Making Soap with Layered Colors and Scents

3 of 7 in Series: The Essentials of Making a Spa Gift Basket

Homemade soaps of layered colors and scents make wonderful gifts — especially if they've been custom-designed for the recipient. In a layered soap, you alternate colors and scents, all in the same bar. Although they look like you spent a lot of time making them, these visually appealing soaps are a snap to create.

To make layered soap:

  1. Melt your melt-and-pour soap base in a covered microwave-safe bowl for 45 seconds; stir.

    Don’t forget to cut your soap into 1-inch cubes to make the melting go faster.

  2. Continue melting your soap at 15-second intervals, stirring in between each time, until your soap base is completely melted.

  3. Working quickly, divide your soap into bowls based on the number of colors you want.

    For example, if you want a layered soap featuring three colors, you divide your melted soap base among three bowls.

  4. Stir a different color into each bowl.

  5. Add any scent; stir well.

    This soap is particularly nice when each layer features a scent that corresponds to the color.

  6. Pour your first layer of soap into the mold; let cool until it thickens.

    Your soap usually takes five to ten minutes to cool. You’re looking for a thin skin to form.

    Make sure that you keep an eye on your soap. If your soap isn’t cool enough, the second layer of color will bleed through the first layer so that the colors run together. If you wait too long and allow the first layer to become too solid, the layers won’t stick together.

  7. After your first layer cools, lightly spritz it with rubbing alcohol.

    The alcohol helps the layers adhere to each other.

  8. Pour your second layer of color.

    This layer should be no more than 120 F, or it may melt your first layer.

  9. Repeat Steps 6 through 8 as many times as necessary to complete your layers.

  10. Remove your soap from the mold after it cools completely.

    Don’t rush this step. If you remove the soap too soon, your layers may separate.

  11. If you’re not going to use your soap right away, wrap it in plastic to store.

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