August 22, 2016

Melt-and-Pour Soap, a Shortcut to Making Your Own Soap


Do you want to make your own soap, but are afraid of using sodium hydroxide (lye)?

How to make melt-and-pour soap.

It is possible, sort of. Instead of mixing liquid and lye with oils, you can buy ready-made soap base that you then "melt and pour" to make your own soap.

Our granddaughter was recently here for her annual summer visit. Now that she's twelve years old, I was a bit hard-pressed to find things that captured her interest. I had some melt-and-pour soap base that I was saving to make with her, and this was the perfect time to do it.

I've always made cold-processed and hot-processed goat milk soap, with cold-processed being my favorite. Both of these methods use sodium hydroxide to turn liquid (water or, in my case, goat milk) and oils into soap through saponification. Sodium hydroxide, commonly known as lye, is a dangerous material and must be used with great care. It's not something that I would allow a child to use, ever! However, you can buy one-pound blocks of glycerin base, or melt-and-pour soap base. This is already soap; you simply melt it, add color, fragrance, or whatever you like, and pour into molds to harden.

A one-pound block of clear glycerin soap base.
A one-pound block of glycerin soap base.

Many years ago I bought a box of blocks of glycerin base from a woman I'd met online. She'd made soap as Christmas gifts, and this box contained the leftover supplies: glycerin base, some colorants and fragrance oils.

I hauled the box out from its storage place and put Granddaughter in charge of our projects. She chose the fragrances she liked as well as the colorants. We were limited to the neon soap colorants in the box (and some of them had dried up) and my containers of brick red oxide, titanium dioxide that turns soap white, and a tiny bottle of blue LabColor. Since the soap base we were using was transparent, the titanium dioxide came in handy; it would make the finished soap opaque.

One-pound silicon mold, used for making soap.
My silicon loaf mold with bars of cold-processed goat milk soap.

We used both of my silicon loaf molds. Inspired by the fragrance oils, Granddaughter decided to make strawberry soap and watermelon soap. Each of the molds made six bars of soap and used one pound of glycerin base.

To make melt-and-pour soap, you just cut up the one-pound block of glycerin soap base into small pieces, put them in a microwave-safe bowl (we used a glass measuring cup) and melt it in short bursts of time in the microwave until it is liquid. Add color and fragrance oils and pour into your mold.

We made the strawberry soap by combining some neon pink colorant with some red oxide powder and a little titanium dioxide (white) to make pink. Only a child could do this, right? She ended up with a very pretty soft pink color. We added enough strawberry fragrance until Granddaughter was satisfied with the scent. I poured it into the silicon mold, and she added some poppy seeds to resemble strawberry seeds. We set that mold aside and started on the watermelon soap.

How to make strawberry melt-and-pour soap

We split up the next one-pound block of glycerin base into three piles: one for the "rind", for the "white part" and for the inside of the watermelon. The piles weren't equal, the pink section had the largest share of the base pieces, and the white layer had the least.

Not having any green coloring, Granddaughter mixed the blue LabColor liquid with some neon yellow liquid colorant until she was happy with the color. She melted the pile of soap pieces for the "rind" until it was liquid, and added the green color she'd made. We poured this into the loaf mold first, forming a layer on the bottom.

Watermelon scented melt-and-pour soap.

For the white layer, she added some titanium dioxide to the melted soap base so it would be opaque white. I spritzed some rubbing alcohol on top of the green layer so the two layers would "stick together", and poured the white soap on top.

The third layer was a brighter, darker pink than the strawberry soap, made with the same color ingredients but less white, and we added the watermelon fragrance oil to this layer. I sprayed the top of the white layer with alcohol and poured in the pink layer. Granddaughter again added some poppy seeds to resemble watermelon seeds.

We read that you can unmold the soap after a few hours but it might still be a little soft, so we waited a full 24 hours before we removed the loaves of soap from the molds. I used my miter box and knife to cut the loaves into bars. The watermelon soap is really cute!

I use a miter box and kitchen knife to cut my soap into bars.

When she went home, Granddaughter entered her soap in her county fair. Both the strawberry and the watermelon bars won first place, and the watermelon soap was also reserve champion in its division.

If you want to make soap without using lye, or if you want to share this craft with your children or grandchildren, you might want to try making melt-and-pour soap. You can buy your supplies at Amazon (affiliate link) or at online soap suppliers such as Brambleberry.

I bet it won't be long after you try this that you'll be making soap from scratch!


Here are the supplies we used from Amazon.com (affiliate links):
Glycerin soap base, clear (it also comes in goat milk, shea butter and others)
Silicon loaf soap mold

From Brambleberry:
Blue LabColor
Brick Red Oxide pigment
Neon soap colorant
Titanium Dioxide
Watermelon fragrance oil
Strawberry fragrance oil


You might also enjoy:
Soapmaking Series posts



This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


~~~~~

My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
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14 comments:

  1. Making soap does seem intimidating! This was a fun and cute project! :)

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    1. Thanks, Delci. This was simple and fun, and safe for my granddaughter to do. Maybe you'll give it a try sometime?

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  2. I have been wanting to try to make soap but didn't want to mess with the lye. I think I might try this. Congratulations to your Granddaughter. I know she was excited.

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    1. Thank you, Vickie. Yes, she was very excited! This is super simple to do, so I hope you'll give it a try. Once you gain confidence in doing this, I think you might want to make soap from scratch too. :-)

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  3. Very cool that you and your granddaughter get to enjoy doing stuff like this together!
    Thanks for sharing with us on the homesteader hop!

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  4. These are so adorable! I heard about melt and pour soap base, but hadn't researched how it actually works. It looks easy enough. Thanks for sharing on sustainable Sunday!

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    1. Thank you, Katy. Even though I'd had the supplies laying around for several years, I hadn't tried it before. It's extremely easy and I hope you'll give it a try.

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  5. Congratulations to your Granddaughter on her success at the county fair! What a lovely project to work on with her. I really like that this soap is lye free and it really does look wonderful. I've featured this post at Hearth and Soul this week, Kathi. Thank you for sharing it!

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    1. Thank you for featuring the post, April! Granddaughter says thank you as well. :-)

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  6. LOVE the watermelon soap!
    Making soap is great fun for young girls, my daughters love making MP soap :)

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    1. Thank you, Sandra! I'm glad your daughters enjoy this too. (And any mess that's made cleans up nicely because it's SOAP!)

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  7. Great ideas to do with your granddaughter! I love the watermelon soap and the fact that she did well at the fair. This post is then perfect for the Country Fair Blog Party! Thanks for Linking-up again.
    Laurie - Co-Host

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Laurie. Yes, I was there first thing this morning to link up. :-)

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