Talk to me about melt-and-pour soap - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 40 Old 11-16-2002, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been inspired by the "Christmas crafts" thread--I'm attempting to make melt-and-pour soap.

So, what are your favorite links? Do you have any good recipes? What do you use for natural colorant? Best tips for getting soap out of the mold?

Talk to me! Thanks.
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#2 of 40 Old 11-16-2002, 11:07 PM
 
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I have tried many different melt and pour bases.
Here are my reviews:

Michaels: Don't like it in comparison to the others...has an odor that takes a lot of oils to cover

wholesalesoapsupplies (not sure about the link...do a search in google)
Wonderful Base for the BEST price online!!! Great find!

www.soapcrafters.com
Probably my favorite base, but too much money so I don't buy it anymore

www.lavenderlane.com didn't like their melt and pour...stinky

www.cedarvale.net didn't like their melt and pour very much

www.fromnaturewithlove.com
This is a really lovely site! I havne't tried their m&p but I would feel confident in saying it would be high quality, as everything I've tried from them is!


So, have fun with that for starters

We'll talk coloring, scenting, and shaping later...
I'm actually teaching a class on that next week. I could send you my handout via email if you'd like?
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#3 of 40 Old 11-17-2002, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I would love a handout, thank you!
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#4 of 40 Old 11-17-2002, 04:16 PM
 
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I would love a handout, too! I am so craft-challenged it's not even funny, but this sounds fun and doable.....even for me!

Thanks!

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#5 of 40 Old 11-17-2002, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Jane,
Yes, you can do it, since I can!

I know the basics:
You melt the glycerin in a double boiler, then remove from heat and add what you want to (essential oils, etc. -- I am going to try adding some goat's milk), then pour into a mold and let harden.

But I would love some "secrets" from the experts!

I was kind of disappointed that rose petals turn brown and lavender buds turn green when mixed in glycerin. I was hoping from some natural red/purple colors that way.
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#6 of 40 Old 11-17-2002, 06:57 PM
 
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Lala
Please can you send me your handout as well!! I made some heart shaped soaps once and would like to add essential oils this time. I have some very good high quality oils ( I'm a massage therapist) but am unsure how much to use!?
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#7 of 40 Old 11-17-2002, 07:23 PM
 
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I want the handout too!

Someday I want to make soaps for christmas gifts. I too, am craft challenged.
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#8 of 40 Old 11-17-2002, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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PumpkinSeed,
Why not join us and do it this year??! That's actually the Christmas gift I'm planning for friends/family this year. (So I have to practice more between now and then!)

LaLa, is there anyway you could post your handout on this thread, since so many people want it? Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!

I've discovered that this hobby might get expensive, though--there are lots of molds I want to try, and essential oils!

I just bought a mold that says "Joy" from www.brambleberry.com
So, that's the mold I'm going to use to make my soaps look "Christmasy."

I'm wondering what will be the reaction, though--for anyone reading this who has given out soaps as gifts, do you generally get a good reaction?

And Luke's mom, what essential oils do you like?

I just ordered a "pine" essential oil that I'd like to use for my Christmas soaps.

I ordered some green "pigment" for the soaps, too--is pigment more natural than coloring?
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#9 of 40 Old 11-17-2002, 07:39 PM
 
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OK, I should scope out these molds. I think I'll have to stick to my budget for sure. Hey, do you gals buy the glycerin and have it shipped to you? Or do you buy it locally? Is it expensive to ship it?
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#10 of 40 Old 11-17-2002, 08:10 PM - Thread Starter
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2 lbs. of glycerin plus 2 bottles of essential oil cost me $7.21 JUST in shipping. So, yeah, that adds to the cost. If I bought more at one time, the price for shipping per pound would probably go down.

But..it will be a fun and practical hobby for me. (And goodness knows dh has spent enough money on his hobbies, so he can't complain!)

I'm glad this method exists. The "cold process" method is too complicated for me!

