HOMEMADE SOAP // A DIY GUIDE
Today on the blog I'm sharing another beautiful project I photographed with Rhi on melt and pour soap! These lovely bars of soap smell incredible and while this does take some time to make, it is a fairly simple process. I recommend setting aside a least an hour for the preparation and then it will need to cool of course which will take a few more hours at which time you're free to do whatever you like with the time you wait!
This soap has a creamy cocoa butter base with a very subtle scent. Rhi also added in organic rolled olds and a little bit of this to emphasize that comforting smell of honey, oatmeal and milk. To start, cut the cocoa soap base into smaller manageable cubes and placed in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave the chunks in 30 second intervals, ‘stirring’ the chunks in between until I had somewhat of a liquid consistency. By the time you get the soap melted to a desirable consistency it will be VERY hot.
Once the entire mixture is smooth and creamy you will add in your choice of scent. 1 tablespoon is enough but you can start by dropping in a few drops, stirring the scent in, and then smelling the mixture to see if it’s strong enough for you. Unlike baking, a slight deviation of ingredients or quantities isn’t going to mess up the end result.
For the particular soap, Rhi infused some variance in the color for the final product, a technique more suited for cold process soap, but Rhi still found a way!
Because you need 3 pounds of the cocoa base (the base comes in 1 pound blocks) to fill up the soap mold, in order to add some color variance Rhi had to make two mixtures separate of one another. So one mixture was about 2.5 pounds of the cocoa butter base with the chosen scent, and then other was the remaining half a pound of cocoa butter soap which she then added 1/4 of a block of THIS too. A very tiny bit of the color block goes a very long way! Adding just a pinch of the block gave that creamy rose taupe hue!
Below are the two bowls of two mixtures Rhi was was stirring to keep the mixture from cooling too fast which would allow the surface to start ‘filming over’.
There is probably an official perfect temperature you should wait for your mixture to get to before pouring it into the mold but truth be told we're not sure what that is. Just try to wait as long as possible before the soap starts getting too thick. The thickness of your base is called ‘trace’ and in cold process soap making the trace is what allows you to get really creative with swirls of color and fun textured soap tops. Since it’s harder to do with melt and pour soap this was a guess and when it felt right, poured it into the mold.
From there, wait a couple minutes to let the white base firm up a little before drizzling in the remaining taupe colored mixture. The intention here was to have the taupe mixture drizzled in enough so that once the soap was cut into the two colors would have a harmonious look together. Additionally, because this is a taller soap mold (versus the standard wide one) It took the entire taupe mixture to help fill the entire mold and make a complete bar.
The heat of the mixture can make the silicone mold slightly expand, and here Rhi pushed two mixing bowls up against the side to hold the mold upright. As the mixture started to cool and harden, you can add the oatmeal to the top. Some of the oatmeal will sink deeper into the soap which is a nice exfoliating touch where as most of it stays on top for more of an aesthetic approach.
After a few hours or a full day if you can wait that long, your soap will be ready to remove from the mold! Pull the sides and ends back away from the hardened bar and gently push the bottom to get the whole bar loose and it should pop out perfectly. Here’s what it will look like before you cut it into individualized bars. You can see how the taupe soap Rhi added in at the end really created a subtle but beautiful watercolor effect.
From there you can start cutting your soap into individual bars in whatever size you’d like. These bars of soap are great for giving to friends, family and neighbors as gifts. Alex of Prairie Letter Shop calligraphed the soap variety on the top of these sweet kraft boxes. Since melt and pour soap is very heat sensitive and a pretty creamy soap, Rhi would suggest wrapping each bar in a wax or parchment paper before placing them in the boxes.
These instructions are a modified version of Rhi's words. If you're interested in reading her post on the soap, click here. Have a great day everyone!