Tag Archives | soap making

Easy Melt & Pour Patriotic Soap

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Not too long ago I discovered a new craft obsession: soap making! This red, white and blue melt & pour soap project that I’m bringing you today was one of my first soaping projects, so it’s perfect for beginners or soap makers of all levels.

Red White & Blue Soap

To make this, you’ll need:

These items can be found at local soap specialty stores, ordered online, or are available at some local craft stores.

You’ll also need a kitchen scale, some spatulas, and a couple of Pyrex or other microwave safe glass bowls or measuring cups to melt your soap in.

To start, you need to chop up the clear glycerin soap and put it in a microwave container. I use large Pyrex measuring cups for melting my soap. Using 30 second bursts (or shorter when the soap is nearly melted so you don’t burn it) in the microwave, melt the soap to a liquid. Be careful not to boil it, though, by overheating it!

measuring melt and pour soap

Once the soap is melted, follow package instructions to add your fragrance. After the fragrance is mixed in, divide the soap evenly into two containers. Color one of the containers with blue and one with red.

Spritz your mold with rubbing alcohol. Pour each color into one section of your soap mold, spritz the top of the soap with rubbing alcohol to pop bubbles that were created during pouring, and allow the soap to cool. (Ignore the round one below – that is a color swirling experiment I made with some extra soap!)

melt and pour soap

It will take a few hours for the blue and red soaps to cool enough to work with. When they have, pop them out of the mold and chop part of them into small cubes. Place the cubes back into the molds, arranged randomly. (You can use the leftover red and blue soap to make more of these red white & blue bars, or as small travel soap bars, or for other soap design projects.)

melt and pour soap

Chop up the white glycerin soap just like the clear glycerin and heat it in the microwave as well using the same method. When it is melted, mix in your selected fragrance following the package directions.

Spritz the mold and the red & blue soap pieces with rubbing alcohol. Then carefully (I highly recommend using a Pyrex measuring cup with a spout for this task) pour the white soap into the mold around the red and blue soap pieces. Stop right before the white soap level reaches to tops of the colored soap pieces, so they will not get covered up. Spritz the top of the soap with rubbing alcohol to pop any bubbles that occurred on the surface from the pouring.

melt and pour patriotic soap

Leave the soap to cool for a few hours and then it can be removed from the mold! Imperfect edges can be cleaned up with a knife or by wiping the soap with a wet cloth.

melt and pour patriotic soap

And now it is time to enjoy your soap! This design makes a great way to add a festive touch to your guest bath or holiday home for July 4th.

This soap making project isn’t just for the 4th of July. A simple change in color scheme could make this a fun school spirit gift – send some off to school with your favorite college freshman!  Or make it in red and green to make Christmas holiday decor for your bathroom. The possibilities are endless, and since the soap comes in 2 pound packs, you can try several versions with your supply purchase! This is a great way to learn the basics of handling melt and pour soap.

I hope you enjoyed my soap tutorial today! If you are interested in making soap, please check out my other soapmaking articles 7 Things I’ve Learned Starting Soap Making and Celebrate Star Wars with Frozen Han Solo Soap to learn more about it!

Celebrate Star Wars with Frozen Han Solo Soap!

Today is May the 4th – Star Wars Day – and we’re celebrating with a gift for Dad (or your favorite geek).  Frozen Han Solo soap is a fun way to get clean!

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Han Solo Soap

Our soap of Han Solo frozen in Carbonite is made from a Melt & Pour Shaving Soap base from popular soap making supply site Brambleberry. While the base is excellent by itself, a few additives like vitamin e oil and bentonite clay make it even more nourishing and gentle on the skin.

Frozen Han Solo soap mold

The shape for the frozen Han Solo soap comes from a silicone mold sold as a chocolate or ice cube maker. Like most silicone molds sold for food purposes, the mold creates soap beautifully as well. The large cavity creates a 2 ounce soap, and the small ones are about 1/4 ounce.

