While we've tried a few different ways of making soaps here on ABM, a soap trend that I've been seeing that I haven't gotten the chance to test drive yet is the layered soap technique. I've seen some pretty handmade soaps that are not only layered, but that also have irregularly shaped layers, and I really wanted to see if I could create something that had that same organic quality to the layers. Turns out, it's actually harder to make not perfectly even layers of soap (it's like any other liquid that just wants to lay flat), but a few tricks gave me the wavy layers I was going for!
–melt and pour soap (I used a little more than 1 1/2 pounds for my loaf.)
-small loaf pan or silicon loaf pan
-glass or microwave-safe container
-essential oil or soap fragrance
-small spray bottle with rubbing alcohol
If you don't have a silicon loaf pan, start by lining your pan with wax paper so the finished soap won't stick to your pan when it's time to remove it. I basically folded a piece down into the pan, cut the excess out of the corners and taped the cut seams together.
Cut about 2 cups of small cubes of melt and pour soap and place them in a microwave-safe bowl or cup. Melt at 30 second intervals in microwave until melted, stirring between each session. Add your first dye to achieve whatever color you want the first layer to be.
Pour a little more than 1/3 of your melted soap into your loaf pan and elevate one side so that it all pools up on the lefthand side (tip: give the soap a quick spray with rubbing alcohol after each pour to remove air bubbles). Allow it to cool for a few moments until it won't roll back when you flatten it again. Repeat the process on the right side so you get a ridge on that side as well.
Once you have a dip up both sides of the pan, pour the rest of the soap into the middle of the loaf pan and gently rock the pan from side to side so the middle makes an imperfect shape as well as it cools.
Next you'll melt two more cups of soap cubes and add whichever soap color you want for your next layer. While you are waiting for the soap to melt, cut a few thin slices of soap from your un-dyed soap block. Make lengthwise cuts so you end up with long white soap strips. Pour half of your melted soap into your loaf mold, wait 30 seconds, and then add in as many of the white soap strips that will fit while still leaving some room between them.
Let the soap in your melting bowl cool a bit. As it cools, scrape off the semi-solid top layer that starts to form and spoon it onto the top of your soap to create a textured top. Repeat until all the halfway cooled soap is spread across the top of your soap loaf. Allow your soap to totally cool, and then you can remove it from the pan, peel off the wax paper, and slice your soap into 1" bars!
While all of the layers and different colors can be a bit of a pain, it's so fun to slice the soap at the end and see how pretty your layers look together! The long white sticks that you inserted into the middle layer will look like floating dots and the irregular layers give it that special handmade look and feel. You can also mix in some soap fragrance or essential oil into each layer as you mix in the dye for a dreamy scent as well as a dreamy look. Have fun making your own creations! xo. Laura
Credits//Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with New A Beautiful Mess actions.