Wednesday, March 26, 2014

DIY Homemade Scented Soap

Soap Supplies
All the supplies to make your body smell great
We are both home at the same time for spring break, so we decided to do a collaborative project. To complement the soap dishes that will be made with the soap dish mold, we are making scented soaps. Thanks to a Martha Stewart video, learning the process behind making flavorfully scented soaps with natural ingredients was easy. If our attempt to naturally flavor the soap today is successful, I may start using some of my plants and herbs for future batches.

What we used:
  • Glycerin Soap block (5 pounds) -- I would recommend buying this product from a craft store. Because of its weight, the shipping costs are usually not worth it, especially if stores receive bulk orders of it. Costs around $20.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Scenting supplies -- You can use nearly any fruit or herb to naturally scent the soap. In this guide, we used garlic and lemon for natural scenting. Otherwise, you can buy essential or fragrance oils from craft stores.
  • Microwave or double boiler
  • Food Processor or Mortar and Pestle
  • Soap mold (ex: plastic containers or milk cartons)
Block of Soap
You'll want to find something that looks like this
To make the soap, you'll start by cutting about 0.75 to 1 lb of soap off the block. Take the cut piece and chop it into smaller pieces.
Cutting the soap block
Use a cutting board when doing this
Chunk of soap
There's the cutting board
Pieces of soap
More surface area = the soap melts faster
From there, you'll need to melt the soap down so it can be cast and scented. You can use a microwave oven to do this (as the package recommends doing) or you can melt the glycerin base using a double boiler. I rigged up a double boiler using two pots and some water. Heat up some water in the large pot and add the glycerin soap to the smaller pot.
Double Boiler Setup
Double boiler setup
Soap added to boiler
Toss the soap into the smaller pot
Melting takes around 10 minutes. Occasionally stir the soap with a spoon to help it melt.
Melt for me
Stir the soap while it melts
Melted soap
All melted down and ready for fragrance!
While the soap is melting, it's a good time to prepare the scenting ingredients. For our first batches, we made two different scents, garlic and lemon. The process is pretty much the same for both. Let's look at the garlic soap first. For this batch, we used a whole bulb of garlic.
Garlic clove
One clove of garlic
Garlic cloves
Many cloves of garlic
Prepare the garlic by peeling and removing all the skin. Grind up the cloves using either a food processor or a mortar and pestle.
Grind it nicely
Mortar and Pestle
As fine as possible
Once the garlic is crushed and the glycerin is melted, add the garlic to the glycerin. Stir well to incorporate it.
Garlic bits in soap
Add in the garlic to the melted glycerin
Stirring garlic
Stir it up!
Once fully stirred, it is time to pour the soap into a mold. For these batches, we used empty juice/milk cartons as the paper can be torn away easily once the soap has hardened for easy removal. We'll be working on a mold to have more consistent bars of soap in the future, but for now, this is an effective method.

Pouring garlic soap into mold
Pouring the garlic soap into the mold
Garlic soap in mold
Soap in the mold
Set the mold aside and allow the soap to cool. This will take a few hours so be patient. While waiting for the garlic soap to harden, we made the lemon soap. For the scent, we used the peel from one lemon. Since I got the food processor working, we used that to grind it up.
Lemon peel
Lemonade was a popular drink and it still is
Food blender
This is much quicker than using the mortar and pestle
Blending lemon peel
Grind it nice and fine
Adding lemon peel to boiler
Add the lemon to the glycerin
Stirred lemon peel
Stir it up
Pouring lemon soap
Add it to the mold

Once you pour the soap into the mold, spray in or add in a few drops of isopropyl alcohol. This causes any and all bubbles forming at the surface to disappear. In a few hours, the soap will be hardened and ready to be cut. Remove the mold by peeling away the container. You'll notice how the bits of fruit/herb may have settled as it cooled. Use a knife to slice the soap into desired shape and wrap the pieces with plastic wrap to prevent the glycerin from drawing in water. Here are the results of our soap.
Garlic Block
Block of Garlic Soap
Garlic Triangles
4 triangles
Soap Dish Garlic
On a soap dish (this stuff is really strong)

Lemon Block
Block of Lemon Soap

Lemon squares
5 little squares

Light gradient lemon
Held up to the light
A quick note on using natural ingredients: since glycerin is a preservative, this soap can last for a few months before going bad. Martha's assistant made some soap using strawberries, and it lasted for over 2 months.

This concludes the tutorial. If you have any questions or suggestions of scents we should try to make, leave us a comment below. For the mean time, my bathroom now smells fresh of lemon and garlic (no vampires are going to stop by tonight!).

For More photos of the soap featured in this article:


  1. Hi Guys--Just in time for April Fools day-Garlic soap-sneak it into your girl friends bathroom and wait!!!

  2. You will have many old memories and will make new ones! Enjoy!


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