A Few Soap Making Ideas
It would be a shame if you have been making your own soap at home and never got past plain, boring bars. That’s because there are thousands of ways of making soap a treat to the senses, as well as a functional piece of handiwork. The soap making ideas presented in this article are for you to adopt or simply use as inspiration for experimentation. A bit of novelty won’t hurt!
Our soap making ideas are basically added features or departures from the type of soap we routinely produce. We do something different in terms of our choices and combinations of main ingredients, fragrances, colors and shapes, and overall, in the way we present our handmade soap.
Make a Different Kind of Soap
For example, instead of the usual plant oil-animal fat mishmash, you can use goat’s milk as your base to create a mild facial and body soap for sensitive skin. You can also be extra generous (but very careful) in pouring in glycerin to produce those delicately attractive translucent bars that are high in moisturizing and nourishing properties. Or you can go masculine by making “tough guy” shaving soap spiced up with pumice, paprika and peppermint essential oil.
Scents and Oils
Experiment with your fragrances and essential oils for your soap making ideas. If you want to stay natural use crushed herbs and extracts. Otherwise, use soap scents purchased from a specialty store. As you go along, you’ll find out which brands retain scents longer. Why not try tropical fruit scents such as mango, pineapple, and passion fruit instead of the usual floral fragrances? Just remember to add the scent when the soap base has cooled off a bit so it doesn’t get burned off.
Soap Making Ideas for Coloring
Playing with colors and shapes is probably one of most exciting parts of creative soap making. When mixing colors in, do so gradually, beginning with a small amount and adding more as you stir until you get the desired hue. Colorants come in powder, liquid or solid form.
The various types of colorants include oxide and ultramarine pigments, micas, and natural colorants. Natural coloring may sit well with the public but they can be expensive and give you trouble achieving desired hue or vividness. Even food coloring may be used. Its disadvantages include the tendency to bleed and to fade over time. As you explore more soap making ideas, remember that color fills clear bases better than white ones.
Swirls, Layers and Imbeds
Here’s one interesting way of doing your colors. Make soap with swirls by whipping your soap and oils in a bowl at room temperature instead of beating the melted oils and lye in a hot soap pot. Once the mix has been poured into your molds, add your highlight color and quickly twirl a plastic scraper over it without smoothing out to get some texture. You’ll get a candy-like, pastel-colored bar with whirls!
You can also create layered soap by pouring in mixes of varying hues onto a mold one after the other. Wait till the last layer develops a film on the surface before adding the next one. To make the tiers stick together, spray rubbing alcohol on the partially cooled layer before pouring the next one.
More soap making ideas: Try embedding small objects like erasers, plastic toys or pressed flowers into your bar of soap. Pour enough melted soap base to fill just one fourth of your mold. When this has cooled off a bit, place your objects with their front facing down. Spray this layer of soap with rubbing alcohol then fill the remaining space in the mold with melted soap base. Allow to cool off completely. You can also embed peeled off strips of white soap into bars of clear soap.
The Shape of Things to Come
There are a great many ways you can improvise to come up with various shapes for your handmade soap. As you try out more soap making ideas, you may want to forego buying soap molds, and use available materials at home, such as baking pans, cookie molds, cartons with dividers and egg trays.
With a Pringles can or Stax tube as your mold, you can make round soap bars embedded with white soap chunks that seem to float. Dump cut-up plain white soap chunks into these containers and spray with alcohol. Pour your clear soap base with color and scent, leaving about an inch of space on top of the container, so you can peel away the container later without denting your soap. Slice your cylindrical soap loaf and you get several round bars delightfully studded with soap embeds.