Introduction: Gemstone Soap Bars
Have you ever been taking a shower or washing your hands and suddenly come to the horrid realization that the plain, monochromatic, strangely oblong shaped soap in your hand does absolutely nothing to express your personality, background, or values. Well it is time for that to change! With this custom soap making method which I carefully developed as a last second art project for my intro to design class in high school, you can easily add a splash of joy and self expression to the boring rut that you feel like you've been walking yourself into over the last few months. Yes, your tedious, monotonous life will be the farthest thing from your mind as you watch the bubbles roll off this soap bar's rock-like structures and on to your hands. Every morning you will thank the heavens that you are not just one of the tired and trampled masses; you have something that sets you apart; you have something that makes you special; you have some really cool soap. Indeed, you may find this soap taking over your emotions, your thoughts, or even your entire life. Once one of these soap bars enters your household, your family and close friends will begin to worry for your psychological health, as your behavior will become compulsory and obsessive. You will begin to eliminate greetings from your vocabulary and begin to substitute phrases such as: "Have I shown you my soap?"
Step 1: Collect Your Materials
You will need the following materials to complete this project:
-Melt and Pour Soap (this can be found at any craft store)
-A Mold (You can use any kind of mold you would like. You can also purchase soap molds from the same aisle where you found the melt and pour soap).
-A Microwave Safe Pitcher
-Measuring Cups and spoons(Ranging from 1 Cup to 1 Teaspoon).
-A Sharp Knife
-At Least Half of a Liter of Rubbing Alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol) in a Spray Bottle.
-2 Soap Dyes (You can choose any colors you would like, as long as one is considerably darker than the other).
-Soap Fragrances (You can use as many of these as you would like, but I would recommend using a maximum of three. These can also be found in the same aisle as the melt and pour soup).
Step 2: Cut Your Soap
Use a knife to cut off pieces of the melt and pour soap until you have roughly half of a cup of solid soap.
In the example pictures, my melt and pour soap is arranged into blocks. It took three of these blocks to equal roughly half a cup.
If your melt and pour soap is packaged differently, don't let this stress you out!
As long as you get somewhere close to half a cup, you will be fine. Meeting the exact measurement isn't super important.
Step 3: Melt Your Soap
Put the half of a cup of soap that you cut in step one into your microwave safe pitcher.
Put this pitcher in the microwave, close the door, and fire it up.
Leave the pitcher in the microwave for as long as the instructions on the box of melt and pour soap recommend.
If your melt and pour soap did not have instructions or, god forbid, you threw away the packaging without a care in the world or any regard for how your actions may have consequences in the future, there is not need to panic! Simply run the microwave for 30 seconds initially, then check on it every 10 seconds until it has completely liquefied.
For reference, it took me around 50 seconds to melt my soap in a 1,200 watt microwave.
Step 4: Add Scent and Dye to Your Soap
Remove the pitcher containing your soap from the microwave. Be careful here, as microwaves are known to make things hot, and if you get a burn on your hand while making soap, good luck explaining it to people without sounding weird.
Add 2 to 5 drops of the scent or scents that you have chosen to your melted soap depending on how strong you want your soap to be (or in other words, how bad you normally smell).
Add dyes to your melted soap to change its color.
The color that you make this part of your soap is completely up to you, as long as it is the darker of the two colors you are using in your final product. This is important because this layer of soap will act as the bottom layer of the "soap gemstones" you will make later, and they will look the best if they are darker on one side and lighter on the other.
Stir your soap with a spoon until it is a uniform color.
Step 5: Pour Your Soap Into Your Molds
Before pouring your soap, spray your mold with a layer of rubbing alcohol. This helps to ensure that the soap comes out of the mold without trouble later.
Pour your soap from your pitcher into your soap mold, but be careful to only fill the mold one third of the way full.
It is possible you will have excess melted soap remaining. This soap can either be discarded or re-purposed by pouring it into a different soap mold and making extra soap (yay soap!).
In the example pictures provided, the soap is being poured into three molds, as I was making three bars of soap. This is an advanced technique and is not advisable for beginners. If this is your first time through this instructable, I recommend knowing your place, staying in your lane, and sticking to one bar of soap.
Step 6: Repeat Steps 2 Through 5
Repeat steps 2 through 5 two more times, using the same amount of soap and same scent or scents as you did the first time through.
