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EBSQ: Art Meets Blog
News from the Self-Representing Artists Community
Do This! Part II and III
This month's EBSQ LIVE was a collection of short how-to's appropriate for the holidays. As this is the holiday season and we all need quick projects, over the next few days I will post the presentations.

Second and third up  - Dawn Lee Thompson

Hi and thanks for coming! Hand poured and scented soaps and salts are inexpensive, easy and elegant gifts. It is easier than baking and makes a lasting impression on the recipient.

There are lots of different things you can do with the process to make your gifts more elaborate or fancy, (layering, embedding, coloring etc.), but for quick and easy, you can’t beat the basics!

The first step is to gather supplies and ingredients. All are available at your local discount store or pharmacy and your local craft store, though I buy mine online for a better selection. You will need….

  • Melt and pour soap base
  • Essential or fragrance oils and a dropper 
  • Something to mold the soap; either special soap molds or whatever you have around the house. Muffin tins and baking pans work great.
  • Salts. You can buy fancy, but Epsom salts are the least expensive and have the most health benefits.
  • Moisturizing oils. Mineral oil, baby oil, Vitamin E oil, olive oil etc. All are good.
  • Any additives you want in the soap and salt; milk, herbs, oatmeal, exfoliants etc.
  • A glass bowl for melting the soap and a glass or metal bowl for mixing the salts. Don’t use plastic as it will absorb your fragrance oils and be unusable for food.
  • Small bags, boxes or tins to put the finished product in when you’re done.

I like to start with the soap, and make the salts while the soap sets.  First, cut the block of soap into 1”-1 1/2” squares and put into your glass bowl. Then microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between until the soap starts to melt. Then nuke at 15 second intervals until fully melted but not boiling. Just like chocolate!

Once the soap is melted, add several drops of fragrance. You want it to be strong, but not overwhelming. Some scent will evaporate as the soap sets, leaving the finished product nicely scented. Stir it up well.

Next, add any goodies you want in there. For this one, I added baby oatmeal and apricot scrub. Stir it around until the soap starts to thicken a bit. This will keep all of the additives from settling to the bottom of your mold.

Now pour the soap into your mold and let it stand until the top is set and doesn’t move. This only takes a couple of minutes. Once it is starting to set, put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes. This will shrink it up a bit and make it easier to demold.

Once the soap is fully set, demold by turning upside down and pressing on the bottom. Cut into individual cakes and voila! You’re done!

You think that was easy? Wait until you make the salts!

Pour about 4 cups of salt into a large bowl. Add around two tablespoons of your moisturizing oil and mix it up really well. You can use a large metal spoon, but your hands work better. Really scrub the oil in there! When that is mixed well and absorbing into the salts, add about 10 drops of fragrance oil and mix it all up again. (This is great for exfoliating and moisturizing your hands, BTW!) 

Put in your additives. (Optional.) If making milk bath, (my favorite), add about 4 cups of powdered milk and rub it all together again.  Or use about 1 cup of baby oatmeal or 1/4 cup of dried herbs.

And that’s it! Bag it up and you’re done! About 1 cup per bag will make for 2 lightly scented baths or one luxurious one!

This will make approx. 12 gift sets for approx. $20, including the gift boxes. What a bargain!

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2 comments or Leave a comment
lunaetstellae From: lunaetstellae Date: December 18th, 2007 01:12 am (UTC) (Link)

A related idea:

Another cool thing you can do, is put epsom salts into tiny bottles; maybe the size of essential oil bottles. Get amber glass ones, if possible, to prolong the oils. Fill up the bottle with salts, then put in just a few drops of almond or grapeseed oil, then add the essential oils you want. The grapeseed oil helps the oils not so quickly evaporate. I like to add eucalyptus/lavender oils, you may have a 'wakeup' blend you like, or some other blend for calmness, PMS, etc. Cap, and invert to all salts absorb this mix. Then you can carry these around in your pocket or bag and pull out and sniff them as needed to help with winter sniffles, drowsyness, or nervousness. You can refresh these as needed by adding more essential oils later on.

blu_moo From: blu_moo Date: December 18th, 2007 01:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: A related idea:

That is cool!
2 comments or Leave a comment