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A Beginner’s Guide to Making Soap at Home Using the Melt & Pour Method

Four Bars of Homemade Soap
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If you have always been crafty and want to know how to start making soap at home, this easy guide is for you!

At-home soap making is a creative and easy way to save some money and protect your skin from all the commercial soaps that contain harmful ingredients. Handmade soap, on the other hand, is an all-natural alternative and very simple to make. Keep reading to find out how you can do this.

Pro Tip: please read through this entire post to fully understand the process. Even this “Melt & Pour” method of soap making has specific instructions that if not followed with yield poor results.

The Science Behind Soap Making

Soap is basically a chemical product made from the reaction between fats or oils and alkali. This chemical process is called saponification. The alkali used for soap making is called lye or sodium hydroxide.

Lye + Fat/Oil + Water = Soap

The best part about making soap at home is that you can add your favorite scents with essential oils, along with some natural coloring agents, to give your soap a personalized touch.

The Melt and Pour Method

This method provides a perfect starting point for beginners who don’t have experience in handling lye. You can include your kids in the melt and pour soap making project as it’s safe.

This method involves the use of store-bought, pre-saponified lye or the ‘soap base’ plus your choice of essential oils, colorants, herb, etc.

I highly recommend doing several batches of Melt & Pour Soaps before trying the from-scratch method with the oil and lye. That process is precise and needs to be followed carefully. Get the hang of melt and pour before moving on to the from-scratch method.

Also, one other important tip, start with a small batch first. Just make one bar (about 4 ounces) to see how the ingredients go together and how quickly you need to move through the steps of melting to pouring!

I am really glad that I started with small batches as I was so surprised at how fast the melted soap starts to set up! About 1 pound base is required to make 4 to 5 soap bars.

The Process for Each Batch:

Cut the goat milk or Shea base into small pieces and put them into a microwave-resistant measuring cup with a spout. Or, you can melt the soap base in a double boiler. Just make sure to never heat the soap directly in a pan as it burns incredibly quickly.

Once the base has melted, you will add the essential oils and any exfoliants that you would like.

And, finally……quickly pour into your molds. Then, let the bars cool and dry! That’s it!!

‘Melt and Pour’ Soap Recipes You Can Try

Below we have compiled some interesting soap recipes that can be easily prepared using the melt and pour method at home.

Remember, if melting on the stove top, then you must use a double boiler. To do this, bring water to a boil in a large pan. Place a smaller pan over the large pan. The small pan should not touch the bottom of the larger pan. The smaller pan may rest on or just above the boiling water. Gently boil the water to melt the soap.

Once it is fully melted, add 10 to 16 drops of essential oil and 1 to 3 tablespoons of your extra exfoliants whether it be poppy seeds, coffee grounds, dried orange or lemon peels, cornmeal or oatmeal. Quickly stir with a spatula and pour directly into your molds.

Colorants can be added if you would like a variety of colors.

Here is a helpful list of Natural Exfoliants to add to Homemade Soaps!

It is super important to move quickly once the base melts as it starts to harden almost immediately and is next to impossible to remelt.

Have all your supplies, essential oils and extra exfoliants ready to go. The melted soap pours beautifully when you pour it while it is still hot. Do not scrape the extras around the edge and try to add those on top of your new bars of soap. The surface of your new bars will start to harden almost immediately and the scraps will not melt down in.

Important Tips:

  • It is recommended to use brewed and dried coffee ground so they do not run or “leak” into your bars of soap.
  • Be careful when adding larger amounts of exfoliant additives as the soap may not set up properly. Use the amounts listed to begin with, increase carefully.
  • These types of natural soap bases do not create a lot of lather and bubbles. They gently exfoliate and leave your skin feeling clean and soft.
  • My bars of soap are not perfect looking but if you enjoy the homemade, handmade appeal ……then they really are perfect! ♥

Homemade Mold Idea:

1.     Exfoliating Citrus Soap

Orange Antibacterial Soap

If you’re looking for a refreshing soap recipe that comes with antibacterial-type powers, this is the recipe for you.

Start the melting process by microwaving the base in intervals of 30 seconds or heat in a double boiler. Use a whisk to mix in between the heating sessions.

The whole idea is to melt the soap base slowly. If using the stove top method, remember the pan with the soap base should never touch the heat source. The soap base can burn which will ruin the process. Slow melting in a microwave or double boiler work the best.

Here’s What You Need

  • 1 pound Shea butter soap base (unscented and uncolored)
  • 16 drops Orange Essential Oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried grated orange peel
  • Microwave safe bowl or use stove top method
  • A large knife
  • Small Whisk or stainless steel spoon
  • Soap mold or small glass pyrex type dish
  • 10 drops Thieves Oil (optional) reduce the Orange Essential Oil down if adding Thieves Oil
  • Yellow soap colorant (optional)

Colorants are very inexpensive but I like the natural look of the soap as you can see all the dried orange peel.

