Glycerin soap is the easiest soap to make at home. It can be used soon after making and is a great gift for any occasion.
Glycerin (also spelled glycerine) is a colorless compound known for its moisturizing properties. It dissolves in water and is a good solvent. It absorbs water from the air, which makes it great for your skin.
In traditional soap making, fat and lye are combined and glycerin is a byproduct of that process (because there is glycerin in animal fat). Some commercial soap makers take the glycerin out of the soap and use it instead in lotion or other bath products that they can sell for a higher price than soap. People who make soap at home in the old-fashioned way keep the glycerin in their soap, which is one reason it's great to make soap at home. But you can also buy glycerin at a craft store, soap and candle supply company or from various sources on the Internet to make pure glycerin soap. Check out Peak Candle for clear and opaque glycerin in blocks large and small.
Soap Making Supplies
Glycerin soap is known as melt and pour soap making because that's basically all there is to it. You melt the soap, stir in some additions, and pour it into a mold.
For professional-looking soap, prepare your mold by spraying it with rubbing alcohol before pouring your melted soap into the mold. Buy a cheap spray bottle or a spray attachment that will fit on your bottle of alcohol.
The basic things you will need to make glycerin soap are a microwave-safe container with a pour spout (or a pan for the stove top if your glycerin isn't microwave safe or you're making large quantities), glycerin, fragrance, colorant, molds, rubbing alcohol and something to stir with.
A word about color and fragrance: use products that are made for use on the body or that are especially for use with soap making. Some people use food coloring in their soaps, which is fine if you use only a small amount (large quantities can stain skin and clothing). You can find soap-friendly dyes and fragrance oils at craft shops or on the Internet. Essential oils can also be used in soaps, but they are usually less powerful than commercially made fragrance oils.
Glycerin Soap Making Instructions
Gather your materials, prepare your molds and melt the glycerin, using the microwave or a double boiler. If using the microwave, heat for one minute covered with plastic wrap so the water won't escape and stir. Not everything will be melted until you stir it well. If using a double boiler, put water in the bottom and glycerin in the top. Cover, and put on medium heat, stirring occasionally until all is melted. Time will vary depending on the melt point of the glycerin you have. (It's usually somewhere between 150 and 170 degrees).
Uncover and remove from heat. Add small amounts of fragrance and color, if desired. These products are often very strong and you can go from a nice smelling soap to something overpowering very quickly. Stir well and pour into prepared molds.
Again you can spray the top of the soap with rubbing alcohol to eliminate bubbles. Set the molds somewhere they won't be disturbed for a few hours, and allow to harden. The soap is ready to use as soon as it is solid. If you have trouble unmolding the soap, put the molds in the freezer for up to half an hour.
Making Salt and Glycerin Soap
Some people like to make glycerin soap with salt in it as a gentle exfoliator. Combining glycerin with salt gives you a great body cleanser that you can use in the bath or the shower. It's not recommended to use glycerin soap with salt added to it on the face, however. This soap can be too abrasive for sensitive skin, such as the cheeks and eye areas.
You'll need the following ingredients:
- One pound of glycerin
- One teaspoon of essential oil for fragrance
- One teaspoon of organic dye if you would like colored soap
- Place the glycerin in a bowl and melt it in the microwave on high for two minutes. Do not stir.
- Remove the dish from the microwave and pour in the oil and the dye, if applicable.
- Stir slowly to mix the ingredients. Stirring vigorously could introduce air bubbles.
- Pour the mixture into a nonstick pan and let it cool for two hours. Cut it into four-inch bars.
Adding the Salt
You'll need to melt the soap again to add the salt to it. Instead of using the microwave, you should use a double boiler. Before you start, compile these ingredients:
- Two teaspoons of table salt
- One quarter cup of sea salt
- A soap mold with dividers to help you spread the salt evenly on each bar
- Add the soap to the double boiler and wait for it to melt.
- Pour in the table salt and stir slowly.
- Pour the mixture into the soap mold, leaving a cup of it behind in the boiler.
- While the soap is still liquid, sprinkle the sea salt on it, aiming for a thick and even coating.
- Pour the rest of the glycerin/salt mixture into the mold on top of the sea salt. This will help it stick.
- Let the soap cool in the mold for about two hours. You can put it in the freezer to make it easier to remove.
Glycerin Soap Combinations
Here are some ideas for colors and fragrances you can combine to make great glycerin soap:
|Aqua blue||Rain, Seashore, Eucalyptus essential oil|
|Emerald||Any floral scent, Juniper or Pine, Bay essential oil|
|Grass green||Anything tropical, spring scent, Patchouli or Rosemary essential oil|
|Jade green||Anything tropical, Holly, coconut, Mint essential oil|
|Lemon yellow||Lemon, Orange, Vanilla, Lemon or Lemongrass essential oil|
|Orange||Lemon, Orange, Orchid, Tangerine essential oil|
|Pink||Bubble gum, Dogwood, Cranberry, Peppermint essential oil|
|Purple||Anything floral, Vanilla, Sandalwood, Lavender essential oil|
|White||Any tea or coffee inspired fragrances, Magnolia, Ylang ylang essential oil|
These are just a few ideas. Of course you can combine any scent with any color for an interesting surprise, like a pink pear or a purple mango. Combine colors and fragrances that you like, and have fun!