Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

November 30, 2016

DIY Gemstone Soap Tutorial | How to Make Easy Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap Rocks

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks
 
As a rock collector, you can imagine how much I mooned over the gem and mineral shaped "soap rocks" when I first spotted them in an artsy boutique in Duluth, MN.  They were regularly price at around $11, so you can imagine my glee when they were put on clearance one day - for $6 a bar!  Still pricey, but I ran to the cash register with an armful.  I bought a couple as gifts and then depleted the store's stock of "turquoise" soap rocks, which I've doled out to myself over the years.  You might have seen them pop up in this bathroom and that bathroom.  I swear it wasn't the same soap, moved from room to room.

;)

When I finally got down to my last original soap rock, I hopped online to buy more and they're still expensive - even in bulk.  I am definitely not want to shirk away from paying for craftsmanship, ingenuity or quality but they're too expensive to enjoy (does that make sense to anyone else?), no matter how adorable.  When I started seeing gemstone shaped soap tutorials popping up everywhere, I decided to make my own soap rocks.  My gem soaps are nowhere near as gorgeous as the originals, but at only $2 a bar (which will be less once I make more batches), my wallet is much happier - and I don't feel a twinge of guilt when I'm lathering up.  Plus, making soap turned out to be such a fun and easy craft project that I can't wait to make more!  

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

Although there are a lot of great gemstone soap tutorials online (like these ones by A Beautiful Mess, Dream a Little Bigger, Fall for DIY, Honestly WTF, Soap Queen, and DIY in PDX), this tutorial is my favorite and it's the one I followed because it created the most realistic looking "stones".

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

Soap Rock Making Supplies:

A note on these soap making supplies supplies:

Essential oils: I read that vanilla can yellow a soap so if you're going for a really clear "gem," opt for another scent.

Glycerine soap bases: In total I ordered 7 lbs of glycerine, which yielded two huge silicone molds worth of soap.  I linked to the exact glycerine bases I used because they are really nice.  I chose organic glycerine and was really happy with how this particular soap base lathers.  The clear looks so gem-like, so I ordered even more of it.  If you're only going to order one (the opaque or the clear), get the clear.

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

Cosmetic grade mica dyes: Mica colorants bestow the shimmer and sheen of real stones and help make these gem soaps more realistic.  I think I went a little overboard with the dye and made mine too richly colored, so play around a little with the quantity and add a little to start, building up the color if required.  For my next batch I'll try more faintly tinted clear glycerine areas for a more "quartz" inspired look.  The exact kind of mica I used is no longer available but I linked to a similar one.  Buy any kind you like, but make sure it's cosmetic grade.  Or try what Rachel did and put those unused eye shadow kits to good use! 

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

Look at the pretty shimmer:

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks
DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

How to Make Gem and Mineral Shaped Soap:

This style of soap making (melt and pour) is too easy:  in a nutshell, you melt the glycerine, add coloring agents and fragrance, pour into molds, and let cool.  With soap rocks, you add an extra step of chopping up the soap, arranging in a larger mold, adding more melted glycerine then cutting the finished product into a natural rock shape.

The only tricky part is creating a realistic gem, so the first step with making rock soap is to figure out what kind of stones you want to make.  Hit up Pinterest (I have a entire board dedicated to rocks) and find at least one kind to mimic.  Take a close look at the veining and colors to determine what colors of soap you'll need to make, and how to layer the different pieces - but there's no right or wrong way to do this.

How to Make Melt and Pour Soap:

With your rock soap "design" sorted, here are some more detailed instructions for how to actually make melt and pour gem-shaped soap.

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

Cut up the glycerine into small pieces and place in the microwaveable bowl.  I worked with a cup or two at a time.  Pop into the microwave and melt (about 30 seconds - 1 minute, depending on the microwave).

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

Mix in a pinch of mica until the color is perfect and then add essential oil.  I added a few drops of oil at a time until it smelled great - it's a personal decision how much to add.  If you're going to be making many colors, you can also pour the melted soap into another container, add dye and oil, and then pour into mold to keep the Pyrex measuring cup from transferring dye across batches (like I did, below).

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks
 
Pour the melted glycerine into the bar mold and let cool 6-8 hours.  In the meantime, start on another color and repeat the process.  You want to have a nice variety of the colors present in your gem or mineral.  I spent a couple of hours leisurely making different colors; it was a relaxing crafternoon.

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

You can also use an assortment of random plastic containers, but the bars pop out of this silicone bar mold so nicely.  I bought it because I figured I can make rectangular bar soap later.  After they've hardened, remove the soap from the molds.  (Technically, at this stage you could also just cut these soaps into gem shapes). 

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks
DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap RocksDIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

Now chop up those bars!  Use a knife or other kitchen tools (like a vegetable peeler) to create organic looking shapes.  Create bigger and smaller chunks, some shards and thin little "veins" - depending on the stone you're trying to replicate.  You can also gently rub the soap to soften corners.  Set aside any shavings and cuttings - you can add them to a bar later or melt them again.

