soap base

Is Melt and Pour Soap Handmade or Handcrafted?

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2015-2016

oatmeal cream & honey rebatch soap
Oatmeal, Cream & Honey Soap

I’ve heard and read the argument that any soap that’s made from scratch using oils, liquids and lye is handmade soap. I agree.

There’s the other side of the debate where soapers think that melt and pour soap isn’t handmade. I agree.

Some claim that it’s not handcrafted. I disagree.

I appreciate what made from scratch soap entails. Whether made for personal use or sold online or at crafts fairs, homemade soap is true soap. Those who are new to it may make some mistakes. Fragrances and colors morph, they’ll encounter science-fair worthy lye volcanoes, and they might inadvertently discover DOS [dreaded orange spots] that can appear days or even weeks later. Handmade soap can have a high learning curve for some people. That’s why melt and pour soap crafting is more appealing as crafters don’t have to work with lye and it’s generally considered easier. That may or may not be true as some melt and pour soap crafting techniques are more difficult to master, especially swirling and layering. Yes, even melt and pour soap crafting can be quite time consuming.

Melt and pour soap crafting is a legitimate craft. It’s not just slicing up soap, popping it into the microwave, and getting a perfect bar of soap each time. There are color and fragrance considerations. What, if any, skin-loving additives will you put in your batch? What type of mold will you use? How will you wrap and label your soap?

Nor is it buying a log of soap, cutting it up into a few bars, and wrapping and labeling them. 1. That would be an unscented and uncolored bar of soap. 2. It wouldn’t be handmade or handcrafted — it would be handcut!

Genuine melt and pour soap crafters use the best type of soap base available as they’ve learned what ingredients to look for – and what ingredients to avoid. As I’ve been hand crafting melt and pour soap since 1998, I’ve seen the two standard types of soap base [transparent and opaque] multiply into dozens of different bases such as: shea butter, honey, goat’s milk, avocado oil, yogurt, carrot oil, mango butter, SLS free, etc. I’ve also seen some highly talented crafters out there who make soap in a wide variety of colors and shapes. Handcrafting melt and pour soap has so many wonderful possibilities. Just go to Pinterest and type in the term “M&P” or “melt and pour soap”. You’ll be amazed – and inspired!

Let’s get visual. Here’s a photo of two different types of soap base, transparent and Castile. [Click to enlarge images]. 

soap base
blocks of soap base

A crafter will see this soap base as the raw material. How does it go from nicely wrapped blocks of soap to much smaller and more colorful [and fragrant] bars of soap?

There are several steps from slicing the soap base, melting it, adding colorant and fragrance and pouring the correct amount into a special soap mold.

charcoal cat activated coconut charcoal made by lisa maliga
Black Cat Soap

Here’s the end result. 

See how a raw base can be handcrafted into a dramatically colored and scented bar of soap?

To learn more about making this recipe and other soap crafting information, check out my eBook Organic and Sulfate Free Melt and Pour Glycerin Soap Crafting Recipes

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Soapmakers/Bath and Body Products Crafters – Do You Want to be Interviewed?

Copyright 2015, By Lisa Maliga

peppermintblizzardI’ll be featuring a soapmaker and/or bath and body products crafter every Wednesday on my blog. If you make and sell soap/bath and body products, including: aromatherapy products, body butter, lotion, bath bombs, ANY type of soap, perfume, lip balm/body balm, shower gel, salt/sugar scrubs, shampoo, candles, etc., please let me know!

Currently seeking participants who sell at a crafts fair, farmers’ market, boutique, bed & breakfast, or other retail establishment. Do you have your own website? Sell on Artfire, Etsy, eBay, Face Book, a blog, or an online mall? Open to anyone who sells anywhere – but the interview will be in English.

This is completely FREE! Share how you began making your own products, why you sell them, and what [or who] inspires you. I’ll send you a list of 12 questions and you may answer all of them or only a few. Please include links to any photos—four photos per interview is the recommended number. Don’t forget to add your shop’s URL/blog/social media links will be shared in the interview. This is a great way to get free publicity!