Brambleberry Patina Sheen Mica

The carbonite that Han Solo is frozen in is a blah grey-green – not exactly a color that you can just grab an off-the-shelf colorant to create. Or is it? This Patina Sheen Mica from Brambleberry is not only almost exactly the perfect color, but it has some shimmer and shine as well – perfect for replicating the carbonite as soap!

Frozen Han Solo silicone mold

To create this recipe, I melted the Shaving Soap base in the microwave in a Pyrex measuring cup. (I have several of these in various sizes and they are my go to containers for working with melt & pour soap base.) Then in a smaller container I mixed together the rest of the ingredients: glycerin, mica, clay, fragrance, and vitamin e oil. Once those ingredients were well mixed together, then I combined them into the melted soap base. After stirring the two together well to make sure that the color and fragrance were well distributed in the soap base, I poured the soap into the molds. Before pouring I made sure to spritz the molds with 91% rubbing alcohol, and then after pouring I spritzed the top again with alcohol to clear away bubbles.

Mica colored shaving soap

It doesn’t take a lot of soap to fill the Frozen Han Solo mold. The recipe below is for 3/4 pound of soap base, and it gave me enough to make the entire tray of frozen Han Solo soap, plus 3 more generic shaped bars of shaving soap. I probably could have gotten by with only about 5 ounces of soap base, but the quantities for the additives get very hard to calculate at that small of a quantity of base!

Frozen Han Solo soap - great for a gift for Dad for Father's Day or Christmas!

Packaged up with a mug and shaving brush, this would make a great Father’s Day gift! Or, for the female or kid geeks out there, this soap could be made with a more generic scent, and even with a different soap base, such as Brambleberry’s Hemp or Clear Glycerin, to be an all-purpose soap.


Who do you know that loves Star Wars that would like to geek out with some frozen Han Solo soap?

7 Things I’ve Learned From Starting Soap Making

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I’ve wanted to try making soap for quite awhile. About a week ago, I finally took the plunge and tried it! After making a couple of batches, I’ve learned a few lessons (some the hard way) and some tips about making melt and pour soap.

First Soap Batch

Watch a Video

Like with so many crafts, YouTube is your friend when it comes to learning to make soap.  Melt and pour soap, while not having the complications of handling chemicals that comes with cold processed soap, can still be tricky as you try to manage temperature and its quick setting properties. Before I ever tried to make a single bar of soap, I took what amounted to an immersion class in melt and pour soap making on YouTube by binge watching some of the best soap channels available. My favorites are Soap Queen, the channel run by popular online store Brambleberry, and Ariane Arsenault, a Canadian soap maker with an online store and a small shop on a tourist island off the Atlantic coast of Quebec. Watching a good number of episodes binge style was a great way to pick up a little tips that helped me deal with problems that came up during my first batches (or avoid them altogether).

Start at Michaels

Virtually all of my first batches of supplies have been purchased at Michaels. Unless you are lucky enough to have a soap making specialty store in your neighborhood, Michaels is a great place to start for supplies for making your first batches of melt and pour soap. They are well known in the soaping community for having an affordable selection of good melt and pour soaping basics: soap base, fragrance, colors, and molds. Michaels offers soap base in a good variety of options to experiment with, like Glycerin, Shea Butter, Goats Milk, Honey Glycerin, and Olive Oil. The different bases come in 2 pound packs, a great amount for playing with, but a few come in 5 pound packs. And for mega soapers there’s even a 10 pound bucket of glycerin. I’ve not seen the soaping items on sale regularly that I can recall, but with a coupon the items are very affordable.

Once I’ve exhausted the options at Michaels, I plan to make an order soon from Brambleberry to get some wider options of molds, soaps, and additives to try out.

Soap Making Equipment

Good Equipment Makes A Difference

It can seem premature to go out and invest in special equipment when trying a new craft. But having the right equipment – especially a few key items – can make all the difference in your melt and pour soap making success.

