Time: 1 1/2 hr
Yields: Several clusters and single crystals
I have always had this thing for crystals, and I have a shelf full of pretty, shiny rocks. So it’s no surprise then that I had to have a go at making soap crystals. Surprisingly, they are a lot easier to make than you think and I had the most fun two days preparing this tutorial. Mind you, I probably could have done it in one day, but hey, it’s not every day a girl gets to play with crystals!
Melt and pour soap bases are the perfect material to make these crystals. I used melt and pour soap base in both clear and white. For the soap crystals I recommend to use the sweat-free melt and pour bases from Pure Nature, because of the high humidity here in New Zealand. The sweat-free soap will allow you to keep the crystals only lightly packaged, for example in a pretty cellophane bag. Here are the links to the sweat-free white soap base and the sweat-free clear soap base. To colour the crystals, I used the Silken Violet mica from Pure Nature.
ONE: To start, gather all your materials and prepare your colour. Pour about 10 ml of 99% isopropyl alcohol into a small container and add 1/4 teaspoon of mica. This will be used to colour the soap. I’m using alcohol to premix the mica, because it will disperse better in the melt and pour soap base.
TWO: Next, cut up roughly one cup of clear melt and pour soap into cubes and put it in a solid heat-proof glass jug, such as a Pyrex jug. Heat on high for about 20 seconds or until all the soap has melted.
FOUR: Now it’s time to colour the soap. Pour a little of the alcohol/mica into your soap and stir. You want a nice dark violet colour. If it’s too light, add a bit more until you are happy with the colour. Remember, you can always add more but you can’t take any away. So start with a little colour and keep adding in small amounts until you reach the right shade.
FIVE: Pour the soap into your mold until you have filled it to about 1 cm, and then leave it to cool down. We’ll be using the remainder of the soap for the next layer. The mold I’m using is the small square mold, available from Pure Nature. It holds 500g of soap (volume is approximately 630 ml), and will give you four bars of soap. It’s my favourite and most used mold, and it’s so versatile. I use it for testing soap batches, making small volumes, including the many tutorials here on my blog, and as a handy mold for special projects like the soap crystals here.
SIX: Cut up some more clear melt and pour soap, about 1 cup again, and add it to the remainder in the jug. This layer will be lighter in colour than the previous layer, so don’t add any more colour to it. Again heat it in the microwave until all the soap has melted. Add 1 teaspoon of fragrance and stir.
SEVEN: Check if the layer is solid enough to support the next layer, and spritz the surface with 99% isopropyl alcohol, so that the next layer will adhere to it. Then, gently pour the soap over the previous layer, being careful as not to let the soap break through the surface. And again leave the soap to set and harden before the next step.
EIGHT: Cut up some white melt and pour soap base and melt it in the microwave. Once the previous layer has hardened, spritz the surface with alcohol again, and then pour the white soap on top of it. I didn’t fragrance this portion, because it’s only a small portion.
NINE: The next step is to carve the soap into crystals. But, before you start cutting, make sure that the soap has completely cooled down and solidified. First cut the soap into vertical rectangles, and then carve each rectangle into crystals. The easiest way was to cut the four edges first to make an octagon, and then carve the top into a rough unequal pyramid (with four sides). If that makes sense.
Btw you can watch TV while doing this part. I put my little soap rectangles in a 2L (empty) ice cream container and sat carving my soaps while binge-watching Blacklist. Just watch your fingers!
TEN: Once you have all your crystals, it’s time to start assembling your cluster. I used a soap mold with round cavities but you can use any shape. As long as it’s something to hold your cluster together. Melt a little more of the white melt and pour soap and pour thin layer into the mold.
ELEVEN: Then stick the crystals one by one into the layer of soap, arranging them into a tight cluster, as shown in the picture below. In some clusters, I used tooth picks to hold them in place. I cut some of the bases to make some of them shorter and others to make them lean into a particular direction. Leave to set and cool before removing the crystal cluster. You might want to tidy the cluster up using a knife, or you can leave it as it is.
VARIATIONS: The above method is just one way of colouring the block of soap for making crystals. I also made one block with only two layers, one dark violet and one only slightly lighter and carved these into crystals. Another block I made I added little bits of cut offs from my previous crystal carvings into the soap. And in yet another, I drizzled white melt and pour into the still liquid violet coloured clear melt and pour soap.
Instead of arranging them into cluster, you can also carve bigger crystals and leave them as single crystals. Particular the soap blocks with the white drizzled into it and the ones with the cut offs made some stunning crystals!
Amethyst crystal soap
- white melt and pour soap base
- clear melt and pour soap base
- Sage and Pomegranate fragrance
- Silken Violet mica
- 99% isopropyl alcohol
- Pour 10 ml of 99% isopropyl alcohol into a small container and add 1/4 mica. Stir well and set aside for later use.
- Cut up approximately one cup of clear melt and pour soap and add it to a heat-proof Pyrex jug. Heat in microwave until all the soap has melted.
- Add 1 teaspoon of fragrance and stir.
- Add the alcohol/mica mix in small amounts until you have the colour you desire.
- Pour an approximately 1 cm layer of soap into the mold. Leave to cool and set.
- Cut up another cup of clear melt and pour soap and add to the remainder in the jug. Again, heat in the microwave until melted and add 1 teaspoon of fragrance.
- Check if the soap in the mold has hardened sufficiently to support the next layer. Spritz the surface with 99% isopropyl alcohol and gently pour the soap over the previous layer. Leave the soap to cool and set.
- Cut up some white soap and melt it in the microwave. Again, check if the soap has hardened, spritz the surface with alcohol and pour the white soap over the clear layers. Leave to harden and cool down completely.
- Remove the soap from the mold and cut up into vertical rectangles. Carve the rectangles into crystal shapes.
- Next, take a soap mold with circular or other small cavities. Melt a little more of the white melt and pour soap base and pour a thin layer into one of the cavities.
- Then, stick the crystals into the layer one by one, arranging the into a crystal cluster form. Leave to set and cool before removing from the mold.