For any of you who want to make your own solid soaps for yourself, for gifts, or even for sale, there is an easy and fairly quick way to do so, with little effort! It does take a tiny bit of perfecting, but here you go...
Solid soap base: These can be bought for fairly cheap online, for beginners, buy one that is microwaveable, and READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. Burnt soap is not good. Skin burnt with hot soap is even worse.
Soap molds: Again, these can be bought for cheap online and there are literally thousands of designs!
Fragrances: You can buy cheap synthetic fragrances and for beginners, or if you want to be a bit more decadent you can use essential oils. I prefer the latter, but it takes a bit of practice to get the combinations right so the soap still has a fragrance. Fragrnces are usually the most expensive part of the soap if you are using essential oils or perfume oils, but it's well worth it! Make sure to read the cautions about certain oils though as some are not safe for skin contact and many are not safe for children. Hot liquid can evaporate a lot of essential oils so you may have to use more than you expected.
Colouring: Food colouring can be used, but it doesn't mix very well with most soaps, and will dye EVERYTHING. You can buy liquid dyes, or, my favourite, use natural mica powdered pigments. Also, if you want to be really natural, you could find non toxic plant dyes like henna, teas, and even berries, and steep them in the melted soap before straining and adding fragrance, this produces a very orgnic natural result and often will imprt a bit of fragrance and the beneficial properties of the plant into the soap as well!
Decorations and additives: These can range from dried plants such as rose petals, lavender and even coffee grounds (great for cellulite!) shea butter, cocoa butter etc. to make it more emollient, to glitters, other types of soaps such as coloured chunks in clear soap, or even soap petals. For kids soaps, it's fun to place a small toy inside a clear soap so that as the child uses the soap, the toy eventually is revealed.
1. Melt your soap base. Always follow the directions, stir thoroughly, and be careful, hot soap burns like hell, and sticks to your skin.
2. Add pigments and mix well
3. Add small additives like glitter and dried plants of you want a uniform appearance at this time.
4. Any additional decoration, such as an abuncance of glitter or extra pigment on the top of the soap (the bottom of the mold) should be done now, and quickly, so your soap doesn't start to solidify.
5. Add fragrances last when the soap is a little cooler, and mix well.
6. Pour immediately into molds and leave covered with a tea towel or cloth.
7. When the soap is hardened and easily pops out of the molds, lay the bars on a sheet of wax paper, put in a cardboard box and leave to ''cure'' for at least a week. This will harden the soap fully and make it less prone to bending, denting, and getting otherwise misshapen.
8. To package, I like to use coloured cellophane and a fun sticker, or tissue paper, with a strip of wrapping paper wrapped around the middle like a ribbon. Of course, you can always use ribbon. This is your project, be creative!!