Join us as we make a set of 4 cute soap bars with our melt & pour soap base! This project teaches you how to make your own soap at home, including how to add color and scent to your soap bars.
Making your own soap at home is easier than you might think! With a melt & pour soap base, all you need to do is melt the soap and pour it into a mold of your choice. It’s easy to customize your soap by adding fragrance oils, essential oils, or colorants such as mica powder. The creative possibilities are endless with melt & pour soap!
Unlike making soap from scratch (the most common method being cold process soap) you don’t need to handle any chemicals that require wearing protective gear other than gloves. You can whip up a batch of soap with any scent or color you like in as little as 20 minutes (plus cooling time). Melt & pour soap bars are ready to use as soon as you remove them from the mold – no curing time is required!
Looking for more melt & pour soap recipes? Try these fun projects!
- 410 grams (14.5 oz) melt & pour soap base
- 4-8 ml fragrance oil*
- Four colors of mica powder
- Rubbing alcohol (at least 91%)
* 8 ml of fragrance is approximately a 2% fragrance load (meaning fragrance makes up 2% of the recipe if you use 8 ml). The skin-safe amount of fragrance can vary depending on the fragrance you are using. If using a different fragrance, always check its IFRA certificate to see the maximum skin-safe amount for soap. Soap bases can usually hold a maximum of up to 3% fragrance.
Supplies for Making Melt & Pour Soap
- Cubism Soap Mold
- Cutting board
- Straight edge soap cutter
- Digital scale
- 28 oz funnel pitcher
- Plastic pipette
- Four 3 oz measuring cups
- Four micro scoops
- Spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol (at least 91%)
- Nitrile gloves
- Face mask (for working with mica powder)
- Optional: Four square soap boxes for packaging
Find all the supplies & ingredients you need for this project at NorthWoodDistributing.com
Create a clean workspace on a table or countertop. Making soap with a melt & pour base is not typically messy, but you may wish to cover your workspace with parchment paper or newspaper. Please note that if you are using mica powder, it may stain porous surfaces.
Before starting, add some rubbing alcohol to a small spray bottle. You will need this to remove the small air bubbles that form when the soap is poured into the mold later on.
Lastly, put on a pair of nitrile gloves before starting the project.
Watch this quick video for an overview of this project!
Step 1: Mixing Color
It is recommended that you wear a face mask when working with powdered colorants such as mica. In this part, we are simply preparing the mica so it’s ready to mix with the soap later on.
- In a 3 oz measuring cup, combine 2-4 micro scoops of mica powder with approximately 1 tsp of rubbing alcohol. You can adjust the amount of mica to change the intensity of the color.
- Swirl the cup or stir with the micro scoop to blend the mica powder and rubbing alcohol.
- Repeat with the remaining 3 colors of mica, putting each in its own cup. Set the cups aside for later.
If you want to make only one color of soap, see the note at the end of these instructions.
Step 2: Cutting and Melting Your Soap
- Cut your soap into small cubes (approx. 1” in size) using a straight edge soap cutter & cutting board.
- Place your 28 oz funnel pitcher on the scale and tare it to zero.
- Weigh out 410 grams (14.5 oz) of soap cubes in the funnel pitcher.
- Place the funnel pitcher in the microwave and heat it in 15-second intervals. Remove and stir the soap with a whisk between each interval. Stop heating the soap as soon as it is fully melted.
Caution: Melted soap is hot. Please handle with care.
Step 3: Adding Fragrance & Color
- Use a plastic pipette to transfer up to 8 ml of skin-safe fragrance oil to the melted soap. Note that 8 ml will smell very strong. Start with a small amount of fragrance and work your way up to 8 ml if you want a stronger-smelling soap. Stir gently with a whisk.
- Pour 100 grams of melted soap into each one of the mica cups you prepared earlier (fill to the 100 ml line). You now have four dishes of soap.
- Stir each cup gently with a whisk until the color is combined. Cups will be full – please stir carefully to avoid spills. Make sure to stir along the bottom to incorporate all the mica powder.
Step 4: Pouring the Soap into the Mold
- Check the temperature of the melted soap using a thermometer. Soap should be no hotter than 145 degrees F when you pour it into a plastic mold. Once the soap reaches the right temperature, you will want to work quickly, as it will set up (solidify) fast once it begins cooling.
- As soon as the soap is cool enough, pour one color of melted soap into each cavity of the mold. Melted soap is hot. Please hold the cups by the rim when handling them.
- Immediately after pouring, spritz the top of each soap bar with a bit of rubbing alcohol from your spray bottle. This removes the air bubbles that may rise to the surface.
