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Bubble bars

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 10 bars

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I love, love, love bubble bars! They’re fun, smell delicious and…. BUBBLES! Lots of bubbles! Need I say anything more?

These bubble bars are created especially with the humid climate in mind! To make them, you will need quite few ingredients, but let me assure you, it’ll be worth it! All the ingredients are available from Pure Nature, except for the corn starch, which you can get from any supermarket.

The fragrance I’m using for these bubble bars is Jamaica Me Crazy from Candlescience, a deliciously fruity tropical blend, and perfect for these fun bubble bars!

ONE: First add all your dry ingredients to the bowl: baking soda, citric acid, SLSa, kaolin powder, corn starch and cream of tartar. Be careful when adding the SLSa, which is a very fine powder. Avoid breathing it in as it can be irritating to your lungs. I will usually work outdoors and upwind when using SLSa, or alternatively, I will tie a scarf or cloth around my face to prevent breathing it in.

The baking soda and citric acid are what will create a fizz in your bath. Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (SLSa), not to be confused with the sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), adds the bubbles to your bath. It is a mild and gentle skin cleanser, and considered skin safe. Both the kaolin clay and cream of tartar add hardness to the bar, and the corn starch acts as a skin softener.

Wearing gloves, mix the dry ingredients and break up any clumps.

TWO: Add the liquid ingredients, glycerin, decyl-glucoside, polysorbate 80, coconut oil and fragrance, and knead everything together to a dough. Glycerin is the ingredient, which helps create this dough like consistency, coco-glucoside is a foam booster, and polysorbate 80 is an emulsifier, helping to mix the oils and mica into the water and preventing oil streaks on the water surface and colour rims on the bath tub.

THREE: Separate the dough into three roughly equal portions, and add 1/2 teaspoon of mica to each portion. Knead until the colour is evenly dispersed throughout the dough, which can take a little while.

The micas I’m using are from Pure Nature and are called Coral Reef (orange), Juicy Pink and Shimmer Green. They also work well in cold process soap.

FOUR: To put the loaf together, first place the green dough on a sheet of baking paper and flatten it slightly with your hand. Place the pink dough on top and flatten it out to the same size as the underlying green dough. And lastly, place the orange dough on top and again, flatten it to the size of the other two doughs.

FIVE: Place another sheet of baking paper on top and roll the dough out to a sheet of about 1-2 cm thickness. The baking paper will avoid the dough sticking to the rolling pin.

SIX: Once you have flattened the dough to the desired thickness, carefully roll it up into a log. You can see in the pictures that I am using the baking paper to help roll the dough.

Once you have rolled the dough into a log, smooth it out with your hands, and because the bottom will most likely still be sticking to the baking paper, carefully roll the log over.

SEVEN: Use a sharp knife, cut the log into 10 equal bars. Place the bars on a sheet of baking paper, and lightly flatten each bar with the palm of your hand.

EIGHT: Leave the bars to dry out overnight. Turn them over and let them dry for another day. Check their hardness, if they are still soft, you will need to let them dry for longer, turning them over each day.

Because of the high humidity here in New Zealand, bubble bars will take longer to harden than usual. It is not unusual for me to have them drying for several days up to a week.

To use them, crumble the bubble bar under running water and watch it make lots and lots of bubbles in your bath!

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Bubble bars

  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Make sure you work in a well-ventilated area!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1 cup SLSa
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup kaolin clay
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon glycerin
  • 1 teaspoon decyl-glucoside
  • 1 tablespoon polysorbate 80
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 teaspoons fragrance
  • 1/2 teaspoon green mica
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange mica
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink mica

