Soapmaking is a cheap, quick, satisfying craft that is a great gift idea - not just for Valentines, but also for thank you gestures and house-warming presents. The best thing is that complete novices, any one new to making or lacking in confidence with crafting will get results they'll be proud of within minutes and you don't need much to get started.
You will need:
*Melt & pour soap base OR any glycerin soap as it melts in the same way
(The soap base in available in craft stores or search online)
*Silicone mould (ones for baking are fine)
*Microwave, microwavable bowl & fork
(Alternatively, melt the soap in a pan on your cooker)
*Optional - food colouring
*Things to suspend (like dried flowers, glitter, ornaments etc)*Scent
1. Chop up the base into small pieces and measure out how much you will need in each compartment of the mould. You will need to add double the quantity of how far it fills up, because it will reduce in size when melted.2. Heat the base in the microwave for 15 seconds, then stir. Keep melting for 15 second intervals until it's completely liquidised.
3. The base solidifies very quickly. So get ready to put it into the mould as soon as possible. If you are using food colouring add it now. It will lower the temperature of the base making it solidify. If that happens, place it back in the microwave. If you're using glitter, stir it in as well. Now is also the time to add a few drops of scent like a diluted essential oil (they are often too strong on their own.) You can leave the soaps fragrance free but I think they are more fun to use (and more impressive if you are giving them as a gift), if they are scented.
4. Setting takes up to a couple of hours so leave them in a cool place. Then pop them out like ice cubes.
1. Hundreds & thousands - I placed plastic initial beads at the bottom of the mould then sprinkled cake decorations on top.
2. Plain blue soap - I coloured this soap by blending blue food colouring into the melted soap base.
3. Plastic beads - I suspended plastic beads in the mould - as it gets used, the beads fall out and you'll end up with enough to make a bracelet!
4. Sequins - I suspended silver star confetti in the base.
5. Red glitter - I mixed glitter and red food colouring into the melted base.6. Rose buds - First I poured melted clear base into the mould then placed small rose buds directly on the top surface.
Because the soap base is transparent you can see everything that's suspended in it. The top surface of the rose soap shows off the petals, but when you turn it over, you see the lovely buds underneath.For more soap making ideas this book will fill you with inspiration. Brimming with colourful photos I've used it in spa crafting workshops before and everyone is amazed by it - the instructions are clear and accessible.
Have fun making your own soaps but be warned: buying a shop bought soap is not the same once you're discovered how easy it is to make your own 'bespoke' ones in a matter of minutes at home!
NB: Tightly wrap cling film around each of your soaps to preserve them.