Inspiration/Aspiration: Homemade Soap

Dec 30 2013


This year, I had no idea what to get close family and friends for the holidays. I wanted to give something useful, simple, and meaningful. That is when my friend (I’ll call him SR) came along and suggested we make soap for the holidays. At first, I thought it was not the best idea, but once we were in the mix it was FUN. It is my new go to DIY gifting item.

We were a bit short on time, so we decided to buy premade soap base that we then added our creative energy to. If you have time and are not making this with kids around, then I would suggest finding a recipe for making the soap base at home. It seems a bit beyond my skill level.

Anyways, below is what you will need:
1 Package Soap Base (buy at Michael’s / Hobby Lobby/ Amazon)
80 Drops of Each Essential Oil (Wholefoods has some good ones)
1 16oz Bottle of Almond Oil
1 Bowl of Each Herb
1 Jar Honey
1 Bowl of Oatmeal (If making Oatmeal Variety)
1 Cup of Rubbing Alcohol
24 Soap Molds (I prefer square molds — also available at local craft store)

Depending on your soap molds, this will make anywhere between 18-24 soap pieces. We made three varieties:
  1. Dried Lavender, Lavender Oil, Lemon Zest, Almond Oil
  2. Oatmeal, Vanilla, Honey, Almond Oil
  3. Peppermint, Poppy Seed, Almond Oil
Why so much almond oil you ask… because it’s a great moisturizer.
Okay, below are the very easy steps, with some semi-pro tips =).

Step 1: Chop soap base into small squares. The smaller the squares, the more exposed surface area, and the faster the base will melt. Place the chopped soap base in a microwave safe bowl.
photo 1

Step 2: Place the soap base in the microwave for 30 second intervals — after each interval, stir with a large spoon. Keep doing this 3 to 4 times. Don’t over heat the soap, it will start to smell like a hair salon, so go slow and steady =). photo 2

Step 3: Let the soap cool for a bit, especially if you are adding in things like oatmeal, otherwise the oatmeal will cook (THAT IS BAD)! Once the soap is warm, you have to work a bit fast. Add in the essential oils. I would add 20 drops then smell, add 20 drops and then smell, etc. You should add to your own liking. I wanted the fragrance to be present but not overpowering. Okay then add in any other ingredients like the oatmeal, or lavender, or poppyseed, or honey or what have you. Stir thoroughly, and make sure the soap is still in liquid form. photo 5

Step 4: I would set out your molds ahead of time. Right before pouring the soap into the molds, spray, splash, squirt alcohol into the molds. This will keep air bubbles from forming. That is a semi-pro tip. =). Okay then gracefully pour the soap into each mold. Make sure the soap does not start to get lumpy, otherwise it won’t set pretty. If some pours over on the side of the molds, clean it up before it sets.  Once you are done pouring the molds, spray, splash, squirt alcohol on to the top of the filled molds. I have no idea why we do this… but do it =). photo 3

Step 5: Let the soap molds sit for 20-30 minutes. If you are impatient like me, put them in the freezer. However, make sure you freezer doesn’t smell, otherwise that would be an unwanted cross-contamination of fragrances. Once the bars feel firm, pop them out. This is kind of tricky, but be gentle and go slow, and it should be just fine =). Below is the end result. From a gifting perspective people LOVED THEM. I particularly liked the oatmeal-vanilla because the oatmeal acts as an exfoliating agent and it smells soo good. I have very sensitive skin, so I stay away from fragrance soaps. I pretty much only use Cetaphil, but this was totally fine on my skin. It feels great after, and doesn’t dry out my skin. Also, just as a warning, they smell good enough to eat, so just be careful with small children. They don’t have the typical store bought soap smell, and can easily be mistaken for food. It happened with SR’s mom, so that is my only warning to you! photo(9)

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