Another easy DIY holiday gift idea coming’ at ya! This time we’re showing you how to make soap the easy way, no fuss no muss, and make it in bulk so you can always have a fun, festive, thoughtful gift at the ready this season. This no-fail tutorial is definitely for all my non-soap-maker friends out there who love the idea of a thoughtful, homemade, handmade gift for the holidays that stands out from the cookie-making crowd, but need a relatively easy way to do it. And that sentiment extends to the gift-wrapping, too! This is such a great gift idea for friends, family, neighbors, teachers, etc. and bonus, you can make a big batch and keep them on hand to gift throughout the holiday season when the need arises!
One of the things that makes this process really easy on all of us soap-making newbies is using what they call a “melt and pour” soap base like this. Essentially, all you have to do is grab a block of the melt and pour base of your choosing (think shea butter, goat’s milk, cocoa butter, etc.), chop it up into cubes, melt in the microwave, pour into your molds and voila, you’ve got homemade soap! I have an entire household of sensitive skin folks, so I chose a goat’s milk base for its moisturizing properties, but you can choose whatever base tickles your fancy.
I want to preface this tutorial with a little note about soap scents, though. When I wanted to try some easy melt-and-pour soap making at home and went down the rabbit hole of tutorials on the subject, I quickly realized that adding scents to your homemade soap isn’t something you can just wing or “freehand”. Adding essential oils to something you’ll be using on your skin is a very, very delicate process and can irritate skin if not done properly. So if you want to scent your soap, you must know your essential oils and your ratios. I found this post and chart to be really helpful on that front, especially since my soap batch was a 1 lb. batch (easy for me to find the ratios in this chart).
I talk more about this in the tutorial below, but for this particular batch of soap, because I have a sensitive skin household and didn’t want to take the chance of irritating any of my gift recipient’s skin, I only added oatmeal to my soap and skipped the scents. And the combination of goat’s milk and oatmeal was positively delightful and such a simple way to make a lovely, moisturizing soap that everyone can enjoy. Happy soap-making, friends!
- 1 lb. melt and pour goat’s milk soap base
- Microwave safe glass pitcher or similar vessel (I used my trusty old Pyrex measuring cup that I use for craft projects for easy pouring)
- Silicone soap molds (or any silicone molds you like will work!)
- Parchment paper
- Fresh rosemary
- Cinnamon sticks
- Festive baker’s twine or string
How to Make Soap at Home
1. Cut your big melt and pour base block into small cubes and place in a microwave safe vessel (I used an old Pyrex measuring cup). They don’t need to be pretty, you just need to break the block up into smaller pieces.
2. Melt in the microwave in 30 second intervals until the soap is completely melted.
3. If you’re going to scent your soap with essential oils, add them after taking your melted base out of the microwave. But be warned, adding essential oils to something you’ll be using on your skin is a very, very delicate process and can irritate skin if not done properly. So know your essential oils and your ratios. I I found this post and chart to be really helpful, especially since my soap batch was a 1 lb. batch (easy for me to find the ratios in this chart). In general, for 1 lb. of soap you’d add about 2 to 3 tsp of essential oils, depending on what the essential oil is. Again, that’s a generalization and you should NOT simply use that generalization for your ratios. Check the chart or if you can’t find your essential oAnd you also should not use the dropper to add essential oils to your soap as they’re not accurate. I actually left the essential oils out of this batch of soaps because I felt like the goat’s milk and oatmeal were such a nice, cozy combo, and my gift recipients could enjoy the soap’s moisturizing effects without the worry of irritation. And the wrapping felt festive enough to make them holiday ready!
4. This is also where some people may add food coloring, but I really wanted to do a nice, moisturizing, cozy soap for my friends that they could use and love without any extra “stuff” that might irritate their skin. So all I added to my soap mixture was some oatmeal that I lightly pulsed in the food processor to break up the flakes. I then added it to my melted soap and stirred to make sure it was completely combined and not clumpy.
5. Once you’ve added your desired scents or mix-ins, pour your soap mixture into your silicone molds. I used these square molds because I wanted a nice, simple bar soap shape that would also lend itself to easy gift wrapping, but when it comes to silicone molds, the sky’s the limit! I love the idea of grabbing molds that have fun, festive shapes applicable to the occasion.
6. Let harden at room temp. This takes about 20 minutes at room temperature.
7. Now it’s time to gift wrap our bars! Since I like to keep it elevated, but easy, I used parchment paper, baker’s twine, a rosemary sprig and a cinnamon stick to make my bars of soap feel festive and gift-worthy. All I did was cut the parchment paper into strips that were slightly smaller that the width of my soap, crumpled it up for a more rustic look, taped the strips together in the back of the bars, wrapped my baker’s twine around that several times before tying in a bow, then added a cinnamon stick and a sprig of rosemary under the bows for an elevated, wintery vibe. Too easy!