I've read that Sandalwood e.o. is an aphrodisiac for men....so, even though it's expensive, I'm going to buy a little and make dh a bar of soap!

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#11 of 40 Old 11-17-2002, 08:13 PM
 
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I LOVE LOVE LOVE the smell of sandalwood.
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#12 of 40 Old 11-17-2002, 09:26 PM
 
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This stuff is so much fun to play with! One of my favorite things to do is arrange chunks of leftover soap in a mold and pour soap over it - it ends up really cool looking. I tend to prefer 'rougher' looking soap (as opposed to perfect bars), so I usually use a bread pan and then slice bars off. I'm going to try a quart size milk carton next, to make nice square bars.

I have bought some essential oils and soap base from creationherbal.com. Their prices are really good and I like the soap. It comes in a humongous block instead of a neat little block, but who cares? I also just bought some from soapcrafters, but it hasn't arrived yet. I find it cheaper to get online, even with shipping - the only places I've found to buy soap locally are Michaels and JoAnn Crafts, and it's much more expensive and I don't like it as much...

I'm going to make soap for Christmas again this year because last year's was a hit!
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#13 of 40 Old 11-17-2002, 10:09 PM
 
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It is difficult for me to tell you exact amounts of oils to use because I do it by scent, but if you tell me how much soap you are using in ounces or pounds and what oils, I can help

Here is my class handout:
Enjoy!

Scent, color, and shape soap using: pure essential oils, herbs, and spices.
1.Melt your MP soap base in a double boiler or in a microwave.
2.Mix small amount of coloring agent with small amount of melted soap and/or small amount of hot water. Mix well then add to the rest of the soap. Add more if needed.
a.Natural coloring agents for soap
i.Spices and herbal powders including: Cinnamon, Clove, Tumeric, Red Henna, Beet Powder, Powdered Basil and Parsley etc. Experiment with different herbs, spices, and amounts. They must be ground finely in order to blend well.
b.Add scent
i.This varies in amount quite drastically depending on the pure essential oils you use. Some oils, such as Rose, are very strong. I would start with a few drops, mix well, and smell it. Go by your own preference, you can always add more! Other oils, such as Sweet Orange, are very subtle and you can easily add quite a bit before reaching a desired concentration. This is where blended scents come in very useful. If you are new to essential oils, I recommend buying the Aura Cacia pre-blended scents to get started. If you are already familiar with oils, some nice blends are:
1.Lavender Clary Blend-Relaxing: 3 parts Lavender to 1 part Clary Sage
2.Romantic Blend: 1 part Rose to 1 part Sandalwood
3.Fresh Citrus Blend: 2 parts Orange to 1 part Lemon to 1 part Tangerine
Some oils can be harsh on the skin if used in too high of a concentration, so please read the warning indications and test a small sample of your product before using or giving as gifts. Be especially aware using oils if you are pregnant, suffer health problems, have allergies, or if you are using oils such as Peppermint or Eucalyptus (both of which are very strong and should be used in small concentrations)
Once your soap is stirred well, and meets the scent strength you desire (assuming it is still melted at this point, if not, re-apply just enough heat to re-melt) Then it is time to shape the soap with molds.
c.Shape soap:
i.Soap molds can be purchased from local craft stores, or found within your home!
ii.Use what you have! Old Tupperware containers work well if they are shallow enough to break the soap out with a little bend. You can use long containers and cut the soap once it is hardened , or individual containers as well. Use your imagination!
iii.Decorative hand soaps for single use: Try dipping a silk flower petal or leaf into some clear Melt and Pour soap base. Let it dry, and layer several of these on a plate to display next to your sink. Your guest will love the individual soaps (they are intended for one use in the shower) or as decoration.
iv.Let the soap harden most of the way, then hand pack it into circles. This creates a very homemade look, but your timing must be just right to mold it without creating a mess. ļ
d.Wrapping soaps: These melt and pour soaps should be wrapped/packaged to prevent the glycerin moisture from escaping.
i.To give the soap as a gift, try wrapping it in clear wrap first, then sticking a homemade label onto the wrap. Hand made or computer printed, it will be charming!
ii.A piece of fabric over the plastic wrap is another lovely touch to decorate a soap. Tie it with a ribbon or raffia, and you have a rustic looking homemade gift.
iii.Get creative! Look for ways to give your soap as a fun gift! Give soap in soap dishes, in wooden crates, in re-usable containers etc.
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#14 of 40 Old 11-18-2002, 01:11 PM
 