Directions

  1. Combine the baking soda, citric acid, SLSa, corn starch, kaolin clay and cream of tartar in a bowl, and mix it, using your hands, breaking up any clumps. Be careful of the SLSa, which is a very fine powder, and try not to breathe it in.
  2. Add the liquid ingredients (glycerin, decyl-glucoside, polysorbate 80, coconut oil, fragrance) and, still using your hands, knead it together to a dough.
  3. Separate the dough to approximately 3 equal portions.
  4. To each portion add a different colour mica, and knead well until the colour is evenly dispersed throughout the dough.
  5. Spread out a sheet of baking paper and place your green dough on it. Flatten it a little with your hand. Place the pink dough on top and flatten it out to the size of the green. Lastly, add the orange dough and flatten that out as well to match the other two.
  6. Place another sheet of baking paper over the dough, and using a rolling pin, roll it to a fairly thin rectangle sheet, approximately 1-2 cm thick. The baking paper will help avoid the dough sticking to the rolling pin.
  7. Carefully roll up the sheet of dough into a log.
  8. Using a knife, cut the log into bars. Place the bars on to a sheet of baking paper and gently flatten them a little with the palm of your hand.
  9. Leave the bars to dry overnight, then carefully turn them over and dry them for another day. Check if they are solid enough. If not, let them dry for another few days, keep turning them each day.

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Watermelon soap pops

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 1
 hr
Yields: depends on the mold

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Remember the yummy popsicles our mum used to make when we were children? Deliciously refreshing and you’d have to warm them in your hands for a moment before you could pop them out of the plastic mold. These ice treats are making a comeback again, and unlike the boring round shapes we used to have, they come in all shapes and forms now, from little cute animals to sophisticated and elegant designs. And making popsicles isn’t just like adding your plain cordial and freezing them, it’s become quite the art form, with plenty of different (and healthy) recipes on the web. Check out this yummy Mango Chamomile popsicle recipe!

Inspired by the many creations on Pinterest and getting hold of this fun triangle shape mold, these Watermelon Pops are not only fun to look at, but they smell absolutely delicious! And they definitely need to come with a warning label: Not for eating!

For these soaps, you will use the crystal clear melt and pour soap base from SFIC, which gives the watermelon pops a very translucent appearance without any cloudiness you sometimes experience in clear melt and pour soap. You will also need white melt and pour soap base, Sweetheart Rose mica, Green Fruit mica, Watermelon fragrance from Candlescience, popsicle sticks and poppy seeds. You can get all, except for the poppy seeds and popsicle sticks, from Pure Nature. Popsicle sticks and poppy seeds you can buy from the supermarket.

About the molds: You can use any ice pop molds, but personally I prefer to use the silicon ones to the solid plastic ones, because they make it easier to unmold. You can buy ice pop molds at most homeware stores, and I’ve also seen them at The Warehouse, Farmers and some $2 shops. They’re fairly cheap. They come in different sizes and some make four and others more ice pops, so I didn’t give specific amounts of soap base to use. You’ll have to estimate how much you need for your molds.

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ONE: Cut enough clear melt and pour soap base into cubes for your mold and add to a heat proof Pyrex jug. Heat on high in the microwave in 10-20 second bursts, until the soap has melted. Try to avoid the soap from reaching boiling point!

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TWO: Add your mica and give it a good stir. I am using Sweetheart Rose mica from Pure Nature, which gave me the perfect shade of watermelon pink. I added only about 1/8 teaspoon for the half of cup of melted soap to get the colour I wanted. Add more or less to get your desired shade of pink.

THREE: Add your fragrance (rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon for each cup of melted soap) and sprinkle through some poppy seeds.

Note: additives, such as poppy seeds, in melt and pour soap bases will not mix evenly through the soap once it cools and usually congregate either on top or on the bottom, depending on its weight. This is due to the consistency of the melt and pour soap base. There are other more viscous soap bases, such as the crystal suspending soap base from Stephenson Personal Care, that are specially created to hold particles throughout the soap base.

FOUR: Pour the soap in your soap mold, and add a popsicle stick. To hold the popsicle stick in place I used a tie handle, which I tied around the stick.

Spritz the surface with isopropyl alcohol. This is to disperse any bubbles, but also to prepare the surface, so that the next layer will adhere to it.

Let the soap cool down and solidify to the point where it will support the next layer.

FIVE: Next, cut a little white melt and pour soap base, and melt it in the microwave for a about 10 seconds. You won’t need a lot, just enough for a thin line between the pink and green soap. To show you how little I needed for my four soaps, I used a small beaker to melt two cubes of white melt and pour soap base.

