DIY Candle Making, Scented Candles

The craft of candle making has its roots in the Middle Ages, back when it was known as “chandlery.” It quickly became a profitable career, as sources of light were vital for homes, travelers at night, businesses, streets, religious ceremonies, and entire villages. These first candles were made from wax consisting of tallow, which is the fat from cows or sheep, and wicks. Tallow thus became the standard candle-making material in Europe. Tallow candles retained an unpleasant beefy, fatty odor, but a more pleasant alternative was also introduced in Europe at the time: beeswax candles. Their wax was naturally produced by honey bees and they were used in churches and royal events for their sweet scent. Their limited availability meant they were expensive, and only the church and the upper class could afford to buy them. Tallow was established as the more commonly used candle in households.

Several other civilizations had their own techniques for creating sources of light. Ancient Egyptians created torches or “rushlights” by soaking the core of rush plants or seeds in animal fat, but the difference between them and true candles is that they did not have wicks. The Ancient Romans created candle wicks by rolling papyrus and dipping it in melted animal fat or beeswax. Early Chinese candles were made from a combination of the wax excreted from an indigenous insect and from particular seeds. The candle shapes were molded in paper tubes with the wicks created out of rolled rice paper. Japanese candle wax was extracted from tree nuts, and Indian candle wax was created by boiling the fruit of the cinnamon tree.

BENEFITS OF CANDLE MAKING

Aside from the romantic, meditative, therapeutic ambiance and pleasant scent they provide, a major benefit of DIY candles is that they are less expensive than store-bought candles. Brand name candles are especially costly, but candles that are less harmful to health can be created for a fraction of retail prices.

The majority of candle brands create paraffin candles, as this material results in candles that are more economical to produce than any other candle fuel. The disadvantage of burning a paraffin candle was that it had a low melting point and emitted harmful byproducts such as carbon monoxide. Although stearic acid was added to resolve the problem of the low melting point, the issue of unhealthy vapors remained; paraffin candle fumes can contain a number of carcinogens including Acetaldehyde, Acrolein, Benzene, Formaldehyde, Polychlorodibenzo-p-dioxins, Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons and Toulene. Burning paraffin candles can potentially cause skin irritation, organ toxicity, and neurotoxicity problems. DIY candlemakers can ensure that their candles are paraffin-free by using paraffin-free wax or beeswax. The wicks of store-bought candles can also be culprits when it comes to causing health issues, as they might not be free of additives like zinc and lead, which release harmful chemicals when burned. Environmentally-friendly wick options are available such as those that are 100% cotton.

Any heat-resistant containers can be used to house the final homemade candle. A jam jar is one example of a repurposed/reused container that would work well. This means they produce less waste, giving them the added benefit of being eco-friendly. Using a jam jar to house a candle prevents the need for the customary plastic packaging used to wrap individual candles.

NATURAL (BEESWAX) CANDLES VS. STORE-BOUGHT CANDLES

Store-bought candles are largely paraffin and tend to drip when burned, but a properly trimmed pure beeswax candle will not drip, as long as it is in an environment that is free of drafts that would cause a flame disturbance. If a paraffin candle does not drip, that means it contains additives that make the wax act like beeswax to prevent it from dripping as much as it normally would.

Paraffin candles are a byproduct of the oil industry, so even extracting the non-renewable petroleum that will be refined to create the paraffin beeswax causes pollution. Using beeswax candles supports the business of beekeepers, who care for bees. This, in turn, supports crop pollination. Collecting and processing beeswax does not pollute the environment and is a renewable source. Beeswax is used in its original state, so it does not undergo bleaching or hydrogenating, and it does not require the use of large areas of land.

Compared to the petroleum scent of paraffin, a pure beeswax candle has the natural sweet smell of honey and does not contain any synthetic ingredients nor does it require any synthetic additives. Paraffin candles require additives like colors and fragrances to release a pleasant scent.

The type of wax in a candle will yield a difference in light quality as well. Paraffin candles emit a light that is similar to that of incandescent light bulbs, which can be tiresome to the eyes. Beeswax candles emit a light that is brighter and that is often equated to the brightness of sunlight.

