Natures Garden
Elements Bath and Body
Melt and Pour Tips

Purchase M & P soap base.  If you can buy locally at a craft store, that's great - no shipping costs.  Buying small quantities online will cost will be about $3 to $4 per pound plus shipping.  The cost is much less if buying in bulk.  One pound of M & P soap base will make four 4 oz bars of soap.  M & P soap is available in many variations in addition to just plain clear soap. Many have skin nourishing additives in the soap.

Soap colorant.  Most reliable suppliers will state in the colorant's description if the colorant is suitable for M & P soap.  It is important to add colorant a little at a time.  Start with a very small amount and build up gradually until you get the intensity of color you want.  Liquid colorants work best for M & P soap.

Fragrance.  Either an Essential Oil (EO) or a Fragrance Oil (FO) can be used.

An EO is a fragrance oil derived directly from a plant such as lavender. The plant material can be cold pressed or steam distilled to extract the fragrance directly from the plant.  With EOs there is not only the aroma but with some of them there is a medicinal or aroma therapy value. Usually EOs cost a little bit more than FOs

A FO is a chemically manufactured fragrance and is usually less expensive than an EO. Most of them are quite good.  Some FOs imitate commercial fragrances, 'China Rain' for example. Most are just designed as unique fragrances that smell good.  Many suppliers will sell you small sample quantities to actually smell before you buy a larger amount such as a 2, 4, 8 or 16 ounce bottle.

For each pound of M & P soap about 0.3 to 0.6 ounces of fragrance can be added.  Your personal preference will determine whether you use a small or large amount.  If using EOs, add about 0.2 to 0.4 ounces per pound of soap. (That's ounces by weight)

Melting the soap.  M & P soap is best melted in a double boiler.  Melting by microwave is a good second choice.  Use a microwave safe container and stir the soap every 30 seconds or so to prevent isolated hot spots which could overheat portions of the soap.  Be careful that the melted soap does not exceed about 140-160 degrees Farenheit (60-71 degrees Celcius).  A common kitchen termometer can be used (but NOT IN the microwave). The object is to melt the M & P soap, not heat it excessively.  Avoid boiling.

When melted, gently stir in the colorant.  Cover with plastic wrap, let cool to about 125-130 degrees (52-54 C), add fragrance, stir gently and pour into molds. The cooling process helps protect the fragrance.  Avoid aggressive stirring which causes bubbles.  After molding there may be some bubbles on top of the poured soap. If the stirring is gentle the bubbles are few and will not adversly affect the soap.

Spatula.  A plastic, rubber or silicone spatula can be used to scrape all of the melted soap from the edges of the melting container into the mold(s).

A Mold.  A mold for M & P soap can be made from common household items: a Crystal Light container, the bottom part of a 1 pint or 1 quart milk carton or a yogurt cup (top wider than bottom).  You can use any similar type of container as long as the container is plastic or lined with plastic.  You'll probably want to purchase some of the many plastic or silicone molds which come in quite a wide variety of different shapes.

After pouring the melted soap into a mold it takes about 4 hours to harden at room temperature or an hour or two in the refrigerator.  When fully hardened, press up on the bottom of the container to remove the soap.  Soap that is being stubborn about being unmolded can often become more complient when the mold is placed in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. (Time out for stubborn soap.)

If you make a mistake by trying to unmold the soap while it is still soft in the center, just remelt and try again.

Soapalooza
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