Process

Cut the Shea butter soap base into small pieces and put them into a microwave-resistant measuring cup with a spout. About 1 pound base is required to make 4 to 5 bars.

Start the melting process by microwaving the base in intervals of 30 seconds. Use a whisk to mix in between the heating sessions. Or, use the double boiler stove top method as described above.

Once the base is fully melted, add 16 drops Orange Essential Oil and dried orange peel into the mixture.

Add, the optional Thieves Oil if desired but remember to adjust the Orange Essential Oil if adding the Thieves Oil. Use a total of approximately 16 to 20 drops per batch. Add 2 to 3 drops or recommended amount of colorant at this time, if desired, as per manufacturer’s instruction . Stir well.

Pro Tip: Work Quickly and have all essential oils and orange peel ready to add. As soon as the base has melted, add everything at once, mix and quickly pour into your molds.

Allow bars to cool and harden for an hour or so. Remove the bars from the mold and enjoy your very own antibacterial-type soap.

2.     Coffee Exfoliating Soap

Coffee Exfoliating Soap

Who doesn’t love the smell of coffee? This soap recipe combines freshly brewed smell of coffee with the exfoliating properties of coffee grounds.

Here’s What You Need

  • 1 pound Goat’s milk or Shea butter soap base (unscented and uncolored)
  • 12 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil (this gives a earthy, fresh fragrance)
  • 2 tablespoon brewed and dried coffee grounds (these must be brewed & dried)
  • Microwave safe bowl or use stove top method
  • A large knife
  • Small Whisk or stainless steel spoon
  • Soap mold or small glass pyrex type dish

Process

Just like we discussed in the previous recipe, melt the soap base in a microwave or on in a double boiler on the stove top. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds in the melted base, along with 12 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil.

Stir the mixture lightly and immediately pour it into the soap mold. Let it cool for an hour.

Pro Tip: Work Quickly and have all essential oil and coffee grounds ready to add. As soon as the base has melted, add everything at once, mix and quickly pour into your molds.

This particular soap is perfect for gardeners as it will leave your hands clean and rejuvenated.

3.     Lemon Poppy Seed Soap

Lemon  Poppy Seed Soap
.

Lemon not only smells clean and fresh, it has amazing refreshing quality making it perfect for cleaning your hands. This recipe pairs up lemon essential oil with dried lemon peel and poppy seeds for a powerful hand cleaning exfoliating bar of soap.

Here’s What You Need

  • 1 pound Goat’s milk base (unscented and uncolored)
  • 1 Tablespoon dried lemon peel (just grate on small grater & dried on a plate)
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 16 drops Lemon Essential Oil
  • Microwave safe bowl or use stove top method
  • A large knife
  • Small Whisk or stainless steel spoon
  • Soap mold or small glass pyrex type dish

Process

Melt the soap base as discussed above. Once it has completely melted, add 1 tablespoons of dried lemon peel, 1 tablespoon poppy seeds and 16 drops of Lemon Essential Oil into the mixture and stir well.

Pro Tip: Work Quickly and have all essential oils, poppy seeds and dried lemon peel ready to add. As soon as the base has melted, add everything at once, mix and quickly pour into your molds.

Quickly pour it into the mold and let it cool for an hour.

Enjoy this mild exfoliating, citrusy soothing bar of homemade soap! Almost seems good enough to eat!!!

4. Soothing Oatmeal & Honey Soap

Honey Oatmeal Soap Bar

Oatmeal and Honey seem to always go together and now prove well in this recipe, too! Plus, with a dash of cinnamon essential oil, it almost seems good enough to eat! But, alas…..using it in the bath works as a nice second! The honey really brings out a soothing quality.

I did not have enough of my little box molds so ended up using a small square shaped pyrex glass container. It was about 2 inches square. I love this fat little block of soap! It fits in your hands quite nicely!

Here’s What You Need

  • 1 pound Goat’s milk soap (unscented and uncolored)
  • 3 Tablespoons oatmeal (rolled or quick)
  • 3 Tablespoons Honey
  • 16 drops Cinnamon Essential Oil
  • Microwave safe bowl or use stove top method
  • A large knife
  • Small Whisk or stainless steel spoon
  • Soap mold or small glass pyrex type dish

Melt the base and honey as discussed above. Once it has completely melted, add the 3 Tablespoons Oatmeal and 16 drops of Cinnamon Essential Oil into the mixture and stir well.

Pro Tip: Work Quickly and have all essential oils, honey and oatmeal ready to add. As soon as the base has melted, add everything at once, mix and quickly pour into your molds.

Quickly pour it into the molds and let it cool for an hour.

Enjoy a mild exfoliating comforting bar of homemade soap!

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To Sum Up

Handcrafted and Homemade soap making can be a lot of fun once you’ve tried it a few times. You can work with your essential oils, flowers, poppy seeds, honey and herbs to create soaps that make bath time even more special and exciting for you!

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