The Beginner’s Guide to Soap Making – The Melt & Pour Method

The Beginner's Complete Guide to Melt & Pour Soap MakingThe melt and pour method of soap making is my absolute favorite method to make soap. It’s easy, it’s quick, and it doesn’t require too many ingredients. The best reason of all? You don’t need to work with lye!

The melt and pour method is great for anyone who doesn’t work with lye or anyone who has kids and pets at home and would like to be extra cautious about even having it around the house. The downside is that you won’t be able to control every single ingredient and you can’t really say you made the soap from scratch. However, you’ll still have a lot of freedom and creativity with the soap ingredients!

This technique is also known as the “soap-casting” or “melt and mold”method. Simply put, you melt down a pre-made soap base to add in your ingredients. Once it’s thoroughly mixed, you can pour them into your molds!

Want to learn more about soap making or explore other methods? Check out these other guides from our exploration of soap making as January’s hobby of the month:

SUPPLIES NEEDED

Pre-Made Soap Base – You’ll be using a pre-made soap base to start the melt-and-pour process. Pre-made soap has completely gone through the saponification process which means you won’t need to work with lye. You can find these online or in craft stores. Popular melt-and-pour bases include clear, white, hemp, aloe, honey, shea butter and goat’s milk. If you’re concerned that you can’t control all the ingredients when using a pre-made soap base, look for those labeled as SFIC Soap. It’s a company that only uses natural ingredients in its products. After much searching for an affordable but natural soap base that provides a variety of options, I found the Melt-and-Pour Sampler Kit from Brambleberry. It’s only $20 and provides 1 lbs. each of 7 different types of bases. I’m not paid to promote their product or anything (I wish!), but I just love this affordable variety pack.

Tools for Melting – You’ll need a way to melt down your soap pieces so that you can stir in the additional ingredients, coloring and fragrances. We’ll cover 3 methods: microwave, Crock-Pot slow cooker, or doubler boiler.

Tools for Cutting  – You’ll need a way to break down the soap into smaller pieces so that it’s easier to melt. Options include a grater, knife, or food processor.

Tools for Measuring – You may need a food scale, measuring cup or measuring spoons to weight out your additional ingredients. The tool you will need will vary based on what you’re adding in.

Mold – You can use either a plastic, paper, silicone or wooden mold for your soap. Each type of soap has its pros and cons. Check out the beginner’s guide to soap making supplies for more info.

Container/Bowls – Containers and bowls will be used to hold the miscellaneous ingredients you want to add to your soap. If you want to melt your pre-made soap using the microwave method, you’ll need a large heat-safe glass container.

Kitchen Utensils – When prepping or adding your additional ingredients, it may require the use of spatulas, spoons, etc. This can vary based on what you are adding in.

Rubbing Alcohol – Rubbing alcohol is used to eliminate any bubbles on the surface of your soap that may occur when you pour the mixture in into the soap mold. Lightly spray rubbing alcohol onto the soap’s surface and pop any large bubbles with a small toothpick if they remain. Rubbing alcohol is also used to prepare the surface of the soap if you plan to add layers.

HOW TO USE THE melt & Pour METHOD FOR SOAP MAKING

The rebatch method is really simple. All you have to do is cut and melt down your pre-made soap bases, add and mix your desired ingredients and pour it into a mold. There are three different ways that you can cut down your soap and three different ways that you can melt your soap. Pick the one that works best for you!

The Beginner's Complete Guide to Soap Making using the Melt and Pour Method

1. Break down your soap base into smaller pieces. Personally, I prefer to cut my pre-made soap into small 1-inch chunks of cube using a strong knife and cutting board. You can also grate your soap in a large bowl. Try wearing some heavy-duty gloves while grating to minimize any risk of cutting yourself. Lastly, you can use a food processor to cut it up. However, the pieces may be too big and you’ll just resort to the regular knife method instead. Many food processors are not equipped to take on the hardness of the pre-made soap.

2. Melt down your soap pieces. There are three methods you can use to melt down your soap –a double boiler, slow cooker, or microwave oven. Check below on specific information on how to use these three methods.

3. Add your special ingredients. During the melting process, you’ll have the opportunity to add ingredients to your soap. Ingredients that need to be evenly distributed (like coloring) within the mixture should be added early on. Ingredients that might melt (like glitter) should be added towards the end. Check out this guide to soap making ingredients for a full list of what you can add in your soap.