Make sure the soap is not too hot! The first time I did it, the white soap managed to break through the pink layer and you really want to avoid that. Once it’s relatively cool but still fluid, carefully pour a thin layer over the pink soap. If the tie handle is in the way, you should be able to remove it now.

Again, spritz the surface with alcohol and let it set before adding the next layer.

SIX: Next, cut some clear melt and pour soap and melt it in the microwave for only a very short time (10 seconds or so). Again you don’t need much, about twice as much as the white that you used previously.

SEVEN: Add a little bit of Green Fruit mica, enough to colour the soap green. And once the soap has cooled a little, so that it won’t melt the previous layer, carefully pour it over the white soap. Spritz with alcohol and let the soap set and cool down completely before unmolding.

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Because melt and pour soap bases contain a high amount of glycerin, they attract moisture and will ‘sweat’ if not wrapped. You can either place them into cellophane bags or wrap them into cling wrap to store them.

Watermelon soap pops

  • Difficulty: Beginners
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Ingredients

  • crystal clear melt and pour soap base
  • white melt and pour soap base
  • Sweetheart Rose mica
  • Green Fruit mica
  • Watermelon fragrance from Candlescience
  • popsicle mold
  • popsicle sticks
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol

Directions

  1. Cut the crystal clear melt and pour soap base into small cubes and melt in the microwave in 10-20 second bursts.
  2. Mix in Sweetheart Rose mica until you get your desired shade of pink.
  3. Add fragrance (1 teaspoon for each cup of soap) and poppy seeds and give it a good stir.
  4. Pour into the popsicle mold, and place the popsicle sticks in the soap. Use tie handles to keep the sticks in place. Spritz with alcohol. Wait until the soap has set before continuing.
  5. Cut and melt a little bit of the white melt and pour soap base, enough for a thin layer.
  6. Pour it over the pink layer and spritz with alcohol.
  7. Cut and melt some more crystal clear melt and pour soap base, approximately twice as much as the white soap you used in the previous step.
  8. Add a little Green Fruit mica and stir to mix the colour into the soap.
  9. Let the green soap cool a little before pouring it over the white layer. Spritz with alcohol.
  10. Leave the soap to set and cool down completely before unmolding.
  11. Store the soaps wrapped, either in clear cellophane bags or cling wrap.

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Be mine! Valentine’s Day soaps

Difficulty: Beginners
Time:
1 hr
Yields: 10 soap hearts

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Be Mine takes inspiration from the sugar candy hearts that used to be so popular in the 80s, especially around Valentine’s Day.

These pastel heart-shaped soaps are quick and easy to make with white melt and pour soap base and non-bleeding micas.

ONE: First, cut the white melt and pour soap base into small cubes. Add a couple of cubes, you don’t need much for the first part, to a small heat proof Pyrex jug and heat on high in the microwave in 10 second bursts, until the soap has melted. Try to avoid the soap from reaching boiling point!

TWO: When the soap has melted, pour it into a small beaker and stir in a little of the mica until you have reached the desired colour. You can use any colour, except for the yellow, which you need for the base colour. I’m using Juicy Pink mica and Magic Purple mica from Pure Nature here.

THREE: Next, pour a little of the soap into the words. Don’t worry if it spills over, we’ll clean it up later. The soap mold I’m using here is an old one from Milky Way molds, from way back when they were still a small company. As you can see, it has quite yellowed with age! Using this mold also made me realise how much I appreciate the silicon molds we use nowadays. Unmolding soap has become so easy now!

FOUR: Let the soap harden completely, and then using a spoon lightly scrape of the soap until the letters appear. Don’t put too much pressure when scraping, or you might take out some of the letters. If that happens, don’t worry, just push some soap back into the letter. Once you’ve scraped away most of the extra soap, use a little wet wipe to clean away the last little flecks of soap. Make sure all the cavities are clean!

