Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Handmade Christmas - Luxury Soaps

I don't know about you, but my grandparents used soap bars, and a lot of them. Not only did they use the bar soaps, they collected them like crazy.  When my grandmother passed away recently, my mom found bags and bags of hotel soaps, new bars, and scraps from used bars.  I have been experimenting with soaps lately, so these soaps have been great to work with.

While I've been experimenting, I came up with these Han Solo Soaps (Still looking for a great stocking stuffer??).  These are so fun and you can pick your scent too.
I'm not an expert by any means, but I have been working a lot with soaps lately and here are some tips I've learned the hard way.  If you're new to soap making, I'd recommend starting by melting down one or two bars.  You can always make a new batch pretty fast and easy once you get the hang of it. This whole process only takes about 15-30 minutes, with drying time being a couple of hours.

1. Make sure to organize the soaps by color and scent (if applicable).  If you mix different colors of soaps, you'll end up with a grey soap bar that isn't too appealing.
2. Chop up the bar of soap really small to begin with. In fact, some of these chunks are still too big.  The smaller the pieces, the faster the melting will go.
3. Use a double-boiler to melt the soap down.  I've attempted to use the microwave, and while it's okay for some soap starters, I've found that if you're re-melting soap, you're more likely to scald/burn the soap in the microwave.

4. You'll want to add water and also oils and/or butters.  Most of the soaps I re-melted are enhanced with cocoa butter, shea butter, aloe, coconut oil, apricot oil, or a combination.  Just make sure not to add to much oil, as your soap will turn out too soft to really use.  If you find that your soap isn't melting very well (some small lumps are normal, but if you have large lumps, but that is probably because you didn't chop the soap small enough), adding boiling water helps to melt them down.  Pull the soap off the heat when you add your scents/essential oils, because they cook out super fast.
5. If you're using a mold (I've used cans as a round mold), make sure to line it with parchment so they can easily be removed, or if you're using a silicone mold, you don't need to line it.  I made some round soap balls with this patch, so I just placed some dollops of soap on tin foil and let them cool until they're not sticky.  Don't wait too long or the soap won't roll nicely.
6.  After they're cool enough, I rolled them into nice balls.  The balls to the left, I added lavender blossoms to the soap after the lavender essential oil.  The pink balls, I added some of my perfume as the scent.

7. Wrap up and add a nice label. Now you have some great gifts to give for Christmas!

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