Home > Soap Bases

Basic Melt & Pour Instructions

Soap Making is not suitable for young children. Older children should be supervised as melted soap base gets very hot.

Step 1:  Melting the soap base

  • Cut the soap base into approximately 1Ē chunks.
  • Cooker method: Put approximately 500g of the pieces of soap into a small saucepan (stainless steel/enamel) placed inside a slightly larger pan of hot water. The water needs to come about half way up the side of the small pan. Heat on a cooker over a medium heat until the soap has melted.
  • Microwave method: Heat the soap pieces in a pyrex jug in a microwave oven on a medium setting. Heat for 10 seconds at a time. Remove and stir gently between each heating until the soap has melted. Be careful not to let the soap boil.
  • Remove from the heat and allow the soap to cool slightly. If the soap forms a skin, youíve left it too long. If this happens, heat for a further short time and then stir until it has melted again.

Step 2:  Adding fragrance

  • Allow the soap to cool slightly. Add 5g of the fragrance into the warm soap and stir in very slowly until well combined. A wooden chopstick or the handle of a wooden spoon is good for this, as it will minimise any frothy bubbles forming while stirring the soap.

 Step 3:  Colouring the soap

  • Now add two or three drops of soap dye. Choose a colour that will compliment the fragrance. The dye is very concentrated so itís best to start off with a tiny amount. With transparent soap itís possible to achieve quite vivid colours whereas opaque soap will produce pastel shades. Add more dye a drop at a time and stir in thoroughly until you reach a shade that you like.
  • If at any time the soap starts to form a skin, heat it again gently until the skin melts then stir slowly.

Step 4:  Moulding

  • Pour the soap base very slowly into the moulds being careful not to create any bubbles. Donít worry if this occurs however, as although it will make transparent soap look a little less see-through, it will not affect its performance. 500g of soap base will be enough to make 5-6 standard sized bars or 7-10 guest bars, depending on the designs, or a single soap loaf. Try not to overfill the moulds as this may make it harder to get the soaps out.
  • Leave the soaps to set for at least four hours. The longer you leave them, the easier they will be to get out of the moulds.

Step 5:  Un-moulding

  • Turn the mould upside down on a firm, flat surface. Push down with firm and even pressure close to the edge of the soap bar and hold for 10 seconds. This will allow air to get between the soap and the mould. Repeat all around the edge and then in the centre of the bar until the soap releases. If you have difficulty getting the soap to come out, place the mould in the fridge for a maximum of 20 minutes. This will help to shrink the soap slightly. Never try to force the soap out with a sharp object. In any event, patience is the best policy.
  • Leave the soaps to dry out and firm up for at least 24 hours before use.

 Adding other ingredients

 Herbs & Petals

  • Dried herbs and flower petals can be used to give a pretty, natural look to your soaps. They can also add texture, not only to make the soap look more interesting, but also to act as Ďscrub agentsí that will exfoliate your skin and leave it feeling wonderfully clean.
  • After fragrancing and colouring the warm soap base, add a sprinkling of petals or herbs and stir gently. Pour into the mould and leave to set.
  • Finely cut or powdered herbs can also be added to the warm soap. Alternatively, try sprinkling a very fine layer into the mould before pouring the soap. This will give the soap a nice rustic appearance. 
  • If you are using a plain bar or loaf mould, dried orange slices can be arranged in the mould before pouring the soap. This is a great way to decorate fruity fragranced soaps.

Glitter Powders

  • Cosmetic glitter powders come in a wide range of colours, from bright metallic shades to the most delicate, iridescent, frosty whites.
  • As for dried herbs, glitter can be added to the warm soap base or sprinkled into the mould before pouring the soap. You need to use just a small amount. Try a pinch of glitter and see how it sparkles.

Mica Powders

  • Mica powders are very special, ultra-fine powders that will enable you to create subtle metallic or shimmering effects. Metallic colours give an even shade whereas iridescent ones produce a shell-like lustre. They can be used in place of, or in combination with, soap dyes. Try experimenting with mica powders on their own to see their true colours and what effects can be achieved. For best results use in transparent soap base.
  • Add approximately half a level teaspoon of mica powder per 500g of soap base. Stir gently until the powder is completely combined. Break up any stubborn clumps with the handle of a wooden spoon.
  • For a very pretty effect, try brushing a little mica powder over a finished soap bar (opaque or transparent) to highlight the design. A soft artists paintbrush is good for this.

Troubleshooting

Disasters are rare with melt & pour soap making but occasionally minor things can go wrong. However, these can be easily rectified. Soap base can be re-melted. Add a dessertspoon of water per 500g of soap when re-heating. Allow over-dyed or over-fragranced soap to set and then add small chunks of it to a new batch of melted soap base to make a subtler version next time! If you have any melt & pour questions we are always happy to help.