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FIVE: Now for the main soap. Cut up sufficient soap to fill all cavities. Place them into a heat proof Pyrex jug and melt in the microwave on high in 20 second bursts until the soap has melted.

SIX: Add yellow mica to the soap and stir. I achieved this pretty pastel yellow by using the Magic Yellow mica from Pure Nature.

Next, your fragrance. You’ll want to choose a candy-like scent for these candy hearts, like the sweet and fruity Mango and Tangerine fragrance from Candlescience that I’m using. I use about 1/2 teaspoon of fragrance for every cup of soap base.

SEVEN: Now before you pour, spritz the cavity and the letters with 99% isopropyl alcohol. Then pour the soap into the cavity, and spritz the surface again with the alcohol to get rid of the bubbles. Fill all the cavities the same way: spritz, pour, spritz.

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EIGHT: Leave the soaps to cool down and harden completely before removing them from the mold. If you are using plastic molds like this one, it will be a little struggle to get them out. Try to gently pull the sides away from the soap to allow some air between the soap and mold, which helps to release the soaps. This is why I really, really appreciate the silicon molds!

Place the soaps into little cellophane bags or wrap them up in plastic cling wrap. Melt and pour soap will sweat (attract moisture) if left unwrapped.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Be Mine! Valentine's Day soaps

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • white melt and pour soap base
  • yellow mica
  • mica in contrasting colour(s), such as pink and purple
  • Mango and tangerine fragrance from Candlescience
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol
  • candy hearts mold

Directions

  1. Cut up the white melt and pour soap base into small cubes.
  2. Place a couple of soap cubes in a heat proof pyrex jug and melt on a high setting in the microwave in short 10 second bursts. Don’t let the soap boil!
  3. Pour the soap into a small beaker and stir in one of the contrasting mica colours until you reach your desired shade.
  4. Pour the soap into the letters and don’t worry if it spills over. Let it cool and harden completely.
  5. Using a teaspoon, lightly scrape away as much of the extra soap as you can, before using a wet wipe to clean away the rest. Make sure all the heart cavities are clean!
  6. Cut up sufficient white soap base to fill all the cavities. Heat in the microwave in 20 second bursts or until the soap has completely melted.
  7. Add and stir in yellow mica until you have a pretty yellow pastel shade.
  8. Add the fragrance. I use about 1/2 teaspoon for 1 cup of soap base.
  9. Spritz, pour, spritz. Before pouring, spritz the cavity and the letters with alcohol, pour, and then spritz the surface of the soap again to dissolve any bubbles.
  10. Let the soap cool down and harden completely before unmolding.
  11. Package the soaps into little cellophane bags or cling wrap.

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Sparkly Christmas MP soaps

Difficulty: Beginners
Time:
1 hr
Yields: 9 small soaps

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Checking out the melt and pour starter kit from Pure Nature, I learned two things: one, they’re a great way to get you and/or your kids into soap making, because it contains everything you need and it’s actually a lot cheaper to buy the kit than the ingredients separately; and two, they contain these clamshell soap molds that act both as a mold and packaging at the same time. How handy is that? You pour the soap, let it cool down and harden, close the lid, and the soap is ready and packaged. The kit contains a whole block of white melt and pour soap base, fragrance and 9 of these clamshell molds.

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The sparkly Christmas soaps are a great starter project if you have a Pure Nature Melt and Pour Soap starter kit, but want do something a little bit more creative. In addition to the white melt and pour base and the fragrance that comes with the kit, you will also need clear melt and pour soap base, glitter, and a little chocolate mold of something Christmas themed. These you can get at $2 dollar shops, Spotlight, Look Sharp or the Warehouse.

Of course, you can make these soaps even if you don’t have the starter kit. In that case you will need 9 clamshell soap molds, in addition to the above ingredients (see full list of ingredients below).

PREPARATION: Cut up enough white melt and pour soap base to make 9 little soap embeds. Place them into a heat proof Pyrex jug and heat in the microwave in 20 second bursts until the soap has completely melted. Make sure you don’t bring the soap to boiling point. Pour the soap into the Christmas themed mold and spritz with some 99% isopropyl alcohol to get rid of the bubbles on the surface. Let the soap embeds harden and cool down completely before carefully removing them. Set aside for later use.

