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Talk to me about melt-and-pour soap - Page 2

post #21 of 40
Has anyone ever used the MP Olive OIl soap? I bought some at Michaels today, thought I would give it a try. Also, when adding dried laveder, how fine does it need to be? The soap is a suspension base so the herbs will stay even throughout rather than rising to the top. Any tips?
post #22 of 40
The stuff I ordered is finally here - now I just need to find some time to make it!! xmas is just around the corner....i just need dh to cooperate and let me melt and pour some soap already!!

If anyone's answering questions, here's another - any guidelines on how much essential oil to add to fragrance soap? I don't want to go overboard - how do you tell when enough is enough, and will it smell weaker or stronger once it's hardened? Also, are you supposed to spray/grease the molds, and if so, with what?

(I should probably just look it up on the web, I know. Any good sites for directions?)
post #23 of 40
tnrsmom: When I've added lavender, I've just added whole buds, but ground finer might be nice. I don't add much though - your soap can get scratchy with a lot of stuff in it. I've never used soap that was a 'suspension base', either (what is that??) so I had to work to keep it suspended, or just let it sink which can be a nice effect, too.

Jane: I was disappointed in some of the soaps I made last year which smelled good while I was making them but by the time I gave them away had faded. For that reason, I'm going to go a bit overboard this time. Unfortunately, I can't give you any solid advice like "X number of drops per lb of soap" because I just don't make it that way. I do it until it looks and smells right... which will be a little stronger this year!

And, re: greasing the molds, I think it mostly depends on your recipe and your molds. If you're using molds intended for soapmaking and your recipe doesn't specify, you should be fine just pouring it in. I've used random things around the house and had to use a bit of vegetable oil to make release easier. Putting the mold in the freezer for a bit works, too.
post #24 of 40
Lavender is kind of annoying in soap...it comes off and sticks to your skin, and tends to color the soap a little brownish over time. YOu may consider adding a little for deocration on the top of soap at the end, or grind it up in the coffee grinder and stir it in well

Or go whole...a lot of mamas do that too!

Calendula is kind of nice in soaps for a little scrubie and look.

I don't oil my molds...if I can't get them out,I put them in the freeze for a little bit, then they pop out like ice cubes
post #25 of 40
Thread Starter 
My dh liked the idea of making soap so much that he is TAKING OVER! He used my glycerin and stuff and made soap himself. I guess that's ok, but I really wanted this to be my hobby.

Anyway, I have found, also, that the smell of the e.o. does fade after the soap has hardened. Keeping the soap in plastic wrap (like handiwrap) will help it retain its smell. Also I've read that the glycerin needs to be melted at a low rate of heat--higher heat will make the glycerin smell funny.

I read that the following e.o.s can be irritating to sensitive skin: pine, lemon, peppermint, tea tree, eucalyptus, orange, rosemary, basil, as well as others. So I'm just making primarily lavender soaps.

I'm also going to add finely ground almond meal as a gentle exfoliant.
post #26 of 40
It is recommended to wrap the melt and pour soaps if they aren't going to be used right away...somethign in them evaporates besides just the scent...I forget what, though???
post #27 of 40
Here I am late to the conversation, but I love M & P soap making - you can do so much and so many different kinds with just a few ingredients (and without the danger and mess of cold process soap making).

I use either www.soapcrafters.com or www.wholesalesuppliesplus.com m & p soap base. Soapcrafters is better but also more expensive. However you go, shipping heavy soap is expensive!

I get my fragrance oils from www.sweetcakes.com or Soapcrafters - usually Sweetcakes. They are fantastic and I have about 30 scents, and have only disliked one. I add as much as I can smell in the soap. Scent "burns off" if you add it to super hot soap - let it cool down after melting, yet while it's still liquid. I find essential oil takes alot more to scent soap, is much more expensive and doesn't scent soap as long - so I usually use FO's instead. There's also much more variety in FO's than EO's, though EO's also have medicinal properties.

I also put in various additives, such as a half dropperful of olive oil or sweet almond oil per bar to "superfat"each bar of soap. I also use herbals such as lavender buds (for an exfoliating bar, it's scratchy), calendula petals (they stay yellow, very nice), green tea (out of a teabag), ground loofa (purchased), and colorants (usually I've just been using the stuff from Joanne's Crafts, or liquid colorants from soapcrafters).

You can get a wide variety of great looking/smelling/washing soaps by mixing soaps, colorants, additives, oils and FO's!

Have fun.... it's addicting.

post #28 of 40
i wanted to add that the soaps need to cure for 2-3 weeks after you make them to harden, so if you're making them now as gifts, you may want to tell your recipients to not use them for a week. i made a ton for gifts this year. i don't know how well it will go over with anyone, but who cares? it's the thought that counts, right?
post #29 of 40
Thread Starter 
We also bought "soap flakes" to use--which work similar to m & p but are more the consistency of cold process.
post #30 of 40
This weekend I made a ton of soap:

Lavender Rose
Lavender Vanilla
Lavender Orange Tangerine (can you tell I love lavender??)
Lemon Herb (with dried lemon rind and rosemary, lemon and thyme essential oils... would be a good kitchen soap I think)
Sandalwood/Cedar - tinted it orangey and floated calendula petals in it. It looks like amber and smells divine.
Oatmeal Honey
Ginger spice (with ground ginger and allspice, ginger essential oil)
Coconut Vanilla

The only thing that didn't turn out was this groovy embedded soap I tried to make. First I made yellow stars in a mold and then embedded them in a loaf pan of blue sparkly soap. I poured about 1/4 of the blue in the pan, let it cool a bit, embedded the stars, let it cool, added more, embedded more... But, when I tried to slice bars off, the layers of soap fell apart. Anybody know what I did wrong??