MOST COMMONLY USED CANDLE WAXES

  • PARAFFIN is the oldest and most traditional candle-making wax. It is the least expensive and readily accepts colors and scents. Paraffin wax should be melted until it reaches between 50°C – 60°C (122°F – 140°F).
  • BEESWAX is the best option for those who seek all-natural products. It’s natural, subtle aroma and golden color mean that colors and scents do not need to be added; however, this also means that the natural scent will interfere with any fragrance additive and the added scents will not be effectively incorporated into the melted wax. Beeswax should be melted to a temperature between 62.7°C – 79.4°C (145 °F – 175 °F).
  • SOY is generally made with soybean oil but is sometimes blended with other waxes such as beeswax and paraffin. Colors and scents can easily be added to this wax. Soy wax should be melted until it reaches between 76.6°C – 82.2°C (170°F – 180 °F)

ADDITIVES

AROMATIC OILS (SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCE OILS OR ESSENTIAL OILS): To add aromatic oils to wax, it is important to know the “flash point” of the desired scent. This is the temperature at which the scent evaporates and cannot be detected anymore due to overheating. For instance, adding a fragrance with a flash point (evaporating point) of 65 °C (149°F) to wax that melts at 80 °C (176°F) will cause the fragrance to be heated above its flash point and the scent will evaporate as the wax cools and sets. When the candle has fully cooled, no scent will remain.

It is also important to have the correct ratio of aromatic oil to wax, as adding too much of the oil can affect the stability of the candle, potentially causing it to curdle or sweat while setting. It can also create a thin layer of oil at the top of the candle.

To ensure that the correct amount of aromatic oil is added to the wax, the oil should be measured in weight, not volume. This will prevent any miscalculations caused by the varying densities of different aromatic oils. The following is the formula for calculating the amount of aromatic oil in candle wax:

[grams of wax used in a single candle] x [percentage of aromatic oil you wish to use] = [grams of aromatic oil you will need per candle]

Although the number of aromatic oils used in candles will vary depending on the type of wax used, the most common amount to use is 6% which is the same as 1 oz. (28.34 grams) per pound (0.45 kg) of wax.

It is important to remember that nose blindness can occur when adding scents to candles. This is a form of sensory adaptation that happens when the sense of smell becomes so accustomed to the scent that it smells less intense than it actually is. For this reason, taking frequent breaks away from the scent is highly recommended to prevent candles from being too strongly scented.

Colorants: There are specific oil-based dyes meant for candles, as regular food coloring will not work in candles due to the fact that they are water-based. The manufacturer’s guide or the dye bottle will provide information about the amounts of dye required to achieve specific colors and concentrations.

candle making colors

For example, a rose-scented candle is most often expected to be red or pink in color, as that is the natural and most popular color of the traditional rose with the archetypal sweet aroma.

There are two types of colorants for candles: pigments and dyes. Pigments are used to color the exterior of the candle. Dyes, which are melted into the wax itself, color the entire candle thoroughly. As long as both types of colorants are used as intended, they will not pose any health risks.

