Soap making is by far one of my favourite DIYs, and is one that is easy to do both alone, or with a few people. My best friend and I make soap more frequently than we go through it, but it’s so addicting that it’s difficult to control ourselves. With the plethora of adorable moulds, pretty colours, glitters, and scents to choose from, the combinations are seemingly endless!
Though it is much quicker to use pre-made soaps, it’s a lot of fun to make the soaps 100% from scratch. I’ve been using the recipe on Soap Queen‘s blog, which is very direct and easily to follow (there are also a lot of other soap making ideas on her site, as well). I also follow Homemade Gifts Made Easy’s DIY guide to natural bathroom products, so I can feel pampered without loading my body with toxic chemicals from the commercial bathroom products we tend to use every day.
If using the pre-made soaps, such as the soap bases available at Michaels, you simply remove the soap from the container it comes in (it sometimes help to run hot water on the outside of the packaging, making sure the soap itself does not get wet. Once the soap is out, place it on a cutting board and begin chopping it up into cubes that are no larger than an inch wide.
With the cubes of soap, fill up a large microwave-safe measuring cup and then nuke it in the microwave starting at 40 seconds. If it doesn’t fully melt the soap, which is most likely will not, microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring the soap in between. When the soap has completely melted to a liquid state, you can add whatever soap dye and scents that you desire. I really love the sandalwood scent, which comes in a 6-scent kit I purchased from Michaels. I also bought all of my soap dyes from Michaels, and my glitter as well (which you would mix into your melted soap during this same step, if you so desire).
Once everything is mixed up in the still-melted soap mixture, you can begin pouring the soap into your moulds. I prefer using silicone ones, as they are infinitely easier to remove once the soap has hardened and fully set. If you choose to use the plastic ones, I’ve found that running warm water over the opposite side works best, though it’s kind of difficult to do so without water getting onto the soap itself.
When pouring your soap, you can also have fun with cool effects during this step. You can let the soap begin to set and then pour a line of a different colour down the middle; this would be an obvious design if you has a transparent soap base and pour an opaque one through, or more discreet if you use two differently coloured opaque soaps (until you cut it open, if you make the soap loafs. Soap loafs are made in moulds like the below picture). If you’re doing more dainty and small soaps in intricate moulds, you can layer colours in, say, the petals of a flower, the twists in a Celtic knot, etc. — it really all depends on your creative vision and which moulds that you have to work with. You can see the results of some of our most recent soaps below.
Once the soap is poured, set the moulds aside to somewhere where they will not be disturbed. Do not poke at them, or shift the mould itself, as it will create a rippled texture on the bottom of the soap (the result of it being only semi-set). I’d wait at least an hour before you attempt to touch the smaller soaps and closer to two hours for the soap loaves. Do not remove them from the moulds until they are cool to the touch. Removing them prematurely will sometimes cause them to warp and/or stick to the moulds because of the tackiness they take on prior to being fully hardened.
Once your soaps are done, feel free to wrap them up in colourful tissue paper or even scrapbook paper to give away to your friends and family! They make such cute gifts, and are perfect for the holidays. Because I have moulds for basically every single holiday there is, the people close to me are never quite surprised when they get themed soaps throughout the year. I make too many to possibly use on my own, so giving them away is always a nice option.
Do you enjoy soap making? If so, what are your tips and tricks to making the perfect soap? Let me know — as well as if you have any questions about the process — in the comments!