When we left our heroine, she was bravely making soap on her desk while her kitchen was being renovated and pretty much the entire lower level of her home was in disarray. We resume our soapy saga to find that she has moved out of the city to a smaller community and has finally found where she put her soap-making supplies after she moved…
Seriously. Six months later, and when I go to look for something I can clearly remember where I stored it in the old house but struggle to find it in the new one. Thankfully I was able to put my hands on most of my soap-making goodies (and flower arranging supplies for the Valentine flowers) with minimal struggle. I used up the last of my glycerine soap base (similar to this) making a few toy soaps to give as birthday and Valentine’s Day gifts for some special people, then I set to work on a couple of new-to-me soap recipes.
My first new soap was Oatmeal & Honey Soap that I based off of Cath’s Simple Soap recipe (originally linked here). I’ve been pinning soap ideas on Pinterest, so I did a little research and came up with a formula that I thought would work. Following Cath’s instructions, I used:
- 3 4-ounce bars of Ivory soap, grated
- 3 tablespoons of honey
- 3 1/2 tablespoons of quick oats that I then ground up in my coffee grinder
- a 1-quart waxed cardboard carton that originally contained half & half as a mold
I stirred in the honey after the soap was melted and then added the ground oats with the milk powder. The soap mixture was sticky but smelled wonderful as I poured it into the carton! I sliced the soap into bars a few hours later and then set the bars on a waxed paper lined baking sheet to dry for a couple of weeks. Looking at the finished bars, I can tell that I got in a hurry and didn’t melt the Ivory soap down fully, but it ended up being a happy accident because I think the color variation adds to the aesthetic of the soap. My daughter said they looked like something to eat. I told her not to try it!
My second new variety of soap was Vanilla Latte Goat’s Milk Soap. I purchased the Goat’s Milk Soap Base at a local craft store because it was cheaper to do so with their weekly 40% off coupon, but you can also find the base online here. I used a suspension formula base so my coffee grounds would remain distributed throughout the bars and not settle into one place.
The soap molds I used are actually small plastic storage containers that I found on the clearance rack at a furniture and housewares store. It took about a pound of goat’s milk soap base to fill my three molds. After slowly and carefully melting the soap base in the microwave according to the instructions on the package, I added 3 tablespoons of ground coffee and 1 tablespoon of homemade vanilla extract. Boy, did the soap smell good!
After filling the molds I had a microwave-safe measuring cup that was well coated with wonderful-smelling soap. I let the cup cool enough to handle and then scraped the still-warm leftover soap out onto a sheet of waxed paper before pressing and rolling the soap into a usable ball. Did I mention that the soap smelled fantastic?
Once the bars were out of the molds my daughter declared that the soap smelled like it would taste good and once again I told her not to try it. After all of the claims that my various bars of soap resembled food, it seemed prudent to get them wrapped up and put away. I did, however, keep the ball of soap out for myself because I think the coffee grounds will be just the thing to exfoliate winter-dry skin. Plus it smells really nice!
While I’m fascinated by cold process soap making, I’m not quite ready to take the plunge into the wonderful world of lye-based products, so starting with prepared soap base gives me a way to make artisan-style soaps without the time, equipment, and mess of cold process recipes. If you’re looking for something nice to make for Mother’s Day gifts, I’d encourage you to give one of these easy but lovely recipes a try.
Do you make soap? What’s your favorite recipe or formula?
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Update: This post was shared at Wonderful Wednesday #44.