These are lovely gifts and the great thing about them is that various fragrances and ingredients can be mixed and matched to get exactly what you want. This big list of tutorials and recipes has everything from using grated bars of ready-made soap to whipping them up from scratch using lye and other items. Lots here for everyone!
Almond Rose : Here’s a simple method using just a few basic supplies, includes dried rose petals and more.
Cold-Processed Castile : Olive oil, sodium hydroxide and water.
Delectable : Glycerin, honey, ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, oatmeal and chamomile tea.
Easy & Colorful : Clear glycerin soap, food coloring, coffee stirrers, a clean milk or juice carton (to use as a mold), and petroleum jelly.
Gardener’s : Luxurious and soothing, a great way to pamper that rough skin!
Crock Pot Hot Process : No recipe since this is intended for those already familiar with the cold process.
Citrus Coffee : This doesn’t include step-by-step directions but it does include links to resources that can help.
Milled : Grate pure castille and add powdered milk, green tea and honey.
Fish-In-A-Bag : These adorable novelties will get the kids to actually want to take a bath!
Bathtub Crayons : Cute project made by grinding bars of Ivory and adding food coloring.
With Pureed Fruit, Herbs & Citrus Zest : Easy peasy project with gift-worthy results. Fruit puree (strawberries, etc.) or herbs or citrus zest.
Black Raspberry : Scented oil, raspberry seeds, madder root powder, olive oil melt and pour base.
- millersoap.com : There’s an astonishing amount of information including: Frequently Asked Questions; Troubleshooting section if a batch doesn’t turn out; Several PDF downloads available (basic procedures, where to find ingredients, etc.); Both traditional methods and modern techniques provided; How to design and create recipes and much more! Also see teachsoap.com  which is another goody for tutorials.
- Two Easy Molds : PVC pipe for the round one and the rectangular is made with pieces of poplar board.
It’s hard to imagine a time when we used bars of soap for washing hands, today liquid varieties are more convenient and are preferred by many because of the perception that they’re more sanitary. The price comparison between the two is outrageous, especially if stocking up on generic brands when they’re on sale.
Here’s a way to take advantage of those cost savings yet still enjoy the convenience of the liquid form, make your own version! Just a few simple ingredients are needed that don’t break the budget, and it’s so easy to do too!
The benefits of homemade vs. store bought is the obvious cost savings, but the fragrance can also be customized (with essential oils or a herbal infusion). Here’s how…
1 bar soap (6 oz)
1 TBS honey
1 tsp glycerin
- Grate bar into small flakes, toss in blender.
- Whip in 1 cup boiling water.
- Add 1/2 cup room temperature water and stir in blender.
- Stir in honey and glycerin.
- Allow to cool (15 minutes) then whip again.
- Mixture should be 2 cups at this point. Top with cool water until it measures between 5 and 6 cups, whip.
- Pour into containers and allow to cool (do not put lids or caps on yet).
- After an hour, close containers. Mixture will thicken up.
- Shake before using as needed.
Optional: A herbal infusion can be used, just strain first.
Source: Adapted from Pearls of Country Wisdom by Debora S. Tukua (First published here on Tipnut September 12, 2008 and moved to this page for better organization)
Save leftover bits (or grate one) then toss in a glass mason jar and top with boiling water (about double the amount of soap bits). Stir then seal with lid. Shake jar a few times while it’s cooling to get rid of any clumps. Once cooled, stir well and add a few drops of essential oil if a scented version is desired.
Pour into bottle then top with water as needed to get the right consistency (shake well). If for some reason it’s too thin, simply melt a bit of grated soap in a little hot water then combine with first mixture to thicken.
*First published August 25, 2008 and moved to this page for better organization
Here’s a couple tutorials showing how to felt a bar, this is new to me and I think these would make great gifts!
SuZanna Anna On HGTV
- Pull off some wool fiber and wrap it nice and tight around the bar (one way).
- Next wrap some tightly the other way (perpendicular). This helps the fibers felt together.
- Next pull off little strands in contrasting colors and lay them gently on top to give a tie-dye effect. Do this on one side.
- Put the wrapped piece in a clean nylon stocking. This will help the fibers stay together.
- Tools Needed: Washboard, dish detergent, towel
- Drip a little bit of dish detergent on top (now in the nylon stocking) to get things started, just a bit is needed since it will start working from the inside.
- Scrub it on the washboard (quickly, back and forth, all sides) for about 10 minutes until it’s felted enough so the bar can be taken out of the stocking.
- Keep rubbing until you can’t pinch any wool away from it.
- Rinse off in the bowl of hot water.
- Blot it in the towel to remove excess moisture.
- Set on a drying rack to dry.
Another video with a different method:
Instead of using a washboard, just rub the bar with fingers, working for several minutes to felt. Toward the end of the video you’ll see a suggestion to first cover it with a plastic bag and then work on it (contains the mess). In the comments area there’s this tip:
The wool will continue to felt more firmly with use and the soap will dwindle and disappear leaving you with a little felted wool bundle that has a hallow core. You can carefully slice it open to make a coin purse, or cut off the top and add a strap to make a necklace pouch or holder of some kind.
Here’s a website with more details: Mielke’s Fiber Arts . The pictures are really clear so you’ll get a good idea of how things look throughout the process. This site advises that this only works with wool or other protein fibers (such as llama or angora) and that some felt better than others.