3 Handmade Soaps for Gift Giving

Try your hand at giving handmade soaps this year for the holidays.  Below are 3 handmade soaps from The Complete Photo Guide to Soap Making to get you started!
Swirled soap, The Complete Photo Guide to Soap Making
SWIRLED HAND-MILLED SOAP BARS
Some swirling is possible with hand-milled soap, especially if the soap is not very old and has had sodium lactate added. This technique can be done in a loaf or log mold or in individual molds.

INGREDIENTS

• 1 lb (454 g) fresh grated soap
• 2 to 3 ounces (57 to 85 g) liquid of choice
• 1 ounce (28 g) sodium lactate

ADDITIVES

• 0.5 ounce (14 g) fragrance oil or essential oil
• ½ teaspoon yellow mica
• ½ teaspoon red mica
• ½ teaspoon purple mica

EQUIPMENT

• Basic soap-making equipment (see page 14)
• Chopstick
Makes about 1 pound (454 g)
Swirled soap process, The Complete Photo Guide to Soap Making
1 Stir the liquid into the shreds and melt the soap using slow cooker or oven-roasting bag method. When fully melted, separate the batch into three portions.
2 Add the yellow mica to one portion, the red mica to the second portion, and the purple mica to the third. Mix
each well (A).
3 Spoon or pour a small bit of each color into the mold(s), laying one color next to the other, and on top of the other (B).
4 When the molds are filled, use a chopstick to swirl the soap. In addition to swirling side to side, push the chopstick all the way to the bottom of the mold to get the colors on the bottom swirled up to the top (C). Set aside
to cool and harden. This swirl technique works best in larger molds, such as loaf/log molds, but (as shown) it can be done in individual molds, as well. With individual molds, you may need to shave or wash the top layer (the bottom of the mold cavity) to reveal the swirls.
Starry night soap, The Complete Photo Guide to Soap Making
STARRY NIGHT SOAP
This soap uses a star-shaped piece of soap embedded into the bar. This “embed” can be made from hand-milled, melt-and-pour, or cold process soap molded in a star-shaped tube mold or cut out with a star-shaped cookie cutter. The overall stars effect in the bar comes from the very finely grated, well-dried soap. If you don’t have a well-cured bar of white soap to grate, a purchased bar of white soap works very well.

INGREDIENTS

• Star embed
• 3 tablespoons (45 g) finely grated, well-cured, dried white soap
• 1 lb (454 g) grated fresh soap
• 2 to 3 ounces (57 to 85 g) liquid of choice

ADDITIVES

• 0.5 ounce (14 g) fragrance oil or essential oil
• 1 teaspoon blue mica

EQUIPMENT

• Basic soap-making equipment (see page 14)
Makes about 1 pound (454 g)
1 Place the star embed into the mold cavity and sprinkle a light layer of grated white soap around the star.
2 Stir the liquid into the shreds and melt the soap using slow cooker or oven-roasting bag method. When fully melted, mix in the fragrance oil, blue mica, and remaining grated white soap.
3 Gently scoop the blue soap into the mold cavities, being careful not to move the star embed and surrounding white shreds too much. When finished pouring, reposition the star, if necessary. Set aside to cool and harden.
4 When the soap is fully hardened, you may need to plane or wash off the top layer of soap to reveal the star embed and surrounding white stars.
Rose soap, The Complete Photo Guide to Soap Making
DOUBLE ROSE HAND-MILLED SOAP
Rose clay and rose petals give this soap (shown near right) a lovely old-fashioned look. You can substitute other colorants or botanicals as well.

INGREDIENTS

• 1 lb (454 g) grated soap
• 2 to 3 ounces (57 to 85 g) liquid of choice

ADDITIVES

• 0.5 ounce (14 g) fragrance oil or essential oil
• 1 tablespoon (15 g) rose clay
• 2 tablespoons (30 ml) liquid glycerin (optional)
• 1 tablespoon (1.5 g) lightly crushed rose petals buds

EQUIPMENT

• Basic soap-making equipment (see page 14)
Makes about 1 pound (454 g)
1 Stir the liquid into the shreds and melt the soap using slow cooker or oven-roasting bag method. When fully melted, add the rose clay and mix well. Clays tend to clump and create specs in the soap. Premixing it into the liquid glycerin (if using) helps the clay disperse more evenly.
2 Gently mix in the rose petals.
3 Scoop the soap into the mold and set aside to cool and harden.

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The Complete Photo Guide To Soap Making

Homemade soaps, scrubs, salves, lotions, and other bath and body products have been popping up all over the places from craft fairs to Etsy and it’s no surprise why. Soap making is a fun and creative hobby that you can do right in the comfort of your own kitchen. Want to learn how? Look no further. The Complete Photo Guide to Soap Making is an A-Z primer on all things soap making.

Written by About.com soap making expert David Fisher, this easy-to-use book will guide you through everything you need to know from necessary ingredients, tools, and safety requirements to soap making methods, including: melt and pour, hand milling, cold process, and hot process. You’ll be a pro in no time!

Each of the chapters focuses on a specific method, demonstrating basic process, decorative techniques, recipes, and related products such as scrubs, bath bombs, and liquid soaps. You’ll also find a section on how to formulate original recipes, plus guidance on storage and ideas for packaging to impress your friends, family, and maybe even customers! So grab your creativity and some great ingredients and let’s get started.