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How to Make Soap Gifts Using Melt-and-Pour Method

I live in the beautiful Norfolk countryside with my fiancé and 13-year-old daughter. I love all types of handmade craft.

Double boiler method of melting soap

Double boiler method of melting soap

Use the Melt-and-Pour Method to Make Soap Gifts

Making handmade soaps to give to family and friends is an inexpensive, easy and fun way to put a smile on someone's face. There are several ways of making soap, i.e., hot process and cold process; both these methods are made by using a caustic substance called lye.

With traditional soapmaking using these processes, you have to wait for the soap to cure before you can actually use it. I prefer to keep things simpler and have instant results. My preferred method of making soap is the melt and pour method.

The Melt-and-Pour Method of Soap Making

By using the melt-and-pour method of soap making, there are no complicated steps to follow. All that you have to do is melt down some shop-bought glycerin and pour it into moulds or containers, allow them to set for an hour, pop them out, and they are ready to use instantly. It's so much fun and kids love to make their own soap too, and because it is easy, they can join in and make their own designs. Who knows, maybe it will even encourage them to wash more often!

I have been making my own soap now for six years, and I love all the shapes and colours that can be achieved by blending in dyes. There is a vast range of fragrance oils and essential oils on the market which will enhance your soap. You don't have to spend a fortune to start off, just a few colours and fragrances to begin with are all you will need. You can be as creative as you want, whilst jazzing up your bathroom at the same time.

The Basics

  • Soap Base: These can be bought from most craft stores, hobby shops or even online. They are available to buy in white (opaque) and clear bases. You will find them on sale at varying weights and they are usually cheaper to buy in larger quantities.
  • Moulds: When starting out, it is best to use silicone or plastic moulds and containers as they pop out much easier once the soap has set. In the past, I have used old butter tubs and even ice cube trays. As long as the container is microwaveable, it will be perfect for your project. There are some wonderful decorative soap moulds available to buy which produce eye-catching results. Some soap makers prefer to melt the soap base into a silicon tray and allow to set before cutting out shapes using cookie cutters.
  • Colouring: Colours are great for making fun, vibrant soaps. Always use colouring designed for soapmaking, although some people use food colouring to tint the soap. Water-based powder colourants can be used in melt and pour soap. I prefer to use a cosmetic grade pigment in my soaps, they are tested and approved for soapmaking and cosmetics. If you want to add a touch of sparkle to your soap, cosmetic-grade glitter is available. Never use craft glitter as this can cause skin irritation and is harmful if it comes into contact with your eyes.
  • Scents: Essential oils can be used in soapmaking, they can be quite expensive because they are all-natural ingredients and are very concentrated - only one or two drops are needed for one bar of soap. Fragrance oils are a cheaper alternative to essential oils. If using fragrance oils, always check that they are suitable for use in soap. They come in a wide selection of scents and are relatively inexpensive.

Melting the Soap Base

Before you start, there are two methods of melting the soap:

Double Boiler Method

This is achieved by filling a saucepan about a third of the way with water, and slowly heating with a pyrex jug inside the pan. Before melting the soap, I would recommend you chop it into small cubes and place it inside the jug, as this will speed up the process. Once melted, the soap should be allowed to cool for a few minutes before pouring into the mould or container.

Microwave Oven Method

This is my preferred way of melting the soap base. Simply chop the required amount of soap base into small cubes, place in a pyrex jug and put in the micowave, heat for 30 seconds, if it is still lumpy, put back in the microwave for short bursts of 10 seconds until completely melted. Once the soap has turned to liquid, stir and allow to cool for a few minutes before pouring into a mould.

Melting soap in the microwave is so simple.

Melting soap in the microwave is so simple.

Adding Colour and Scent

If you are adding any colour or fragrance oils to your soap, this should be done once the soap has been allowed to cool. Simply add a few drops of your chosen colour and a drop or two of your desired fragrance and stir until smooth. Once it has all been blended in, just pour into the mould or container which you will be using and allow around an hour for it to set.

3 Projects for You to Try

I was very excited when I got my soap base delivered and couldn't wait to get started. I have put together a step-by-step guide to making three of my favourite soaps. Why not have a go for yourself, and maybe get the children to join in.

  1. Refreshing Cucumber Bar
  2. Strawberry Heart
  3. Floating Duck Soap
Cool cucumber.

Cool cucumber.

1. Refreshing Cucumber Bar

  • Melt around 80g of chopped up soap base in the microwave for 30 seconds. (I used white soap base for this project
  • Check if melted, and if necessary, replace in microwave and continue to heat in short bursts of 10 seconds until completely melted, but not boiling.
  • Allow to cool for 2–3 minutes.
  • Add two drops of cucumber fragrance oil and one drop of green colourant.
  • Stir until completely blended.
  • Pour into a rectangular container or mould. (I used a rectangular mould which I bought from eBay recently.
  • Leave to cool for an hour.
  • Pop out of the mould, and it's ready to use.
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Read More From Feltmagnet

My strawberry-scented heart soap

My strawberry-scented heart soap

2. Strawberry Heart

  • Chop and melt approx 100g o