Making your own soap is so much fun, especially when it’s the melt and pour (MP) kind. Melt and Pour soap is the easiest sort of soap making someone can do. You simply buy a block of glycerin soap, melt it, add scent and color, pour into a mold and let it set. Super easy!
MP soap is great for beginner soap makers and children. The soap is hot when it melts so adult supervision should always be given! But this craft is fast, easy and there are so many things you can do to the soap to make it unique. I used to make this sort of soap all of the time. I also used to dabble in making lotions, lip balm, bath fizzies and all that sort of stuff. I haven’t done it in years and actually got rid of ALL of my stuff! I could kick myself! But I go through these temper tantrums where I decide to donate a bunch of stuff because it’s in the way then I regret it later. Oh well, back to soap making…
All melt and pour soap is a form of glycerin soap and can be purchased from craft, soap supply stores or online. At my local craft store I found a 2 pound brick of shea butter MP soap for $10.00. I always recommend using the coupons in the Sunday paper or if you have a smart phone, download the app for the craft store you are visiting (if they have one). I used my 40% off coupon and got the soup for around $6 bucks. I bought one scent for a couple of dollars and a pack of three color dyes for around $3. The mold I bought was $2.
There are benefits of using glycerin soap. For instance, most glycerin soap is made from vegetable oils making this soap vegan friendly. Check labels to be sure though. Glycerin is also gentle on sensitive skin. My daughters have highly sensitive skin and I must be very careful with the soaps and detergents we use. This works great for them.
Buying glycerin soap from stores or crafters can be expensive but making it can save you a bundle if this is all you use.
MP soap is versatile with additives. I have added vitamin E capsules, cocoa butter, oatmeal, lemongrass…you name it! I’ve even added little toys to clear glycerin for kids. When the soap cools there is a little toy inside and kids LOVE it!
Essential Oil (EO) Vs. Fragrance Oil (FO)
We must touch on this topic quickly before you go out shopping for fragrance. When you venture to the soap supply or craft store you may be confronted with many fragrance options. The cliff notes difference is natural vs synthetic. Let’s look at this a little closer.
These are typically much less expensive than essential oil. Because these are synthetic you can often find small bottles scented in your favorite cologne or perfume which is great because you can make a whole mess of soap with your favorite scent and save the cost of buying it from the department stores.
FO is also regulated by the FDA and their “trade secret” law which means that the manufacturer doesn’t need to disclose what sort of ingredients are included in their scent. So in all honesty, who knows what chemicals you are adding into your vegan, all natural soap. Some people may not care, where as some do. But regardless, I wanted my readers to know this information. If I’m putting the time, effort and cost into making a home-made product then I want it to be of quality.
Some people can be highly allergic to FO and the nasty chemicals contained within. This is also true for EO’s as well but we’ll talk about that in a minute.
EO’s will typically cost you more money because they are natural oils derived from whatever plant, fruit, etc. There are also different grades of EO’s out there. The higher the grade the higher the price. If you happen to find an EO that seems really cheap compared to others then it might not be pure. In fact there could be synthetics added to it.
I have been told that using EO is environmentally friendly. I guess it all depends on how you define the term environmentally friendly. See, most EO’s are made overseas. That’s just the nature of the beast. One ounce of oil may have come at the expense of hundreds of pounds of plants! I read that some plants like certain species of sandalwood for example, are becoming endangered because of over harvesting.
Some believe that using EO in soap is beneficial to the skin. There is no doubt that certain plants offer certain benefits to the skin when applied topically through lotion. But when it comes to soap, any kind of soap making process, many feel that the EO loses its healing qualities because of the high alkali property and heat.
One last thing to caution you on. If you decide to use EO in your soap, then consider such things as reactions by people or the environment. Now, I understand you may not know if someone is allergic to lilacs prior to using lilac EO in a soap or lotion. This type of EO would cause my daughter to break out in hives all over her body! Also, be aware when using something with a large amount of citrus EO because citrus can decrease the effectiveness of sunscreen. These types of things are worth researching. Also, something like rosemary shouldn’t be used on someone that has high blood pressure or seizures. Again, research these types of things before using them.
In this post I’m going to showcase a simple version of MP soap. I will be expanding on this in later posts, this is just the beginning! I plan on making regular soap one day which calls for lye. I’ve never used lye and quite frankly it scares me. This stuff is a dangerous chemical used in drain remover. It can leave nasty chemical burns and even catch things on fire! I’m saving that for another day when I’m feeling a bit braver. Let’s begin!
- MP Glycerin Soap
- Scent of Choice
- Color of Choice
- Microwave Safe Container (Pyrex measuring cup works)
- Cut the desired number of cubes from the soap container and place them in the microwave safe container. About 4 cubes makes the two-tone soap pictured above. The original package of your mold may tell you how many ounces each mold is. Check to see. The one I bought didn’t tell me but I have had others that stated what each was.
- Place into the microwave and heat for about one minute. The length of time needed will depend on how much soap you are trying to melt. The best way to do this is to heat it for about 15-20 seconds, stir, then heat again. If you over heat it, it will start to boil so keep an eye on it. It is done when there are no more lumps. Stir with a butter knife to check.
- Once melted, add the desired amount of color to your soap and the desired amount of scent. The amount of scent will be determined by whether it’s an EO or FO. Read the label for any specific directions.
- Stir to mix.
- Pour into molds. Note: I do not treat my molds. I just pour it in there. I have read where some people spray cooking spray or greased them up with a little bit of vaseline. If I ever have difficulty getting the soap to release then I just place it in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes.
- Leave at room temperature to set or place in the refrigerator.
- To Store: Wrap the soap in plastic wrap or shrink-wrap. Do not store in an area with high amounts of moisture as this can cause the soap to melt. It is recommended to wrap them, place them in an air tight container and store them outside of your bathroom.
- To Use: You may notice that the glycerin soap does not lather as much as regular soap. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Lather and cleanliness actually don’t go together. It’s embedded in our brains that a good lather means very clean. Keep the soap on a dish in the shower that has holes to drain it properly. If it sits in water the soap will begin to melt.
I hope you have fun with your soap making endeavors! Good Luck!