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I got some glycerin from mail order a few years ago. The company was something like snow babies . I coat my mold with whatever oil I have around (grapeseed or wheatgerm) and I like to use " popsicle" molds. I have these that are about 4inx2in and they each have a little fruit imprinted in them. Cherries, pineapple, grapes and orange. I like to open a packet of celestial seasonings herbal tea and sprinkle in when the soap is poured. They have beautiful colors and are perfectly crushed up already (and blend really well). I also like to add crushed oatmeal to some bars, and pretty herbs from bulk at the health food store. They don't always mix real well, but they sure are purdy!!!

My mom gave me some jello jiggler molds with christmas designs. I don't eat jello, so I use those for soap molds too. They look real good with the celestial seasonings teas. I think it is the blackberry tea that has red in it. And chamomole tea is good with a light essential oil. And peppermint tea with peppermint oil, etc.

The popsicle mold is the perfect size for toddler hands. I got the mold in my grocery store. They were just hanging in an aisel. Kinda like the crazy straws and junk toys.

Metal measuring cups make good molds. Then you can hav lots of sizes. Like a little "family" of soaps.
Does anyones soaps get "salty" if they aren't used for a while?
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#15 of 40 Old 11-18-2002, 01:29 PM
 
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yippee, i just placed an order for some soap base and some cool molds! had to restrain myself....the point is to make inexpensive presents!

thanks for all the great ideas, ladies! when the order gets here, i'm off to channel martha.....

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#16 of 40 Old 11-18-2002, 06:43 PM
 
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I just wanted to add calendula flowers do not discolor in mp soap. They look really neat but make sure you stir them in good as they like to float to the top..heh..

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#17 of 40 Old 11-20-2002, 01:52 AM
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I have some melt and pour soap base that I will probably never use. it is from wholesale soap supplies. Soap making was a quick phase! If anyone wants it pm me.
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#18 of 40 Old 11-20-2002, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Yea, Jane! Let me know how it goes for you. I'm thinking of trying cranberry soap with cranberry seeds.
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#19 of 40 Old 11-24-2002, 05:36 AM
 
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While I have never tried cranberry seeds I did get some rasberry seeds and they are kind of big and scratch..owowowow I think the cranberry seeds are a little smaller though.

I got some soap with strawberry seeds in it and it was wonderful!!

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#20 of 40 Old 12-07-2002, 03:04 AM
 
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This sounds so fun I can't wait to try it. I know they will make great birthday gifts! Good info also. Thanks
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#21 of 40 Old 12-08-2002, 07:20 PM
 
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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?
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#22 of 40 Old 12-08-2002, 09:56 PM
 
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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?)

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#23 of 40 Old 12-08-2002, 10:18 PM
 
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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.
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#24 of 40 Old 12-09-2002, 01:05 AM
 
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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
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#25 of 40 Old 12-09-2002, 01:22 AM - Thread Starter
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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.
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#26 of 40 Old 12-09-2002, 02:34 AM
 
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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???
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#27 of 40 Old 12-10-2002, 07:17 PM
 
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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.

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#28 of 40 Old 12-15-2002, 10:58 PM
 
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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?
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#29 of 40 Old 12-15-2002, 11:59 PM - Thread Starter
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We also bought "soap flakes" to use--which work similar to m & p but are more the consistency of cold process.
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#30 of 40 Old 12-16-2002, 01:16 AM
 
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This weekend I made a ton of soap:

Lavender
Rose
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?
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