Melt and Pour Soap Crafting, Part 1 Melt and Pour Soap Crafting, Part 1

Melt and pour soap making is a fairly easy process. If you have ever molded chocolates, you will easily make the transition into molding melt and pour soaps; if you haven't, you should have no trouble learning the craft of melt and pour soap making.

Melt and pour soap crafting refers to using blocks of pre-made soap base to melt and pour into soap molds for unique and personal soap creations. Melt and pour soaps can be customized with your choice of color, scent, and optional additives. Herbs, spices, and embedded embellishments are all options for creating unique soaps. Melt and pour soaps can be molded in a number of ways using pre-formed molds or interesting containers.

Most melt and pour soap bases are glycerin based. Glycerin is a natural byproduct produced when soap is made. Glycerin attracts moisture, making it an excellent natural moisturizer. Glycerin is produced during the commercial soap making process, but is usually extracted for sale and use in lotions and beauty products. Because of the high moisture attraction of glycerin, glycerin based soaps can be a little tougher to store. During periods of increased humidity, glycerin soaps attract water droplets in the air that will collect on the soap's surface; this does not affect the quality or life of the soap, but looks unattractive to some. Soaps wrapped tightly in plastic wrap avoid this problem. A quick rinse of the soap restores its original luster.

Good quality melt and pour glycerin soap bases make high-quality bath and beauty products. For many, melt and pour home soap crafts provide gentle, healthy alternatives for those with sensitive skin, allergies, or skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. The fact that you can quickly and easily stock your bathroom closet with fragrance and color free soaps is a bonus for people with such sensitivities. Additionally, added glycerin and beneficial oils can increase the moisturizing capabilities of home poured melt and pour soaps.

One thing to consider when buying melt and pour soap base - look for soap bases that do not contain a lot of waxes, alcohol or other fillers. Some soap suppliers will add fillers to produce a cheaper soap. Not only does this make the base less beneficial for the skin, but high levels of added alcohol can be flammable (an issue during melting), and added wax makes soaps 'melt' more quickly in the bath and shower, reducing the life of your soap product.

When shopping for melt and pour glycerin soap bases, there are a few main bases to choose from. Manufacturers will offer bases that are white or clear, and usually a couple of base options with some additives already added into the base. Oatmeal soap bases, coconut, and oil bases such as olive oil are common. These ingredients can also be added to your own white or clear base when you melt your soap for crafting.

The biggest consideration when choosing a base is what you want the end product to look like. Clear bases produce a color result that is transparent, similar to a stained-glass look when dyed. White melt and pour soap base produces something more relative to pastel colors. Bases with oatmeal or additives are chosen more for the exfoliating and moisturizing properties they bring to the finished product (although a sandy-looking oatmeal based soap offers some unique decorative elements as well).

Melt and pour soap base suppliers sell colorants in easy to use chunks and liquids for unique soap crafting. A wide variety of fragrances are offered to customize the scent of your soaps, too. Other options you might find from a melt and pour soap supplier include oils and additives to enhance the appearance and performance of your custom melt and pour soaps. In addition, everyday groceries are sometimes used in soap recipes. Among the additives you might find in your own kitchen cabinet are powdered cocoa, coffee, oatmeal, corn meal, green tea and more. Dried herbs and botanicals are common ingredients in melt and pour soap recipes, not only for the health benefits many provide to the skin, but for aromatherapy and decorative properties as well (a clear, tinted base with lavender sprigs imbedded in it is a striking and decorative bath gift). For any fragrance, color, or additive, be sure it is labeled "soap safe."

Continue to Part 2: Molds, Pouring and Hardening >

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