Introduction: DIY Soap From Reconstituted Scraps
This is a great way to repurpose those pesky slivers and unsightly nubs of left for dead bar soap! You can also make great homemade gifts remaking those tiny hotel soaps into fancy suds. (I don't recommend the former for gifts as finding a stray hair will really ruin the mood)
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Step 1: What You Will Need
1. Saved soap slivers and bits, or boring plain soaps.
2. Molds. You can use sturdy cardboard, glass, pastry or silicone molds, pretty much anything that can withstand moderate heat and weight will work and you can play with shapes.
**Avoid metals other than stainless steel as chemical reactions with the sodium hydroxide can occur, releasing hydrogen gas.
3. Coconut oil (refined if you don't want the coconut smell).
4. A pot and Pyrex bowl to act as double boiler.
5. Fun additions such as orange peel, oatmeal, salt or sugar, food dyes, herbs, perfumes.
Step 2: Prepare Your Ingredients
Chop or shave your soap bits into small pieces and put them in a heat proof bowl over a pot of boiling water (double boiler)
Add enough water to the bowl to just cover your pieces, and stir regularly with spoon or whisk. **If your soap pieces are very dry you can soak them first or simply add more water and a tablespoon or two of coconut oil.
Have your additions ready if you choose to use them, the amount is personal preference but Try and stick to a 1:4 ratio on solids.
**you can melt the soap directly in the pot but you risk burning the soap so if you choose this method have everything in place and work fast.
For swankier results-keep in mind your end product when mixing soaps-I separate like fragrances, clear glycerins and colored soaps so I can play with ingredients.
Step 3: Prepare Your Molds
Have all your molds ready for pouring and back-ups in mind. For easiest unmolding spray molds with oil or wrap in parchment or cling wrap.
Step 4: Consistency
Smoosh and stir your soap to the consistency you prefer- The goal is to get the soap fully reconstituted so you want it wet and viscous, from there you can leave chunks for aesthetic purposes, or blended to smooth. I use a handheld beurre mixer to get all the chunks out but you could use a blender, whisk, or elbow grease and a fork. It may be frothy and have air bubbles if you use this method.***Be warned*** soap is like molten lava when hot-take heed.
Step 5: Add Your Additions As You See Fit
To this batch I added oatmeal, chamomile, salt for exfoliation and almond extract for scent because I ran out of almond essential oils....(don't eat it no matter how good it smells)....
To another I added citrus rind, juice and the rest of a citrusy perfume sample.
To my glycerin batch I added peppermint oil and blue food dye.
Step 6: Get Messy
Although your soap is hot and liquid-ish it sets up fast- so fill all your molds then go back and pack them in, don't be afraid to get messy-it's soap. This is where the double boiler really helps as you can leave it on there until you need it and if it starts setting up or you run out of molds you can just put it back on whilst you figure it out.
Step 7: Enjoy!
Notes and troubleshooting: it is unnecessary to use plastic wrap if you oil your molds, even if you forget you can generally work them out just by pushing with your finger on one side. Plastic can mishape your mold but I like to use it because it's easy and I can unmold and wrap it in one step-also if it's too unsightly you can just shape it under the wrap.
If you find that your soap is too frothy when you pour it, just pack it down once it sets but before it hardens. If you find the frothiness too late-use it as a bath bomb.
If your soap seems too watery you can put it back and cook it for longer or simply let it set, unmold, sop it with a paper towel and leave it to dry.
If your soap is not setting up, you have either used too much oil in which case you can put it in the fridge, or you have used too much "additions"-find some hotel soaps in the junk drawer, chop up a new one, put it back on the double boiler and start over.
Enjoy and get creative, most of the additions can be found in the kitchen. Some suggestions are mint; teas; clove; sugar or salt; ginger; coffee/grounds; honey; cream; lavender; berries; baking soda; roses/hips; avocado; vitamin E...etc. and you can always take some clippers and make off with the neighbors rosemary.
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Trash to Treasure