7 Reasons Why You Should Make Melt & Pour Handmade Soap + Complete Directions & Recipes (Number 1: It's a Perfect Gift!)
I’ll be honest: Melt & Pour soap making was my first experience with making handmade soap. I wanted to make my own handmade soap SO badly, but I just wasn’t ready to start dealing with lye. And measurements. And exact temperatures. After searching everywhere I could for ways to make soap without using lye, I succumbed to melt and pour. And I’m so glad I did! (By the way, people loved my M&P soaps, and they were a real hit!)
Some hardcore soap makers don’t consider melt & pour to be “real” handmade soap making or even “natural” since you’re using a processed soap base.
However, if you have been dying to make your own handmade soap (like I was many years ago), and you are afraid of using lye (like I was), then the melt & pour method is probably right up your alley!
By the way, I wrote an article a couple of years ago about the stunning secret to making soap without using lye—-Spoiler Alert! It’s all about the melt and pour method. You might want to go check that one out too!
If you are already convinced that Melt & Pour soap making is something you want to get going on right away, then. you’ll want to get my free eBook with five great Melt & Pour recipes and complete directions you can print out and use! Just complete the form at the end of the article.
Here are seven great reasons to make your own soap using the melt & pour method, even if you are already an experienced soap maker:
FTC Disclosure: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article. If you click through and make any kind of purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
7 Reasons Why Melt & Pour Soap Making May Be the Best Choice for You
Now, I’ll be honest. These days, I mainly make melt & pour soaps when my grand daughter visits because it’s a fun way for us to spend time together. Plus she feels so proud of her creations!
I make mostly hot process soaps, and once in awhile I’ll make a cold process soap. But I still do love my Melt & Pour soap too. Here are seven reasons why you should consider making your own handmade soap using the melt & pour method:
1) Melt and Pour Soap Making is EASY
Seriously. It is.
There are very few projects out there that are easier, in fact.
When my hair dresser (many years ago, when I was a city girl professional—-now I’m totally into henna) told me she was going to use my hot process soap recipe to make soaps for her bridal shower, I told her she should take a look at Melt & Pour instead!
It’s so easy even the person who has never made soap before in their life (like my hair dresser) can make it perfectly the first time. It requires very few steps (I’ll go over these below), and you can use it right away.
One of the reasons I make melt & pour soaps with my grand daughter is that it is such an easy and simple project to make. And I love the fact that maybe one day she will be inspired to make more difficult “real” soaps.
** The word “real” is in quotes because of the (often rabid) discussions out there about melt & pour not being real handmade soap. I stay out of those discussions because if it hadn’t been for melt & pour soap, I would never have had the courage to try “real” soap making with lye later on.
BOOM! I love Melt & Pour!
2) You Don’t Have to Deal with or Worry About Using Lye
Since I’ve been sharing my recipes for hot process soaps with readers and friends, I have learned that the fear of working with lye is one of the top reasons people who WANT to make their own handmade soaps from don’t ever get started.
In fact, it took me literally months to work up the courage.
You see. When bloggers and authors like me write about making anything remotely dangerous, we often go a little overboard on the cautions. This is because we want people to be safe, and if these cautions aren’t emphasized, then people may not take them seriously.
Working with lye CAN be dangerous if you are not being careful. If you are being careful and doing things right (safety gear, no distractions etc.), then you’ll find soap making is fun and not scary at all. (You can read about 10 Soap Making Mistakes You Never Want to Make here, if you like.)
Many people are afraid of lye. I was.
I admit. That tiny little issue is what made me hold back.
But with melt & pour, you can make handmade soap to your heart’s content and never need to worry about lye “volcanoes” or burning caustic chemicals. Nope. You just get to have a good time!
Hey! would you like the free mini-guide to making Melt & Pour soap…plus RECIPES? Just complete the form below:
3) You Can Easily Experiment With a Ton of Wonderful Soap Bases and Types
Soaping companies have found some pretty ingenious ways to create soap bases that people dream about working with. I mean, who would NOT want to make their own goat milk soap? Or Aloe Vera soap? Or translucent Honey Glycerin soap? Right?
But creating “real” goat milk soap is tricky and requires some skill, whether you are making your soap using the hot or cold process method.
But guess what?
With melt & pour, you get to make your own goat milk soap using a ready-made base! How cool is that?
I’ll go over some of your choices for soap bases here. There are SO many of them these days!
** Shea Butter Soap Base:
Shea butter is so soothing and wonderfully moisturizing for your skin. You’ll love a nice shea butter base. It is a solid white or cream color, which makes it terrific for adding natural ingredients like clays or herbal powders.
** Goat Milk Soap Base:
One of the more popular soap bases, goat milk soap base is not a vegan option, but there is no denying how good milk soaps are for your skin. I love my goat milk soaps.
