Monday, January 6, 2014

Easy DIY Fancy Soap

For my birthday last year, my sister in law gave me this nice homemade bar of soap and some lip balm.  There is something very soothing and luxurious about natural homemade soaps.  The smell, the texture, the color.  It's heavenly.  Enter Christmas present ideas.  

I did some research and found there are two ways to make soaps at home.  You can buy lye and have a little chemistry session in your kitchen (which sounded fun but dangerous with kids around) or you can buy melt and pour blocks and add your own extras.  This is the option I chose.  It is seriously so easy to do - anyone can do it I promise!  And it takes literally minutes to do.  You can find melt and pour soap at any craft store but if you want a quality, organic soap, it's best to buy from the internet.  I found some great ones at Bulk Apothecary.  I ended up using an organic oatmeal soap base.

Here's the fun part.  You can add whatever your heart desires.  Dried herbs, flowers, essential oils or pumice.  The sky is the limit.  
Some guidelines:

  • Dried herbs: 1tsp to 2 tbsp per pound of soap base 
  • It is best to use weight measurement for essential oil as it's hard to determine how many drops to use.  A good rule of thumb is 5 grams per pound of soap.
  • There is no need to "cure" your soap as that process was already done with the soap base.  You can use it immediately.
  • While you can use simple castile soap as your base, it takes much much longer to melt.  I tried to use a combination of the oatmeal base and castile soap and it made it a little chunky.  I feel it added some character though!
  • More helpful guidelines found HERE

Oatmeal Rosemary Lavender Soap

You will need: 
1 pound oatmeal soap base
2 tsp dried rosemary (I used it from my garden that I dehydrated but you can air dry herbs too or use herbs purchased at a store)
5 grams Lavender Essential oil 
Pumice if desired for exfoliating purposes
A mold - I used a 9x9 pan and was able to cut 6 bars from it.

Line your mold with wax paper, freezer paper, or parchment paper - any will work.  Using a double boiler, heat your soap base until melted completely.  Remove from heat.  Mix in dried rosemary.  

Wait a moment for it it cool slightly and then add your pumice if desired and your essential oil.  Mix well.  By letting it sit for a minute to cool you will ensure that the pumice will not sink to the bottom - a mistake I made with one of my batches.  The soap cools quickly so don't let it set too long.  Pour the mixture into your lined mold.  Place in the freezer for a few minutes to harden.  

Remove the paper from the mold with the soap in tact.  Cut into bars and wrap in tissue paper.  

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