The best presents are those you worked hard for. It shouldn’t necessarily something you buy from a store. You can also make your own gifts to give to family and friends this holiday season. Take homemade soaps, for example. Everyone uses soaps and they would definitely love it if they receive some for Christmas. Try these DIY soap recipes and give out assorted kinds for each person. Don’t forget to wrap them nicely.
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Safety Tips for Your DIY Soap Recipes
First off, wear protective clothes especially when handling lye. Wear a respirator, safety goggles, rubber gloves, pants, and long-sleeve shirt. There’s no Breaking Bad level of danger here but you can get hurt if you don’t handle the ingredients properly and if you don’t wear protective clothing.
Your eyes in particularly should be protected. There’ll be a lot of splashing and splattering and if you’re not careful, some may get in your eyes. Wear safety goggles such as the TR Industrial Anti-Fog Approved Wide-Vision Lab Safety Goggle.
It’s made up of an extra soft PVC frame that wraps around the eye area making sure they’re protected and you’re comfortable. The goggles are designed to have a wider vision while the polycarbonate-infused lens can withstand impact. There are also vents along the side.
A respirator is also recommended to keep your lungs free from the fumes and particles. You should invest on one even if you don’t end up making soaps regularly. Use it when you’re doing repairs and woodwork projects. It’s also something preppers advice you keep in your belongings in case of a biological attack.
Get something like the GVS SPR457 Elipse P100 Dust Half Mask Respirator. It’s made of soft hypo allergenic thermo-plastic elastomer that allows it to fit any face shape. The replaceable and reusable filters fit slots that follow the contour of the face unlike the bulky ones with protruding filters. This plus the low profile design makes it more comfortable to wear while the field of vision is better. They also help lessen the weight of the respirator, which is 130 grams.
Read this article by Modern Soapmaking to know more safety precautions when making your own soap.
DIY Soap Recipes
Basic Soap Recipe
Making your own soap is not that difficult but it may be a little scary considering the ingredients and the processes involved. But if you follow the instructions to the T, you shouldn’t have any problems. And if you fail the first time, don’t give up. Even the expert soap makers didn’t get it right the first time.
Let’s start with one of the easiest DIY soap recipes courtesy of Oh The Things We’ll Make. If you’re new to soap making, this is one recipe you should try first.
You need lye. Choose the sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide versions of lye for this soap recipe. The Red Crown High Test Lye is a popular choice for soap makers. They claim to kelp make award-winning homemade soaps so that’s another thing going for you.
There are food grade and non-food grade options. If you’re getting the non-food grade lye like the one pictured above, better make sure not to use whatever’s left from your soap making for baking.
Use a kitchen scale to measure the amount of ingredients, particularly the lye. This is an important step. You can’t just wing it when it comes to the amount of each ingredient.
Use the Etekcity Food Digital Kitchen Scale. It can accurately measure up to 11 pounds. It’s also capable of reading measurements in ounces, grams and milliliters. The 304 food-grade stainless steel kitchen must-have is equipped with a clear backlit display and Tare function. It has an indicator that tells you when its 2 AAA batteries are low on juice.
Measure the amount of lye crystals and water for your soap recipe. This one requires 80 grams NaOH lye. Pour 195 grams of water in a glass or stainless steel bowl before mixing in the lye. Fumes will be produced so do this step outdoors. The lye solution will also emit heat so make sure the glass bowl your using will not break. Let the mixture cool.
Measure 500 grams extra virgin olive oil, 100 grams coconut oil, and 10 grams lavender essential oil then mix them in a large glass bowl. Pour and gently incorporate the cooled down lye solution into the oil mixture.
Use a hand blender to blend the mixture until the consistency is like that of mayonnaise. The Mueller Austria Multi-Purpose Hand Blender will do job without any hitches. The stylish kitchen device boasts of a full copper motor that lasts 3 times more than other brands. It comes with 9 immersion speeds, a removable blending arm, S-shaped fixed blade made of stainless steel, and attachments for whisking and milk frother.
After blending, add the lavender essential oil. Mix and then pour the into the soap molds. Set aside for 24 hours or so.
Check if they’re hard enough to unmold. Once ready, simply pop the soap bars out of the molds. Slice the soap if you prefer smaller bars. Set aside and let them cure for a month or until the soap are dry and hard. Make sure you turn it over once every one or two days then weekly.
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Goat’s Milk Citrus Soap
If you prefer not to use lye or other chemicals, you can opt for DIY soap recipes like this citrusy soap from Hello, Wonderful. The recipe calls for goat’s milk, citrus essential oil, and dried citrus slices.
For the goat’s milk, you could try Our Earth’s Secrets Goats Milk Melt and Pour Soap Base. One pack contains 2 pounds or 907 grams of real liquid goat’s milk and other ingredients including coconut oil, palm oil, safflower oil, glycerine, and purified water. The soybean-free product also has sodium hydroxide for saponification, Sorbitol for moisturizing, Sorbitan oleate for emulsification, oat protein for conditioning, and titanium dioxide to turn the soaps opaque.
