Deck your tree and “Adorn thee” with decorations that glitter and gleam!
The holidays are fast approaching and it’s time to start thinking about decorating your home and making special gifts for your favourite people. Why not do both at once with this original soap recipe, whose rich spicy scents evoke the festive season so well!
These unique tree decorations will add sparkle to your festivities while their sweet eggnog aroma delights one and all, evoking cherished memories of this special holiday season.
To give away or keep for yourself (on your tree or in your bathroom!), these charming soaps will make great stocking stuffers for all your friends and family – whether they’ve been naughty or nice!
Original soap recipe to “Adorn thee” and your tree
With this recipe, you’ll make a little more soap batter than the amount required to fill a silicone mold containing eight spherical cavities. This is to ensure that even if something goes wrong (like some of the batter falls outside the mold), you’ll still have enough to fill the eight cavities. That’s why you’ll need an extra mold with at least two cavities in order to use up all the batter.
It’s important to carefully follow all the steps and instructions, including the temperature of the oils and the sodium hydroxide when mixing them together, as well as the texture of the soap when the essential oils are added. The success of the recipe depends on it!
Oils + colourant
- 285 g olive oil
- 171 g sweet almond oil
- 190 g coconut oil
- 38 g castor oil
- 38 g cocoa butter
- 3 g titanium dioxide
Sodium hydroxide solution
- 10 g benzoin essential oil
- 19 g orange essential oil
- 2 g anise essential oil
- 1 g cinnamon essential oil
- 1 g clove essential oil
- Micas (your choice of colours)
- Small spray bottle filled with 70% isopropyl alcohol
- 1 block of 454 g clear glycerin soap
- 1 silicone mold containing eight spherical cavities
- 8 (or more) 22-cm lengths of cotton string
- 1 mold with individual cavities for the extra soap batter
- Scales accurate to 1g and 0.1g
- 2 large stainless steel bowls + 1 small stainless steel bowl
- 1 large pyrex measuring cup or HDPE pot for the sodium hydroxide mixture (minimum 1000 ml capacity)
- 1 900 ml measuring pitcher
- 1 deep, narrow pot or pan (to melt the clear glycerin soap)
- Immersion blender
- Spoons and small ramekins
- 2 silicone spatulas
- Protective soap-making gear
- To decorate: one or more small brushes and/or a small sieve
Good to know!
Some of the scents used in this recipe tend to accelerate trace. This means the soap is likely to harden fairly quickly after the essential oils are added, so you’ll need to work quickly.
Steps to follow
1. Follow the safety precautions for working with sodium hydroxide.
2. Measure the sodium lactate and dissolve it in the water BEFORE adding the sodium hydroxide, then set aside to cool.
3. Meanwhile, weigh the coconut oil, castor oil, and cocoa butter in the large stainless steel bowl and melt over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and add the sweet almond and olive oils, then set aside to cool.
4. Add the titanium dioxide to the melted oils and mix well with the immersion blender.
5. In a small ramekin, weigh and mix the essential oils. (See below suggestions for colour and aroma alternatives)
6. Prepare the mold: press the two halves together wherever they touch.
7. Prepare the strings: fold each string in half, tying a knot as close as possible to the ends.
8. When the sodium hydroxide and vegetable oil mixtures have both reached a temperature of between 30 and 35 °C, add the sodium hydroxide mixture to the oils, mixing first with the spatula, then with the immersion blender.
9. Mix the sodium hydroxide and vegetable oils together. Once they are well blended (even if there is no visible trace), add the essential oils and mix them with the spatula.
10. Fill the measuring pitcher with half the soap batter and carefully fill each cavity. Repeat with the remainder of the batter until the eight cavities are full.
11. Using the handle of a spoon, press the knotted end of a string into the centre of each cavity, leaving the loop hanging outside.
13. Leave the soaps to dry in the molds for at least two days.
14. Unmold the soap balls and let them dry for a few days. Once dry, decorate them with mica using one of the following methods.
Decorating the soaps
Method 1: Sprinkle with mica
After unmolding, place a soap ball on a mat (or a small object that will prevent it from rolling around). Spray the top with a little isopropyl alcohol. Place a small amount of mica in the sieve and sprinkle it on the soap, then blow away the excess. If desired, repeat, adding mica to the bottom of the soap (or all over the surface).
Method 2: Paint with mica
After unmolding, place a soap ball on a mat and spray the top with a little isopropyl alcohol. Dip a small brush in the mica and paint any designs you wish on the surface of the soap. Rotate the soap as necessary.
Optional additional step: Dip in sparkling glycerin soap
Whether you use method 1 or 2 to decorate your soaps with mica, you can follow up with this technique. You can cover your soaps with a sparkling coating by dipping them in melted glycerin soap containing mica powder. For example, add half a tablespoon of the mica powder of your choice to a melted 454 g block of glycerin soap. You could also add one or more scents (10 to 20 g) to the melted soap.
If desired, you can dip the soap balls in the melted glycerin soap several times, allowing the layers to harden between each dipping.
You can then use the remaining glycerin soap to make additional decorative soaps using the same method as above. Don’t forget to add string loops to the molds.
Colour and aroma alternatives (step 4 and 5 of the recipe)
Here are two other options for colours and aromas. Simply replace the colourants and scent blends as follows. In these alternatives, none of the essential oils (EO) or the aromatic essence (AO) accelerate trace.
These soaps are suitable for use on the body.