Greetings and salutations, followers! I hope you had a great weekend. I did the LoziLu 5k Mud Run in Milwaukee on Saturday and had a dirty, muddy, good time!
And what better way to get clean from all that muddy fun than by making some soap? Actually, easier and faster than making soap – upcycling it!
I discovered the process of upcycling soap about a year ago, when I realized I was taking after my mother and ALWAYS taking the free soaps from every hotel stay and saving all the little blobs from bars of soap I used at home. I could have used them as they were, but let’s be real – only the best hotels give you really good soap (in Las Vegas, we got Bulgari soap at the Tropicana!). So let’s take this stuff and make it better!
I spent some time scouring Pinterest, and comparing a few methods of melting soap. I’ve tweaked the process to one that works for me, but you’re more than welcome to explore and find what works for you.
- Bars of soap, scraps, blobs, soap flakes, whatever you have!
- A large metal or glass bowl and pot, OR a double boiler.
- Wooden spoon for stirring (you don’t want to use plastic, the hot soap will easily melt it)
- Olive oil, glycerin, coconut oil – you need to choose a “binder” hold the melted soap together and replace the water.
- Non stick spray for the molds.
- Fragrance and coloring (optional I suppose, but it really makes your soap look fancy! You can find it at any craft store)
Take your grater and pick one or two bars of soap and grate them down. I know, it’s a pain for your hands, but soap is fairly soft and you will be surprised how quickly it goes. You need to have the flakes to start a melting base so the rest will melt easily. Place them in the bottom of your glass or metal bowl/double boiler. You can chop up the rest of your soap with a knife, or grate it all if you feel like it.
Fill your pot or double boiler 3/4 of the way full with salt water – it will reach boiling point much faster. And place it on the stove,
Bring the water to a boil and continuously scrape the bottom of the bowl. The flakes will soften almost immediately, and you want to make sure they don’t clump up on you.
Now, take a pot holder and remove the bowl. Very carefully, take 1 cup of boiling water for every cup of soap you have in the bowl – I had two cups (or thereabouts, it’s okay if it isn’t exact), so I slowly added one cup of boiling water to the soap. Stir vigorously, and place it back on the boiler. Stir and it simmer for about 20 minutes. Then, repeat the process for however many cups of soap you have. The melting water will help break down the soap and eventually evaporate.
It should start looking like a bubbly, kinda slimy mess. At this point, measure out one cup of your ‘binder’ – I used Olive OIl here – for every two cups of soap. Slowly add it to the soap and stir.
Step back and let it simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Then, add coloring and fragrance to your soap. I added a mix of red and blue and yellow, which turned into this smoky Lavender color – and added a few drops of Sweet Pea fragrance oil. Stir and let it simmer for about five minutes.
Next, take the soap off the heat, and empty the hot water out of the pot. Dump the hot soap into the pot, and get out your strainer. Place the strainer over the soap melting bowl and slowly pour it through, using your wooden spoon to stir and press it through. This should leave you with a strainer full of lumpy soap remains – and a bowl of smooth, hot, colored soap. This removes all the icky stuff that might be in there. Set the lumpy leftovers aside for now, and get out your molds. Spray them lightly with non-stick spray, or wipe them down with your binder. Fill them and set them in the fridge – I’ve found that cooling them helps the soap set faster and smoother.
Cool them overnight. Now, you may ask – Melissa, what do I do with the leftover lumpy stuff? Easy! That’s your ready-to-go base for next time! Put it in a tupperware container or plastic ziploc bag and start saving all your soap shards for next time! Trust me, you’ll want to do this again!
Come back tomorrow for The Happy Idiot’s very first giveaway!
This is seriously one of my favorite craft projects. It’s easy and it costs you nothing if you already have the soap, a muffin tin, and some olive oil. Most of us have food coloring and scented extracts in the cabinet already.
Here’s another great benefit – put your soapy supplies in the dishwasher, and you will have a sparkling clean and sweet smelling appliance when you are done!