Monday, October 3, 2011

DIY: Calendula Oatmeal Honey Soap (Melt and Pour Method)

So, one of the areas I've decided to "expand my knowledge" the last little bit is soap making.  Why?  Well because the sticker shock on a good hand made bar of soap will curl your hair that's why!!!  Ahem...well anyway...I figured if I was going to try my hand at this relatively new area of expertise I'd start with melt and pour soap making.

I've made melt and pour soap before, but the stuff I got from Michaels and made was...well...not great honestly.  After a month the stuff had released enough moisture that the bars of soap I'd made literally curled in on themselves and never sat flat after that and only about 3 bars of the like 10 I had made actually held any scent after that time.  So, I wanted to make sure that THIS time I did it right and with the right materials.  So, I got my nerd on and started researching how honest to goodness lye soap was made (which I will experiment with later and show the results of such), but right now with how busy I am I just didn't want to mess with the lye and the sheer clean up involved.

So, I went and got myself a GOOD melt and pour soap base (like the stuff people on Etsy use for their melt and pour soaps to SELL type of good) from Country Soap Shack on Etsy (which is incidentally my favorite supply shop pretty much).  I got two different types, the Shea Butter Base and their own unique blend (which I haven't made yet...still waiting on some herbs to come in the mail).  Mind you if you are REALLY looking for 100% real true all-natural soap, please get the lye and do it the hard way as even though this stuff is a LOT better than the stuff you'll get at the store there are still different additives to make it so the soap will...well melt and pour :).

So, anyway, here's the recipe I came up with after much thought for my first attempt at my own unique recipe for soap.  Now mind you if you use this recipe and make a ton of money on Etsy I want at least a thank you out of you *laugh*.

Calendula Oatmeal Honey Soap

The Hardware:
  • 1 large microwave safe measuring cup or bowl (I used my 4 cup liquid measuring cup)
  • 1 soap mold (you could make one like I did or you could be smart and try to find something like a plastic container like I ended up using because my nifty mold was way too big...I'll show you in a minute).
  • Measuring Cups and spoons
  • 1 Chopstick (TRUST me this is the best mixing friend you'll ever have for melt and pour soap)
The Software:
  • 1 lb Melt and Pour Soap Base (honestly I really DO recommend getting the good stuff, but you can get the cheap stuff at Michaels in Anchorage for about 6.00 if you wait for the 50% off 1 item coupon to pop up).
  • 1/8 cup finely ground quick oats (I used my good ol' coffee grinder for this.  If you do not own a 1/8 of a cup measure, like me, just put 1/4 cup of quick oats into your coffee grinder, grind it up and just use the powder'll be close enough trust me)
  • 1/4 cup finely ground Calendula petals (once again the good ol' coffee grinder)
  • 2 Teaspoons honey (I used local)
  • 1 Teaspoon Sweet Almond Oil  (you could also use Vitamin E)

Step 1:  Grind your oatmeal and calendula petals (remember to measure your calendula petals AFTER grinding them or you'll have way too little).  Once you get it all ground up, place it into another container (I used my 1 cup liquid measuring cup) and mix well with your fingers.  You want the oats and calendula petals to incorporate the same in your soap, so be sure to mix them well before hand.  Set aside.

Step 2:  Melt your soap.   Put your soap into your microwave safe bowl or measuring cup and place in the microwave.  Put on 1 minute on high.  Check it and stir it with your chop stick and then put it back into the microwave in 30 second increments until everything is well melted.

Step 3:  Add your liquids.  Add your honey and sweet almond oil and stir well with your chop stick to make sure it is incorporated throughout the soap base.

Step 4:  Add the oats and calendula mixture and mix well with the chop stick and then pour into your mold of choice.  Okay, so the nifty little rig I put together above (a toddler shoe box lined with parchment paper) I took one look at once my liquid got out of the microwave and I thought, "Man that's wayyyy too big" so I quickly grabbed the plastic rubbermaid container I keep my essential oils in and turned it into a quick mold.  Plastic molds work GREAT for this job by the way because once the soap is set it's way easier to start manipulating the plastic to give up the soap than if you did this in say a metal container of some sort.  You could also use the bottom of a couple card board juice jugs (cut off about I'd say 4 inches up or so) or even an empty frozen juice container or something.  You want something that will hold a liquid and not melt from the heat of the soap, so just keep that in mind.

As the soap is cooling you might want to stir it a few more times with the chopstick to try and get more of the solids to incorporate into the soap.  Me?  I stirred it like twice and went and cooked dinner.  So, after about 2 hours sitting in the mold, I un-molded the soap to find...

Isn't it pretty?  Please ignore the writing on the paper beneath.  I ended up using the paper with the allergist number scribbled on it as my landing zone when my son kept stealing and eating my paper towels (don't ask).

After you unmold it, cut the bars.   Since my container was about 6 inches by 6 inches (about) I cut my big chunk into four bars and I got four good sized bars of it.  I used a good old Oxo bench scraper for this job, but you could use a nice big sharp knife too.  Just to warn you.  Cut STRAIGHT down so you don't beat up your soap too bad.

For full effectiveness let the bars "cure" for about 2 weeks.  It'll allow everything in the bars to mingle and mellow out.  But, you CAN use them right away since they don't contain raw lye, which is the benefit of melt and pour soap.  So far, the few little pieces I cut off the bars to make them more "square" worked really well and left my skin soft and my son didn't complain about me using it on him (which is saying something) and with the EXCEPTION to you having an oat allergy in the family somewhere, this recipe should do VERY well for sensitive skin and eczema, which is what I was aiming for all along.



Unknown said...

I'd really love a soap recipe that uses baking soda. I've used a few bars and love them.

Anonymous said...

Hi, how can I use this recipe with lye and water instead of the soap base?

Erika, "The Make Do Homemaker" said...

What method are you using? If using the cold process method I'd add In the oats, calendula and oil after you reach trace and right before you pour into your mold. If using hot process I'd add in the extras QUICKLY right before you're ready to mold it (recipes usually have a "add this in at this time type of instructions).

As for a lye recipe for soap...sorry I'm not a chemist or an experienced soap maker, so I do NOT mess with lye recipes. I let those who know what they are doing do that. There's a lot of good books with recipes on Amazon if you need them and I found some decent recipes on line that I've made in the past. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I will try it. It is Like good to prepare thank you by share