Feb 27 2011
Melt & Pour soap is a ready made soap base that makes creating unique handmade soaps into something that everyone can do. With a little creativity the possibilities are almost endless.

This particular project is a bit more of an intermediate project and perhaps not best suited for those who are trying this soap making thing for the first time. This project can also be less suitable for younger children.

Making embedded shells soap requires pouring the soap in layers. What is important for this is to purchase both soap bases from the same supplier. Getting the soap bases from different suppliers will cause the ingredients of the soap bases to differ. This will stop the layers from adhering to eachother properly.

For a little extra sparkle to the soap, I have also used cosmetic glitters for this project. Do not use just any glitter but use only cosmitic glitters that are suited for this purpose. Using glitters that are not suited for this purpose may cause skin irritation.

It's possible to use shells bought in a shop or those you found for yourself at a beach but either way it remains important to wash and dry the shells thouroughly before putting them into your soap. Aside from the aspect of hygiene, floating grains of sand do not really make a soap look pretty.
On with the soap making...

To make 4 embedded shells soaps you will need:

- between 200 and 250 grams of clear melt & pour soap base
- between 100 and 150 grams of white melt & pour soap base
- a handful of nice looking shells
- liquid soap color (pigment, non-bleeding)
- cosmetic fragrance oil
- cosmetic glitters
- a spray bottle of 70% rubbing alcohol
- a plastic soap mold (I used a mixed shape mold but any shape will do)
- a nice bigpan of water at boiling point
- 2 jugs to melt the soap bases in, inthe pan of boiling water
- 2 stainless steel spoons
With everything ready to go, the first step of this project is to cut both soap bases into chunks for melting. The clear and opaque layers will be poured seperately, so the clear soap base goes in 1 jug and the white soap base goes in the other. For the first layer, we start by melting the clear soap base.
When the clear soap base has melted, fragrance the soap with the cosmetic fragrance oil. For this project I have used Pine Forrest fragrance oil but which fragrance you prefer is of course up to you. Add anything from a few drops to a few ml until the soaps smells just the way you want it.
Gently stir the soap until it has cooled off to the right temperature and devide it over the cavities in the mold evenly. It's ideal to pour the soap at 60C but it doesn't have to be exact either as long as the soap is not hotter then 70C because this may damage the mold.
Pouring the soap creates air bubbles in the soap that are usually not desirable for the end result. Spray some alcohol over the soap right after pouring to make the bubbles disappear.
At this time it's needed to let the soap rest in the mold for about 2 minutes. This will make sure that the soap has hardened out just enough to stop the shells from sinking to the bottom of the mold instantly. Don't wait longer than 2 minutes. It will make the soap too solid to still get the shells in the soap with good looking results.
Before putting the shells in, spray the surface of the soap with alcohol again to break the surface tention. Don't shower it, but give it a good spray. The excess will evaporate. Spray the surface of the shells with alcohol generously as well. Gently put the shells of your choice in the soap. Depending on what shells you use, some may release a few air bubbles after sinking in to the soap. Spray those away with alcohol as well.
The soap now needs to harden out for a while but in the mean time we can prepare for the next step by melting the white soap base.
Add some of the same fragrance oil to the white soap as was used for the clear white soap. This doesn't have to be that much as the clear soap base makes up the largest part of the soap and was already fragranced before. Then add a pigment based, non-bleeding color to the soap until the soap has the color you want it to have. I have used green for my soaps but embedded shells soap looks nice in almost any color.
This soap gets an extra vibrant effect from adding a touch of cosmetic glitters to the soap base. When it floats in the soap it looks like a lot, but half a tea spoon should be more
then sufficient.
The next step and alcohol
are key to the success of this project. Before pooring
the colored soap, spray the top of the clear soap generously with alcohol. Too
much won't hurt the project while too little may cause your layers not to stick
together after the soap comes out of the mold. You can even see the little
alcohol puddles I had on my soaps after spraying mine.
Gently pour the colored soap
over the clear soap in the mold until the mold is full. Once all cavities in
the mold have been filled, spray the top gently with alcohol again to make the
air bubbles disappear.
Now all that is left to do
is to wait for the soap to fully harden out. This will take aproximately 1
hour. Once the soap has hardened out, gently push the sides of the mold away
from the soap to break the seal and allow air to get in. Turn the mold over,
carefully push the soaps out of the mold and your embedded shells soap are
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