  • PIGMENTS are the ideal colorant for colored candles that will not be as susceptible to fading, as they do not migrate or bleed; the different pigments will not merge or blend into each other as the candle burns. On the downside, because they are powders and do not dissolve, pigments do not usually burn well due to the suspension of their fine color particles. If mixed into candle wax, they will cause the flame of the finished candle to smoke excessively or to flare up, or they will not travel up the wick, which will cause it to become clogged and to burn out. Instead of combining them into melted wax to color a candle throughout, it is better to paint them onto the outside of a finished candle. Though pigments can be mixed together to create an endless number of colors, many of them are already mixtures of several colors and adding too many colors to a melted candle mix might lead to a muddy color rather than an attractive, vibrant shade. Mica pigments are a popular colorant for candles. They are shimmery powder dyes made of silicate minerals. These powders reflect light and when added to candles they create a sparkling effect.
  • DYES come in both liquid and powder form. Dyes dissolve in liquids and do not usually clog wicks, as they burn easily when added to candle wax. They generally have a minimal effect on the way colored candle burns. On the downside, this type of colorant often leads to a bleeding candle. This means the candle’s colors will move into each other or “migrate.” Dyed candles also tend to become unstable when exposed to any source of UV light, which leads to their colors fading.
  • LIQUID CANDLE COLORING DYES are wax-soluble, highly concentrated, and will not leave suspended sediment that sometimes results from using powdered dyes. Their solubility means that colors will not migrate in a candle; however, the color can still fade when exposed to UV light. Generally, 1 oz. (28.34 g) of liquid dye can color 125 lb. (56.69 kg) of wax to a medium shade. 4 to 8 drops per pound of wax is the ideal amount to use. Using more than 10 drops of dye per pound of wax might cause candles to have a chemical smell. The maximum amount of liquid dye is 30 drops per pound (453.59 g) of wax, and using more than this can lead to a clogged wick. Melted paraffin wax will not mix with liquid dye, so the powdered dye is suggested.
  • POWDERED CANDLE DYES are the most concentrated of all candle dyes. To promote better dispersion and to reduce the number of undissolved powdered dye particles in the wax, these colors can be dissolved in a small amount of melted stearic acid or blended with a fragrance oil before being combined with the wax. The temperature at which they dissolve most effectively in wax is 80 áµ’C (176 áµ’F). Once the wax reaches this temperature, the powdered dye can be stirred in. To prevent any clumps of color, ensure that the powder has properly dispersed. Powdered dyes can also be mixed together to create myriad other colors. The amount of powdered dye is measured by weight as a percentage of the amount of wax being used in the candle.

The following measurements can be used to determine the starting point for each kind of shade:

  • For lighter shades: 0.1%
  • For medium shades: 0.15%
  • For darker shades: 0.25%

The following formula can be used to calculate the amount needed to color a candle:

[grams of wax used in a single candle] x [percentage of dye flakes] = [grams of dye flakes you will need per candle]

To achieve the desired color, adding the dye in stages is recommended. Begin with small amounts, such as a pinch, and increase the amount until the ideal color is reached. To see what the final color will be while the wax is still melted, scoop a small amount of melted colored wax onto a spoon and run cold water over it to cool it. The candle’s final color will show on the spoon.

    • CONCENTRATED CANDLE DYE BLOCKS are molded blocks of wax containing colorants. They do not require any additional weighing, as the exact amount of dye has already been calculated and incorporated into each block. Vendors might provide color charts and directions for how to achieve each color swatch. The same color block will make various color concentrations simply by varying the amount of wax used with a single dye block. The appearance of color will vary in different types of wax but color blocks generally do not produce colors as vibrant as the ones created by liquid dyes and are best suited for attaining soft colors. The recommended starting rate is 0.5 oz. (14.17 g) of dye block in 5 lb. (2.26 kg) of wax. For a darker shade, black coloring block can be added. Lighter shades will fade faster than darker ones. To use a color block in candle wax, the desired amount of color is shaved off and added to the melted wax. To prevent specks of color from settling at the bottoms of candles, ensure that the color block is fully combined with the wax before it is pouring into the mold.
    • CANDLE DYE CHIPS are available in any color and often come in diamond or circle shapes. Only one chip is required per pound of wax. Dye chips are most convenient for dying small amounts of candle wax, whereas powders, liquids, and blocks are best suited for dyeing large amounts.

Caution: Using too much of any kind of colorant in candles can suppress the throw of the scent and impact the melt pool of the candle, which is how quickly the candle burns and finishes.

