Fragrant Handmade Soaps

These handmade soaps make gifts that are both welcome and practical.
Soap-Making Basics
CraftsSp05_Purple and blue decorative soaps

Making beautiful bars of fragrant herbal soap has never been easier. Purchase glycerin- or coconut-oil-based soap blocks at a crafts store, cut them into chunks, and melt them in the microwave. Add herbs, color, and fragrance to the liquid soap and pour into molds. Purchase soap molds, or use kitchen items such as tart tins or small gelatin molds.

See below for complete instructions.

What You Need:

  • Soap base (either glycerin which is clear, or coconut which is creamy white)
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Glass measuring cup with pouring spout
  • Microwave oven or double boiler
  • Color chips or liquid soap colorant
  • Metal spoon
  • Herbs and botanicals
  • Essential oil in desired fragrance
  • Molds


  1. Cut soap into 1-inch cubes and place in the glass measuring cup. Heat until the soap is melted. In the microwave, it only requires about 45 seconds to melt a few ounces of soap. Heat in short intervals to prevent boiling over.
  2. Once the soap is melted, gradually add the colorant until the desired shade is achieved, stirring thoroughly. Next, add the desired herbs and botanicals. Add essential oil just before pouring liquid soap into the molds to avoid cooking off the fragrance.
  3. Let soap cool and harden before removing it from the molds. When choosing plastic containers for molds, use microwavable containers only.

Continued on page 2:  Custom Recipes