** THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED! **
Thank you to all our very creative bloggers who joined in the soap making fun! I hope you loved making soap as much as I did – it’s addictive, isn’t it!? We judged each entry giving scores on three areas (Creativity, Finished Product and Presentation) and added up the end result! So excited to announce our winners as the scores were VERY close! You guys are a talented lot, clearly
UK WINNER: LAURA FROM THE MRS. MAKES
US WINNER: ASHLEY FROM SHE MAKES A HOME
Congratulations to you both! We loved your soaps!
If you haven’t won, please don’t fret…
We’ll be featuring not just the winning recipes but some of our other favourites as well on AO at Home on Friday, 13th Dec 2013 so stop back tomorrow and see if your soap has been featured as an honourable mention!
I’m also aware that some people got their packs a bit later than anticipated and so if you received soapbase but haven’t been able to blog about it just yet, please do share them on your blog in the coming weeks as we’d still love to see what you came up with and we may be featuring your soaps in a future post! Remember to use the hashtag #AOLetsSoap !
Again, thank you to all that entered, thank you to Stephenson Personal Care for providing the soap base and hope you enjoyed taking part!
SEE YOU FRIDAY!!
While I am always happy to get my hands dirty with a bit of DIY – whether that’s giving new life to a piece of furniture, hanging wallpaper or even tiling – I’ve never been much of a crafter. However, the more and more I’m exposed to the wonderful things bloggers are making, the more intrigued I become to have a go myself.
One of the things that has entered my radar is soap making. Now it’s a trend that’s definitely picking up and there are some incredible recipes around but when I heard about the dangers of using lye (wear goggles! wear long sleeves! don’t let your cats anywhere near anything while you do it! wear a radiation suit! take cover!) I admit I was scared off. That’s until I heard about melt and pour soap. It’s easy. And it’s safe. And you don’t have to wear goggles or radiation outfits and if my cat wanders in, I’m not too bothered. The fact is, there are so many possibilities to making your own soap and this method really takes the hard (dangerous) part of out of it. I was sold.
So what I’m sharing with you today is my first adventure in soap making using melt and pour soup provided to us by our friends at Stephenson Personal Care and I’m hoping it’s certainly not my last because making this stuff is seriously addictive. I’m already planning out all the gifts of soapy goodness I can give out come Christmastime. I made two kinds: Cinnamon Orange soap…
and Almond, Oat and Vanilla soap…
I made both of these recipes with pretty much zero experience in soap making. That’s how simple this is.
Now, I was genuinely a first time soap maker when I made these and I was absolutely delighted by the result! So I’m going to show you how simple it is to create two different really simple recipes so that you can make your own too. Not only that but I’m going to show you how you can win some fantastic prizes too so you’ll have to keep reading… Here’s what you’re going to need to make both recipes…
For any soap making recipe you’ll need these:
Stephenson Personal Care Melt and Pour Soap Base (I used the natural organic base)
Soap moulds (you can be creative with these and anything that’s heat resistant will work so yogurt pots, chocolate moulds, silicon cupcake moulds – as long as they are flexible enough to pop out your soap when it’s done!)
Fragrance Oil (I got mine from Amazon but you can also find them in hobby and craft shops. Just make sure they are ones for soap making as some are not appropriate for use on skin. You can also use essential oils which I may try next time!)
Surgical Spirit (aka Rubbing Alcohol) (I purchased mine on Amazon but any pharmacy will have it too)
A clean empty spray bottle
A large knife for cutting the soap base into cubes
A cutting board
For the Cinnamon Orange Soap you’ll need to add:
Grated or finely chopped Orange Rind
Grated or ground Cinnamon (I started using the sticks but decided to just use Ground Cinnamon instead, either will work)
12 drops of Cinnamon & Orange Fragrance Oil (more or less to get either a subtle or strong fragrance)
For the Almond, Oat and Vanilla Soap you’ll need to add:
1 tsp Almond Flakes, ground
1 tsp Oats, ground
8 drops of Vanilla fragrance (more or less to get either a subtle or strong fragrance)
Here’s how it’s done…
First, prepare your ingredients. I ground both the almonds and the oatmeal quite fine to make the soap lightly exfoliating. I also grated my orange rind. Leave any pieces slightly larger for a higher exfoliation. The reason you want to prepare these ahead of time is because the soap solidifies fairly quickly so you don’t want to be faffing around with your ingredients when your ready to put them in your melted base. Bear in mind, you’ll want to prepare each recipe separately but follow the same steps for each one.