CANDLE MAKING TOOLS AND INGREDIENTS

FOR AN 8 OZ. (226.79 G) AROMATHERAPY CANDLE

  • A Double Boiler or 2 pots for a makeshift Double Boiler
  • 8 oz. (226.79 g) of desired wax
  • A cotton wick
  • A sharp knife
  • Aromatic oils (optional)
  • A wooden spoon, spatula, or stick to stir the wax and to break up large chunks of wax
  • An 8 oz. (226.79 g) heat-resistant container for the final candle OR an 8 oz. (226.79 g) mold (optional)
  • A Candy/Candle/Meat Thermometer to take the temperature of the wax in order to add fragrances and to know the best time to pour the wax into the container
  • 2 Pen(s)/Pencil(s)

HOW TO MAKE AN AROMATHERAPY CANDLE

FOR AN 8 OZ. (226.79 G) AROMATHERAPY CANDLE

  1. Prepare the work area with newspaper or paper towel to make for easy cleanup, as wax droplets can land anywhere and be laborious to scrape off. Set up newspaper or paper towels around your work area. Use the newspaper/paper towel as a place on which to set tools such as the thermometer and spatula. Having the containers and wicks laid out before beginning the process will provide more efficiency.
  2. If the wax does not already come in small pellets, cut the block of wax into smaller chunks with a sharp knife.
  3. Melt the wax in the double boiler by filling half the bottom pan with water and, for an 8 oz. (226.79 g) jar, place half a pound of wax in the top pan. Stir the wax until the big chunks have all been broken up. After 10-15 minutes, the wax should be melted entirely. At 71 áµ’C – 76 áµ’C (160 – 170 áµ’F), remove the wax from the heat.
  4. Cut the wick to fit the height of the container. Tape or wrap the extra length of the wick around the pens or pencils so that the wick stands upright when placed inside the container. These writing utensils should be placed across the top of the container to keep the wick in place at the center of the jar as the wax is poured in and as it cools later. Some wicks have stickers on the bottoms to help them adhere to jars. Other options include sticking the wick in place with super glue or dabbing the bottom of the wick with melted wax. Hold the wick in place until the glue or the wax hardens.
  5. An aromatic oil can be added to soy wax, paraffin-free wax, or beeswax at the temperature best suited to its flash point, which is the point at which the scent evaporates. For example, if an aromatic oil’s flash point is greater than 80 áµ’C (176 áµ’F), add the oil before the wax gets hotter than 80áµ’C (176 áµ’F). The amount of oil for the wax will be determined by the strength of the scent and the amount of wax. Stir in the fragrance until it can be smelled through the wax mixture and until it is evenly distributed. Stir in the aromatic oil for a minimum of 2 minutes to ensure it has been fully mixed into the wax. Allow the wax to cool down to 54 áµ’C – 60 áµ’C (130-140 áµ’F) before pouring the wax into the container. This is the optimal temperature range at which to pour the wax, as the candle will set better this way than if poured when it is hotter.
  6. While pouring the wax into the prepared containers, keep a light hold on the wick to ensure it stays centered, as the heat from the wax might dislodge the wick from its place at the bottom of the container, especially if the wax was also used to hold the wick in place. Do not pour all the wax into the container at once – save some in the double boiler until the initial pour sets inside the container. To add the remainder of the wax to the candle container, repeat the melting process.
  7. As the candle sets, a sinkhole will likely form in the center of the candle and the edges of the candle will likely pull away from the insides of the container. To fix this, simply top up the container with the remainder of the melted wax. Do not fill the candle container all the way to the top, as space will be needed for the wax to melt when the candle burns.
  8. Allow the candle to cool. Paraffin candles generally take 24 hours to cool, Soy candles generally take 4 – 5 hours to cool, and Beeswax candles generally take 6 hours to cool. Allowing them to solidify at room temperature overnight will yield the best result, as the gradual cooling process will prevent cracks in the wax.
  9. Trim the wick of the finished candle to 1/4″ (6 mm). A wick that is longer than this will produce a sooty flame. If a scented candle has a long wick, the fragrance will not disperse and will instead be burned up quickly. This is because a small wick means a smaller flame, which means the candle burns slowly and lasts longer. This gives the scent a chance to emerge rather than being consumed. A long wick will also cause the flame to flicker and it might curl back into the wax as the candle cools and hardens.
  10. When cleaning up wax, it is easier to wipe it off of tools while the wax is still in liquid form. Washing it down the drain in liquid form will cause the drain to be clogged when it hardens. If it hardens before it can be easily wiped off, it is also easy to scrape off of most items.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

In order to ensure safety and good results while making candles out of wax made from scratch, always be aware of the temperature of the wax by using a thermometer. The fumes of wax that are overheated can cause severe illness, especially if the area is not ventilated.

