It’s now day 4 of our hospital stay, and while treatments & antibiotic schedules keep traffic moving in and out of our room frequently, we’re starting to get a little bored & craving a hands-on type of activity. One of the activities that Christa knows she will be participating in this coming year is a 4H oral presentation event. Each student prepares & researches a topic then presents what they know or have learned to groups of students, family & community. Our club actually sets the bar pretty high for these presentations, so Christa thought she could get a jump start of hers, knowing that she wanted to learn about soap-making. Her initial inspiration came from a girl on Instagram, I’m having her help me track down that original feed so you could watch it also- It was pretty cool & moved me to make a trip to Michael’s. If you don’t have a craft store close by & want to give this project a try, I am going to provide a few links through amazon to get you started (quick disclaimer–these are indeed affiliate links which help us pay a few bills)
So first of all we wanted to layer a soap that had the creamy & moisturizing shea butter as well as a traditional clear glycerine soap. The two that I ended up purchasing were both made by a brand called “Life of the party” I had to laugh about the brand name- after all it’s soap, but I guess you can’t be the life of the party if you stink! Click here to find the shea butter base we used…& here to find the clear glycerine base. We are pretty limited here at the hospital as to tools & such so I picked up two mason jars that were pretty low cost to melt our bases in. We decided we wanted to try a two pound batch, but the bases are pretty forgiving, you can mix & match cubes of them however your heart desires. We knew we wanted to do a fall scented blend, so I picked up a couple of scents made specifically for soap making. We went with vanilla pomegranate & apple cinnamon, but there are so many choices & ways to blend them. This package offers a nice variety of scents you might use for soaps & I thought was reasonably priced.
Last but not least, you’ll need a mold to pour your soap into. We used this rigid mold, which I found to be very high quality & I bet will last through hundreds of batches, but I had planned to pick up this silicone mold, it just wasn’t sold in stores. There are even lots of cute little silicone molds in fun sizes & shapes to choose from. Again we were going for a chunky looking layered Earthy type of finished bar, so the standard loaf mold was best.
We began by making our “apple slices” or the pink pieces which appear to float through the creamy ivory layer. We used 1/2# of the clear glycerine & added 2 blocks of the shea butter base. We melted it until smooth (about 90 seconds) in the microwave & mason jar, and stirred it until very smooth. Then we added about 10 drops of red soap colorant (from this pack of three soap colors I figured we could blend any color we needed) It continued to look like a fall shade of pink, so we were good with that. Then we added the apple cinnamon scent drops- about 4 drops. We poured this now pink & delicious smelling soap while still hot into two styrofoam cups. Then chilled them in our mini fridge. When they were set completely peeled off the cups & we cut them into “slices” or chunks using this awesome kitchen tool. It’s like a slicer, a scooper & a spatula all in one, called a bakers blade. I’m so glad I picked it up because I will definitely have uses for it in my kitchen at home.
We arranged the chunks loosely across the base of the mold & prepared the layer that would surround them. We melted another pound of the shea butter base until smooth and added a little yellow & a touch of red to make it a creamy ivory color. Then we blended in cinnamon spice tea leaves to give it that grainy texture & a few more drops of vanilla scent. We poured this over the pink slices & returned the mold to the fridge.
The top layer we wanted to have a deep dark color, but somewhat translucent in contrast to the creamy bottom layers, so we started with about 1/2# of the clear glycerine base, and after melting we chose to add a pumpkin spice cocoa mix we had in the room (about 2 Tbs). It dissolved beautifully in the hot base, and all we needed extra was a little more vanilla scent. Our staff kept coming to check out the heavenly scent that was escaping our room, it did really add a different feeling to the room to have it smell so nice!
We poured that on top & returned it all to set up n the cold for a couple of hours. In hindsight, I would recommend only setting your bottom layer up at room temperature before adding the top layer. Our layers were not super adherent to each other, and I think this would have not been a problem if bother layers had at least been warm a bit when pouring.
When it was fully set we popped the mold off to reveal a very cool looking loaf of soap. Slicing it was our favorite part, the inside was just fun to see how each slice looked a little different, and we were so happy with our color & scent combination. We’re planning to use these for demos in Christa’s demonstration, and I’m betting we’ll be making more soap before long. It was super fun to play with mixing the colors, scents & textures. We both were thinking of things to add to create all natural colors & scents as well. Sometimes our trials flop- but this one actually felt like a huge success, I’d highly recommend experimenting with it like we did!