Making Candles and Soaps For Dummies
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Melt-and-pour soaps are so easy to make that you'll always have a stash of ready-made, homemade gifts on hand. To make melt-and pour soap, you begin with soap base from a craft store. Simply cut off the amount of soap base you need, chop it into cubes, and melt them in the microwave. Melt-and-pour soap is naturally translucent, so you can easily create a clear bar of soap.

Try this basic recipe:

  1. Using a knife, cut 1 pound of melt-and-pour soap base into 1-inch cubes or smaller, place them in a microwave-safe bowl, and cover.

    If your bowl doesn’t hold that much soap, feel free to melt just half the base. Even doing the lesser amount, you still end up with several small bars of soap, depending on your mold’s size.

    If you don’t want to cut your soap, then buy your soap precubed. (You can usually buy it precolored, as well.) You can easily break it off with your hands.

  2. Place your soap in the microwave and heat for 45 seconds.

  3. Stir your soap.

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

    Keep an eye on your mixture. You don’t want it to boil over or become frothy. Just like food, you can burn your soap. (It even looks burnt because it turns a brownish-yellow color.)

  5. Add in any other additives you want to use.

    Keep in mind that solid additives may fall to the bottom of your mold unless you let the soap gel a bit before adding. (For Additive ideas, see the table at the end of the steps presented here.)

  6. Pour the soap into the mold.

    You don’t have to, but you can lightly spray your mold with a releasing agent, such as vegetable oil, if you like, so that the soap is easier to remove. When you pour, try to aim for the middle of the mold so that the mold doesn’t overflow before it’s completely filled.

  7. Lightly spray the soap with rubbing alcohol (optional).

    This step can help eliminate bubbles that form on the surface of your soap.

  8. Remove the soap from the mold after it solidifies.

    You usually need to keep your soap in the mold anywhere from one to three hours. The soap doesn’t completely harden, but it does get hard enough to remove from the mold. If you’re a more patient person, you can leave the soaps in the mold overnight so they’re totally firm before removal. This ensures that they keep a sharp outline if they have an intricate pattern.

    To remove your soap from the mold, invert it and press gently on the bottom of the mold. If your soap doesn’t pop out, it may need to cool longer. If you’re still having problems, you can pour some warm water on the bottom of the mold or freeze it for a few minutes.

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

Common Soap-Making Additives
Additive Description
Almond oil Soothes irritated, itchy skin. Also used as base. Has slight odor.
Aloe vera Relieves dry and burned skin. Can use in plant or gel form.
Apricot Softens skin. A popular bath additive. To use, place dried apricots in water for several hours and then liquefy.
Apricot kernel oil Softens skin. Especially good for sensitive skin.
Beeswax Hardens soap and contributes scent. Need to melt before adding to soap. Don’t use more than 1 ounce per pound of soap.
Clay Helps dry out oily skin. Choose finely powdered French clay.
Cocoa butter Hardens soap and moisturizes. Looks and smells like white chocolate, but can be purchased in a deodorized form if you want its qualities without the chocolate smell.
Cucumber Acts as astringent. Use grated skin or liquefied.
Glycerin Moisturizes skin.
Herbs Contributes texture and color.
Honey Moisturizes skin and makes soap softer.
Lanolin Hardens soap. Moisturizes and softens skin. Can cloud soap. Don’t use if allergic to wool.
Lemon Adds texture and speckling, as well as antibacterial qualities. Use grated peel.
Oatmeal Softens and exfoliates skin. Adds texture. Use ground rolled oats. Limit to a maximum of 1/2 cup rolled or 1/4 cup ground or pulverized oats per pound of soap. A blender works very well for making oat flour.
Pumice Removes tough dirt, but can be harsh. Adds texture.
Vitamin E oil Acts as a preservative when you add fresh fruit or other additive at risk of spoiling.
Wheat germ Exfoliates skin; adds bulk and texture. Shows up in soap as light speckling. Use no more than 3 tablespoons per pound of soap.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Kelly Ewing is a writer and editor who lives in the wonderful community of Fishers, Indiana, with her husband Mark, her daughter Katie, her son Carter, and furry canine friend Cheyenne. She has coauthored several books, including The Internet All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies, PCs All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies, and Direct Mail For Dummies. She has ghostwritten several books and edited more than 75 books on a variety of topics. She also writes articles on sports, travel, and human interest for several newspapers. In her spare time — when she can find it! — she enjoys spending time with her kids, reading, walking, writing, scrapbooking, cooking, and doing crafts.

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