If you’d like to be interviewed, send an email to: lisa_maliga@msn.com Please use “Interview with a Soapmaker/Bath and Body Products Crafter in the subject heading.

All interviews will be seen as a keyword-friendly post with your name/company’s name in the heading. All interviews will be on my WordPress pagehttps://lisamaliga.wordpress.com

I’ll promote the interview on my Face Book page, both my Twitter accounts, Tumblr and Pinterest.

Thanks so much & Happy Crafting!

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8 Fun Pinterest Pinning Tips!

by Lisa Maliga, Copyright 2015

I’m  a huge fan of Pinterest. It’s like being in a library full of pretty pictures and filing them in your online card catalogue! Learning how to pin is incredibly easy and once you’ve created your first board, you’re off and pinning.

Here are eight tips about how to have more fun pinning pictures on Pinterest.

PinterestLOGO1. Pin Me! 

You’ll see the red and white capital P which means it’s ready to be pinned to one of your boards, sent to a fellow member or given the red heart of approval. Additionally, you have the option of checking the Twitter box whenever you pin so you can share it with your Twitter followers.

2. Your Board Covers 

These can be changed as frequently as you like. Each board cover should reflect what your pin board is about. For my popular Talented Soapmakers board, I always choose striking and unique looking bar/s of colorful soap.

3. Pinterest & Twitter 

The following gorgeous photo of Chanel No. 5 type soap by Soproano Labs was found on my Twitter feed so I had to share it with my Pinterest followers. The two sites work very well together–much better than the early days of Twitter where you had to click links to see photos and videos.

sopranolabs soap chanel no 5

4. Commenting and Likes

Choosing to comment on any pin that floats by is entirely up to you. Some pins seem to elicit more comments than others do – especially if an adorable baby animal is the subject. Liking is that heart-shaped button on the right hand side of any pin. I ‘like’ every pin I share.

5. Organizing Pins/Pinboards 

How you choose to organize your pinboards is what can help make yours stand out more. Some opt for alphabetical order; other pinners group their boards according to subject. I’ve seen pinboards that show an entire spectrum of colors. Others are seemingly haphazardly arrayed, yet make perfect sense to the board owner. Pinterest people come from all over the world, so when it comes to pinboards, I like to include international boards–because beautiful photos transcend language. I’ve since learned the word soap in several languages. I now recognize jabon, savon, zeep, and seifen, to list a few–although there can be variations and I’ve left off the accent marks! Naming boards can also show a pinner’s creative or practical flair. Below you can see my top 11 boards. Click to enlarge image.

lisa maliga pinterest boards

6. Group Boards vs. Your Own Boards 

You may see some pinners with hundreds of thousands of followers. Don’t be fooled by large numbers as they may only follow group boards. Group boards allow you to pin your own pins or share pins. You can invite others to share pins. However, depending upon the size of the board, your contributions may get lost. Carefully read the instructions for each group board as some forbid commercial pins while others encourage them. Also, you may be limited in the number of pins per day you can add.

pinterestsoappin7. Keywords 

It’s always helpful to use keywords when you upload a pin. This way, your pin is easily found in the Pinterest search engine. For example, if you’re looking for a melt and pour soap recipe, you’ll certainly find them on the internet and especially on Pinterest. 

In the example on the right, the photo is clearly marked as to what type of soap it is, along with the company’s URL. The keyword-rich description includes the name of the company and the fact that it’s a recipe. This is very intelligent marketing.

pinterestsquirrelpin8. Pick a Board 

This feature has gotten even easier to use, especially with keyword-friendly pins. Oftentimes, I’ll pin to my Squirrel-Friends board https://www.pinterest.com/lisamaliga/squirrel-friends and while many of the pins aren’t loaded with keywords, just by using the word “squirrel” the Pick a Board feature takes me to my Squirrel-Friends board, which saves me from having to scroll down. The example on the left doesn’t show any keywords but Pinterest recognizes it as a squirrel picture and offers the correct pinning option.

