Melt and pour soap making is a fun, inexpensive, easy way to get started making soap. Some people move on from melt and pour to cold process soap making, but many are just fine with the ease and safety of melt and pour soap making.
Assemble all of your ingredients, materials, and equipment. Also, be sure to have a pad of paper or notebook handy to write down any notes or changes you make to the recipe.
Ingredients, Materials, and Equipment
- Your choice of melt and pour soap base in Pyrex container
- Cutting board
- Fragrance oil
- Measuring spoons
- Soap-safe dye (red and blue)
- Metal whisks
- Large knife
- Rubbing alcohol in spray bottle
- Ramekin for fragrance oil
- Rubber spatulas
- Cloths and paper towels
- Soap mold (we're using a mold that makes 6 five-ounce bars of soap.)
Cut and Weigh the Melt and Pour Soap Base
Place the Pyrex container onto the scale and zero out the weight.
Cut the melt and pour soap base into small chunks and place them into the container until you've got the amount that your mold will hold. A few tenths of an ounce under or over will not matter.
Tip: Make sure that your knife, container, and cutting board are clean and free of any dirt. The soap will pick it up and it will be hard to get out.
Melt the Soap Base in the Microwave
Cover the container with Saran Wrap. This will help keep the soap base from drying out as it is being heated.
Heat the soap in the microwave, starting with just a minute at a time. Remove the soap and stir it. (It will be thick and chunky.) Repeat heating the soap base a minute or so at a time until all the chunks are gone, and the soap is completely melted.
Note: Be careful: Most soap bases will be about 150 degrees when completely melted.
These two pounds of soap base took about four minutes to melt completely, but your soap base and microwave may differ.
If you prefer not to use a microwave, the soap base can be melted in a double boiler.
Add Fragrance or Essential Oil
While the soap is heating, put your fragrance ramekin onto the scale and zero out the weight. Measure your fragrance or essential oil into the ramekin. A good starting place is 0.4-ounce of fragrance per pound of soap. (Generally, we use about 2 to 3 percent per weight of the soap.) You can go up or down from there if you're using a light or strong fragrance oil.
For this recipe, we're using just plain lavender essential oil at about 0.4-ounce per pound. (A total of 0.8-ounce for the two-pound batch.)
Once you've measured your fragrance and removed the soap from the microwave, slowly add the fragrance to the melted soap base and gently stir.
If you want to add some color to your soap, (you don't have to, it's purely aesthetic,) make sure you use soap/skin-safe dyes, micas or natural colorants.
We're using a soap-safe dye here. We wanted a lavender color, so we're using a combination of red and blue dye-about 10 drops each.
Note: Be sure you are using soap-safe dyes. If your supplier doesn't know if they are soap-safe or not, don't use them. Also, be aware that soap-safe dyes are much weaker than candle dyes. You will need to use more than you would in the same amount of wax.
Stir the Melted Soap
Gently stir the melted soap to completely incorporate the fragrance and completely blend the color.
Don't stir too hard or you'll get bubbles in the soap.
If you do get bubbles, a light spritz of rubbing alcohol from a spray bottle gets rid of them.
Pour the Melted, Colored, Fragranced Soap Into the Mold
Slowly pour the soap into the mold.
Try not to splash the soap or get too many bubbles. (If you do get bubbles in the soap, lightly spray the tops of the bars with rubbing alcohol.)
You're done for now. Carefully move the mold to a safe place (or just leave it where it is and cover it with some Saran Wrap) and start cleaning up.
The soap should be hard enough to unmold in a few hours. You can hurry this along by putting the mold in the refrigerator, but don't put it into the freezer.
It will take several hours on the counter or approximately an hour in the refrigerator for the soap to completely cool and harden.
Unmold the Soap
While you're waiting for the soap to harden, write your results in your notebook. How many drops of color did you use? How much fragrance did you use? Did you have any soap base left over? Did the fragrance seem strong enough? These notes will help you duplicate the results next time, or remember not to repeat mistakes you made this time.
When the soap is completely hardened, you should be able to pop the bars out of the mold. Some molds will release easily; Some will be more difficult. Tapping the mold firmly with the palm of your hand or a large spoon sometimes helps.
For a persistent bar, you can turn the mold over and run hot water over the back of it. The soap should fall easily out of the mold.
You can rub off or trim off any imperfections with a cloth or small knife.
Since the melt and pour soap base is already cured, there's no waiting. You can use your soap right away.