To prevent fire hazards, keep wax away from open flames at all times and never leave wax unattended, not even when it is being melted in a double boiler. In the case of a wax fire, do not put it out with water or with any water-based fire extinguisher. Wax is an oil and applying water to it might cause the blazing wax to splatter. Any tiny fires that accidentally occur inside the melting pot can be extinguished by putting the lid on it. The most important candle making equipment is a fire extinguisher.

To prevent skin burns, use heat-resistant gloves or pot holders when handling the melting pot, hot containers, or heated equipment. Wearing loose clothing will also be beneficial in the event that hot wax sprays onto clothing, as tightly fitted clothing will allow the heat to travel immediately through the fabric onto the skin. Skin that comes in contact with heated wax should have cold water applied to it immediately and the wax should be peeled off.

Ensure that the candle making routine is always mindful.

DIY Soap Making at Home, Melt and Pour Soap, How to Make Soap

The melt and pour method of making soap is the safest to partake in, as the basic principle is melting a pre-made soap base and pouring it into a mold. Melt and pour soap is ready to use within hours after being made, and it allows for countless variations of artistic effects that can be achieved with additives. This form of soap-making can be likened to baking a cake with a dried cake mix to which you need to add only a few more ingredients to enhance its quality. Working with melt and pour soap means the “saponification process” – the process that converts lye or fats into soap – has already been completed and has yielded a base that is ready to use and personalize.

In order for melt and pour soap base to be produced, the saponification process needs to be complete. This entails mixing an oil or fat, which is known as the “acid” with lye, which is the “base.” The end result is the soap, which is considered to be the “salt.” When the mixture cools, it is poured into a suitable mold to cool and set. Once it has cooled it can be melted again to create fun and unique soaps.

Melt and pour soap contains a high percentage of glycerin, which means it has a highly moisturizing quality that makes it gentler on skin than store-bought soaps. Glycerin is a component of fat or oil and is a natural byproduct of the saponification process. Glycerin is a humectant, which means it attracts moisture and this is what lends soap its moisturizing property. When exposed to humidity, melt and pour soap tends to “sweat,” because the glycerin attracts moisture from the air, so they must be kept as dry as possible on well-draining surfaces.

MELT AND POUR SOAP VS. COLD PROCESS SOAP

The difference between Cold Process soap making and Melt and Pour soap making is that in the former process, soap is made from scratch using lye as one of the main components. Lye is not as easily obtained as melt and pour soap bases, because it is only supplied by chemical companies or hardware companies. This process also requires more safety measures such as goggles and gloves due to the caustic nature of the lye in which oils are mixed. On the other hand, melt and pour soap bases are pre-made and sold in blocks that are ready to be melted down to make customized soap. The process is safe enough for children to partake in because there is no need for the corrosive solution to be used. Cold Process soap needs to sit for six weeks in order for it to harden and for any excess liquids to evaporate before it can be used. Melt and pour soap dries and hardens faster than cold process soap making, which means it is ready to use much sooner.

soap making how to

BELOW ARE SOME COMMON ADDITIVES:

COLORANTS

To add color to soap, only cosmetic grade colorants should be used, as they are specially designed for use on skin. Some popular colorants include Oxides and Pigments, Liquid Colorants, LabColors, Color Blocks, Micas, and Clays. When adding mica powders, natural tinting herbs, and ultramarines, it is best to begin adding only 1/8 tsp per pound (0.45kg) of soap. If the mixture appears to be too light, more can be added in small amounts at a time. Soaps that are too darkly tinted might discolor skin.

Colorants include: LabColors, Pearlescent Micas, Natural Colorants (Clays, Herbs) and Pigments (Oxides and Ultramarines).

