This is Rebecca Sullivan, Art of the Natural Home tutor's recipe for homemade soap which would make a lovely handmade gift
Making your own soap is incredibly gratifying, knowing that each time you have a shower or bath the lathery bar is filled with herbs, flowers and your favourite smells. It can be a little daunting making soap from scratch as it usually requires a chemical called lye, but this recipe does away with the need for lye, so it’s a great one to start with. Instead it uses instead a product known as ‘melt and pour soap’ as your base. This, along with all of the equipment, is easily available online and makes a wonderful Christmas gift. Try using a Christmassy smell like cinnamon and cloves and maybe decorating with crushed cinnamon and cloves, maybe some orange peel. The below makes 2 - 4 bars depending on size.
Gratitude, Love and Lemon Myrtle.
Start by chopping up your soap base into small chunks or grate it to make it melt faster. Prepare your moulds by very lightly oiling. Organise the colours you want to use and decide on the combinations of herbs, flowers and aromas prior to melting.
Melt the wax soap base in a double boiler to the temperature recommended by the manufacturer. Once melted stir in your colour (start with a few drops or pinches until you get the colour you desire). Remove from the heat. Once the mixture has cooled slightly, add 6–10 drops of your favourite essential oil. If you are using more than one oil blend them together first to ensure you get the scent you desire. Mix through.
Pour your soap into moulds. You can either add flowers/herbs to the bottom and top of moulds or just sprinkle over the tops or stir all the way through. Allow to set for 24 hours in a cool place but not in the fridge or freezer. Remove from the moulds when set. If you have trouble removing the soap, put the mould in a bowl of boiling water momentarily until the soap loosens. You can also use a sharp knife to help ease it out.
- 500g melt and pour soap base
- Soap colouring
- Your favourite herbs (dried or fresh)
- Your favourite flowers (dried or fresh)
- A few drops of your favourite essential oils
- Moulds (flat tins, small jars or silicone chocolate moulds are all suitable)
- Double boiler (or use a heatproof bowl and a saucepan)