Homemade soap can be customized in thousands of ways. You can add all sorts of fragrances, colors and essential oils. You can also shape them, swirl them, embed them and confetti them. However, the very best customized homemade soap is made with a picture or graphic that it leaves no doubt in the recipient’s mind that it was made just for him or her.
A wonderful idea floated into that vacuum between my ears this morning as to just how to add that super special personal touch to a spa gift basket. Make personalized homemade soap. Say you have a friend that’s really into dogs. Have a picture of a dog embedded in his or her soap. Better yet, if you have a picture of your friend’s dog, you can use that. Say you’re sending a gift to a family. Add each of their names to a bar of soap. It doesn’t get more personal than that. So, how do you create a personalized homemade soap? The answer: it’s easy.
You’re going to be using soluble paper. Soluble paper melts completely when exposed to water. It’s really cool stuff, but there are a few things you need to know. First, not all soluble paper is created equal, not all printers are created equal and not all inks are created equal. You will need soluble paper compatible with a laser printer. You will need a printer that uses inks that are compatible with soap.
You can experiment with the printer you have at home, but be forewarned, the ink, particularly the colors, may bleed and that is a little problem you don’t want. Here’s what I recommend. Buy a few sheets of soluble paper that can be used in a laser printer. Use Office Depot or Staples to print the images onto the soluble paper. The inks they use are soap compatible and won’t bleed.
Here’s what you need:
Soap mold(s) (Make sure they are flat bottomed molds for this project)
1 Spray bottle
1 heat safe container
Eye dropper or pipette
The picture or graphic you want to use
Sheet(s) of soluble paper
90% alcohol/10% water solution (This is important. Make sure it’s 90% alcohol)
Clear melt and pour soap base
White melt and pour soap base
Fragrance of choice (mint is good choice)
Blue coloring (optional)
Before you begin launching into your personalized homemade soap project, cut out the pictures or graphics you intend to use in your soap. Make sure the images are slightly smaller than the soap mold you intend to use otherwise you risk your soap separating. It’s okay to leave a small margin of white around the images because we’re going to use a white soap backing that will make the edges invisible.
Now let’s personalize your homemade soap and really impress your friends and family.
Melt a small amount (about 8 ounces) of your clear melt and pour soap. Heat in microwave in 30-second bursts until soap is melted. (You can also use a double boiler to melt the soap.) Remove from microwave, add a drop of blue color (this is to give the soap a water clear vs. a yellow clear). Add enough fragrance to lightly scent soap.
- Tip: Use the same brand of melt-and-pour soap for your project. Different brands have different ingredients and that may cause your melt and pour soap to separate.
- Tip: Make sure the fragrance you select will not discolor your soap. If you are unsure, test on a small sample of clear melt and pour. Make sure you let your sample harden. Better to be safe than sorry.
- Tip: You should use roughly ¼ ounce of fragrance per pound of soap. A pound of soap makes about 4 bars.
- Tip: Use only soap fragrances, not those used for candles or potpourri.
- Tip: Thoroughly mix oil based fragrances or they may separate and float to the surface of the soap.
Pour a thin layer (about 1/8 inch) of the clear melt and pour into your mold(s). Allow it to harden. Once hardened, place image face-side down in the mold (Remember, your soap is upside down in the mold so you want the image you will see to be facing the bottom of the mold.)
Spray heavily with your 90% alcohol solution. Rub out any bubbles with your finger (gently please). Blot excess alcohol with a paper towel. You’re not trying to dry the paper, just removing excess alcohol.
Pour thin (about 1/8 inch) layer of clear melt and over the image. Allow to dry thoroughly. (Note: If previously heated clear melt and pour has hardened, simply put back in microwave and reheat.)
Melt white soap (125 – 130 degrees. If it’s too hot, it can melt through your layer of clear and start to dissolve your image. We just say no to that.) Once melted, add fragrance.
Once the clear soap is dry, spray lightly with alcohol and pour scented white melt and pour to fill the mold. The white soap background will really make the images stand out. Most cool!
Allow to harden naturally then remove from mold and you’re almost done. (Don’t put in fridge or freezer. Bad juju. Be patient no matter how much it hurts.)
Step 6 – Packaging
Wrap each bar of soap in plastic wrap making the seam at the back. Cut off excess (you don’t want bulges). Set the heat gun at the lowest temperature and hit the back of the wrap first, then the sides and lastly the top. Make sure the seam (where the wrap comes together) is at the back of your bar of soap. Now you’re ready to put the soap into the gift basket.
- Tip: Wrap glycerin soaps because they tend to sweat and which will make them look really ugly. Don’t buy the non-sweating type for this project because it tends to turn out opaque.
Now go have fun and relax.