Pyrex containers are a must for heating melt and pour soap (although I do see other soap makers doing it in other types of containers). A bowl will work but I recommend getting something like this 8 cup measuring cup that I use, because it has a pour spout that reduces the risk of messes (and burns) when pouring hot soap. This Pyrex measuring cup has quickly become my work horse while soaping. It’s safe, holds heat well, and is easy to clean.

Since most soaping recipes are done by weight, you’ll also need a good kitchen scale with a tare function that can do weight in both grams and ounces.

If you want to create in any quantity, or experiment with techniques like swirls or embeds, you’ll want a loaf mold. A small loaf mold is a good way to start so that your experiments don’t lead to too much ruined soap or frustration. I have been using this loaf mold with a silicone liner from Amazon. It is the perfect size, just slightly larger than a typical guest or travel soap, and the liner is easy to remove and unmold.

Silicone Lined Loaf Soap Mold

And last but not least, is a decent infrared thermometer like the one I got from Amazon. Temperature is important when doing melt and pour soap, and even more important when doing certain layering and other decorative techniques. It can mean the difference between success and a major oops. Infrared thermometers are instant, which is especially good since often you need to know the temperature fast when working with quick setting melt and pour. Also, since the infrared thermometer can register a temperature without touching the soap, there’s much less clean-up to worry about (and one less dirty tool dripping soap around your work space).

Raid the Pantry

A lot of the things that will make soap making successful and fun you’ll find in your own pantry. Some of the easiest (and most wonderful) soap additives to work with are probably already hiding in your kitchen cupboards: oatmeal, honey, coffee, and olive oil. Any of those can be added to a simple soap base to create a soap that is stepped up a notch.

Oatmeal Soap

It’s not just ingredients you’ll find in your cupboards, but tools and supplies as well. You may have already raided the kitchen for your measuring cups or Pyrex bowls but there’s plenty more useful items in those cupboards. Cling wrap (shrunk with a heat gun) is a great way to wrap soap. Disposable food storage containers like ones made by Ziplock are great for storing ingredients and finished soap. Spatulas are great for stirring soap to help it melt (or stay melted) and to mix in colors or fragrance.  A dough scraper can be hijacked to serve as a soap cutter, and of course you’ll need a cutting board to use it on.

Soap Making Mistakes Melt Away

The great thing about using melt and pour soap base is that there really are no mistakes – or at least ones that are permanent. Most “mistakes” can be either remelted and poured again, or chopped up into embeds to use for another pour.(The rare exception to this would be burning the soap or something like that.) So you can melt and pour away with little fear of catastrophe! My first melt and pour mistake – a failed swirl technique that blended into a solid color – was partially chopped up and became embeds for my first try at an embedding technique.

Get Some Alcohol

Alcohol works wonders for soap…rubbing alcohol, that is. Get some 90% rubbing alcohol (I found mine at Walmart) and put it in a small spritz bottle. Sprayed liberally on top of just-poured soap, or between layers, it will help to pop air bubbles and adhere layers together. Watch any of the video channels I linked above and you’ll see the soapers using the alcohol, but it really has to be seen with your own eyes to understand the miracles it works at finishing off your soap’s surface beautifully.

Rainbow Soap

Freeze It To Free It

Many sources recommend spraying your molds (especially the plastic ones) with something like Pam to grease them so that the soap will come out easily when it is done. However, if you forget (like I did), I’m here to tell you what I discovered. The first time that I made my soap in my decorative plastic molds, I tried to remove it from the molds and it was stuck. Hard. No way that soap was going anywhere. A few frantic internet searches later I learned that I could probably freeze it free. A couple of minutes in the freezer and the soap is supposed to shrink enough to come easily out of the mold. It worked beautifully! However, don’t leave the soap in too long (like I did on a later use of the same method) or your soap will end up sweating and damp. Two minutes or a bit more in the freezer may be all your soap needs to chill its way out of the mold.

There’s something of a learning curve but with proper preparation beforehand I was able to make very respectable soap my first try. It is very satisfying seeing the results of my work laid out en masse on the table after being cut. It feels so productive!

Have you tried soap making? What advice do you have for a new soap maker? What do you wish you knew when you started out?