First, slice your small oranges, limes and lemons thinly. Dry the citrus slices in a preheated oven (200 degrees). This will take around 2 to 3 hours depending on the thickness of the slices. Once dried, take out of the oven and let cool.
Melt chunks of the milk’s goat soap base in a microwave. Set to 20 to 30 seconds each turn. Stir in between turns. Once melted and smooth, add a few drops of your citrus essential oils and stir.
The Spark Naturals Citrus Kit includes 5 ml each of Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime and Wild Orange essential oils. If you prefer just one of these oils, you can purchase them individually.
Place your fried citrus slices in silicone soap molds. Amazon is offering two Ozera Silicone Soap Molds for every purchase. Each soap mold can hold six bars of soap so you can make twelve in one sitting. The silicone molds can also be used for baking and making jello though you should buy separate ones for soaps and food.
Ozera soap molds are flexible and easy to clean. Plus, they’re non-stick making it easy to pop out the soap when it’s done. Once you’re done with the slices, gently pour the melted soap base into the molds. Let them cool for a while. When they’re ready, simply pot out the bar soaps. Pack them nicely before giving them out as Christmas presents.
Cinnamon Cocoa Soap Recipe
Most simple DIY soap recipes give you boring looking soaps unless you’re adding a little extra like the actual fruit slices in the recipe above. Even the soaps you buy from stores come in one color each bar. If you’re giving out homemade soaps for Christmas, might as well make it more fun and interesting.
Enter the Cinnamon Cocoa Cold Process Soap by Soap Queen. This DIY soap recipe uses a lot more ingredients than the previous two but the end result looks a lot more, uhm, tasty. Plus, it smells delicioso. A little caution, though, this particular recipe is a bit on the complicated side. Try this once you get the hang of some basic DIY soap recipes.
The first step is to prepare the colorant. You need two teaspoons of titanium dioxide for this. PTR-620 Titanium Dioxide from Pantai Chemical USA Inc. is available on Amazon in half pound packs. The pure and reagent grade white powder is non-toxic so there’s no need to be scared. Still, you need to suit up and protect yourself.
Disperse the titanium dioxide into two tablespoons of sunflower or sweet almond oil. Disperse half a teaspoon of black oxide into half a tablespoon of the oil. Finally, disperse 1 teaspoon brown oxide into 1 tablespoon of oil.
Slowly add 4.8 ounces of Sodium Hydroxide lye to 9.9 ounces of distilled water. Stir carefully then set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 8.3 ounces of coconut oil, 6.6 ounces of olive oil, 5 ounces of sunflower oil, 5 ounces of babassu oil, 3.3 ounces of oat oil, 3.3 ounces of cocoa butter, 0.7 ounces of castor oil, and 1 ounce of mango butter. Let the lye water and the oils cool to 130 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Carefully pour the lye water into the oil mixture. Use a hand blender until you get a thin trace.
Pour 200 and 300 ml of batter into separate containers. Then pour the remaining batter in another container. Whisk in the dispersed black oxide into the 200 ml batter and the brown oxide to the 300 ml batter. The titanium oxide goes to the remaining batter.
Whisk in 1.3 ounces of Cinnamon Cocoa Fragrance Oil into the black and brown mixtures. Each soap mixture should get proportionate amount of the fragrance oil.
Cover the bottom of your soap mold with a little of the white soap mixture (the one with the titanium oxide). Pour the black, brown and white soap mixtures alternately and little by little. Leave a small amount of each mixture for the top.
Use a soap swirl tool to make your soap design. The Crafters Elements Soap Swirl Tool measures 18 inches and bends easily to fit any shape and size of soap mold.
Do circular motions 5 to 7 times. When you’re done, make sure to bring the tool to the side of the mold before pulling it up. Pour the remaining white soap mixture along the center then add the other two on separate sides. Check out the video below for more swirling tips. Here is another technique using a spoon.
Swirl the top of the soap mixture using an “S” curve pattern with the help of a chopstick or dowel. Do this from end to end of the mold. Insert cinnamon sticks at an angle. Make sure you have equal space between the sticks to get equal-sized soap bars.
Spray a little 99% isopropyl alcohol on top of the soap. This will prevent soda ash. Leave uncovered and set aside at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Check if the soap is hard enough to pull away from the mold without breaking or tearing. Once ready. Unmold and slice between the cinnamon sticks. Let the soap bars cure for 4 to 6 weeks before wrapping and giving them away.
These are just three DIY soap recipes, ranging from easy to complicated, that you can make and give away as Christmas presents. There are tons of other recipes out there. In fact, check out this list by The Spruce Crafts. Of course, you can also experiment or make your own recipes. Save this for when you’re already a veteran soap maker, though.
Aside from putting a personal touch to your Christmas gifts, you can also use the skill to earn money. Think about it. You give away homemade soaps to friends and family and if they like them, they can order more from you. Check out Gentleman Pirate Club for more DIY projects you can do for the holidays and possibly earn from.