  • LABCOLORS: These are water soluble concentrated liquid dyes that create vibrant hues. They need to be heated and diluted in water, as they bleed in melt and pour soap. Those that come in glass bottles can be heated in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Those in plastic bottles can be submerged inside the bottle in a bowl of boiled water that has cooled down to 60 áµ’ C (140 áµ’ F). When the dye is heated, pour it into the water. After the dye and water mixture has cooled, a water-soluble preservative may be added to it. While stirring the soap batter, add the water and dye mixture one drop at a time. Below is the LabColor Dilution Chart from Bramble Berry:
LabColor Size Amount of Diluted LabColor (for CP) Amount of Soap – Light Tint Amount of Soap – Deep Tint
small 4 ounces 59 pounds 15 pounds
large 8 ounces 118 pounds 30 pounds
jumbo 50 ounces 737 pounds 184 pounds
    • PEARLESCENT MICAS: These are shimmery powder dyes. Before being added to a melt and pour soap, they should be mixed with a small amount of oil or glycerin or they will not disperse properly and will instead clump in one spot. Another way of implementing micas into soap is by sprinkling small amounts of them between several layers of the soap. They do not dissolve in liquids or mix with other colors, so using them in translucent melt and pour soap means they will give it a bright sparkle and crisp, clean lines.
    • NATURAL COLORANTS (CLAYS, HERBS): are natural and more subdued dyes that do not bleed or fade. They produce soap colors in a range of colors including cream, yellow, gray, green, purple, red, pink and orange. Before adding a clay to soap, it is a good idea to mix it with an equal amount of water until it is liquid, as clays draw moisture into themselves and adding them directly to soap can thus cause the soap to crack or crumble.
  • PIGMENTS (OXIDES AND ULTRAMARINES): These are powdered dyes. They are similar to micas in that they need to be mixed with water before being added to soap. The designs made with pigments will also be vivid and well-defined inside soap.

MOISTURIZERS

Moisturizers such as vegetable butters, vegetable oils, and clays can be added as the melt and pour soap base is heated. It might seem counterintuitive to use clay as a moisturizing ingredient, as it is known to have properties that draw out the moisture from the skin, but in its damp phase, it exudes beneficial minerals. The rate of usage for moisturizers is approximately 1 – 2 tbsp per pound (0.45 kg) of soap base.

Adding a moisturizer like Mango Butter will allow your soap to help combat skin irritations such as dryness, fine lines, wrinkles, sunburn, insect bites, rashes and stretch marks. Conditioning butters like Shea and Cocoa provide a creamy lather as well as hardness to the soap. Cocoa Butter helps skin retain moisture and protects it against harsh environmental pollutants by creating a barrier, and it provides soap with the added benefit of its mild, pleasant smell.

Clays such as Rhassoul will not only clean and firm but also condition and nourish the skin.  To add clay to a soap base without causing the clay to clump when it comes in contact with the soap, it must first be made into a paste with distilled water. 0.33 tbsp (1 tsp) of clay can be distilled in 1 tbsp of distilled water. Clays tend to add earthy colors to soaps.

FRAGRANCES

Soaps can be scented with fragrance oils, which are synthetic or with essential oils, which are natural. They are added to melt and pour soap base before it is removed from the stove to be poured into the mold, as these scents will not melt properly in soap that has already cooled. Adding scents at this time helps make them last, although the strength of scents varies from oil to oil. Kaolin clay is a common additive for scented soaps, as it helps the soap retain its aroma by giving the fragrance something to “stick” to. What also helps soap retain its scent is storing the final product in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

Fragrance oils may contain ingredients that have natural colors – vanillin is one example – and the soap color can be affected by these natural colors. In the case of vanillin, it turns soap brown over time. The color of some essential oils might also affect the color of the soap. NDA supplies Vanilla Stable Melt & Pour Glycerin Soap Base, which is formulated to prevent browning over time when fragrances containing Vanillin are used.

For melt & pour soap, the recommended amount of fragrance oils is 15 ml per pound (0.5 oz per 0.45kg) of soap, and the recommended amount of essential oils is 7.4 ml per pound (0.25 oz per 0.45kg) of soap.