Pinterest is changing for the better and you can help it grow by pinning your pretty pictures!

Tropical Paradise Melt & Pour Soap Recipe

By Lisa Maliga, © 2015

tropicalsoapgroupWhen I go to a party store and see the vibrant luau section, I always want to buy the tiki lamps, hula skirts, leis, colorful napkins and paper plates and throw a big party. Doesn’t matter what time of year, it represents that perpetual summer—which can be good if you like warm weather and tropical scenes.

I decided to create a fun recipe to share with you. When the soaping bug hits, it hits hard and this’s the result. Tropical Paradise is a little more involved than a basic single pour method, but not much. Plus, the results are more 3-D!

I chose white soap base as that’s what I had on hand and I wanted a pastel colored theme rather than neon colors. Of course, you can use clear soap base and have a more dramatic looking contrast between clear soap and bright green or whatever color you choose mini palm tree embeds.

Both molds came from the discount store and cost $1 each. One is a storage container; the other is a plastic ice cube tray. Pictured here are the ingredients including, from left to right: containers of mica, white soap base, ice cube tray, and storage containers. The colorful tropical themed napkin is sold in a package of 20. The napkin can be used for wrapping but only after the soap has first been wrapped in cling wrap–otherwise the colors will run.

Ingredients:

1 pound white or clear soap base

Green mica

Pink mica

1 teaspoon tropical type fragrance oil [mango, coconut, pineapple, orange, tropical blend, etc.]

Molds:

3 oval or rectangular molds [4 oz each]

8 cavity mini palm tree molds [approx. 2 oz total]

tropicalsoaptreesInstructions for Palm Tree Mold:

Slice the soap base into small cubes. Just before the soap is fully melted, add the colorant. Adding fragrance to them is optional. Stir well. Slowly pour into the molds. Spritz away bubbles with rubbing alcohol. Allow soap to harden in fridge, freezer, or remain at room temperature. Remove from molds. This soap will solidify within minutes. Remove and set aside.

NOTE: If you live in an area with low humidity, it’s best to allow this soap to freeze so that it’ll be even easier to keep the little soap inserts/embeds from melting when pouring the second layer.

Instructions for Oval/rectangular Mold:

Prepare your molds by placing one to three of the mini palm trees on the bottom.

Slice up soap base into small cubes and melt. Stir well and add colorant. Add fragrance. Don’t pour it when it’s too hot, make sure it’s cooled down so it won’t melt the mini palm tree embeds. Then pour a small amount into molds, about half the size of your intended soap bar [2 ounces or so]. Spritz away any bubbles with rubbing alcohol. Allow soap to harden slightly. Test this by touching it gently with your finger. The surface should be firm but you’ll feel a little give as it won’t be completely solid. Now add more of the mini palm trees. Pour the rest of the soap so that it covers them, although you can have it so the palm trees stick out! Allow to solidify. Once it’s hardened remove from the mold. Make sure soap is at room temperature before wrapping. Wrap in cling wrap and label.tropicalsoapbars

Learn more about soap crafting! Check out my book titles and articles here: soapmaking stuff

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Tantalizing Tuberose

By Lisa Maliga
Copyright 2002-2016

tuberose soap 12 easy melt and pour soap recipes
Tuberose Soap

Most flowers begin to lose their scent when they are picked. Not with tuberose! Like jasmine, the heady floral scent continues to produce itself. Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) is native to Central America. Aztec healers called it omixochitl (bone-flower) due to the waxy, luminous white flowers that actually contain anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. Tuberose may grow wild in Mexico and surrounding countries, but the cultivation of tuberose is usually in Morocco, the Comores Islands, France, Hawaii, South Africa, India, and China.