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ONE: Cut up 5-6 rows clear melt and pour soap base into small cubes and add to a heat proof Pyrex jug. Heat on high in the microwave in 20 second bursts, until the soap has melted.

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TWO: Add 1 teaspoon of fragrance and 1/4 teaspoon of glitter, and stir well.

Great Christmas fragrances to use are: Holly, Mistletoe, and Christmas Trees. Children  (and adults) love the Gingerbread fragrance. You can use essential oils for a natural option. Christmas blends usually include a combination of orange, pine, cinnamon, or peppermint essential oils.

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THREE: Pour the soap into mold, filling it up to about 2/3 of the mold. Carefully place an embed (bottom up!) in the centre and push it down, so that the soap covers it.

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FOUR: Spritz the surface with isopropyl alcohol to get rid of the bubbles.

Repeat with the other 8 molds.

Leave the soaps to firm up, so that you can pour the second layer. They ideal time to pour is when the soap is firm enough to support the next layer, without the hot, liquid soap pushing through the previous layer, but not completely solid.

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FIVE: Cut 2-3 rows of white melt and pour soap base, and again heat in microwave until melted.

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SIX: Check if the previous layer is solid enough by giving it a gentle push with the finger. If it gives way, but feels solid otherwise, it should be ok. Give the surface another quick spritz with alcohol, and then using a spoon, carefully ladle the melted white soap over the clear soap. Only fill the mold up to the ridge, otherwise you won’t be able to close the lid on it!

SEVEN: Let the soap cool down completely and harden before carefully putting the lids on. If you close the lids too soon, condensation will form inside the lids, which are a breeding ground for bacteria and mould!

If you decide to unmold the soaps, make sure you wrap them up! Glycerin soaps are prone to ‘sweating’ – collecting moisture on the surface.

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Sparkly Christmas soaps

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • melt and pour soap kit from Pure Nature
  • clear melt and pour soap base
  • glitter
  • Christmas themed chocolate mold or ice cube mold
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol

OR

  • white melt and pour soap base
  • clear melt and pour soap base
  • fragrance
  • glitter
  • 9 clamshell soap molds
  • Christmas themed chocolate mold or ice cube mold
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol

Directions

Prepare the embeds: Cut up enough white melt and pour soap base and heat in the microwave in 20 second bursts until melted. Pour into the chocolate mold, spritz with 99% isopropyl alcohol and let the embeds cool down and harden completely before removing.

  1. Cut 5-6 rows of clear melt and pour soap base into small cubes and place in a heat proof Pyrex jug.
  2. Heat the soap base in the microwave on high in 20 second bursts until melted.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of fragrance and 1/4 teaspoon of glitter and stir well.
  4. Pour into the mold until about 2/3 filled.
  5. Carefully push an embed (bottom up!) into the soap, so that the soap covers it.
  6. Spritz with 99% isopropyl alcohol to get rid of the bubbles.
  7. Repeat with the other 8 molds.
  8. Leave to firm up so that it can support the next layer, but hasn’t solidified completely yet.
  9. Cut up 2-3 rows of white melt and pour soap base, and again heat in microwave until melted.
  10. Before pouring, spritz the surface of the clear soap with alcohol again, and then using a spoon, carefully ladle the white soap over the clear soap. Don’t fill past the ridge in the mold.
  11. Spritz the surface again with alcohol to get rid of the bubbles.
  12. Fill the other 8 molds.
  13. Leave the soap to cool down and harden completely before closing the lid.
  14. Add a little label and your soap is finished!

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Jolly soaps

Difficulty: Beginners
Time:
1 hr
Yields: 4 bars of soap

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With this soap, I wanted to catch a bit of the fun and silliness there is at Christmas. Think silly Christmas hats, Secret Santa and Bad Santa (something I only found out about this year!), terrible jokes and a bit of fun and cheer. Christmas is all about getting together and enjoying each other’s company. My favourite is always the Christmas crackers, and even though the jokes are starting to get old, we still all read them out loud and put on the silly hats.