Every time you are about to pour new soap on top of soap that is already in your mold, first spray a layer of rubbing alcohol. This helps to stop the soaps from mixing entirely and will give your gemstones a cool, sedimentary look later.
For the first repetition of steps 2 through 5, use a lighter color than you used initially.
Fill the mold to two thirds of the way full with this soap.
For the second repetition, do not add any dye to the soap and allow it to remain clear. Use this soap to fill the remaining third of the mold.
For those of you keeping track at home, your mold should now be three thirds of the way full. In the soap making industry, this is known as being "full", and means that you are ready to move on to the magical, mysterious world of possibilities that is step 7.
Step 7: Let Your Soap Harden
Allow your soap to solidify.
To do this, you can either leave your soap out in open air for roughly one hour or, if you've got places to be, you can put your soap in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
I've included an onion in my picture in order to allow you to capture the scale of my soap bars. It has since occurred to me just how greatly onions can vary in size, which basically nullifies this onion's use a item of scale. This was, however, the only picture I took of my soap bars in the refrigerator.
Step 8: Remove Your Soap
After your soap has solidified, remove it from its mold.
I recommend pushing up from the bottom of the mold in order to avoid the risk of damaging your soap bar. If your soap bar does break upon removal, it is not the end of the world. It is, however, the end of your chances of successfully making this soap. At this point I would recommend starting over, or, in the interest or your mental sanity, simply trying a different instructable.
The bar should come off of the mold easily because you sprayed the mold with rubbing alcohol before initially pouring in the soap.
Step 9: Create Your Soap Rocks
In this step (and oh boy, it's a roller coaster of emotions), you will cut your soap bar into several small gem like shapes.
The best way to do this is to first cut your soap bar into several columns.
Take each column, stand it on one end, and cut the corners on the darker side of your soap, as these will likely be rounded due to the shape of your mold. Cut these corners from the top to the bottom of your column vertically (see picture 3, 4, and 5).
This is the most difficult aspect of making this soap, but don't worry about messing up. The end goal is to create several gemstones, which can still be done even with a few errors.
Now take these newly trimmed columns and cut them perpendicular the to long ends into four roughly equal sized pieces (see picture 6)
Take all of these equal sized pieces and cut off sections randomly to give them a natural, gemstone like appearance (see picture 7).
Once this has been done to the entirety of your initial bar of soap, assemble all of your little rocks into one place so you can bask in the warm, sensational feeling of accomplishment. It is, however, important to not develop any emotional attachments, as many of these rocks will not survive step 10.
Step 10: Create Your Base Layer
Melt another one quarter to one third of a cup of soap.
Add scent to this soap, but do not add dye.
Spray your now conveniently soap free mold with a layer of rubbing alcohol and begin to pour your recently melted soap until the mold is between a third and a half full.
Be sure to save at least a teaspoon of melted soap in your pitcher for the next step.
Step 11: Arrange Your Gems
Arrange your gemstones however you would like within the clear soap you just poured into your mold.
I would highly recommend arranging the gems with the lighter side facing down for aesthetic appeal.
As needed, use a knife to cut gems to fit them into small gaps between larger gems.
During this process, the base layer will begin to harden, so use the clear, melted soap you kept in reserve from the last step to help secure gems in place as needed. This can be done by first pouring a little bit of melted soap, and then securing your gem on top of that.
If you feel that you cannot fit all of your gems into this bar of soap, that is not a problem. Simply discard or melt down and reuse extra gems. If you blatantly disregarded my earlier advice and developed affections for your soap gems, then all I can do is offer my condolences, as they cannot be saved. Just remember, friend, time heals all wounds.
Step 12: Allow Your Soap Bar to Harden
Once again, your soap is going to need some time to harden before you can use it.
Either leave your soap out in open air for roughly one hour or in a refrigerator for roughly twenty minutes
Step 13: Remove Your Soap From the Mold
Remove your soap bar from its mold.
I would recommend, once again, pushing from the bottom of the mold to reduce the risk of accidentally damaging your soap. If your soap breaks at this point in the project, you have two options. You can either sulk over your one broken bar of soap or revel in the glory of your two, smaller bars of soap.
You and your new soap are now ready to take on your daily life. It is said that ours is the generation which will change the world, and I expect nothing less than for you and your bar of soap to be breaking ground at the forefront of the major social, political, and technological movements of the 21st century. If nothing else, at least your hands will be clean. Good luck and God bless.