Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 6 soaps
Melt and pour soap is basically melting a pre-made soap base and then pouring it into a soap mold, hence the name! Although some soapers consider using this method as ‘cheating’, I find that there are some techniques where melt and pour is the more suitable soap than cold process soap. For example, where a design asks for clear cut straight lines or when you are using molds with intricate designs. More on soap molds, check out this post here.
In addition, melt and pour soap also comes as a clear soap base (also known as glycerin soap), which is an advanced soap making technique if you want to do this yourself. In the past few years, many kinds of melt and pour soap bases have become available, such as goats milk, olive oil, shea butter, honey, and even a wobbly jelly-like soap base! Personally, I like using melt and pour soap bases because you can create some pretty cool soaps with it, plus your soap is ready to use as soon as it sets. Great for last minute gifts!
The technique of melting and pouring the pre-made soap is very simple. Cut up the required amount of melt and pour soap base into small cubes and place them in a heat proof glass jug (i.e. Pyrex, available at supermarkets, Briscoes or the Warehouse). In short bursts of no more than 20-30 seconds each, melt the soap in your microwave. Be careful your soap does not boil! If you don’t have a microwave, you can melt the soap on the stove using the double boiler method (placing one smaller pot inside a bigger pot of water).
Once your soap has melted, add your fragrance and colour and give it a good stir. You can use essential oils or skin-friendly fragrances. To colour your soap, you can use special soap dyes or powders, micas, or liquid food colouring. Note that colours added to a white soap base will become pastel coloured. To achieve bright vivid colours, you will need to use a clear soap base. And if you find your soap has hardened in the meantime, just pop it back into the microwave again for another 20 seconds.
Carefully pour the soap into your soap mold. If there are any bubbles on the surface, you can disperse them by spritzing some isopropyl alcohol (available from pharmacies) on it. Leave the soap to harden fully before removing from the mold.
Because melt and pour soap contains glycerin, a humectant, which attracts moisture, it is important to wrap your soaps in glad wrap as soon as they have cooled down and hardened. Especially here in New Zealand when it can be very humid, you’ll find beads of water on the surface of your soap if you leave them unwrapped.
Basic Melt and Pour Soap
- enough melt and pour soap base to fill your soap mold
- food colouring of your choice
- essential oil or fragrance of your choice
- spray bottle with isopropyl alcohol
- heat proof glass jug (i.e. Pyrex)
- silicon or plastic soap mold
- Cut up the soap base in small cubes and add them to the heat proof glass jug.
- In short 20-30 second bursts, melt the soap base in your microwave on your highest setting.
- Once the soap is completely melted, add your fragrance and colour and mix well. If you find the soap has hardened again, just pop it back in the microwave for another 20 seconds.
- Carefully pour the soap into your soap mold and let it harden before removing the soaps from the molds.
- Don’t forget to wrap the soaps in glad wrap once the soaps have cooled down completely!
Where to get your supplies from
- melt and pour base: Pure Nature, Candle Creations, Go Native (palm-free)
- isopropyl alcohol: pharmacy or Candle Creations
- Pyrex jug: Briscoes, Warehouse or supermarket
- food colouring: supermarket
- soap molds: Warehouse, Spotlight, Go Native