4. Pour mixture into a mold. You can pour mixture into a plastic, silicone, wooden, or paper mold. If there are any bubbles on the soap mixture after pouring, spray a bit of rubbing alcohol on the surface.  If using a wooden mold, you’ll need something to cut the soap into small bars. Silicone molds have been my favorite to use so far. They pop out so easily when they harden!

MELTING WITH A DOUBLE BOILER

Double Boiler Soap Making Make a double boiler with a pot and a stainless steel or glass bowl. The bowl must be able to be placed on top of the pot without it touching the bottom. Fill up the pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat and place the bowl on top of the pot. Voila! A double boiler.

  • Place the shreds of the soap in the bowl on top of the boiler.
  • For every pound of soap shreds you are melting down, add 4 ounces of distilled water.
  • If you want to add coloring, add it now.
  • Boil the water to melt your shreds while stirring gently.
  • Cover the mixture for about 10 minutes while continuously checking to make sure your soap hasn’t dried out. Add a little water if you feel that the mixture is getting too dry.
  • Once your soap has become a little translucent and a bit soft, you can add any additional ingredients you have. Stir them evenly into the mixture.
  • Add the fragrance at the very end and give it a few stirs so that it is evenly distributed.
  • Once the mixture has been thoroughly stirred, pour them into your molds.
  • Let the soap sit until it has fully hardened.

 

MELTING WITH A CROCK-POT SLOW COOKER Crock Pot Soap Making using Rebatch Method

You can use a crockpot to melt your shreds of soap. Just make sure that it can hold enough of your soap mixture. You won’t really need to designate a Crock-Pot to soapmaking but if you are doing this frequently, you should. This method can take anywhere from 1 to 24 hours. Since every slow cooker is different, use the instructions below regarding time as only a guide. You should always be continuously checking on your mixture.

  • In the Crock-Pot, add your soap shreds, distilled water and any coloring you might have. For every 1 lbs of soap you have, put in 4 ounces of water.
  • Turn on the Crock-Pot to the lowest setting and  wait 15 minutes for the low heat to melt everything together.
  • Stir the mixture gently. If you stir too hard, you’ll create some unwanted foam.
  • Allow the mixture to cook for 30 minutes.
  • Watch over the crockpot carefully. If it gets too hot, the soap mixture might burn. If you find this happening to your batch of soap, try adding a bit of distilled water and turn the heat down.
  • When the mixture is translucent, you can add in any special ingredients. Try adding a few dried herbs to the mix!
  • Add your fragrance and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour into the mold once everything is evenly distributed.
  • Let the soap sit until it has fully hardened.

 

MELTING WITH A MICROWAVE

Microwave Soap Making using Rebatch MethodIn my opinion, this method is the easiest and quickest of the three. It can take anymore from 15 – 30 minutes. Just be careful using this method as your soap mixture might overheat. You know your microwave better than anyone so be cautious when first using this method to melt the soap shreds.

  • Put your soap shreds in a microwave-safe glass container.
  • Cover the container with a plastic wrap.
  • Heat the soap shreds for 15-30 seconds. If this has melted your soap even a bit, you should be using the microwave in shorter increments. If this has not melted your soap at all, you may want to consider leaving it in the microwave for longer.
  • Check your soap mixture after each microwave use. Stir gently. If the soap mixture does not look translucent, place it in the microwave again.
  • Once the soap is translucent, use oven mitts to remove the container out of the microwave.
  • Stir the mixture gently.
  • Sprinkle any additions you have into your mixture. Put any coloring in first.
  • Once the mixture is evenly distributed, pour it into your soap mold.
  • Let the soap sit until it has fully hardened.

Special Techniques for melt & pour soap making

Embedding

Soap-Making-Embedding

You can embed pretty much anything you want inside a bar of soap such as plastic toys, gemstones, or even silk flowers. Remember that certain objects can melt under high temperatures.

  1. Fill your mold halfway with your mixture.
  2. Generously spray your object with rubbing alcohol.
  3. Press your object into the soap mold but don’t press it so hard that it hits the bottom surface of the mold.
  4. Pour the remaining soap mixture to fill up the remainder of the  mold.

Layering

Layering soap can create some pretty sweet looking creations. You can get really creative with colors and shapes when you layer.

  1. Pour your first layer of mixture into the mold. Let this layer cool but not so much where the whole layer is hardened.
  2. Spray the first layer with rubbing alcohol to allow the next layer to stick.
  3. Pour the second layer onto the first layer.
  4. If you want more layers, repeat the above steps.

Ready to start creating? Check out our ultimate soap making recipe index for over 100 recipes and ideas!

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