In keeping with trying to keep free tutorials and how-to's on this blog, here is my attempt at a tutorial on Melt and Pour soap.
Please keep in mind, everyone probably makes soap just a little different, this is how I do it!
Gather Supplies: (I'll provide a few links at the end for supplies)
Melt and Pour Soap Base
Body Safe Colorant (NOT food coloring)
Rubbing Alcohol in a small spray bottle
Wax Paper/Protective Surface
Pipettes for Fragrance Oils (or other dropper)
Glass Heat Safe Measuring Cup
1. Cut your soap base into small chunks and put in the measuring glass cup, such as Pyrex. I generally make a ton of soap at once, so I just fill it up and go for it... measure, schmeasure.
This is a mix of white opaque soap base and goat's milk.
2. Gather your colorants. For this soap we're making a one color soap, so I don't need to use my more costly non bleeding colorants. When making layered soap you need non bleeding colorants (I prefer them from www.goplanetearth.com). When making solid soap you can just use the less expensive soap colorants from hobby stores and soap making supply sites.
3. Gather your fragrance oil and pipette (dropper). For this one we're using a lavender from Peak's Candle Company. I like Peak's because they are phthalate free.
4. Melt your soap in the pyrex container for 30 seconds at a time. (based on a FULL 2 cup container...heat for less time if melting less soap). ALWAYS err on the side of caution and melt for shorter time periods. If you heat the soap too long you'll cause speckling of the color in the soap. Ask me how I know this.
Stir the melted soap with a spoon or stirrer of some kind. A few unmelted tiny chunks are fine, they will melt as you slowly stir. Generally M&P soap should not be heated more than 140 degrees and you can test this with your candy thermometer.
Some bubbles are fine in the melted soap, we will spritz them away later.
5. Add your fragrance oil with your dropper or pipette. Always add your fragrance first because some FO's discolor the soap, particularly vanilla's. Peak suggests for soap: "we recommend 3-4% fragrance oil by weight. 2% is equivalent to about 1/3 of an ounce per pound. And 3% is about half an ounce per pound". I generally go by my nose, until it just about 'sniffs right'. Generally you can trust your nose.
6. Add your colors. Since I was out of regular (bleeding) purple, and I did not want to use my more costly non bleeding purple in a solid soap, I simply mixed together red and blue until I got a purple I wanted!
As with melting and fragrance, go slow on the colors, start with just a drop or two of your color. It's FAR easier to ADD MORE color than to take away! Also if you add too much color it can be too strong in the soap and cause the bubbles (lather) to be colored when they should be clear...therefore staining your tub, etc. Since most soap safe colorants do wash away, that's not really a horrible problem if the soap is for yourself, but not something you want to give away or sell! Less is more!
Isn't that pretty?
Slowly swirled together to create purple!
7. Now you have a purple, lavender scented goat's milk/opaque melted soap! See those bubbles? We'll just spritz them away with a shot or two of rubbing alcohol from your spray bottle.
8. Now we can pour our soap into the mold! Pour slowly so you get an even pour (this is good practice for when you're ready to do layered soaps!) and you don't get those annoying bubbles.
If you have any bubbles just give the soap a few more squirts of rubbing alcohol...and there you go!
9. Now you have a smooth, pretty, even soap. Let it set several hours, until it is completely hardened. Depending on the weight of your soap it may take longer to harden. Once completely hardened, turn the mold over on some wax paper or parchment paper, (a clean smooth surface) and gently unmold from the mold. The easiest way to get soap out of a mold is to get a little bit of air into the mold by pulling the mold away form the soap just a smidge, then slowly--PATIENTLY--- allowing the air to go all through the mold (you'll see it go over the soap as you're holding the mold upside down on to the wax paper). Then gently ease your soap out of the mold onto your paper, and cut into the shapes you need (if it's a slab or tray mold.) If the mold was a single cavity mold, then just unmold, and package as you wish! :)
Here's our lavender soap after I added some goat's milk cubed embeds to it! :)
Wrapped in organza bags and ready to go! :)
www.goplanetearth.com (be sure to read Denise's Blog from there!)
www.southernsoapers.com (they have a Yahoo group also)
www.papermart.com for bags and wraps
You can pretty much find anything you need to know on soaping from Google! There are also some great soaping books on the market.