I wanted to try soap making but with 3 small children in the house I was not about to turn my kitchen into a chemical lab complete with NaOH bubbling away in my sink. So, I decided to go with a much easier soap making method called ‘Melt & Pour’. To make Melt & Pour soap you buy a soap base (I went with an organic base from Bramble Berry), essential oils for fragrance (I used lavender and orange valencia), and you can add exfoliants (i used cranberry seeds), and herbs/botanicals (i used Spirulina). I also used oats (just regular oatmeal) and you can use other home kitchen items such as coffee grounds for exfoliants.
To start you will need:
Soap Mold (to be extra eco-chic, you can use household items or even cleaned out food containers, I used a medium ‘tupperware’ container (about 5″x7″).
Small spray bottle with rubbing alcohol
Melt 6 oz. of Melt & Pour soap base in the microwave for 45 seconds (about 1/5 of a 2 lb block).
In separate bowl pour 1.5 teaspoons Essential Oil.
Remove M&P from the microwave and stir until all chunks are dissolved.
Stir essential oil into M&P and mix well.
When M&P reaches about 130 degrees (just use a food thermometer) add your exfoliant and mix well.
Then immediately pour gently and evenly into your mold.
Spritz with rubbing alcohol.
Begin process again for your next layer! After 4-5 layers you will be done! Have fun coming up with your own ideas for layering and designs! Let your soap set up for 8-10 hours before removing from mold. Use a food scraper or large knife to cut into desired size bars (or if you used small soap molds just pop them out). Wrap in plastic wrap to preserve freshness.
* Tips: Spritzing with alcohol helps remove bubbles that form during mixing, and helps your layers adhere.
When pouring soap layers, hold the bowl of soap in one hand and a spoon in the other, pour onto the spoon and let the soap overflow from the spoon into the mold. This keeps the hot soap from breaking through the previous layer.
My soaps (above left: Lavender Oatmeal, above right: Orange Valencia) will be available for purchase (all cutely wrapped with help from my talented sister Sonja) at The Harvest Market on Saturday, November 10th from 9 am – 3 pm!