Making soap is an extremely rewarding activity. It allows people to control exactly what is being put into the soaps. Soaps can be made that contain little in the way of additional materials or can be created so they are jam-packed with exciting fragrances, colours and other additions. This wide choice and flexibility makes soap making an exciting option.
What Is Melt And Pour Soap?
Traditionally the craft of soap making has entailed a complex chemical process of transforming oils into soap. This means that soap making has been a specialist craft and not one that is easily undertaken at home. The introduction of melt and pour soaps, however, has completely transformed the home soap making market. Melt and pour soap is bought in a block and the user then needs to ‘melt’ the soap and ‘pour’ it into moulds. No chemical process takes place making this craft accessible to a wide range of crafters. One of the most exciting points is that no specialist equipment is required to use melt and pour soap. It can even be melted in the microwave!
Different Types Of Melt And Pour Soap
There are different types of melt and pour soap. Aesthetic differences in soap, for instance transparent and opaque variations of melt and pour soap, mean that unusual creative effects can be achieved when making soap at home. Other variations include differences in ingredients, for instance organic and SLS/SLES free alternatives.
Buying Melt And Pour Soap
Melt and pour soap can be purchased from specialist soap making supplies stores as well as from craft shops. The soap is generally purchased by weight. Small blocks of less than a kilo are perfect for people who are just starting the craft, whereas large quantities of many kilos are suitable for people who make a lot of soap.
Soap Making Supplies
In addition to the melt and pour soap base, a few additional supplies are required to create beautiful soaps. These include:
- Colourants – in order to add color to the basic white or clear soap base, special soap dyes need to be added. It is important to use cosmetic quality dyes and these are readily available in a wide range of colors from soap making supply and craft shops.
- Fragrances – there is an exciting range of fragrances that are specifically designed for use in soaps. These range from traditional fragrances such as floral fragrances, through to highly unusual fragrances such as bubblegum or freshly cut grass. Essential oils can also be used in soaps and these make lovely aromatherapy soaps.
- Glitter – add a little sparkle to soaps with glitter! Cosmetic grade glitters are perfect for adding to melt and pour soap. These are special glitters that are finely graded and will not scratch the skin. Mica is also used in soap making and this gives an opalescent finish to soaps.
- Natural additions – many people enjoy adding natural additions to their soaps. Not only do a few petals or other ingredients look attractive, some natural ingredients also have a beneficial effect on the skin. Oatmeal, for instance, acts as a natural body scrub and is perfect for adding to melt and pour soap to make exfoliating bars of soap.
Equipment And Materials Required
There is very little equipment required to make soap using melt and pour bases. The most important piece of equipment is a method of heating and melting the soap. A microwave or double boiler are perfect for this. Direct heat (such as melting the soap in a saucepan directly on a hob) is not suitable. If a microwave or double boiler aren’t available then melting the soap in a bowl that is carefully placed in a pan of boiling water is a good alternative.
The other essential piece of equipment required is a mould. There are specially designed soap making moulds available in many shapes and sizes. Many standard household items can also make great moulds as long as they are heat resistant. Microwave containers, for instance, are perfect (although once they have been used for soap they should not be used for food).
Making soap using melt and pour soap bases is great fun and a wonderful way to make special and unique soaps.