For the Gardener

The tuberose grows in elongated spikes that produce clusters of aromatic white flowers. They can be grown outdoors in warm climates. Tuberoses flourish in sunny places and bloom in late summer. After the last frost, plant your tuberoses in a sunny spot, beneath a couple of inches of soil and almost a foot apart. Fertilize and water regularly.

If you pot and grow tuberose indoors, keep at a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Potted bulbs take about four to five months to bloom.

Tuberose in Hawaii

For millions of tourists who have been to Hawaii, the first scent to greet their nostrils has been that of the offered tuberose leis. The ancient tradition for a Hawaiian wedding is for the bride and groom to wear flowers. The groom wears a maile lei, which is a native Kauai plant, while the bride wears a wreath of tuberose and pikaki flowers around her head called a haku. The custom is still popular as a part of a time-honored Hawaiian wedding ceremony.

If you’re interested in purchasing tuberose bulbs from Hawaii, contact Paradise Flowers at: http://www.ParadiseFlowers.com. You can also order tuberose leis, bouquets, and hakus too!

The Power of Tuberose

The legend of the tuberose in France warns that young girls should not breathe in its fragrance after dark for fear that it would put them in a romantic mood. In India, tuberose is known as rat ki rani, (The Mistress of the Night) for similar reasons. In Ayurvedic medicine, attars are held in high esteem not only for their exquisite fragrance, but their healing properties. Tuberose is known to improve one’s capacity for emotional depth. By opening the crown chakra it improves psychic powers. Tuberose also amplifies artistic inspiration as it stimulates the creative right side of the brain. And it brings serenity to the mind and heart. Maybe these reasons are why tuberose essential oil is so expensive!

More expensive than most rose attars, pure tuberose essential oil is difficult to find. “If you want to be precise, there is no ‘essential oil’ of tuberose. The flowers won’t stand up to the high temperature of water/steam distillation. Therefore a solvent, usually hexane, is used. Solvent extracted oils are absolutes. Some aromatherapists will not use them, as they believe there are traces of the solvent in the oil, even if only on a vibrational level. I disagree with this in general, and use absolutes quite often, however, it is case by case, as I often will choose to use only distilled oils in a blend.” Trygve Harris, Enfleurage, New York City.

“But this is where phytol enters center stage…the product of the amazing Phytonics process, conceived and developed by Peter Wilde in England. Phytonics uses low pressure, involves no heat and uses a solvent which is recyclable; it produces an essential oil that requires no additional processing unlike other concretes and, remarkably, does not emit by-products that damage the endangered ozone layer.” Eva-Marie Lind, Dean of the Aromatherapy Department of the Australasian College of Herbal Studies.

Make Your Own Tuberose Soap

As listed above, you can buy tuberose online at Enfleurage. It’s available as a jojoba-based roll-on perfume and the pure absolute is sold in small sizes. However, if you want to make tuberose soap for only a few dollars, you can do so by using tuberose floral wax. If you’d like the recipe, check out my eBook 12 Easy Melt and Pour Soap Recipes.

The Beauty of Olive Oil

olive oil
Olive Oil

By Lisa Maliga

Copyright 2009-2016

Olive oil is a natural remedy for many of your skincare needs; it contains vitamin E which is excellent for maintaining healthy skin. Less costly than what you may be accustomed to, it’s quite effective, easy to find and even easier to use.

You probably have a bottle in your kitchen or decorating a table or shelf. This 5,000-year-old Mediterranean staple is all natural and has many uses. Olive oil is one of the safest fruit oils to use internally and externally. Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Tunisia are the largest olive oil exporting and producing countries in the world. Olive oil can be used as a natural moisturizer for your skin and hair. It can be used to remove makeup. Rough elbows and heels? Soften them with olive oil. The same goes for those chapped lips. You don’t need to spend lots of money on expensive department store moisturizers and creams if you have access to olive oil.