Also, when you make “real” goat milk soap (or any milk soap) using the cold process method and especially the hot process method, your soap will most likely be a caramel color and not the beautiful creamy white of the melt and pour soap base.
** Honey Soap Base:
Honey soap bases are one of my favorites to work with. These are translucent, so if you are adding color fast flower petals (like calendula), they are presented just beautifully. Translucent bases, like honey, are also fun to add embeds, like a natural luffa sponge!
Olive Oil Soap Base:
Oh, olive is extremely conditioning for very dry or sensitive skin. It’s the perfect soap for babies. That’s why Castile soap has been so popular over the ages—-because it is made with Olive Oil only. Just a wonderful soap.
Oatmeal Soap Base:
I love oatmeal in soaps. It is so softening and is wonderful for skin. Besides, anyone who hears the term, “oatmeal soap” knows they are in for a special treat. This oatmeal soap base is not translucent, but that’s ok. It makes it a great candidate for adding colorants.
NOTE: It is very easy to take a basic white soap base and add your own oatmeal. You just have to keep the temperature at a certain place (about 115 degrees) before adding the finely powdered oatmeal so it doesn’t sink to the bottom. You want it suspended in the base.
You can find out more in my free eBook about making melt and pour soaps, along with 5 recipes you can make now! (Form at the end to request it.)
Aloe Vera has long been prized for its skin conditioning. It’s also great for oily skin and may help with certain kinds of acne. At any rate, it’s lovely green translucent color makes it a great choice if you want to add some pretty (dried) rosemary leaves.
(You should never add fresh material to melt & pour soap—you could have a moldy, rancid mess on your hands.)
These are just a few of your soap base options. There are others you can try too! The links above are to Amazon. My favorite companies to purchase from on Amazon are Stephenson and Our Earth’s Secrets. I’m sure there are other good companies, but I know these always have quality bases.
NOTE: You can find out how to make your own Aloe Vera gel and use this to add in after the melt!
Please do not go to the craft store to buy your bases! These are usually substandard (in my opinion) and are also more expensive.
4) You Can Learn the Art of Beautiful Soap Making Without Stress—-Using Additives in Melt & Pour Soap
You know those handmade soaps that just make you “ooh” and “aah”? Well, you can create some pretty lovely soaps using the melt & pour method.
I’ll admit: I’m not an expert with these methods, but I can do some basic things. You can find five easy melt & pour recipes along with clear directions in my free eBook at the end of the article.
If you want some really great tutorials on very fancy and involved melt & pour soaps, check out the Soap Queen website. Marie Faiola is a true soap making expert, and you can also check out her book: Pure Soap Making.
You can color your soaps how you want to, you can learn to make swirls, you can add exfoliants, and scent your own handmade soaps using melt & pour very similarly (and sometimes even better) than with the other two soap making methods: hot process and cold process.
Here are some additives you can decide to use if you like:
Clays and herbal powders are my favorite ways to color any of my soaps, melt & pour or not. You see, these are truly natural colorants. I do NOT recommend micas or any of the fancy fluorescent colors, unless you want to slather chemicals all over yourself. Just saying.
You can easily powder your own dried herbs. I’ve had great luck with wheat grass, alfalfa, and nettle for greens. Calendula powder or turmeric for yellows, and lots more. You can find out how to naturally color your own soaps (including melt & pour) in this article using roots, herbs, & clays.
Exfoliants & Textures:
This is where creating your own soaps gets really fun! Did you know you can add textures such as coffee grounds (dry), powdered walnut shells, powdered almonds, oatmeal (powdered or not), pumice, seeds, and so much more? It’s super fun to play around with these!
Scents & Fragrance:
OK. Here I go on my all-natural tangent again. But PLEASE stay away from fragrance oils. These are terribly bad for you, even if they say, “natural.”
The FDA allows that word to be used on any chemical lab-created substance for cosmetics and especially soap making if it matches up to a certain extent with the chemical structure of the “real” thing.
Please just stay away from these. You can find out more about chemicals in this article.
What should you use instead?
I know! I know. They are expensive. Yes. They are. However, in my opinion, it is well-worth the extra cost.
For making soaps, I only use essential oils from Starwest Botanicals because you can purchase a good quality essential oil in quantity without breaking the bank (too much).
You can find out my favorite best essential oils to use for soap making in this article. I chose them because they work great in soaps, and they are on the lower price point as far as essential oils go.
OH! You are probably wondering how much to use.
Well, I admit to being a little heavy handed with my scents, but that’s not what everyone likes. My suggestion is to start with a small amount. Just know your scent will tend to evaporate the longer the soap is around.
In my experience the scent does tend to last longer in melt & pour than in cold process or even hot process. So keep that in mind. The general guideline is about 0.2 to 0.4 ounces of essential oil per pound of soap.
