Once you’ve mastered the process of making your own soap, you can start to have fun and get crafty with different scents, colors and even additives like real flower petals. If you’re new to soap making, check out our blog post last week on how to make soap. This week, we’re taking it a step further with some basic soap making recipes you’ll swear by and all the techniques to personalize them.
(Learn how to make this colorful handmade soap from our Crafts Unleashed blogger, Niki)
Supplies for Our Soap Making Recipes
No matter which soap-making technique you’re using, most of the supplies and ingredients are the same, including:
- Flat, clean, uncluttered area to work
- Safety goggles and rubber gloves to protect yourself (especially when making lye-water)
- Access to water
- Soap pot
- Fragrance oils, color or additives as you like
- A soap mold
- A cool, dry place for soap curing
- Large stainless steel or plastic spoon, rubber spatula
- 2-3 glass or plastic bowl or pitcher
- Stainless steel measuring spoons
If you’ll be using a melt and pour technique, you’ll also need:
- Access to a microwave or double broiler
- Heat resistant bowl
- Spoons or whisks
- Melt and pour soap base
If you’re using the cold process, include:
- A pitcher of lye-water
- A stick blender or immersion blender
About.com has a six great suggestions for some basic soap making recipes. Our favorite is the 4-oil soap recipe, which includes palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil and castor oil. This is a basic soap that can be used as a base and then personalized with your favorite scents and colors.
Choosing Fragrance Oils and Soap Dyes
Not sure what to use? Some common fragrance oils that are great for making your own soap include:
- Pumpkin Spice
- Orange Vanilla
With fragrances, there are no rules. If it smells great to you and you think it would be a nice soap, go ahead and use it. When adding fragrance to a handmade soap, keep in mind you should start with about .4 ounces of fragrance per pound of soap. Begin there and if you’d like the soap to be more fragrant, you can add more until you achieve the desired scent.
Adding color to your soap is similar to adding fragrance: there aren’t many rules. In fact, the only one we recommend following is to be sure to use a soap dye that is skin and soap safe. Aside from that, you can experiment with adding and blending color as you see fit or until you reach that perfect tone and shade you’re looking for.
You can even create swirled color soap by using soap dye. Simply remove a small amount of the soap to a separate container, add color and then carefully pour back into the soap pot. Then use a rubber spatula to swirl the color, being careful not to stir too much.
(Learn how to create this handcrafted soap from our Crafts Unleashed blogger, Amy)
Personalize Your Soap With Additives
A final, special touch that can be added to soaps is additives. This can include a wide variety of items, some that you can see and that will add texture to the soap and some you can’t. A few of our favorites include:
- Flower petals
- Moisturizing oils
- Cocoa butter
- Shea butter
- Aloe Vera
If you’re using additives you would like to be seen like flower petals or herbs, you can place them in the mold before adding the soap or place them on top once the soap is in the mold. For other additives, make sure you give them a good stir to ensure they’re blended with the entire soap mixture.
Keep in mind with flowers that in most cases the lye can cause them to change color, typically to a brown or black color. However, calendula flowers, commonly known as pot marigolds, do tend to keep their color.
Not sure you want to experiment with creating your own scented soap? There are plenty of exciting unique recipes available that are easy to follow. Natural Living Ideas has 10 homemade soap recipes that include soaps like herb citrus, garden mint and pumpkin.
Do you have a tried and true soap making recipe you love to use? Share it below!