A basic guide on how to use a range of melt and pour soaps (from Stephensons)...
Before heating, take out the required amount from the packaging and cut into even chunks. This will help reduce the melting time and ensure a more even melt.
M&P soap can be melted in one of two ways...
Double Boiler (Bain Marie) – this method is perhaps the slowest method but it does allow more time for you to be creative with additives etc… plus, it is easier to avoid overheating.
If you have a Bain Marie, then great but if not, you can use a double boiler by placing a heatproof bowl over a simmering pan of water on the hob. Add your chunks of soap into the bowl and allow the heat to gently melt the soap until it has a fluid consistency.
Microwave – the fastest and least fussy of methods by far but, because the temperature of the soap is not as easily controlled or maintained, you do need to work more quickly when adding your additives. It is easier for it to overheat and boil, so you do need to be mindful of this when you are heating it.
- Simply place desired amount of soap base into a microwave-safe jug and cover with cling film.
- Heat on full power in 10 second bursts, stirring in between, until completely melted. Avoid overheating/boiling.
Fragrance: Allow the soap to cool a little before adding up to 3% fragrance or essential oil. Stir really well to ensure a good mix, but avoid introducing air bubbles.
Oils/butters: You can add up to around 5% oil or butter, but the more you add, the more it will affect the lathering properties, so go easy. It might be best to melt any butter before adding to your soap base.
Moulding and De-Moulding: When you have added your colours, fragrance and other additives, slowly pour into a mould (individual or loaf mould) and spray the surface with denatured alcohol, to help remove any air bubbles. Allow to fully set at room temperature for 3-4 hours.
Once set, gently turn out onto a flat surface and leave them to air for at least 24 hours before packaging, to allow them some time to dry.
Things worth remembering:
Don’t overheat or allow to boil. This could cause the soap to become discoloured and may even burn.
Avoid heating for prolonged periods, in particular the organic base.
Maximum Heating Guidance:
Crystal White, Crystal Organic, Crystal Shea and Crystal Goatsmilk do not exceed 70°C / 158°F
Melt and Pour can be as simple or as creative as you wish by using additives such as clays, powders, botanicals and herbs, colours, micas etc… The possibilities are endless. There are lots of videos and tutorials available on the internet that are worth watching to get ideas and inspiration. The Stephensons Soap website has a lot of information and a comprehensive FAQ section, that is well worth a look.