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

Next, assemble the pieces in the large loaf silicone mold, as per the gem or mineral you want to replicate.  For one batch, I started with a darker layer then added lighter layers as well as "veins":

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

Then melt a batch of glycerine, adding essential oils and mica again, but keeping the color very light and sheer.  Once mixed, pour into the soap mold, covering all of the smaller pieces.  How much you need will depend on how much room is left.  Start with a cup and keep adding.  If you want separation between the layers, let them firm between adding more.   

Let the loaf of soap set and harden overnight.

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

When it's set, you'll have a block like this:

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

For my first attempt, I really created a layered look (below) and my second batch was a little more uniform (see above):

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks
DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

For my next attempt, I plan to limit the variation of color and just play more with opacity, so the little shards and pieces I cut up will be suspended in what I hope will look like quartz.  This process is fun and I promise you'll want to keep experimenting to get as realistic a gem soap as possible. 

Once it has hardened, remove the soap from the mold and slice it like bread.  Cut off edges and corners, and add some facets, to create a random, organic feel.  Cut some bars diagonally, some square - mix it up! 

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks
DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks
DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

Making soap can continue forever because you'll end up with little scraps that you can melt down and use again or add into the next batch of rock soap.  One neat idea is to pick up a small silicone mold, like this gem-shaped mold, and then melt down and make mini guest soaps with any leftovers (recognize the gem mold from my gemstone gummies?)

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

I love my DIY gem soap - it makes such a cheery statement on the counter in the bathroom.  The colors didn't stain or dye anything (which was my worry the first time I lathered up a bar in my brand new white tub).  I also have really sensitive skin (prone to redness, dryness, and also oiliness - yay) but this soap has not dried out my skin or aggravated acne; it's a really nice soap. 

Make a batch of these easy DIY gemstone soaps for holiday gifts - bonus points for whipping up birthstones!  (Or, if you're in a rush, you can always find Soap Rocks on Amazon for stocking stuffers and make/hoard these handmade gem soaps for yourself later).

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks
DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks
DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks
DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks
DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

Tips and Tricks for Making Melt + Pour Gem Soaps:
  • Make sure to keep some areas translucent to create a more realistic "gem" look
  • The mica/shimmer shows up better in clear glycerine
  • If you don't like a color, re-melt the bar and try adding more dye (to darken) or glycerine (to lighten), or add a whole new hue and try again!
  • If you get mica bubbles (I got some) spray with rubbing alcohol, or mix the mica with the alcohol before adding to the soap
  • But don't worry about it being "perfect" - have fun and just go with it
  • Clean up is a breeze (it's soap!) so I just ran my cutting board, knife and Pyrex cup through the dishwasher when I was done

DIY Gem + Mineral Shaped Soap | Make Your Own Melt + Pour Soap Rocks

I'll definitely be trying this again and I'll be sure to share my results.  Have you made soap?  I'd love to see!  Share a link in the comments or tag me on Instagram.  
SHARE:

November 28, 2016

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating Ideas

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

Today's post is a lot of fun, and I'm thrilled to be collaborating with Lowe's Canada to add some wintry, but cozy, touches to the lakehouse for the holiday season.  Not only did the first Lowe's just recently open in my small city (who doesn't love perusing the aisles of a shiny new home improvement store?), the Lowe's Cold Spell holiday collection looks like it was made for the lakehouse!  The colour palette consists of icy blues, creamy whites and tons of silver (check).  Plus so many of the pieces that caught my eye have a vintage-meets-Scandinavian vibe (check).  Even better, although the line includes a stuffed Santa and a gorgeous collection of gleaming Christmas tree ornaments, what I love about the products is that many of them just feel wintry so even if you don't celebrate a traditional Christmas, you can still add some festive seasonal decor pieces to your home and keep many of the decorations up long past the end of December (check).  Finally, with so many gorgeous tabletop trees in the collection, even if you have absolutely no room for a tree in your small home (I hear ya), there are plenty of items to bring holiday cheer to a pint-sized space.  Yes, there's a lot to love about the Cold Spell collection, so I was really excited about bringing home my favorite pieces, and mixing them with my existing decor, to show you how to add a festive, wintry vibe to a small space. 

Let's take a tour!

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

My narrow mantle is tricky to decorate but, even with the limited space, I created a really sparkly, layered mantlescape this year.  I started with glittery tulle from the fabric shop (I bought a metre, which I cut in half lengthwise).  I scrunched that up on the mantle and then placed a fresh cedar wreath I made in the centre, casually leaning it against the brick.  I made it using the same wreath form (and the same steps) as last year's fresh greenery wreath, but the cedar really lasts much longer.  Once again, I added some faux foliage in shades of blue and white, along with some silver leaves.  Using ornament hooks, I attached a row of my absolutely favorite ornaments from the Cold Spell collection to complete the wreath.  Something about the shape, the vintage shade of the blue, and that glittering "snow capped" top really remind me of vintage Christmas ornaments (they come in a pretty shade of mint and a soft champagne gold, too).  Using my easy DIY felted ball tutorial, I quickly whipped up a felted ball garland that looks like snowballs - perfect for my wintry theme!

