Unwrap desired soap base, chop desired amount, and melt the soap block in a double boiler keeping it covered with a lid to prevent moisture loss.
It can also be melted in the microwave – if you use high settings – watch your soap – it melts very quickly (about 20-30 second intervals depending on the amount of soap.
WATCH YOUR TEMPERATURES
Avoid hot temperatures. It can cause your soap to “sweat” which means you will see little beads of “perspiration” on top of your soap. This is the glycerin that sometimes bleeds out of your soap. It doesn’t affect the soap – just wipe off and wrap as quickly as you can.
Glycerine soap blocks can also be affected by the moisture content in the air. If you leave your soap unwrapped – especially on a wet/rainy day in Vancouver – you will see your soap sweat. Just wrap in saran wrap and it will stop the glycerine from bleeding out.
AVOIDING AIR BUBBLES IN SOAP
To avoid excess bubbles in the soap – pretty much leave it alone – do not over stir.
Allow it to melt on its own and gently nudge the soap every once in a while during the melting process. After adding desired color, scent, etc. pour into soap molds – lightly spritz rubbing alcohol over soap to remove excess air bubbles and to encourage adhesion of soap layers and embedded objects such as soap chunks and toys.
Once the soap has melted, remove it from heat. You have about 8 minutes of working time with the clear base and about 4-5 minutes of working time with the goat’s milk base.
If the soap base begins to gel /lump up – just remelt for a few seconds in the microwave.
Adding liquid dyes is the easiest. Simply add one drop at a time and stir, until the desired color is reached.
Remember – it is easier to add color than take away.
When adding a powdered colorant/pigment or mica: Using about 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon of powdered color per pound, add a tiny bit of water to the powder before adding the soap. It makes mixing the powders easier to disperse (so you’re not madly mixing all the little lumps of color out of your soap).
ADDING FRAGRANCE OR ESSENTIAL OILS
This is the fun part. You can scent with anything cosmetic grades such as essential oils, fragrance oils, or perfume you might already have.
Depending on how strong you like your scented soap to be – a general rule of thumb or guideline is roughly 1 teaspoon (or more) per pound of soap. If using essential oils or fragrance oils – the strength of the scents varies from oil to oil. Try starting with 1 teaspoon per pound of soap base and work your way up.
Note: If the essential oil or fragrance oil has a color to it – may give a slight color or hue to the soap.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ESSENTIAL OILS OR FRAGRANCE OILS IN SOAP-MAKING?
This is a popular question. This is personal and depends on your personal belief system ie. natural vs. chemically produced fragrance.
Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts. Essential oils are used in aromatherapy and are considered therapeutic. Many essential oils do not have the “staying power” in terms of long-lasting scents in soap. Essential oils are volatile and evaporate quickly, especially the citrus or top notes.
Fragrance Oils are designed by the perfume industry for use in cosmetics. They may or may not contain plant extracts. The scents can last much longer in soap making and cosmetics and can be less expensive to use.
Adding Silky Skin Options – Or – Optional Ingredients
You may also add other wonderful therapeutic ingredients to your melt & pour such as cocoa butter, shea butter, Jojoba, Hemp oil, vitamin E, honey, almond oil, etc.
General rule is 1 – 2 teaspoons of optional carrier oils or 1 teaspoon of any liquid (coffees, cream, milk, herbal teas, etc.)
If using solid oils – just melt with soap.
Note: the additives may affect the final appearance of your final soap bar in terms of color and clarity.
Pour into molds. You can use many things to melt and pour soap molds. Plastic containers, Tupperware, PVC pipe, rubbermaid drawer organizers, jello molds, cookie cutters, candy molds, etc.
Once the soap is melted and you’ve added your optional ingredients – just pour into molds.
Air bubbles tend to rise to the top so just spritz with rubbing alcohol.
You can shave/scrape it off once it’s set and save the shavings for confetti or swirl soaps later or for another melt and pour again.
Note: Too many optional ingredients in your soap base may affect the firmness & lather of the final bar.
Your soap is ready to use once it has hardened. The melt and pour soaps are high in glycerin, which evaporates if not wrapped. Wrap in plastic wrap such as saran wrap. Use it and enjoy.
Adding Embedded Objects
This is really fun and great for birthday parties, gifts, etc. When you’ve done all your “stuff” to the melted soap (options, etc.) and you’re ready to pour into molds. Just pour a little bit of soap into the mold and wait for it to gel up a bit (5-10 minutes). Place the desired object on top, spritz with rubbing alcohol then pour the rest of the melted soap over top of the object. Allow to set and pop out of the mold when ready. Have fun and enjoy!