It’s a little known fact that a few years ago I was drafted in by a local small business to help create and develop a range of bath and pampering products; Making soaps, bath-bombs and natural beauty preparations was a bit of a hobby for me that suddenly turned into something a bit more serious; Not a course I wanted to pursue long term, but a nice little diversion for a short while……
Hopefully, I’ll be able to share a few hints and tips that I’ve picked up along the way as a result…… because it’s week two of my ‘Gifts’ theme and there’s heavenly scents emanating throughout the house! Soap making and general scented gorgeousness have been very much the order of the day – And now is the perfect time to prepare your product in time for Christmas gift giving 🙂
Melt & Mold Soap Making
Melt & mold soap making is addictive – It’s not as hazardous as making soap from scratch with alkaline lyes and it’s relatively quick and easy to do. In a way it’s much like candle making, where you would melt a product base and then add colour and fragrance before pouring into a mold to harden. Inexpensive equipment needed to carry out the task is readily available and the whole process can be done in the comfort of your own kitchen over the course of a few short hours. What’s not to like about that?
Winterberry fragranced campervan guest soaps – With melt & mold soapmaking you can make just about anything!
I won’t go in to the basics of how to do it because, as usual, there’s a wealth of information, instructions and videos to peruse at your leisure. But here’s a short video clip of making melt & mold soap in its most basic form to start you on your way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXmLgRxTKTg
I wouldn’t use cling film like they do in the video – and I’d advise you to be careful when whisking, adding fragrances etc as, essentially, you’re working with something that’s damned hot and potentially dangerous when it comes to possible burns, scalds etc.
With regards to fragrancing your soap ALWAYS use ‘skin-safe’ products. Cosmetic fragrance oils and essential oils are great; Pot-pourri and incense oils are a huge No! No! Please don’t ever attempt to use anything that’s not already recommended for direct use on the skin! It’s also worth noting that some American fragrance oils are not acceptable for use in the UK. But I guess that this is more of an issue if you’re intending to sell your product rather than give it as a gift.
A bit of a digression I know, but here’s a brief overview of a few of the things you’ll need to know if you intend to make money from this hobby: http://www.justasoap.co.uk/catalog/selling-your-products-c-28.html?osCsid=8f163dad580491e59e41ddd8eb8f5e90
I worked closely with Trading Standards who are also very happy to help and give great advice on things like weighing, labelling, batch marking, indicating shelf life, etc. More importantly, they’ll give advice on maintaining up to date MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) – again an absolute essential for folks wishing to make money from their hobby.
This is a great site for purchasing supplies in the UK and they include all the necessary documentation you’ll need alongside each detailed product description for you to download and print out – MSDS, Allergen and IFRA limits, plus COFA (Certificate of Analysis): http://www.gracefruit.com/ I’d make using this site my number one priority – It’s one of the best out there!
This site would ALWAYS be my number one stop – It’s brilliant!
This is also a useful site to look at when stocking up on essentials: http://www.yorkshirefragrance.co.uk/
As is this: http://www.bathbomb.biz/index.html
And this: http://www.dennycraftmoulds.co.uk/c17/soap-moulds/
I prefer to make big batches of soap using 1kg silicone loaf molds; You can get a bit more creative and have a go at embedding different elements, layering, suspending additives or including additives on top etc
I made two examples of embedded soaps – one with a loofah running through and one with a few simple ‘canes’ of contrasting colour.
Again, I won’t go in to great details about how to do this as there’s so many instructional videos available on the Internet that’ll show you everything you need to know.
So today I got busy and made a batch of individual campervan guest soaps fragranced with ‘Winterberries’, a lovely loaf of ‘Spa Bar’ fragranced with Lemongrass essential oil with a loofah embedded in it and a poppy seed top for a fantastic exfoliating experience and a creamy ‘Palma Violet’ fragranced loaf with a handful of contrasting clear canes running through it. The house smells wonderful!
I’ve still got a few batches to make up so I’ll get on with that now and continue with this theme next week too – plus I’ll add a little bit about making bath bombs and salts and maybe share a few fragrance ideas.