Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Make Your Own Soap Balls

You don't have to be a soap maker to make beautiful handcrafted soaps for gifts. For this project, all you need is to save up your soap scraps, it's super easy.

One quart sized zip lock bag full of soap bits, scraps, shavings, or grated bar soap. Can be any kind of soap, including melt and pour, cold process, hot process, or plain soap from the store.
1/2 cup distilled water (you can add a few drops of essential oil with this, if you'd like a scent to bring the different scents together, or 1 tsp. of vanilla extract, but this will discolor the balls)
One sheet waxed paper
Optional ingredient: Brambleberry Gold Mica, used to coat the balls after they dry, use with a soft make up brush or clean meat basting brush.

Instructions: Make sure all your soap bits are small pieces, less than 1/4 inch square. If you're starting with new bars, grate them with a cheese grater, and use at least 4 bars. Put them in the bag, bag should be stuffed full, but still able to zip closed. If you don't have a full bag, use less water. Pour water in bag with soap, and seal the bag. It should be just enough water to make all the soap bits nice and moist. Leave the bag sitting out overnight. The soap will all be soft and a little sticky in the morning. Give the soap a good kneading inside the bag, about 1 minute. Then, open the bag, and grab a handful of soap (about 1/4 cup), form into a ball, and place on waxed paper to dry. Repeat until you run out of soap. Don't worry about how perfect the surface of the soap looks, you will be able to smooth it when the soap dries. Let these balls dry for one week, turning once a day so all surfaces get some air. After drying, you can smooth the balls by rubbing with a dry dishcloth, then paint with gold mica, or other mica pigment, you can even use eyeshadow.

A couple of these balls can be packaged in a cello bag with a nice washcloth for a super nice stocking stuffer or gift for co-workers, and you can also use them as a component of a nice bath gift basket.

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