I have wanted to make soap for years. It all began with Seventeen magazine. Being fourteen, as most marketing people will tell you, I read upwards on the teenage scale. In this one magazine issue, there was an article on cheap DIY holiday gifts, which included glycerin soap.
In my imagination, I saw myself making this awesome soap and wrapping it all up with care for all of my relatives waiting for Christmas. I knew that they would be in awe of my thoughtfulness and clever homemade holiday skills. It would harken back to old days, like Foxfire Christmas or Little House on the Prairie.
But, it wasn’t to be. I had a limited number of craft stores in my rural area. None of them had glycerin soap or a soap making kit. At this time, everything was candles. Tons and tons of supplies for candles, none for soap. Eventually, I did make DIY candles for Christmas, to a mixed reaction. I’m into reusing items, so I heated and cleaned several old Glade candle jars for my DIY candles. This was prior to the “Green” campaign, so at least one person looked at me like I was crazy for not buying them a new glass jar for their gift.
Anyways, since then, I’ve bought a few soap making books. I’ve also bought a lot of natural and homemade soap from DIY-ers. I just never got around to making any myself, until now. Thank goodness for Hobby Lobby, which had a soap making 101 kit. It tells you about 5 project ideas on a very basic and plain piece of paper. I’d need a Youtube video to explain the checker board soap, so I settled for a simple two layer soap: one layer solid, one layer clear.
The kit wanted me to melt the soap in the microwave. I really don’t like microwaves, so I followed the trick of a friend of a friend who makes lye soap from a crock pot. Dear MIL gave me a larger crock pot, so I have a small one I no longer use. The process was really quick and easy. Add half the solid soap sheet to the crock pot on high. When melted add color and fragrance. After that step, I used an old ladle to pour the soap into the mold.
I recommend putting down newspaper around the mold for quick clean-up. I let the clear layer semi-harden in the mold before I added the solid layer to the crock pot and melted it. I probably should have waited longer than I did, but I was impatient to see the final result. So I poured the solid layer over top of the semi-harden clear layer and then waited several hours for the entire thing.
This is an example of what I got. To me, it looks like brains. Brrraains! It would have been perfect for Halloween if I’d used clear red or green soap instead of making it clear blue soap. Kinda creepy, but oddly beautiful. Especially for my first try and not knowing how it would turn out in the end. Fun!