Monday, November 7, 2016
Gift-making: lavender soap plus where to get free cellophane to wrap bars of soap
There is something about this new batch of soap that I am particularly drawn to. Do you find you have things in life like that for yourself? Maybe it's the color, or texture, or fragrance. I'm not sure. But I do love how this turned out, and how it looks with the lavender spa cloth that I knit.
Here's how it all went:
I used the same spaghetti noodle box, that I used in the batch of Honey-Almond-Oatmeal soap last week, for the lavender soap mold. The box held up fine for a couple of uses.
I taped up the end that I had opened to get that last long bar out. And I relined the box with new plastic wrap, this time not gluing it into place. The soap edges had a slightly neater appearance with the first batch, having glued the plastic to the cardboard. But, overall, this batch looks good, too.
The soap looks beautiful.
I un-molded it the next morning, and cut it into 4 bars.
With the lavender soap, I tinted the soap base a pale shade of lavender, to coordinate with the lavender spa cloths that I knit earlier this fall. I added dried lavender buds that I cut from my garden and air-dried this summer, then ground partially in my coffee grinder just before melting the soap base. And I added some lavender essential oil. The kitchen smelled amazing while I was making this batch.
Immediately after pouring the soap into the mold, I sprinkled the surface with more dried lavender buds. By gently blowing on the surface, I could see where I needed to ever-so-gently press the buds into place. This soap formed a skin very quickly.
I am now onto wrapping my soap, both to preserve it's freshness and to add to the presentation of this hand-crafted gift.
Where to find free cellophane?
I have the one cellophane bag that I mentioned previously. I've decided to save that for packaging for my hand-crafted bubble bath (more on that another day). Where else would I find cellophane?
I bought a box of tea earlier this week, and as I was opening the package, I had a lightbulb moment. Tea boxes often come wrapped in lightweight cellophane to preserve the tea's flavor.
By carefully cutting the cellophane open, I can get enough for 2 bars of soap, from one box of tea bags. I used glue stick to seal my wrapping closed. I'll be digging into my pantry to find more cellophane-wrapped packages to scavenge from. (update on the cellophane hunt -- I found a large sheet of cellophane in my gift wrap stuff! It was the packaging/outer wrap for a set of shirt boxes, bought long ago. Woo hoo! Wiped off the dust and got all 8 bars wrapped.)
Next, to find presentation for these bars of soap. I'm feeling inspired by some favorite sonnets and poetry. Hmmmm. . . wrapping soap, to be continued.
A breakdown on costs and timing for making soap as a gift.
Now is the time to be looking for high-value coupons for Michael's and Hobby Lobby, for the soap base, and maybe the essential oils. I buy essential oils, online, through Amazon and Bulk Apothecary. As I use lavender essential oil in many bath and beauty products, I buy it in 4 ounce bottles through Amazon. I buy this brand and size -- Calily &8482; 100% Premium Pure Lavender Essential Oil - Large 4 Ounce - Therapeutic Grade Oil, (4 Oz. / 118 ml). The fragrance is good, for my use, and the price is awesome for pure lavender essential oil. A bottle this size lasts me 2-3 years.
For the soap base, I think you can get the best price per pound with a 50% off coupon to a craft store, like Michael's. The regular price is about $10 for 2 pounds, with coupon the price was $5. I used a little over 2 pounds to make 8 bars (I had soap base leftover from another gift). So, for the mold I used, a 2-lb block of soap base would make 7 bars, making 2 batches. Each of my bars was about 5 ounces, and cost about 72 cents per bar for the soap base. Adding in the cost of the oil, my lavender soap came close to 85 cents per bar.
Finding the right mold took a few days of contemplating. When I settled on the pasta box, I still needed to figure out how to line the box, and calculate how much soap to melt for the size box I chose. Purchased molds are simpler, but they add to the cost of making soap. (Info on calculating volume for a box is in the post on making Honey-Almond-Oatmeal soap which I linked to above.)
I like to pack the soap into airtight containers, using waxed paper between bars, and leave for a week to harden a bit more. So, to make soap as a gift, one would want to do so about 2 weeks in advance of needing those bars for gifting.
Just a teaser for tomorrow --
What do you suppose is in this envelope? Hint, it's another spa gift. I'll post about making those, and the envelopes, this week.
One more thing. It's looking like I'll have some extra spa items. I'm still going through everything, and seeing what will fit into a small PO package. But I feel a giveaway coming on! Stay tuned!