- Let the soap sit in the mold until it is completely hard. Avoid touching or moving the mold for at least 30 minutes while the soap is setting up, as this may cause ripples in the surface of the soap.
Step 5: Removing the Soap from the Mold
When the soap is completely cool and hard, you may remove it from the mold. It may take up to 4 hours for the soap to completely harden depending on the room temperature. For easier removal, leave the soap in the mold for approximately 12 hours before trying to remove it.
We recommend wearing gloves when removing your soap, as this will prevent fingerprints.
To remove soap from a plastic mold, you need to create an air pocket by gently pulling on the sides of the mold around each soap bar. This air pocket breaks the seal and allows the soap to be removed.
Pull the mold away from each side of the soap bar so that air can travel underneath the soap bar. Avoid pulling too hard, as this may bend the mold. It can take some time and patience to remove the soap.
You should be able to see the air pocket as it forms. Once the air has traveled to the bottom of the soap bar, flip the mold over and gently press on the back of the soap bar until it pops out of the mold. Avoid pressing too hard, as this may dent the mold.
Step 6: Packaging Melt & Pour Soap
These soap bars will fit nicely into a square soap box. Soap boxes are easy to assemble by simply folding the flaps on the lines. These boxes are great for keeping your soap from getting dented or scratched – and they make your soap bars into cute gifts for friends & family!
To keep your soap looking fresh for as long as possible, we recommend wrapping it in plastic cling wrap before packaging it in a box. You can also store the soap in a plastic bag or airtight jar.
Glycerin – a main ingredient in melt & pour soap – is a humectant, meaning that it attracts moisture and humidity. As a result, melt & pour soap bars may sweat or develop a cloudy surface if they are left to sit out. Clear soap bases generally have a higher glycerin content than opaque (white) soap bases, and therefore will be more prone to sweating or developing a cloudy surface.
This only affects how the soap looks, and does not affect how it performs. Any cloudiness on the surface will dissipate once the soap is used with water.
Step 7: Cleaning Your Supplies
The tools and supplies used for this project are all reusable except for the plastic pipette. One of the best parts about melt & pour soap is that it’s very easy to clean up! Simply soak your materials in warm water, then use a cloth to remove the soap. Any hardened soap should be easy to remove after soaking. The metal whisk should only soak briefly, as it may rust if you leave it in water for too long. Do not wash the mold in the dishwasher, as it may warp or become brittle.
How to Make Only One Color of Soap
This tutorial demonstrates an easy trick for making four colors of soap from the same batch. However, you can make a single color of soap if you prefer. Instead of preparing four 3oz measuring cups with different colors of mica powder, you will make only one dish with your preferred color of mica. To do so, combine your desired color of mica with a small amount of rubbing alcohol (approx. 1 tsp) in a 3 oz measuring cup.
Because this mica will be used to color the entire batch of soap, you may find that you need more than 2-4 micro scoops of mica powder. Try using up to 8-10 micro scoops of mica powder to color the whole batch of soap.
After melting the soap and adding your fragrance oil, you will pour the mica mixture into the melted soap. Stir it gently with a whisk to combine the color.
Tip: If mica powder remains in the dish, hold it upside down over your melted soap while you spritz some rubbing alcohol into the dish. The remaining colorant should drip into the soap.
How to Decorate Melt & Pour Soap with Mica
In addition to coloring the soap itself, you can use mica to add more color to your finished bars of soap. When combined with rubbing alcohol or glycerin, mica powder becomes a liquid that you can paint onto your soap bars for added detail.
Watch this quick video for an overview of painting with mica powder.
Making Mica “Paint”
It’s easy to make mica paint. All you need to do is combine a few micro scoops of mica powder with enough rubbing alcohol or glycerin to form a thin paste. To adjust the consistency of the paint, simply change how much liquid you add. You can get different effects depending on the thickness of your paint.
Painting Melt & Pour Soap with Mica
To apply the mica to your soap, dip a small paint brush into the mica mixture and brush it onto the soap bar. If you made soap with a detailed mold – like the one used in our class – mica is great for adding depth and dimension to the details in your soap bars. You can get cool effects just by brushing a thin layer of mica over the detailed areas.
Mica can also be used to add details to plain bars of soap. Use your paint brush to paint any designs or details you wish onto a plain soap bar.
After painting your soap, let the mica dry completely before handling or packaging the soap bars.
Using Melt & Pour Soap Bars
When you paint soap bars with mica, keep in mind that the mica will wash off within the first few uses of the soap bar. This is because mica paint simply sits on the surface of the soap. Any mica you used to tint the soap bar itself (by adding mica to your liquid soap mixture) will last until the bar is gone.