I am so excited to share my recent DIY melt and pour soap project. I warned you: making melt and pour soap is addictive. It’s the perfect craft for stress relief because it’s fun and foolproof – nothing vexes me more than a DIY project that refuses to cooperate. But making soap is easy! Plus it gets bonus points for being a useful, consumable thing. I have so many crafty ideas pinned to Pinterest but I am really picky about what I make because I just don’t want more clutter. Really, I can only use so many decorated vases and clay trinket dishes, but that mindset really put a damper on my creativity so I’ve been on the hunt for fun DIY projects that are useful, too.
Perhaps the best part of this is that the soap base I buy is organic and it lathers so beautifully, so I enjoy it more than the humdrum white bars we were buying.
Today I’m sharing my latest DIY melt and pour soap creation: “Lake Superior soap”. I wanted to create a bar that looked like the swirling depths of choppy water and it turned out so pretty.
Supplies for DIY Melt and Pour Soap:
- Glycerine soap base (clear)
- Mica soap colorants in blues/teals (this mica dye lot looks promising too)
- Soap fragrance (optional – I chose coconut)
- Bar silicone molds
- Loaf silicone mold
- Pyrex measuring cup
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Cheese grater
- Old spoon
- Small spray bottle
- Rubbing alcohol
Some Notes on Supplies:
I purchased this exact soap base on Amazon in both clear and white, but I do prefer the clear glycerine base because the translucent base really highlights the shimmery mica so well. I started with five pounds, three clear and two white, and that was a great amount for getting started with melt and pour soap making. Definitely spring for at least 5 lbs!
I have bought the mica colorants a few different times (including this exact teal as well as this teal shimmer plus this earthy color lot) and I’m not sure which ones I used here (plus I mix them). If you’re starting out, buy a mixed lot with color options – I guarantee you’ll use them because you’ll dream up different ideas while you experiment.
Because this project cleans up really easily, feel free to use a cutting board, measuring cup, knife and cheese grater from your kitchen cabinets. While I was busy making soap, my white cutting board got a teeny tiny spot of discoloration from one of the mica colorants but everything cleaned up beautifully in the dishwasher – it’s soap, after all.
How to Make Swirling Melt and Pour Soap:
The first step is to make the colorful “swirls”. Cut up the glycerine into 1 inch cubes and melt a cup or two in a Pyrex measuring cup for about 30 seconds in the microwave, until it’s liquid.
Add a pinch of mica colorant and stir with a spoon until the color is uniform. Pour into the bar soap mold and spritz with rubbing alcohol. Repeat for different colors, using varying shades of blues and teals.
Set the bar soap molds aside, undisturbed, overnight.
Place the loaf silicone mold on a cutting board for stability. Pop the bar soap out of their molds and grate them into the loaf mold using the cheese grater. The soap is slippery so be careful – this is where a set of thin, cut-proof gloves would come in handy. Grate the soap right into the loaf mold, alternating colors, until it is almost filled to the top. Layer the lightest blues on top.
Melt about four cups of clear glycerine soap base in the microwave and add just a neutral white or pale gold mica colorant – just something for a bit of shimmer. This is where you can add the fragrance – I used 20 or so drops of coconut essential oil. Pour the melted soap into the loaf mold while it’s still really hot. The heat will make the top layer of grated soap melt somewhat and the resultant soap will have a pale turquoise background color with subtle swirls and movement. By the time the melted soap reaches the bottom of the grated soap, it’s cooler and the bottom layers stay much more intact. Working with the hot melted glycerine is how I kept the grated soap design from just looking speckled (which also looks good). Let it harden overnight and then pop out of the mold and slice, using a large sharp knife.
I don’t know what scent best says “Lake Superior,” so I just went with coconut because I like it. I’m open to suggestions for my next lake inspired batch…
It is really difficult to photograph this DIY melt and pour soap because it’s translucent and shimmering with different layers and a depth that I just cannot capture in a picture. You’ll have to take my word that this soap is staggeringly pretty. I have literally stood in the shower for way too long, admiring it. Just like my DIY gemstone soap, this soap doesn’t dye or discolor any surfaces once it’s finished.