Cut the soap base into pieces. You can see how many pieces you’ll need by approximating how many will fit into one of your moulds. For the square moulds, I used 8 squares to make 3 soaps and for the round soaps, I used 6 squares to make 3 soaps.
Using a glass bowl or pyrex measuring cup, melt your squares in the microwave. You can also use a bain-marie if you wish. If you are putting it in the microwave you’re actually supposed to cover it with plastic wrap. I totally forgot this bit (rookie error) but it seemed to be fine anyway. It took around 2-3 minutes but as all microwaves will vary, you want to be sure to check it around every 30 seconds or so and give it a stir with your whisk to break down any remaining pieces. Don’t stir too hard however as this will create air bubbles in your soap!
If there are a few little solid pieces still remaining, don’t worry, these will melt with a (slow) stir of your whisk.
Now you can begin adding your ingredients for either recipe. I played with the quantities a little but always start with less than you think you may need – you can always add more but you can’t take away! You can also add soap colouring at this stage if you wish – again, remember to use ones made just for soap making. I liked the natural look for these but it’s really a personal preference, anything goes!
Now, slowly stir in your ingredients (at around 75 degrees C if you are using a thermometer) until the soap starts to get a little bit heavier (around 70-72 degrees C) and then transfer into your moulds. If there are air bubbles at the top of your liquid, spray lightly with surgical spirit to remove any remaining bubbles.
Now you can either leave them out for 2 -3 hours or pop it into the fridge for an hour. I’m impatient so I used the fridge method!
After this time has passed, you want to make sure your moulds are completely cool before removing from the mould. They should simply pop out by flexing the mould a little. If they don’t, you can stick them into the freezer for a short time to loosen them! That’s it! You now have beautifully hand-crafted soap you can be proud to say you made yourself using natural ingredients.
If you want to give them as Christmas gifts, simply wrap in pretty printed paper or craft paper, label them and you’re all set!
You want to have a go now, don’t you? Of course you do. Well, we’ve made it really easy for you to do so.
HOW TO ENTER:
We are giving away 100 FREE PACKS of Stephenson Personal Care Melt and Pour Soap base to bloggers so you can try it too and enter to win a totally crafty competition.
Simply leave us a comment, including your email and we’ll get in touch and post a free pack out to you!
Once you receive your soap base, make your own soap and blog about your creation. Then, TWEET US at @AOatHome using the hashtag #AOLetsSoap and include the link to your blog post in your tweet. You will be automatically entered to win a £100 voucher to Hobbycraft (UK) or $150 voucher to HobbyLobby (US) along with subscriptions to your favourite crafty magazines*.
If you need some ideas to create your own recipes, Stephenson’s Personal Care has a wonderful blog where they post all kinds of recipes. A simple search on Pinterest will also bring up a wealth of ideas. Have fun and be creative with it!
This competition is open to bloggers in the UK and the US! Our favourites will be featured in a post next month. Please get your request in for your free soap base by Thursday, 28th November! Requests after this time may not be accommodated.
We will choose 2 winners – one from the UK and one from the US. We will announce the winners on Thursday, 12th December 2013, here on AO at Home!
*The UK winner will receive 3 free packs of Stephenson Personal Care Melt and Pour Soap, £100 to spend at HobbyCraft on whatever your little crafty heart desires. PLUS the winner will also receive a free 1 year subscription to Crafty Magazine and a one year subscription to The Simple Things.
*The US winner will received 3 free packs of Stephenson Personal Care Melt and Pour Soap, $150 to spend at HobbyLobby on whatever your little crafty heart desires. Plus the US winner will also receive a free 1 year subscription to Martha Stewart Living magazine.
This is just too good a competition to pass up and what have you got to lose? If I can do it, anyone certainly can!
Please note that by entering, you hereby agree to our Terms & Conditions (opens in new window).
**UDPATE: If you are having trouble viewing the commenting area on mobile, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org with your details and we’ll get you entered! So sorry for any inconvenience!**