It is highly recommended that soap makers thoroughly read and understand the vendor’s safety instructions for use before adding the appropriate ratio of fragrance/essential oils to the soap-making process. It is important to consider how skin will react to the particular essential oils used as well as how they might dissipate in reaction to heat.

EXFOLIANTS

Exfoliants are ingredients with textures and properties that lend them the ability to polish dry, dull skin. They work to remove the dead cells on the top layer of skin. To prevent a layer of exfoliating botanicals from forming in the soap, it is a good idea to avoid using too much of the exfoliant and to ensure continuous stirring of the soap batter after the exfoliants have been added. In general, the rate of exfoliant usage is 1 – 2 tablespoons per pound (0.45 kg) of soap. If a coarse, abrasive soap is desired then the amount of exfoliant needs to be higher than this recommended base amount.

    • FINE EXFOLIANTS (E.G. COLLOIDAL OATMEAL, JOJOBA BEADS): These can be added to the soap base after the fragrance is added. The best way to incorporate colloidal oatmeal is to grind it up into the texture of oat flour and to disperse it in a liquid such as oil or water to prevent clumping in the melted soap. Jojoba beads are small, smooth, waxy spheres that provide a gentle exfoliation. As with the oatmeal, they should be incorporated into the soap mix when it is at a temperature of 48 °C – 51 °C (118 °F – 123 °F).  If the temperature is higher than this, both the oatmeal and the beads will float at the top rather than remain suspended evenly throughout the final product. It is best to use just a pinch of beads to begin, as the more jojoba beads that are used, the harder it will be to ensure they are spread out evenly.

 

    • MEDIUM EXFOLIANTS (E.G. FINE GRAIN DEAD SEA SALTS, SUGAR, SHREDDED LOOFAH): Due to the speed with which soap tends to set when salts are added, it is best to move quickly when adding them to the base and to mix them in well with a spoon. It is ideal to spoon rather than pour the soap into the mold to avoid fast setting. Soaps containing salt need to be cut about an hour after being poured into their molds, otherwise, they crumble when being cut. Sugars can be added when the soap is melted halfway and then stirred in quickly with a spoon until it is completely dissolved. Then it should be mixed with hands into a paste and pressed firmly into molds. Adding sugar has the added benefit of increasing the soap’s lather. It is best to add shredded loofah after the soap has slightly cooled so that the shreds remain suspended in the melted soap. Shredded loofah can be embedded into soap by sprinkling it onto the melted soap in layers inside molds: pour the first layer of soap and allow it to firm up before sprinkling the loofah onto it, and then pour another thin layer of warm soap over that.

 

  • LARGE EXFOLIANTS (E.G. COFFEE GROUNDS, STRAWBERRY SEEDS): Add the coffee grounds once the soap has become liquid and the heat has been turned off. Then pour the mixture into the molds. After strawberry seeds are added to the melted soap, they should be mixed in thoroughly to promote even suspension throughout the soap. For a more abrasive soap bar, the seeds can be added to just one side of the soap. To start, use 1 – 2 teaspoons per pound (0.45 kg) of soap. Adjust the amount as needed.

EXTRACTS

Extracts introduce the beneficial properties of their original plants into the soap. They can be added to the melted soap at a rate of 1-2 tbsp per each pound (0.45 kg) of soap and stirred in with a spoon just before the mixture is poured into the mold. The following are some popular choices for extracts that are incorporated into the melt and pour soap making process:

  • CHAMOMILE EXTRACT is known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Its calming scent also helps with stress relief.
  • GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT is known to protect and nourish skin with its antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C, and E. It promotes cellular health and works as a disinfectant.
  • GREEN TEA EXTRACT is a rich source of anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E and is known to soothe sunburnt or irritated skin. It also helps repair cells that are damaged by such causes as harsh environmental factors, aging, and acne.
  • GUAVA FRUIT EXTRACT is high in Vitamins A, B, and C is thus known for its anti-aging properties and its ability to prevent the oxidation of cells.
  • PAPAYA FRUIT EXTRACT naturally lifts and rejuvenates skin while making it smoother and softer. It stabilizes oily skin and exfoliates dry skin. Its rich Vitamin A content helps repair skin by increasing cell formation, and its Vitamin C content makes it a potent anti-oxidant.