If you like a lighter scented soap, use less. If you like a stronger scented soap, use a little more (but I would say no more than 0.7 ounces per pound at most for melt & pour).
5) Melt & Pour Soap Making is SUPER Fast!
It really is! You can whip up a batch of melt & pour soap within 20 minutes or so. Cooling time is also much shorter than with hot process soap. And there is no curing, which is required for cold process soap.
Melt & pour has some really great advantages!
6) Melt & Pour Soap Making is a Fabulous Project to Do With Kids!
Want a totally fun and cool project to do with your own children, your grand-children, or even at a party for kids?
Try a simple melt & pour soap project! Make some yourself first so you can be sure it will work and then make adjustments as you need to. Then you’ll be all set to have that fun project with kids!
They’ll learn the basics about creating their own soaps, and I guarantee they’ll have a blast doing it! If you are homeschooling, you can even bring in some science concepts (like states of matter, etc.).
What a WINNER!
7) It’s Fun!
Have I mentioned making melt & pour soap is fun? It really is. Especially if you are a beginner to the soap making world, melt & pour is just a fun afternoon activity.
Also, because it’s so enjoyable, it will probably become a gateway into some “real” soap making endeavors using the hot process or cold process methods. I was that way for me!
After I made a few melt & pour soaps many years ago, I couldn’t wait to go ahead and make that leap into courageously working with lye so I could make more advanced soaps.
How to Make Melt & Pour Soap
OK. I’m just going to gloss over these directions a little bit, because you can find very complete directions in my free eBook “How to Make Melt & Pour Soap PLUS 5 Easy Recipes” just by completing the form at the end of this article. Or you can visit this article: How to Make Soap Without Using Lye, which is extremely popular.
Step 1) Cut the Soap Base
Yep. Using a sharp knife, just cup the base into 1 inch cubes.
Step 2) Melt Over Very Low Heat
Using low heat is critical, as you can actually burn your soap. NOT good. I prefer to use a stove on low, along with a double boiler, because, I admit: I do not own (nor will I ever) a microwave oven. Also, I just think using a microwave oven is asking for potential troubles.
And one last thing: If you are making this soap with a child(ren), it is SO good for them to watch the melting process as it occurs. (This is the 30+ year veteran elementary teacher talking here.)
Melt & Pour (depending on the base) melts at around 120 degrees or so.
It’s important to STIR the soap often to keep the melting smooth and even.
Step 3) Add Any Additives
I like to allow the soap to cool to around 115 degrees approximately. Especially if you are using heavier additives like oatmeal or clays, you may want to cool it even a bit more. You can use a candy thermometer to do this. Or I have this fancy temperature gauge that’s pretty accurate.
Stir in the additives really well.
Step 4) Pour the Soap into a Soap Mold
There are all kinds of soap molds you can use for making your melt & pour soaps. I prefer silicone molds because the soaps will just pop right out.
You can be super creative here too. In fact, some of the best soap molds for melt & pour are those Wilton molds for candy or little cakes! They come in hearts, shamrocks, bees, and lots more!
Here are some ideas from Amazon:
Step 5) Spritz the Top with Rubbing Alcohol
You’ll probably notice little bubbles rising to the top of your soaps. No problem!
Just spritz the top with some rubbing alcohol in a fine spray bottle. The bubbles will break, and the alcohol just evaporates!
Step 6) Allow the Soap to Cool Completely
Before you pour the soap, be sure it’s in a place where you won’t have to move it. The top cools first, and if you try to move it around, you risk disturbing the “skin” that naturally forms on the top. You could wrinkle your soap by moving it, so just be patient.
Step 7) Remove the Soap and Enjoy!
When the soap is completely cooled down, just pop them out of the molds! They are ready for gifting, using, or just looking at (you know, because they are so pretty)!
Final Thoughts On Why You Should Make Melt & Pour Soap
Melt and pour soap may just be the perfect soap making method for you right now! And for a number of reasons.
And if you are hearing anything at all about “melt & pour” is not REAL soap making, then just shine them on! Go for that melt and pour project you want to try!
And if you are a “real” soap maker, perhaps you should try making some melt and pour for a change? Especially if you need a quick gift for the holiday, really, not much beats a homemade melt and pour soap.
What are your thoughts on melt and pour soap? Have you tried it? Leave any comments or questions in the comments section. Sometimes I leave things out, and I love to hear from you!
You may also be interested in these articles:
And there are a TON more on the blog! So please go explore!
Hugs, Health, and Self-Reliance,
P.S.! I almost forgot about the FREE Melt & Pour Recipe eBook! Just complete the form below to subscribe to the newsletter! You will get immediate access to the Free Healing Harvest Homestead Resource Library, which has many free printable items for you to enjoy (and more being added weekly!).