Time: 2 times 1 hour
Yields: Approximately 500 g soap (4 bars)
Spring is here! Temperatures are getting warmer. The birds are chirping happily. Everything is starting to wake up and bloom. I love spring. I think it’s one of the prettiest seasons, with lots of little flowers peaking their tiny heads out to welcome the sun and the bees. Here in New Zealand it coincides with Christmas preparations, so this soap is a perfect if you are looking for a pretty gift to make. It is fairly straight forward, but takes a bit of preparation beforehand. If this is your first time making soap, I strongly suggest starting with this basic soap making tutorial to get a feel for soap making first.
You will also need some extra equipment. To make the little flowers, I used fondant cutters that cake decorators use. You can find them at reasonable prices at Look Sharp shops, which is where I got mine. Everything else you can get from Pure Nature.
There are two parts to this soap, about a week apart. In the first part you’ll be making the flowers and leaves. And in the second part, you make the soap and decorate it with the flowers and leaves. TIP: if you make extra flowers and leaves, you’ll be able to use them in other projects soaps as well!
Before starting, please read the safety and precautions post, especially since this tutorial requires the handling of caustic soda!
PART 1 – FLOWERS AND LEAVES
TIP: Instead of making soap just for the flowers and leaves, I often use the leftover soap from other projects and pour them in a little container.
When the soap has hardened enough to cut, I slice the soap into the desired thinness and use the cutters to cut out flowers and leaves, or other shapes. I let them cure for a while, and then put them in little containers to use as needed. I have little stars, hearts, flowers and leaves in all different colours. It’s a great way to use up the leftover soap!
However, if you don’t have any soap ready to use, here’s a good simple recipe, which you can split into four different colours to use for shapes. Use the basic cold process tutorial for soap making instructions.
ONE: Prepare your colours that you will be using, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Prepare enough for 500 ml soap, but you will only be using 1/4 of it. If using colourants from Pure Nature, here are the guidelines:
- micas: dilute 1 teaspoon in 1 tablespoon of oil
- don’t use lakes as they will bleed
TWO: Prepare your lye and oils, and leave them to cool down to room temperature. Then, pour the lye to the oils and using a stick blender, give the mixture a few pulses until emulsified. When I make soap for embellishments, I usually leave the soap unfragranced.
THREE: Separate the soap mixture into 4 equal parts. To each part, add 1 teaspoon of colourant and mix well until the soap has an even colour throughout.
FOUR: Pour into a square mold. I like using the cube mold from Pure Nature for this, but you can also use any other small square shaped mold. It should have a volume of 125 ml.
FIVE: Leave it to cure for a few days, until it’s hard enough to cut and not sticky anymore. Then, cut into slices of desired width. For flowers and leaves you want to cut it quite thin, about 2-3 mm. If the soap is still too soft, leave it to cure for another few days. Once you have cut it into slices, use the shape cutters to cut flower and leaves from it. Place them on a sheet of baking paper and leave to cure for a few days.
A quick alternative, if you are in a rush, is to use a melt and pour soap base, and you’ll be able to cut and use it the same day. However, the downside of melt and pour soap is that it attracts moisture, especially in this humid climate. So just be aware of this when using Melt and Pour soap.
PART 2 – MAKING THE SOAP
The second part is making the main soap and decorating it with the little flowers and leaves. This part is very straight forward and easy.
Remember to read the safety and precautions post, and make sure you are wearing protective goggles and gloves!
ONE: Prepare the lye by weighing out the caustic soda and adding it to the water. Add 1 teaspoon of sodium lactate to speed up the hardening of the soap. Leave to cool down.
TWO: Weigh out the coconut oil in a heat proof Pyrex jug and melt it in the microwave. Weigh out and add the liquid oils and give everything a quick stir to blend together. Set aside.
THREE: When the lye has cooled down to room temperature, and making sure you are still wearing protective goggles and gloves, carefully add the lye to the oils. Using a stick blender, give it a few pulses until the soap mixture has reached light trace.
FOUR: Add the fragrance and keep pulsing and stirring with the stick blender until you the soap mixture has thickened to medium trace. I used sage and pomegranate fragrance from Candlescience, which I know will leave my soap white. However, sage and pomegranate can’t be considered a true white water fragrance, because it does slightly discolour to an ivory colour. See my post about discolouring fragrances.
FIVE: Pour the soap mixture into the mold and tap the mold on the bench a few times to release any air bubbles caught up in the soap. Using a fork, scrape lightly up and into the centre along both sides to form a peak along the length of the mold.
SIX: Decorate with little flowers along the peak, and add little leaves into the sides. To finish off, I sprinkled some glitter pearl mica over the soap.
SEVEN: Leave to cure in the mold for a few days, before cutting it into bars. And let the bars of soap cure for another 6-8 weeks.
Pretty Little Flowers Soap
Cut flowers and leaves from left-over soap from other projects, or make a small batch of soap to make the flowers and leaves. To cut the flowers and leaves, use fondant cutters and make sure the soap is still soft enough to cut, but not sticky.
- 150g olive oil
- 120g coconut oil
- 100g sunflower oil
- 30g castor oil
- 55g caustic soda
- 110 ml water
- 1 teaspoon sodium lactate
- sage and pomegranate fragrance
- glitter pearl mica
- pre-made soap flowers and petals
- Prepare the lye as usual, and add 1 teaspoon of sodium lactate to speed up the hardening of the soap. Set aside.
- Weigh out and melt the coconut oil in the microwave. Add the liquid oils and give everything a good stir to blend.
- When the lye has cooled down to room temperature, add the lye to the oils and give it a few quick pulses with the stick blender until light trace.
- Add the fragrance, and continue pulsing and stirring with the stick blender until medium trace.
- Pour the soap into the mold and using a fork, scrape both sides to the centre to form a peak along the middle of the soap.
- Decorate with flowers and leaves, by placing the flowers on top of the peak and sticking the leaves into the sides. Sprinkle the mica over the top.
- Leave to cure for a few days before unmolding and cutting it into bars. Let the bars cure for a further 6-8 weeks.