Have you tried making DIY melt and pour soap? I loved hearing about your experiments when I shared my last batch. Tell me what you’ve been up to!
Mmmmm… Almost edible.
Haha, it certainly smells like it could be!
These are really pretty! I never use bar soap – only liquid soap by the sinks and body wash in the shower – but this almost makes me want to have some. FYI, the links to the gem stone soap and your last batch aren't working for me.
Thank you! I have gone through a lot of phases with soap. When we lived near a Costco, it depended what was on sale, lol. I have to admit these pretty bars make every day happier. Thanks for catching that link for me – I think it's all fixed now 🙂
This is beautiful! And coconut would have been my first choice, too!
Thank you! I might try something woodsy next – like pine? Then it would really feel like home to me 🙂
These look so good! I love Lake Superior too,so there's that:) Coconut is a favorite scent of mine too! Have you used The Body Shop Coconut cologne spray? So good:) I should really try making this soap sometime…..Amy in MN
Haha, that's because Lake Superior is superior by nature, lol. That's my city's motto, anyway. I haven't tried that cologne spray, I should definitely stop by The Body Shop and check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.
Not sure I could ever have the patience for making soap, but it is intriguing! And nothing beats the smell of handmade soap!
I promise it's actually pretty quick and easy – it's mostly the curing/drying time that makes it a weekend project but the actual mixing and pouring too minutes.
It truly is easy — and fun!
I don’t have fingers anymore, and even I have produced some very nice soaps. The downside is that people who received them from me for Christmas don’t want to use them! “They’re so PRETTY!” ? I think I may have them talked into it though… By telling them, “PLEASE try them! I’m depending on your honest feedback – and I promise I will make you more if you enjoyed it!”
That is so sweet that your recipients don’t want to use your beautiful soap – it’s definitely a lovely compliment!
Lavender speaks to me for another summer scent. I adore craft soaps, so much so I had a local company do a special batch for our cabin. I can't remember how many bars it yielded but I spread them through closets and drawers to further dry. It was a wonderful woodsy scent they developed for a fundraiser and agreed to make additional batches for our personal use.Our son has a very crafty friend and this soap making idea will be a fun activity next time he stays over.
Lavender is such a great suggestion! My grandmother loved lavender and I was planning to plant some in my garden this summer as a reminder of her but after my indoor lavender bit the dust, I'm less confident. I never liked lavender, but now I do because it reminds me of her. I love that you had soap made for the cabin! That's such a great idea to have a signature soap there and the woodsy scent sounds phenomenal. I wonder how they created that aroma? I think a woodsy scent should be next on my list… I hope you let me know what kind of soap you all make!
I discovered MP soap making recently after retiring and going through tens of other crafty things to do. I am addicted and have made so many and given so many away my friends are begging me to stop. lol. After all you can only get so dirty. But I love your recipe and will be trying it tomorrow. I do love coconut but am especially partial to citrus scents if all kinds.
Lol! I think people who have asked you to stop just aren’t washing their hands enough haha. I am so happy to hear you’re loving melt and pour soap. It’s one of my favorite crafts too! I have a gemstone soap tutorial too, which is tons of fun.
I like the colors, but I think an air type scent would be more appropriate than a tropical scent like coconut. Lake Superior is always cold and windy. Like ur idea tho. Thanx for sharing.
Very true! As I mentioned, I just loved the smell and had the essential oil already. Living on Lake Superior, the most appropriate smell is actually fish – I can tell ya that, lol. It’s been super fishy lately.
How many bars would this make? Thank you!
It depends how thick you cut them, but for me it made 8 bars. It fills the 3.5” X 8” X 2.5” loaf soap mold pictured (linked in my supplies list).
I made this soap last weekend, and I cannot believe how beautiful the bars turned out! I also made one in yellow, oranges and reds that I call Sunset. Thank you for the inspiration!
I’m so glad that you had success with this tutorial! Your soap turned out so beautifully! Thanks for leaving a comment 🙂