SOAP MAKING TOOLS AND INGREDIENTS

  • A clean stretch of countertop or table that would be wide enough to prepare a cake
  • Melt and pour soap base
  • A microwave or stove and double boiler to melt the soap base
  • A sharp knife or dough cutter for cutting enough of the base to fit the desired mold after it is melted
  • A large heat-resistant measuring cup that measures 1 liter (4 cups) or a microwave safe bowl in which to place the chopped base for melting
  • A heat-resistant spoon for mixing the base
  • Any kind of heat-resistant mold from which soap can easily be released (avoid using hard plastic or metal, which can react with and discolor soap ingredients)
  • Any additive can be included in a melt and pour soap mixture, including fragrances, colorants, skin care nutrients such as herbs, butters, exfoliants, and sparkles and more.
  • A small spray bottle of alcohol

HOW TO MAKE SOAP – STEP BY STEP PROCESS

  1. Sterilize the soap-making area, which should be large enough to prepare a cake mixture.
  2. Cut the desired amount of soap base into small squares. Every pound (0.45 kg) of soap base will yield 4-6 bars.
  3. Place the squares into A) a microwave safe bowl and heat them at short intervals of 15-20 seconds, stirring gently with each heating, B) a double boiler – a saucepan that is half full of water, which is heated until it boils. A second pan containing the chopped soap base is placed inside this saucepan. The heat from the bottom pan is transferred to the second pan and melts the soap base.
  4. With a heat-resistant spatula, stir the melted soap base slowly between each heating to avoid creating bubbles. If bubbles do arise, they can be dispersed with a spritz of alcohol from the spray bottle. Stirring slowly is also conducive to maintaining the right temperature for the soap, as soap bases lose water when heated at too high a temperature.
  5. Remove the soap from the heat source before it is completely melted and continue to stir it until the heat of the mixture is dispersed consistently throughout. At this point, essential oils, fragrance oils, colorants and other additives can be added while the mixture is stirred gently.
  6. Pour the melted soap base into the desired mold, ensuring that it is level. Any bubbles that form can be dispelled with a spray of alcohol. Fragrance oils might cause the soap to “weep,” which means the soap will feel wet and oily, so it is a good idea to do a batch test when using them.
  7. Allow the soap to sit and completely cool inside the mold. This wait time can be a couple of hours long or it can even cool overnight.
  8. Carefully release the soap from the molds onto a clean, flat surface with a tea towel or a paper towel to prevent denting any stubborn soaps stuck inside their molds. If this happens, a soap can be further frozen for 15-30 minutes to for easier removal. After being taken out of the freezer, hold the mold under hot water to melt the coating. The soap should then be easily peeled out.
  9. Any rough edges can be smoothed down with a paring knife and a clean cloth moistened with alcohol.
  10. Allow the soaps to air dry before packaging them, as any moisture trapped inside the packaging can make the soap slimy. Cellophane bags or shrink wrap are ideal for wrapping soap. It is best to wrap soap immediately after it has finished cooling, as this will prevent the soap from shrinking because of evaporated water content.

USING SOAP MOLDS

To ensure that soaps will be easily released from their molds, a coating can be applied to the molds.

Gently heat the following ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp petroleum jelly
  • 1 tbsp mineral oil (baby oil)

This mixture can be kept in a jar and can be spread onto molds with a small pastry brush to lightly coat the molds. Silicone brushes found in the cooking section of your local dollar store are great for this.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

Before incorporating any additive into a soap recipe, it is important to understand the amount that can be safely used. Too much of an additive might lead to issues such as the breakdown of chemical bonds or it might necessitate the use of preservatives.

Only heat-safe equipment should be used to make soap as the melting temperatures generally reach above 48 áµ’C (120 áµ’F). When skin is exposed to hot soap, it is painful.

Fresh ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, or milk are best avoided in a melt and pour soap recipe, as they will always spoil eventually.