(Preamble: I’m happy to announce that as of today, The Beard and I have been married for one whole year! He reads this at work, so here’s me saying, “I love ya, loverboy!”)
In case you’ve ever wondered whether I actually read and play with and make all of the books, stuff, and recipes I’ve reviewed here, let me just say I don’t mess around. Yesterday, in my never-ending quest to acquaint myself with all things bridal, I made soap.
Let me rephrase that…I didn’t start with lye and fat and whatever other nasty things are in soap, but I did melt down blocks of colorless unscented soap, mix up different colored batches, add a fragrance, and pour it into molds. So to address any lingering doubts, when companies are nice enough to send me free swag, I test run it, whatever IT is.
In this case, it was a soap-making kit from Bramble Berry, makers of a ton of DIY soap and candle supplies. The soap kit was presented to me as a potential bridal shower or wedding favor–the catch being that you have to have the patience to work with a medium that needs to sit around and dry for hours before you can unmold it.
The directions call for a microwave…something we don’t have. So I just stuck the whole works into a pan and popped it into the oven at about 275. This worked like a charm after I remembered to cut the soap base into chunks. When I did that, it actually melted!
That done, I ladled out the hot soap into various heat safe dishes, and added the sparkly mica bits and fragrance. Note to other soap makers: They provide you with A LOT of fragrance–don’t use it all unless you’re olfactorily challenged. Seriously.
The kit comes with pink dye so you can make clear soaps, pink soaps, and crossover soaps featuring a bit of both. I wanted more colors, so I decided to improvise with standard baker’s food colorings. I don’t recommend you do the same because I’m not yet sure the resultant soaps won’t turn you blue or green. Me? I’m adventurous.
Here’s some of the soap slurry:
This is where I encountered a problem. The kit only comes with two molds, and each mold makes five soaps. I’m pretty sure that one block of soap base will fill up the two molds, and the kit comes with four blocks. Soap bars need to sit in the molds for four whole hours before you can pop ‘em out.
If you’re impatient like me, you will want to order extra molds…maybe in the form of different botanicals, seashells, animals, or something else that gels with your theme.
Personally, I overcame the mold/soap ratio problem by using cups and sauce dishes. That’s why, in addition to soap in pretty shapes, I have soap in rounds and soap that looks all wrinkly because I set it in tin foil.
The project pros:
- It’s fun
- You’re creating a favor that many (if not most) of your guests will actually use
- The end result is pretty cute as soaps go, especially when all wrapped up with ribbon
- You get a lot of favors for very little cash
The project cons:
- The melted soap hardens really quickly, so you need to work fast or have a lot of help
- Re-melting the scent-infused soap made my kitchen rather too fragrant
- You’re going to need more molds
- Whoa, what a mess
Did I mention the mess? If you happen to have some heat safe disposable dishware, I’d suggest using that. Cleanup meant soaking all of the dishes and spoons and cups I’d used in the bathtub for a rather long time. Luckily, it was just soap, so everything was very clean afterward.
As for the end result, compare the Bramble Berry examples:
With my soaps:
THE VERDICT: I’ve never poured soap before, but it was definitely easy. All told, I probably spent about two hours on the whole project. At $31.55 (plus the cost of a little organza for wrapping) for forty favors, the price is right. You could, however, buy the bits individually to customize your soap. There’s hemp soap and goatsmilk soap and all manner of nice adds. In conclusion, I could see this being a fun weekend DIY fest for a bride and her ‘maids.
I give it a solid thumbs up.