Making soap from scratch can seem like a daunting task with the chemistry involved between lye and fat. For beginners, there is another option that allows one to start with a simple soap base, add their favorite botanicals and fragrances, and mold the soap into any shape desired!
The beauty of melt and pour soap is its simplicity and adaptability. After a short period of hands-on work and a bit of cooling time, there is homemade soap at your fingertips. The process couldn’t be easier!
1. Gather Supplies
- Choose the Melt and Pour Soap Base that best suits your needs. This Soap Base Comparison Chart will help you decide which of the bases is right for you.
- Choose your Botanicals. Whether you’d like a light fragrance from an all-natural essential oil or the cleansing properties of dried flowers and herbs; it is important that you acquire the ingredients you’d like to add and have them at the ready.
- Choose your Pigment. If a specific color is desired, pigments can be stirred in as the soap melts. To help prevent pigment from running, it's best to add the mixture once the soap base has cooled to around 120 degrees F.
- Choose your Soap Mold. There are many options for the finished shape and size of your soap. An array of soap molds can be found here.
- Prepare a double boiler by bringing a small pan of water to a simmer. Place a bowl atop this pan and turn the heat to the lowest setting. (Find more detailed instructions on how to make and use a double boiler here!)
- Fill a small spray bottle with rubbing alcohol. This is used during the cooling process to prevent bubbles from forming.
2. Melt The Soap
Cut the soap into one-inch or smaller pieces. This will help the soap to melt down more evenly, preventing burning. You can use either a double boiler or microwave to melt the soap.
- Using a Double Boiler: Add the soap pieces to the double boiler. They will begin to melt quickly so it is important to keep a close eye on the soap. Stir it occasionally using a heat-proof rubber spatula. When it is mostly melted, turn off the heat and allow the soap to finish melting.
- Using a Microwave: Place the pieces of soap in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to seal in the moisture. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, remove, and stir the contents of the bowl. Return to the microwave and cook on high for an additional 30 seconds. Remove and allow any remaining pieces of soap to finish melting in the warm soap mixture.
3. Add Color and Scent to Soap
After melting the soap, add a small amount of the pigment mixture to the melted soap base. You can continue to add more pigment mixture if a deeper color is desired. To help prevent pigment from running, it's best to add the mixture once the soap base has cooled to around 120 degrees F.
Allow the soap base to cool for just a few minutes before adding desired essential oils or botanicals.
4. Pour and Cool
While the soap mixture is still very warm, pour the mixture into the soap molds, filling each mold to the rim. Immediately spritz with rubbing alcohol to prevent bubbles from forming.
Allow the soap molds to cool for several hours before checking to see if the soap has firmed up. To hasten the cooling, you can place the molds in the refrigerator.
To remove soap from molds, flip the mold upside down and gently press the mold at different spots to help the soap peel away from the edges. If the soap seems to be sticking, put the mold in the freezer for several minutes before attempting to remove the soap again.
Store soap in a sealed plastic bag to avoid sweating.