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

I flanked the wreath on either side with two faux birch bark cone-shaped trees - they have such a pretty shimmer to them and a minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired vibe.  I wove a string of battery operated pine cone shaped lights around everything to add some glow.  I found these adorable lights in the lighting section, but the mercury glass finish matches other pieces in the Cold Spell theme.  I also tucked in some sparkly faux foliage to add a little more sparkle and interest - the light faux stems and trees really pop against my dark fireplace.  My Mummu is an avid crafter, so I raided her collection, but Lowe's also carries this type of glittering pick (which they tuck into their display Christmas trees - such a pretty idea).

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

Look at these faux birch bark trees shimmer!  When they're placed beside string lights or candles, they just gleam like freshly fallen snow.  I'm really tempted to find a place to display a grouping of these all year round.

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

One of the fabrics used in the Cold Spell theme (for stockings, throw pillows, and a tree skirt) has such a mid-century modern vibe that I just had to bring home some pieces.  You know my obsession with tweed; the stockings and throw pillows look like a creamy tweed shot with silver.  To me, this fabric just feels wintry - it doesn't scream "Christmas," which I like because you could totally put these out in November and keep them until the snow melts (I plan to)!

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

Each of the four holiday collections at Lowe's this year have an assortment of stocking hooks and this simple, silver snowflake-shaped one caught my eye - but there's a pair of brass reindeer from a different theme that I definitely kept putting in my cart.

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

As I was leaving Lowe's, I spotted a rack of tree-shaped lavender plants (along with more classic choices, like poinsettias and Christmas cacti).  These smell amazing, and are so different, so I brought one home and planted it in a mid-century modern-inspired tabletop planter from Modernica.  It looks so cute on my hearth, but I'll move it to the dining room table for everyday use.  You have to keep pruning it to maintain the tree shape, so after the holidays I can let it grow out.  To make it a little more festive, I just tucked in some glittering, faux foliage stems.

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

With our 20-ft sectional sofa, we don't have much room for other furniture - or display space - but I made the most of our accent tables and swapped my usual plants for a vase with fresh blue spruce boughs, a tabletop ball tree from Lowe's, and some other cozier accents like a light-up owl and assortment of candles - some from Lowe's (they have some pretty white tree-shaped and pine cone shaped ones) and some I made last year.

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

That glass owl is battery operated and lights up, creating this gorgeous glow at night.  The mercury finish matches other pieces from the collection, plus it's too darn cute!

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

Moving over to the dining room, I mixed some new pieces from Lowe's with some of my existing holiday decor.  Last year I dyed some vintage crochet doilies teal, along with some matching linen napkins, and I loved how that looked.  The lacy doilies complement a wintry tablescape so well, so I used this makeshift runner idea again, this time with some wintry glass plates and glasses.

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

The mercury glass vases from Lowe's come in two sizes.  For a centrepiece, I recommend the shorter size.  I chose this larger size because I knew it would photograph better, but for real life, the taller size is perfect for a mantle, end table, or sideboard, while the lower size is great for a centrepiece that allows you to still see your guests over dinner!  To create a budget-friendly arrangement, I used natural cedar greenery from my backyard along with some more faux foliage picks pilfered from my Mummu.  Once you invest in some glittering picks, they can be used every year to add sparkle to a green (and free!) arrangement, helping to keep a holiday decorating budget in check by saving money on flowers.

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

To create more ambiance, I added a small plate to each place setting and nestled a pretty blue glass votive holder into a bed of cedar.  I also added a pretty glittering stem to each napkin for some more sparkle.

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

This pine cone shaped candle, also from Lowe's, makes an even brighter, cozier statement:

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell
Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

We had our first snowstorm recently and it was so bizarre to go from unseasonably warm fall days to WINTER overnight.  The temperature plummeted, cars drove off the highway into the ditch, and we had to pull out our deep freeze parkas.  I immediately started craving cozy comforts: the fireplace, candles, blankets, (and pie!).  Adding new touches, like those battery-operated pine cone lights and that adorable owl really added another layer of coziness.  Look how lovely the living room looks at night!

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

This is just a small sampling from the Lowe's Cold Spell collection, which I'm so thrilled to showcase because it just feels so right in the lakehouse!  Lowe's has three other collections - including one which has a really colorful, retro vibe and a bold color palette of turquoise, red, green and white - and I was definitely excited about pieces from each of the other collections.  Think: adorable fox figurines, bright turquoise mid-century mod inspired ornaments, beautiful shades of indigo blue glass, and modern brass accessories.  I could have definitely picked about a dozen items from each collection, and they can definitely be mixed and matched, but choosing from one collection, with its colour-coordinated palette and matching finishes, makes decorating for the holidays a snap.

Wintry Blue + White Holiday Decorating with Lowe's Canada Cold Spell

Well, I'm officially ready for evenings in, huddled under a blanket watching movies.  How about you?

This post was sponsored by Lowe's, but all thoughts, opinions and styling choices - including the decision to highlight products from the Cold Spell collection - are my own.  The case study planter was provided by Modernica.  Happy holiday decorating, everyone!
 
Follow Lowe’s on social media / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest
Read more »
SHARE:
© Dans le Lakehouse | All rights reserved.
See What Inspires Me on Pinterest