Why is olive oil so beneficial?
Olive oil contains natural vitamin E which is excellent for maintaining healthy skin. This is especially prevalent in the extra virgin grade of olive oil. It helps protect vitamin A and essential fatty acids from oxidation in the body cells and prevents breakdown of body tissues.

Shelf Life:
Buy small quantities of olive oil for purposes of skincare. The bottle needs to be tightly sealed, and make sure it is stored in a cool, dark location. Do not store next to your stove or oven as that can cause your olive oil to oxidize. Refrigerate if necessary. A sell by date should be on the bottle, along with the year it was harvested. Unlike wine, olive oil does NOT improve with age!

Cold Pressed is Best?
Cold pressed refers to the temperature during the extraction process and that no nutrient-draining heat has ruined the olive oil. A bottle of high quality olive oil will cost a little more than your grocery store brand. With olive oil you get what you pay for. If a bottle of olive oil from California bears a seal from the California Olive Oil Council [COOC] you can be sure it’s of top quality. If seeking olive oil from the European Union, look for a guarantee of quality. For each country it goes by a different name, and for Italy is known as Denominazione d’Origine Protetta [DOP].

Simple Recipes:
Hair Conditioner: Pour a small amount of olive oil into your hands so you’ll soften your hands and your hair at the same time. Massage oil gently into your scalp and work down to the ends. Put on a shower cap to trap in the heat and moisture. This can be done for about 30 minutes. Shampoo well to remove.

Lips: Olive oil makes an instant and 100% natural lip balm.

Nails: Dip your fingers in a bowl of warm olive oil for several minutes.

Skin: Apply olive oil like you would any other lotion or cream. Always start with a small amount, increasing as needed. It’s a quick and easy makeup remover. Olive oil is particularly soothing for your heels, elbows, and knees. For an instant sugar scrub, mix equal parts olive oil and brown sugar in a bowl, rub on your hands, and rinse clean.

Bathing: Mixing a teaspoon or two of olive oil with a few drops of your favorite essential or fragrance oil is a great way to smell good, relax, and have soft skin. Recommended scents: orange, rose, patchouli, lavender, and rosemary.

Olive oil is a natural remedy for many of your skincare needs. Less costly than what you may be accustomed to, it’s quite effective, easy to find, and even easier to use.

Use olive oil in this melt and pour  Seaweed Soap Recipe.

To read about another beneficial oil, here’s Monoi de Tahiti: Spa in a Bottle.

Article was originally published in the September 2009 issue of Long Island Woman on page 24 .

seaweed melt and pour soap recipe by lisa maliga

Seaweed Soap Recipe

By Lisa Maliga

copyright 2012-2017

seaweed melt and pour soap recipe by lisa maligaSeaweed Soap is fun and easy to make. This recipe was created due to loving anything oceanic! Dried seaweed contains lots of minerals so it’s good for you. It can be found at any Asian market. Nourishing extra virgin olive oil is suitable for all skin types. Lavender and lemon essential oils add a touch of zest and make this soap smell clean and fresh!

Ingredients:

32 ounces clear soap base

Dash of green mica

6-8 pieces dried seaweed

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1.5 teaspoons lemon essential oil

1 teaspoon lavender essential oil

Mold:

3 part Ziploc divided rectangle mold

Instructions:

Place broken up pieces of seaweed into mold. Slice the soap base into small cubes. Just before the soap is fully melted add the colorant, olive oil and essential oils. Stir well. Slowly pour into the molds. Spritz away bubbles with rubbing alcohol, or avoid this step for a more realistic looking soap. Allow soap to harden in fridge, freezer, or remain at room temperature. Remove from molds. Make sure soap is at room temperature before cutting and wrapping. You may want to cut the largest chunk of finished soap into 2 to 4 slices. A wavy edge soap cutter is recommended. Wrap in cling wrap and label.

From the eBook 12 Easy Melt and Pour Recipes

You can also watch the video: