In just a few hours you can make your own soap, the perfect gift for hostesses, housewarmings, or—if you're feeling really generous—yourself.
Step 1: Cut soap into cubes Cut the soap base into 1-inch cubes to allow for easier melting. You can approximate the amount to melt by seeing how many chunks fit into each mold. In general, a pound of soap base will make about 3 medium-sized bars of soap or numerous smaller ones.
TIP: A wide variety of exotic soap bases--like milky-white olive oil or avocado-cucumber--are available from craft supply stores and websites.
Step 2: Heat soap base Place your soap base into the glass bowl or measuring cup, cover the top with plastic wrap. Heat it in the microwave on high for 30 seconds. If the base isn't completely melted after 30 seconds, remove it, stir it with a whisk, and re-heat it at 10-sec intervals, stirring in between, until it is. Don't forget to replace the plastic wrap each time.
Step 3: Stir gently Remove the base from the microwave and gently stir it with the whisk.
TIP: Don't stir too hard -- it will create excess air bubbles in the melted base.
Step 4: Pour into molds Slowly pour your base into the molds.
TIP: A wide variety of soap molds are available, but muffin tins, tart pans, and heat-resistant ice cube trays will work, too.
Step 5: Spray with alcohol Spray the top of each mold with rubbing alcohol to get rid of any excess bubbles.
Step 6: Let molds sit Let the molds sit for several hours at room temperature--or in the refrigerator for about one hour.
Step 7: Flex & pop out When the soaps are fully hardened, simply flex the molds a little and pop them out.
FACT: According to Roman legend, soap comes from Mount Sapo, where animals were regularly sacrificed by fire--locals used the melted animal fat and wood ashes to clean their clothes.