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Variety of layered soaps
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Layered Guest Soaps

What you will make:

In this project, learn how to make soaps with different colored layers using the melt-and-pour soapmaking technique. You can create guest soaps in colors to match your kitchen or bath decor, or to give as a special gift.

To get started on making handmade soaps, you'll use items from the kitchen and bars of glycerin soap. For fancier soaps, you can use soap or candy molds, along with special melt-and-pour soap supplies from the craft store.

This project is great for family, classroom or group craft time. It requires no patterns and uses simple materials. Adult supervision is required!

Related project: For another soapmaking technique that even small children can enjoy, see the Bath Buddies craft project.

Here's what you need:
  • Glycerin soap in a variety of colors (or color the soap with food coloring)
  • Muffin tin or silicon bakeware
  • Microwave oven
  • Microwave-safe cups or glass measuring cups
  • Potholder and trivet
  • Metal spoons
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Waxed paper or plastic wrap
  • Small spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol
  • Optional: Food coloring, silicon soap molds or plastic candy molds, melt-and-pour soap blocks or chips, newspaper

This project is rated EASY to do.

How to Make Layered Guest Soaps

Read all of the steps before starting.
Step 1: Project Preparation

Prepare your work area by covering it with newspaper. The kitchen table or counter space next to the microwave oven are ideal workspaces. Set out all your tools and supplies. Look through your bakeware for something to use as a mold for the soaps. A muffin tin (mini- or standard-size) works well. You can also use a small loaf pan, but you will need to cut the your guest soaps to size after unmolding them.

Cut the bars of glycerin soap into 1" cubes using the knife and cutting board. It is essential that you use glycerin bar soap or the special melt-and-pour soap from the craft store.

Step 2: Melt Soap

Caution! Melted soap is hot and can burn!

Place three or four 1" cubes of soap in a cup. Use cubes of a single color or mix colors.

Put the cup in the microwave and melt the soap on "high" for 15 to 30 seconds. Try 15 seconds first, and adjust the time depending upon the power of your microwave and the quantity of soap in the cup.

Remove the cup from the microwave using a potholder. Place the cup on the trivet and stir the the soap to mix thoroughly.

Tip: At this point, you can add a few drops of food coloring to the soap. Go easy on the food coloring to avoid staining!

Step 3: Pour

Pour the melted soap into your molds. Leave room for one or two more layers of soap. Lightly spray the surface of the soap with alcohol to burst tiny surface bubbles.

Let the soap set for several minutes to harden and cool. You can place the mold in the refrigerator or freezer to hasten cooling.

Additional layers: Repeat the melt and pour steps for each layer of soap. You can alternate two colors or use three or more colors of soap. To ensure a good bond between layers, spray alcohol on the previous layer of soap immediately before pouring the next layer.

Step 4: Unmold Soap
Wrapped Soaps
Wrapped soaps Enlarge

Remove the soap from the mold onto waxed paper or plastic wrap. If you have used silicon bakeware or a silicon mold, just pop the soap out. For metal bakeware or plastic candy molds, run hot water in the kitchen sink to the depth of the soap. Place the pan or mold in the hot water for a minute, then dry the pan and unmold the soap. Another option with metal pans is to place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes before unmolding the soap.

Tip: If you used a loaf pan, use a sharp knife to cut bars from the unmolded soap loaf.

Wrap your soaps in waxed paper or plastic wrap and store in a jar or plastic bag.

That's it! Now keep going and make more soaps!
Layered soaps made with melt-and-pour technique

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Before you start:
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read all of the directions.
  • Gather everything you need to do the project.
  • Think about the project. Imagine how it will look and what you will do with it.

Are you ready?
Okay, get started!!!

Layered soaps with bunnies and tulips

Tip: Candy molds can be used to make layered soaps. With this mold, the tulip and bunny shapes are filled with one color and the rest of the mold is filled with a second color. This mold is a cookie/candy mold from Wilton.

Thanks to...

Thanks to Kathy Johnston for sharing this craft idea with Aunt Annie's Craft Exchange in 1997.

Kathy comments, "I got quite addicted to making soap this way, because it is inexpensive and there is no dangerous lye to work with! Kids like to do this a lot! And it is incredibly easy!!!"

Two-layered soaps

Tip: As a base, start with a colored bar of glycerin soap and pour one layer. Add a few drops of food coloring and pour a second layer. These soaps are molded in a silicon mini-muffin pan.

Three-layered soaps

Tip: Use special melt-and-pour soap blocks from the craft store. These soaps are made of a white craft soap that is dyed yellow and then orange for the second and third layers.

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