Mar 01 2011
Handmade soaps also make great items for use as custom gift or in custom gift sets. A creative design with someone's favorite color and fragrance combined with a nice wrapping already goes a long way. For this project I wanted to make soaps that could be turned into nice looking little gifts using only some ribbon and a bit of foil wrapping to pack them with.

These soaps are not very hard but do take a bit more time to make. That makes this project well suited for beginning soap makers but less suited as a project to do with children.

This project is done in 2 stages. Before we can start pouring the soap bars, we have to make the moons and starts for in the soaps first.
To make the moons and stars for 4 soap bars you will need:

- approximately 75 grams of white soap base
- yellow non-bleeding pigment soap color
- silicone cake mold
- moon and star cutter
- a spray bottle of 70% rubbing alcohol
- a nice big pan of water at boiling point
- a jug to melt the soap in, in the pan of water
- a stainless steel spoon
It's not needed to add a fragrance to the soap as the moon and stars are only a very small part of the soap. The fragrance of the soaps will go in the layers that will be poured later.

To cut shapes out of soap most shops will advise the use of cookie cutters and offer a good selection to choose from. Cookie cutters do make for a great tool in soap making but a generally far cheaper alternative is to use the cutter shapes that come with kids dough packages. For this project I am using a moon and star shape that I found in a mini kids dough set. Including the dough the full set with 6 shapes cost €0,49.

To start making the moons and stars, melt the white soap base and once the soap base has melted, add color until the soap has the color you want. I used a color called yelp! yellow for my soaps but any yellow color you like for stars will do.
The next step is to gently pour the yellow soap into the silicone cake mold. Have it form a layer on thebottom of the mold and allow this layer to fully harden out for at least 30 minutes.
Once the soap has fully hardened out, carefully take the slab out of the mold and put it on a cutting board.
Use the cutter shapes to cut the moons and stars out of the soap. There are 4 moons and 8 stars needed for 4 bars of soap, but I've made some extra to have a few spares if I need them.
The moons and stars now get put aside until we need them. It's now time to gather up all that is needed to make the rest of the soap.
For 4 soap bars you will need:

- aproximately 400 grams of clear soap base
- liquid blue soap color (water soluable, non-pigment)
- blue cosmetic glitters
- cosmetic fragrance oil
- a spray bottle of 70% rubbing alcohol
- plastic soap bar mold
- a nice big pan of water at boiling point
- a jug to melt the soap in, in the pan of water
- a stainless steel spoon
The soap bar is poured in 2 layers but both layers are made from a clear soap base. This means that all of the clear soap base can be cut in chunks and melted at the same time.

Melt all of the clear soap base and add a non discoloring cosmetic fragrance oil until the soap base has exactly the strength of fragrance you want. Since this will remain a fully transparant soap it is important to use a fragrance oil that will not discolor the soap. A fragrance like orange, which comes with a slightly brown tint, is less suited for this project. For my soaps I have chosen a mint fragrance oil.
Do not color the soap yet. The first layer is left clear so that in front of a darker background, the moon and stars will be clearly visible.

While the soap cools a little to get ready to be poured, make sure to have the bottle of alcohol, the moons and stars ready for use close to the mold.

When the soap is at the right temperature (around 60C), pour a layer of aproximately 1cm of soap into each of the molds cavities. Spray with a bit of alcohol right after pouring the soap to make the air bubbles go away.
Wait for 1 minute, then spray the surface of the clear soap slightly with alcohol again. Spray the surface of the moons and stars with alcohol and gently put 1 moon and 2 stars in each layer of clear soap.
Now leave the soap to harden out for at least 5 to 10 minutes. In that time, put the jug with the remain soap back in the water bath to warm back up a little. Once nice and warm again, it's time to color this soap to become the background layer. Use enough of the liquid blue soap color to create a nice dark blue color.
The sparkle in the background is the finishing touch in the midnight sky part of the soap so as a final ingredient cosmetic glitters are added to the soap mix. Just about half a teaspoon should be enough to give a good sparkling effect.
Before pouring the soap onto the clear soap in the molds, it's important to spray the top of the clear soap generously with alcohol. Skipping this step or spraying only very little will cause the layers not to adhere to each other properly.
After the alcohol has been sprayed over the clear layers, gently poor the blue soap over the clear soap in the cavities until all are full. Spray the soap slightly with alchol again to remove any remaining air bubbles.
Leave the soap to fully harden out for at least 1 hour. Then slightly bend the egdes of the mold away from the soap to let air in. Turn the mold over and gently push the soap out of the mold. If your soaps are not coming out of the mold easily, leave them a bit longer, it means that they're just not ready to come out yet.
Once the soaps are out of the mold, all that is left to do is to wrap them up nicely and then your midnightstars giftsoap is ready.
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