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Handmade soap with a personal touch


Start with a basic melt-and-pour soap base and add in your choice of natural ingredients to customize your concoction. Good add-in options include essential oils, exfoliators or dried flowers. If you want to make this project a bit more playful, hide a small toy (such as a rubber ball or plastic animal) inside your homemade soap as a “reward” for kids who really wash up.

Kids and soap don’t always have the best relationship. Just think about how many times you’ve asked your kids, “Did you remember to wash your hands?”

One way to get children more interested in the sudsy stuff is to involve them in the process of making soap from scratch. Plus, when you make your own soaps at home, you can feel confident they contain only safe, all-natural ingredients. The finished product can make a thoughtful holiday gift-one kids can proudly say they helped make.

The traditional soap-making process uses fats, water and lye (a dangerous chemical). When working with kids, I recommend using the safer and easier melt-and-pour method instead.

Instructions:

  1. Work together with your child to cut about 8 ounces of the soapbase into small pieces. Melt the pieces in a double boiler over lowheat or in the microwave in a heat-proof bowl. If you are using amicrowave, heat the base on a medium power in 30-second timeintervals. Stir frequently. Supervise children closely because thebase will get very hot.
  2. Allow the melted soap to cool slightly.
  3. Then add in the extra ingredients (lavendar oil, flowers, etc.)and pour the mixture into the mold of your choice. Silicon bakingor candy molds are ideal. You can also use a regular or minicupcake pan.
  4. Allow the soap to sit overnight and set in the molds. Carefullyremove the soaps from the molds.
  5. If you are giving the homemade soaps as a gift, package them insmall plastic bags tied with a pretty ribbon and include a noteidentifying the ingredients.

Materials:

  • 8 ounces melted clear or white soap base (You can find a goodselection of melt-and-pour bases from the online retailer BrambleBerry).
  • About 1/2 tsp. lavender essential oil
  • 1 Tbsp. dried lavender flowers (available from a florist ornatural food store)
  • Soap/candy molds or cupcake tins
  • Small plastic bags, ribbon and gift cards (optional)
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