Making melt-and-pour soap is a fun alternative to using the cold-process method, and it has the striking characteristic of being clear rather than opaque. In this recipe, a layer of brightly colored melt-and-pour soap is featured on an uncolored cold-process soap base; the result is reminiscent of stained glass.
Because of its high glycerin content, melt- and-pour soap has a tendency to sweat, so it is important to use a specially formulated low- sweat melt-and-pour base for this technique. Remember that although there’s no lye involved, melt-and-pour soap can be hot enough to scald the skin.
Approximately 18 bars
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You Will Need
Make the Soap Mixture
Cut the soap base into 1- to 2-inch cubes. Using a heat-safe container, melt the cubes in the microwave on 30-second bursts, taking care not to boil the soap.
Pour and Cut
Pour each color into one of the sili- cone baking molds. Spray each color with rubbing alcohol to dissipate any bubbles that may have formed. Leave the molds uncovered and undisturbed for at least 30 minutes, until soap is fully solid and ready to pull out of the molds and cut. This may take up to two hours, depending on the temperature the soap was poured at and the tem- perature in your soaping area.
Carefully unmold each color and lay the pieces on a flat surface. Leave uncovered and undisturbed in the least humid room in your home for at least 24 hours to reduce sweating.
Cut the soap glass into small pieces with a sharp, unserrated knife. The shape of the pieces determines the design of the soap, so for a more uni- form look, cut all squares. If you’re interested in an abstract look, cut ran- dom pieces and shapes. In either case, each piece should be no more than 1⁄2 inch at its widest part.
Make the Soap Mixture
Add the lye to the water (never the other way around), stir gently, and set aside until clear.
Melt the palm oil in its original container, mix it thoroughly, and measure into a bowl large enough to hold all the oils and the lye-water with room for mixing. Melt and measure the coconut oil and add it to the bowl. Add the castor, canola, and rice bran oils.
When the oils and the lye-water are both below 120°F, add the lye-water to the oils, pouring it over a spatula or the shaft of the stick blender to mini- mize air bubbles. Tap the stick blender a couple of times against the bottom of the bowl to release any air trapped in the blades. Do not turn on the stick blender until it is fully immersed. Add the Pineapple Cilantro fragrance oil and continue to stick-blend until thick trace, similar to a refrigerated pudding. The soap needs to be thick enough
to suspend the melt-and-pour soap design on top.
Pour and Design
Pour the soap into the mold. Tamp the mold on the work surface to remove any air bubbles and create a smooth, flat surface.
This soap does not need to be insulated. If the soap gets too hot during gel phase, it may melt the design (which is an interesting look but not what we are going for). Let the soap sit for 1 to 2 days, uncovered, to prevent gel phase and any condensation from forming, before unmolding it.
Cut the soap into bars, taking the pat- tern into consideration to ensure the maximum effect. Allow to cure in a well-ventilated area for 4 to 6 weeks, turning the bars over every few days to ensure that they cure evenly.