I found myself this week looking for some small homemade gifts to give to my children’s teachers as the end of the year approaches. I decided to use melt and pour soap to make some of those beautiful layered bars of soap I see for sale at Whole Foods and other places at exorbitant prices. I had not realized before I started how incredibly easy and quick it is to make really striking melt and pour soap.
I made a mini batch using a sour cream container that produced 5 large circles of soap. You can use any shape or size of mold you want. Using something flexible like plastic will make it easier to release the soap when it has hardened. You can find melt and pour soap at craft stores or online. It comes in a log and you slice off the amount you need.
First you will melt small amounts of opaque soap and dye them different colors. You have to guess how much you will need. I looked at my container and tried to cut enough soap to color to fill it 2/3 full. I still wound up with extra for future projects! Melting the soap in the microwave is the easiest method but if you are like me and do not have one then you need to use a double boiler. Do not try to melt the soap directly on the stove top because it will burn. Melt some soap, color it, and pour it into a small container to dry. You will be cutting the soap into chunks and peeling it with a cheese slicer so a small rectangular container is good. I decided to have three colors inside my soap: white, dark green and yellow. I made small batches of yellow and green to cut.
While the colored opaque soap is hardening you can melt the translucent soap. I colored mine very slightly with green dye. You won’t be using it until it has cooled down a lot so go ahead and melt it and then put it to the side.
Cut the colored opaque soap into squares and rectangles and make some curls using a cheese slicer. If you want some white pieces cut them now.
Arrange some of these pieces in the bottom of your mold.
You don’t want to pour boiling translucent soap on top of these small pieces or they will melt so you will actually wait until the clear soap is pretty cool then spoon it carefully on top of your first layer.
Wait for this to harden a bit then add the next layer of colored pieces, top it off with clear, and so on.
When the layered soap is hard you can unmold it. Mine popped out of the sour cream container pretty easily after I loosened the edges with a thin knife. I had also considered just cutting the container apart and peeling it off if it gave any resistance. Be careful cutting the soap. You do not want it to shatter. First, score the soap where you want your slices to be. Some people recommend using a piece of wire and heating it on the stove (wearing gloves) to slice through the soap. I was lucky and happened to be running my dishwasher when I decided to cut the soap so I waited until it was in drying mode and then took a butcher knife out and used this hot knife to effortlessly cut the soap.
My soap is really lovely. The clear green with the yellow, dark green and white embedded pieces makes it look very cheerful and summery. You could also do 4th of July colors, rainbow, or any pretty color combination that you dream up. You don’t have to cut the colored pieces into chunks. You can use tiny cookie cutters to make shapes. To make it look even more like stained glass you can use translucent soap for the colored insert pieces and color the opaque soap black to fill the spaces.