rectangular tupperware container to make lovely big bars of soap. I started by lining up pink heart soaps in the container, upside down so that they could stand up on their own. I then filled the rest of the container with uncoloured white soap. Once solid I emptied out the large block and sliced it into big bars.
Aren't they lovely?! And below are a small (!) selection of the masses of soaps I made. The huge block of soap base went so far, I was able to give soaps to all my friends of family. I wrapped them in tissue paper or put them in cute boxes and made my own little 'Made by Jen' tags. The perfect homemade gift!