Homemade Gift Idea – Melt and Pour Soapmaking

Making homemade soap as gifts can be pretty easy and a lot of fun. Homemade soap bars are great gift ideas because you can also whip up pretty large and attractive batches of them in a day or two and satisfy your entire holiday gift list. I made these as gifts for the holidays a few years back and some of the recipients were sincerely unsure whether these were purchased at a boutique or if I had actually made them.

The process to making these gifts is quite simple. Simply melt the soap base for a few minutes in the microwave, add the natural scents and exfoliants, pour them into molds and let them cool. That’s it! Creating unique names and gift labels can add to the creativity and presentation of these gift to make them even more memorable. Soapmaking purists might use a more difficult process that requires the use of lye and therefore there is a safety issue, but I found that the melt and pour soap variety as gifts can be just as elegant, much easier and safer, and creativity can be involved in every step of the process.

Soap Base…

Brambleberry.com can be your one-stop shop for all the supplies. I have had a lot of success, and have been very happy with their site and products. They specialize in everything that is soapmaking, from soap base and molds, to exfoliant and essential oil ingredients, to even boxes and labels. You can get an olive oil soap base (as well as some of the other ingredients) at Michael’s, or other craft store if you can’t wait for the shipping, but brambleberry.com has so many interesting and quality choices of soap bases that it would be a shame not to use them. I have used their aloe vera base, their creamy and dreamy goats milk base, shea butter, organic clear, a honey base and they even have shaving base, that would make a homemade gift idea that is more accessible for guys.

Ingredients…

As soon as your base is melted, you can add your ingredients. Now there are far too many options to mention here but I will mention a few. As far has scents, Brambleberry carries an enormous variety of essential oils and other types of scents. Again, you can get a few of these at Michael’s, or better yet your local health food store, Whole Foods or grocery co-op. They tend to be a bit pricey depending on the scent, that is why Brambleberry carries cheaper options like extracts and fragrance oils. Essential oils, though expensive, have a stronger, purer scent than any of the other types of scents, so if you are making large batches I would recommend getting a few of the basics. The ones I’d recommend as essential oils are a nice soothing lavender, a citrus oil like bergamot which is a great uplifting, “wake-up” scent, and maybe a rosemary, eucalyptus, or peppermint. You can get a essential oil sampler kit from Brambleberry. They also carry a wide variety of exfoliants. My personal favorites are their shredded loofah and pumice. You can also be creative and use oatmeal, (which a lot of people combine with honey) a light exfoliant like bamboo extract, and walnut seeds, or even cornstarch. You can also look in your kitchen for ingredients like cinnamon and coffee grounds. You can find soap recipes to start out with at teachsoap.com. They also have a detailed tutorial on melt and pour soap making. You can use dyes and colorants, but I have found that once you add the other ingredients, the bars take on an already attractive, and natural looking character.

A few tips on scenting…

The scents listed here are pretty universally enjoyed by men and women alike. I would keep the scents on the subtle side, and stay away from the overly floral scents unless of course you know that the person receiving the gift will enjoy it. When experimenting with scent combinations your smelling sense will often soon become overloaded, making it difficult to sample each smell. A tip that a local soapmaker once told me is to keep coffee grounds nearby, and smell them to sort of cleanse your olfactory palate between batches. Coffee grounds, by the way, are a great ingredient to include in a kitchen soap as it tends to remove or at least disguise strong smells. This is great for when you have chopped a lot of onions for instance.

Molds…

Brambleberry carries carries a wide variety of soap molds. You might also find molds at your local craft store or Michael’s. I personally use just a standard rectangular soap mold I got from Michael’s. Again, I think that the soap ingredients make the bars attractive enough, and have found that unusual shapes might just make them look chaotic and busy.

Here is a video tutorial on the complete melt and pour soapmaking process.

Presentation…

Yes, brambleberry.com also carries gift boxes for homemade soap. If you use these sliding gift boxes, make sure your soap molds are rectangular and small enough to fit. They also carry natural-looking gift bags for homemade soap. These gift boxes are excellent for applying your own personalized gift labels that you can make from Avery’s full sheet labels that you can get from any office supply store. It was fun for me to come up with an overall design and unique names like “lavender dreamtime” or “sunny citrus”.If that is too much work for you, wrap them in some raffia ribbon from your local craft shop, and tie a little gift label to it.

Counting down 100 homemade gift ideas at http://100homemadegiftideas.com

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A Scrapbooking Page Idea Can be Inspired From Any Situation

Time and tide wait for none is a saying that holds true for all of us. In spite of our best efforts it is not possible to hold on to the good times and so with the passage of time we see our infancy grow into childhood, adolescence, youth, adulthood and finally old age. The only option left with us would be to try and keep records of the good old days gone by. One of the best ways to preserve fond memories is through photographs. Somehow in spite of the video recording facility available in today’s world the charm of old photographs still manages to hold its place in our hearts. An interesting way to keep the photographs rather than simply putting them in an album is to implement the idea of scrapbooking. Scrapbooking as an activity can offer multiple options and design ideas and a scrapbooking page idea can come from a host of inspirations.

A vast selection of scrapbooking ideas can be accessed from workshops or “crops”, craft stores, scrapbooking businesses and of course, online. A scrapbooking page idea is available with scrapbooking albums, layouts, quotes, stickers, and other products. Scrapbooking kits and scrapbooking embellishments are also filled with various scrapbooking page ideas for implementation. A scrapbooking page idea website can be browsed to explore a multitude of scrapbooking layouts, information and scrapbooking tips for the experienced scrapbooking hobbyist and the scrapbooking novice.

The most recent and increasingly most popular hobby across the nation, scrapbooking has taken craft stores by quite a surprise with its incredible demand. To meet this phenomenal demand, a scrapbooking page idea can be discovered in books, magazines, online and other scrapbooking sources for the hobbyist’s need. A scrapbooking page idea image can be accessed to view several scrapbook layouts and ideas in comprehensive detail. The scrapbooking pages will offer a sample of the scrapbook layouts, scrapbook page layouts and a scrapbooking page idea or two. The beginner scrapbooking enthusiast may want to learn how to scrapbook. Thus, a scrapbooking page idea can be added to one’s scrapbooking creativity.

Other scrapbooking hobbyists may even want to meet up with you to discuss scrapbooking layouts, advise the best places to purchase supplies and talk about scrapbooking cardstock. The scrapbooking page idea can result from these discussions and be a first step to an exciting journey of scrapbooking. One example of a scrapbooking page idea is layered lettering. This can certainly add interest to page titles in your scrapbook. The scrapbooking page idea with this innovative technique affords the letters to coordinate with the scrapbook theme of the page. Your scrapbook title can instantly become an integral part of the entire layout and your scrapbooking page idea by following a few simple steps. So, maybe its time to get together a couple of friends and do some brainstorming for a perfect scrapbooking page idea. Once the basic thought is in process, the rest of the steps will be easy to follow. Once you are confident about your capabilities and creativity it could open up a whole new world for you.

John Foster has special interest in arts. He gives advice to anyone who wants to know about online art school and scrapbooking and others. He refers to www.layersofourlives.com in many of his sessions for art school class for scrapbooking, Scrapbooking page idea and DIY scrapbooking art,Scrapbooking Book.

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