Also, I've been wrapping them up in plastic wrap and I'm really not happy with that aesthetic. I know they need to be wrapped in plastic or something evaporates or something? But, does anybody have better packaging ideas? Does wax paper work as well as plastic wrap? Other ideas?
post #31 of 40
Wow, Tara, I want you to be my Secret Soap Santa next year! Those soaps sound yummy enough to eat!

Marisa, thanks for the heads-up on aging, I wouldn't have known that.

I bought some cellophane bags with twist ties to put my (hypothetical) soaps in....if I ever find time to hand off DS to DH to make them, that is!

Do you all use regular pots/pans to melt the stuff, or do you have a dedicated pan? What about using the microwave? Would that work?
post #32 of 40
Thread Starter 
how much essential oils do you use?

You could buy colored Saran wrap--in red or green--for a more decorative wrap.

Also, if you spritz your embed with rubbing alcohol before pouring the other soap around it, then it will stay together better.
post #33 of 40
Jane: You know, the secret soap Santa idea is a good one! That would be fun! There's no time before Christmas this year, though, is there? Maybe we could all trade some of our leftovers in Jan? It would be fun to see what others are doing...

And, I just use the kitchen pans. The soap and stuff washes out just fine. I have used the microwave, too - in fact, I have used the microwave more than the stovetop, but I think I prefer the stovetop. It's actually faster, I think...

and, mamajulie, thanks for the rubbing alcohol tip! I knew I was missing something... It's a shame, because it looked really cool before I tried to slice it. But, one of the cool things about m&p is you can melt down what doesn't work and make something else out of it!

And, re: essential oils... I don't measure, really, I just keep adding until it smells good... But, I would guess that I end up using like 5 drops per bar or something like that?? Most of my batches were 4-bar size, and I think I used about 20 drops per batch. Sometimes more, sometimes less, of course.
post #34 of 40

You can also spritz the layers with witch hazel, which is easier on skin than alcohol and does the same thing. Try not to wait until the layers are hard, though, because then they WILL fall apart, just til they are "set" and then the soap you are adding shouldn't be too hot (will melt through).

Also, whole lavender buds will turn an ugly brown So sad. So does the ground lavender, but not so bad. It smells nice, though. And don't use rose petals - they look like brown goopy boogers in soap!!!

post #35 of 40
Thanks for the witch hazel tip - I was going to ask about that, since I have a spray bottle of it already for making bath bombs.

On that topic, I have more bragging to do. I made lavender, rose and lemon/lime/coconut bath bombs. And I made 15 tubes of lavender/mint lip balm. And 6 little flower-shaped pots of solid perfume with body glitter in it for all the little glitter-loving girls in the family. And 7 spray bottles of lavender/mint mist (for freshening linens and rooms and faces, kwim??) I am so proud of myself!! Also, I solved the packaging dilemma - I looked for little celophane bags with twist ties but couldn't find any (where did you get yours, Jane??), but I found rolls of celophane. I wrapped bars in squares of cellophane, pulled together and tied with ribbon. And I bought these little paper tags on string (I think they are called 'mailing tags' at the office supply store) and I did rubber stamps on them and wrote the names of the soaps and such. Finally I am pleased!

How did I accomplish all this with a 12 month old in tow? Before you get too impressed, I had lots of help. One day my sister entertained him while I worked, another day a friend helped. And I stayed up way too late three days in a row (yawwwwwn). But, I have pretty presents! Yay me!
post #36 of 40
Tara - YOU ROCK! Go you! Yay you!

I got the cellophane bags at a place called The Container Store - I know it's a chain, just not sure how big a chain. I think it's their in-house brand. Not that I have anything to put in these bags yet....: maybe when my sitters -er, make that sisters - get here this Sunday!
post #37 of 40
Thread Starter 
Wow, our soap project turned out to be really fun! (My dh and I enjoyed working on it together).

We made the following kinds:

* Cucumber
* Sandalwood/Cinnamon (this was an experiment, LOL!)
* Lavender/Almond
* Pine
* Lemon Loofah (recipe to follow!)

Then we wrapped the soaps in pretty cellophane and tied them with a pretty ribbon! Our family better appreciate it!

Lemon Loofah soap: (great for feet!)

Melt 1 lb. clear glycerin in a double-boiler (make sure to melt at a low heat) I like glycerin from www.soapsaloon.com

Remove from heat when melted. (Then I usually transfer the glycerin to another bowl.)

Add 2 3/4 tsp. (almost a Tb) lemon essential oil

Add 1 Tb. luffa (powdered). I bought mine from www.wholesalesuppliesplus.com

Stir in the luffa until it's evenly distributed.

Pour into molds. Let set in molds at least one hour. Then wrap in plastic.

(This turns yellow without adding additional color!)
post #38 of 40
Thread Starter 
LaLa, you mentioned soapcrafters.....do you buy their premium base, or their cheaper base?
post #39 of 40
I am really new to soap making ( Still reading up on it - but determined to try making some and soon)
These questions might seem really dumb -
1 question I have since I was going to try making it the conventional way with lye. When you melt & pour what exactly is the base you are melting?
post #40 of 40
Thread Starter 
You are melting glycerin. (Think "Neutrogena" -type soap.) You can buy white or clear glycerin, or you can even buy specialty glycerins-- with things added ahead of time, like goat's milk, honey, aloe vera, etc.

If you want a base that's, well, more "soapy" (in the traditional sense), you can buy soap flakes, which you melt and use pretty much the same as glycerin.

Doing cold process (with lye) is probably a lot cheaper in the long run, though.
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