Vegetable glycerin melt-and-pour soap is often my go-to gift for a couple of reasons:
* It’s super-quick. If I want to give a loved one a couple of bars of cold-process soap for Christmas, I’d better make it in October. If I want to give a loved one vegetable glycerin soap for Christmas, it’s done in two hours (with about five minutes of hands-on time, most of that being prep work).
* My three-year-old and five-year-old, with me around to actually melt and pour, can make a really nice present for the adults in their lives. A really nice present, I might add, that the adults in their lives actually want, and actually find useful (what other project appropriate for a three-year-old can you say that about?).
Quick, easy, satisfying, and a terrific gateway drug to get you interested in more involved methods of soap-making–here’s how to do it:
You will need:
- Vegetable glycerin soap: This is usually sold in bulk packaging in bigger hobby or craft stores, or online. I always buy the kind that’s either cut or scored into one-ounce sections–this makes it easier to measure if you’ll be working with molds.
- Molds for the soap: Vegetable glycerin is mild and cleans completely off of a surface, so I feel comfortable using my regular food-prep equipment to make this. Muffin tins and loaf pans and ice cube trays work well, but if you happen to have any silicon molds, they work the best.
- Container to hold the soap as it’s melting: I use a plain cup to melt my soap in the microwave, but you could also use a double-boiler.
- Something to stir with.
- Herbs and spices: This is the fun part. Haul out your entire collection of essential oils and dried herbs, your sea salt and cloves and cinnamon sticks, and get ready to just play.
1. Put a few ounces of vegetable glycerin soap in your cup or double-boiler. If you’re using silicon molds, then enjoy my experience: each mini-muffin mold will hold one ounce of soap, and each regular-sized muffin mold will hold four ounces of soap.
2. Heat the vegetable glycerin soap just until it’s melted. If you keep heating it past that point, all you’ll achieve is that it’ll take longer for your soap to solidify again.
3. Remove your vegetable glycerin soap from the heat, and stir in your essential oils and herbs. Depending on my essential oil, and if I’m using that oil for its medicinal qualities or just for its scent, I’ll put in anywhere between one to three drops per ounce of soap. The herbs are really just for show, or sometimes for exfoliating, so feel free to use a really light hand with those.
4. Making sure that your molds are in a place where they can rest undisturbed for at least a couple of hours, pour your soap into its molds.
5. As soon as the soap is completely hard to the touch, you can remove it from the mold and use it.
Turns out that you really like making soap? Why don’t you make all your beauty supplies!