13 Nov 2012

Making Christmas #2: Handmade soaps.

Christmas is coming

I have a little confession to make with this one - I bought the soap base.  I really really want to make soaps from scratch but I just couldn't afford all the components (I know weight for weight it would have been cheaper in the long run, but long run shmong run).  The soap base was a nice hippy brand of unscented, uncoloured and relatively unmessed with soapiness.  With the soap base, you simply cut it up into chunks and heat it really slowly until it melts, add any extras (colours/scents/essential oils/etc) and then pour it into the molds.

We bought some colours designed for soap making from HobbyCraft first but we were really unimpressed - you can see in the top picture that the colours are really bright and a bit tacky.  But waste not want not, we couldn't simply bin the ones we didn't want, so a little glitter was added and we wrote them off as 'festive'!
The next ones were far, far more lovely!  We dried slices of orange which we then put into the mold and poured the soap base over the top.  As the soap base is relatively clear you can see the slice of orange beautifully in the soap and there is no need for nasty colours.
Drying oranges is really really simple - you just cut your orange into slices about 0.5-1cm thick, lay them out on baking paper and cook in the oven at a low temperature for several hours.  I turned them about every 30 minutes to stop them curling up at the edges and to stop them browning.  Easy peasy.

Soap molds come in lots of shapes and sizes, however there are also several cheaper alternatives that you may already own.  Silicone ice cube trays work really well especially if they are fun shapes, as do silicone muffin trays or jelly molds.  Plus they are really easy to clean.  In the end we simply used muffin cases in a muffin tray; they are pretty, simple and a good size.

And finally, scenting the soap; I love the smell of lavender so predominantly we used a lot of lavender essential oil (from a field owned by my mum's friend - I would love to own a lavender field!) but we also tried oils that are often sold for oil burners, a few drops is all you need and they come in lots of festive scents around this time of the year.



And there we have it, lovely gift-wrapped soapy presents.


  1. Aw this is great! I never tried soaps but I once made a fragrance candle to gift my aunt :)


  2. Homemade soap? Sounds amazing!

  3. How neat!! I'm sure your loved ones with LOVe getting something so personal and thoughtful! lavender soap sounds HEAVENLY

  4. Such a great idea!! I have been pondering on what to get people for Christmas for agess and now I think I know what thanks to you :-)

    The Young Bridget Jones

  5. Aw thanks guys - they turned out so much nicer than I was expecting as well! Plus it is always nice when a project you think will be epic turns out to be so simple!
    Also, I am loving having new comments - you guys all have such different but fascinating blogs, it is lovely meeting you all! xx

  6. I love the orange in the bottom! What a great personalized present :)
    I have been wanting to go to the hobby store by me to see if I can get some inspiration for simple projects, and I'm in love with handmade soap. A perfect match!