These Jolly Soaps are quick and easy to make and the perfect Secret Santa or Bad Santa gift. Or get the kids to make them as Teacher’s Gifts. You only need white and clear melt and pour soap base, green and red food colouring, and Holly Berry fragrance. As a mold, you can either use the small square mold from Pure Nature, or you can use a small plastic container of similar size.

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ONE: Cut the clear melt and pour soap base into small cubes and add to a heat proof Pyrex jug. Heat on high in the microwave in 20 second bursts, until the soap has melted. Try to avoid the soap from reaching boiling point!

TWO: Add 1/2 teaspoon of fragrance and stir well.

THREE: Pour half of the melted soap base into a separate container.

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FOUR: Add 2-3 drops of green food colouring to one container and 2-3 drops of red food colouring to the other container, and  give both a good stir.

If you choose to use a different fragrance, make sure they are safe to use on skin. This is particular important when using candle fragrances. Not all candle fragrances are suitable for use in body care products and soap. So don’t forget to read the safety data of the fragrances you intend to use, or check back with the supplier.

FIVE: Pour the two colours into two small containers and let them cool down and harden.

I used my square cavity mold, but you can use a disposable cup, yoghurt bottles or a little plastic container. It doesn’t really matter what shape it is, because you’ll be cutting these up later.

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SIX: Once the two soaps have completely cooled down and hardened, unmold them, and cut them into smaller shapes. Try and vary the shapes: cubes, long, triangles, pyramid-shaped etc.

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SEVEN: Next, cut the white melt and pour soap base and place it in a heat proof Pyrex jug. Melt on high in the microwave in 20 second bursts until melted.

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EIGHT: Add 1/2 teaspoon of fragrance and give it a good stir.

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NINE: Pour about 1/3 of the white soap into the soap mold.

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TEN: Place some of the green and red shapes into the white soap, and let it stand for a few minutes to set a little.

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ELEVEN: Pour some more white soap and add some more shapes, and keep doing this until the soap and shapes have been used up. Between each pour, let the soap set a little. Should the white soap become too thick to pour, re-melt it in the microwave.

You can either finish off with a white layer of soap, or you can let some of the shapes stick out of the white soap for a more funkier look!

TWELVE: Let the soap cool down completely and harden before carefully unmolding. Remember, melt and pour soap bases contain a lot of glycerin and the soaps will sweat (attract moisture) in humid conditions, so they will need to be wrapped (Glad Wrap or cello bags).

PLEASE NOTE BECAUSE WE ARE USING FOOD COLOURING THE COLOURS WILL BLEED INTO THE WHITE OVER TIME. 

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Jolly soaps

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • approx. 250 g each of white and clear melt and pour soap base
  • red and green food colouring
  • Holly Berry fragrance from Candlescience
  • 2 small containers of about 125 ml volume each
  • small square soap mold of 500 ml volume

Directions

  1. Cut the clear melt and pour soap base into small cubes and place in a heat proof Pyrex jug.
  2. Heat the soap base in the microwave on high in 20 second bursts until melted.
  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon of fragrance and stir well.
  4. Pour about half of the soap into a separate container.
  5. Add 2-3 drops of red food colouring to one container, and 2-3 drops of green food colouring to the other container, and give both soaps a good stir.
  6. Pour the soaps into 2 small containers and let cool down and harden.
  7. Unmold and cut the green and red soap into small random blocks and shapes. Set aside.
  8. Cut the white melt and pour soap base into small cubes and melt in the microwave as before (points 1 and 2).
  9. Add 1/2 teaspoon of fragrance and stir well.
  10. Pour about 1/3 of the white soap into the square soap mold.
  11. Place some of the red and green shapes into the white soap, and let set a little.
  12. Continue alternating pouring the white soap base and placing the shapes, and letting it set a little in-between each pour, until all the soap and shapes have been used up.
  13. Leave the soap to cool down and harden completely before unmolding.
  14. Package the soaps into little cello bags or glad wrap.