The medium of melt and pour soap is extremely versatile. To begin, you must select a soap base. You can choose from white or clear, or a base enriched with goat’s milk or honey or shea butter or coconut milk, or many other additives. You can add herbs or spices or seeds or butters to your base. Then, you can use a plain loaf mold, or find one shaped like a duck or a kitty or a cupcake. Next, you can choose from a rainbow of colorants in various formats (or you can choose to leave the soap its natural hue). Then, you can scent your base with fragrance or essential oils or a combination of the two, or, if you prefer, leave it unscented.
One of the best parts of melt and pour soap is that you can make soap in extremely small batches. Traditional soapers generally make batches starting at about 16 ounces, because of the precise nature of the chemical reaction required to produce the soap (saponification). Melt and pour soap has already been saponified. In order to prepare it for accepting your fragrance, color and other additives, all that is required is a few seconds in the microwave to melt it. I’ve made “batches” of soap as small as half an ounce! So, with melt and pour soap, you can literally make one bar at a time, if you’d like. This is handy if you want to make a small bar for testing purposes, or, if you’re making a customized soap for someone.
For example, I have a friend who has a medieval-themed bathroom in three shades of blue. Probably not surprisingly, she was having some difficulty finding soap to fit her theme, so she asked if I could make her some. I found a dragon candy mold, which I used to make two-toned blue dragon soaps, in the lavender scent she’d requested. With melt and pour soap, if you can imagine it, it can probably be made!
The melt and pour soap artists on etsy have taken this concept to the extreme. You can find soaps in the shapes of animals, vegetables and minerals. A soap that looks like a root beer float? Soapy cupcakes, cookies and candies? Soapy sushi? A soap shaped like a pizza? Just do an search on etsy and you’ll see what I mean. Even though I sometimes feel that I’ve seen everything you could possibly do with melt and pour, at least once a week I see something that makes me stop and go “WOW! How did they come up with that?”
To me, melt and pour soap gives me the opportunity to be extremely creative, while making a product that is, in the end, totally usable. If you’re thinking of trying melt and pour, I recommend that you go for it. Give your imagination free reign. Maybe you’ll be the next person to amaze me with your technique. At the very least, you won’t be buying soap from the grocery store anytime soon!