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I still remember the very first bar of soap I ever made in my entire life, way back when I just learned how to make melt and pour soap. It was a goat’s milk base, with dried sage and scented with sweet orange essential oil. I was so proud of that batch. I literally had to show it to everyone (I apologize to all whom were subjected to my obnoxious show-and-tell.)
But it was an incredible experience, to make soap! I was hooked.
My first batch of soap was made using the melt and pour method. There are several benefits to getting started making soap this way.
New to soap making? Don’t miss this post: The Beginner’s Guide To Melt and Pour Soap Making
First, you don’t need any special equipment (your kitchen implements will work just fine).
Second, you don’t need to work with lye like you must for cold process and hot process soap.
Third, melt and pour soap is finished and ready to use in just a few hours. Because when you’re excited you don’t want to wait 4 to 6 weeks for soap to cure (which you must do for cold process soap).
For brand new soap makers, I always recommend the melt and pour method. It’s simple, inexpensive, and the learning curve is short.
Make sure to grab the FREE Farm Girl’s Quick-start Guide to Making Soap Without Lye
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I’ve put together this step-by-step guide to walk you through making your first melt and pour soap batch. Ready to get started? Fair warning: once you make your first batch, you’ll be hooked too!
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How To Make Melt and Pour Soap: Basic Instructions
This recipe makes 1 pound of soap, or about 4 (4 oz.) soap bars. Customize your bars with whichever additives, color, or fragrance strikes your fancy.
You can find soap base, fragrance, and colorants at your local craft store. Get your dried herbs at the health food store or grocery store (use tea bags for an inexpensive way to experiment with lots of different dried herbs.)
Here’s What You’ll Need:
Soap making supplies:
- Soap mold (some of my favorites are silicone baking trays)
- Small spritz bottle filled with rubbing alcohol
- Double boiler or small pan
- Silicone spatula or spoon
- Cutting board
- Large knife
- Measuring spoons
Melt and pour soap base in the variety of your choice. Options include:
Your choice of optional additives, such as:
- Dried herbs
- Dried flower petals
- Soap colorants or food coloring
- Soap fragrance oils or all-natural essential oils
Measure out 1 pound soap base. Most melt and pour soap base comes in a 2 pound block (check your package for weight), so just cut this block in half.
If you really went for it and bought a 5 pound block, just eyeball about 1/5 of this block. No need to be super precise.
Cut the soap base into approximately 1 inch chunks. Again, no need to be precise so don’t let size trip you up too much. Just chop into rough pieces and put these into your sauce pan or double boiler.
Over low heat, slowly warm the soap base until it’s fully melted. Low and slow is the way to go.
You don’t want to overheat your soap or it will scorch. Don’t allow soap to simmer. Stir occasionally.
Once soap is completely melted, remove from heat. Stir in your choice of additives now.
Here’s a measurement guide:
- Dried herbs – 1 teaspoon
- Oatmeal (it works amazingly if you do this first) – 2 teaspoons
- Soap fragrance oil or essential oil – 1 teaspoon or about 100 drops
- Soap colorant or food coloring – add drop by drop until you get desired color
(Psst… you can get a super handy dandy printable chart with these measurements and more when you sign up for the Farm Girl’s Quick-Start Guide to Making Soap Without Lye. Sign up now and I’ll send it to you!)
Remember, all of these are optional ingredients, so just add what you’d like. There’s no right or wrong here. Have fun and allow yourself to be creative!
Soaping Tip: If at any point your soap base becomes too thick to work with, simply place it back on the stove on low heat until it remelts.
Carefully pour soap base into your mold (this is where a ladle comes in handy.)
Immediately after pouring, lightly spritz the surface of your soap with rubbing alcohol. This will burst any bubbles that formed on the surface of your soap, making it look smooth and pretty.
Let the soap set undisturbed for several hours or overnight. The soap may seem set after as little as one hour, but will not be firm enough to easily release from the mold.
Soaping Tip: Resist the urge to move the mold. Moving the mold before soap is set cause waves to develop across the surface of your bar. It doesn’t hurt the soap at all, it’s just a cosmetic issue so it’s still usable. But it just won’t look as nice.
When the soap is completely set, press it out of the mold by applying firm, steady pressure. With silicon molds the soap releases easily. Stiff plastic molds take a bit more muscle.
If soap won’t release from the mold, try breaking the seal by pulling outward on the walls of the mold. You can also try running a non-serrated knife around the sides of the mold.
Once your bars are unmolded, they’re ready to use immediately. Enjoy your handcrafted soap!