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I saw a great how-to http://www.justcraftyenough.com/2011/11/project-lego-soap/
and I decided to make my own soaps for everyone for Christmas.
Total cost of project under £10 for 10 little bags of soap (and I had plenty of soap base left to make more). This is so easy and fun, it’s definitely going to be a new Christmas tradition round our house now. Also, because it’s soap, it’s easy to clean up afterwards!
I got my soap supplies from soaposh.co.uk. You need:
- Melt and pour soap base
- Fragrance (I had some essential oils already)
- Silicone mould
- Cellophane bags (I had these already but you can get them from amazon or ebay for less than £2 for 30)
I chose the SLS free glycerin transparent soap base at £4.29 for 1kg which makes loads of little soaps, but there are also shea butter or goats milk bases and even jelly to choose from.
The colours are 95p each or £7 for eight.
You can buy silicon rubber moulds almost anywhere now – I got mine at the pound shop, I think they were meant for chocolates or ice cubes. You could use the ones meant for cupcakes too. The soap is really easy to cut with a long knife, so you could also make a bar in a loaf tin and slice it the way they do in LUSH..
Here are all my ingredients:
The first thing you need to do is slice a chunk off your soap base and cut it up into small cubes so it will melt. An easy way to do this is to microwave it – but only for 30-40 seconds, it doesn’t take much to melt it. You don’t want to let it boil, so be careful! I found a little ceramic milk jug was perfect so that I could control the pouring.
When the soap is all melted, you add a few drops of colouring and fragrance, stir them in, and you’re ready to pour into your mould. At this point you could also add glitter or dried flower petals.
Here are my little Christmas shapes in the silicone mould from the pound shop. Now it goes in the fridge for an hour…
And here they are – eight little christmas soaps ready to go into bags (This only used a tiny fraction of my soap base, so I will be making lots more!)
My friend Rachel dropped in this evening and brought her ink pencils with her. They are a lot like watercolour pencils, but thye’re a bit better behaved and brighter. You draw with them as you would a normal coloured pencil, but then you can use a brush and water to tease the colours out. They’re quite fun and solve the problem of ink blots.
Here’s my first attempt – a bear.
(These are the ones Rachel has: http://www.pencils.co.uk/product.aspx?mid=718
They’re over £20 a pack so I think I’ll be waiting until Christmas before I get any for myself!)
Quick sketches done last night.
The indian ink is a bit harder to use in the dip pen than the quink drawing ink, it bleeds into the paper unless you move the pen really quickly which doesn’t give you much time to be accurate. It makes everything look like a Quentin Blake picture. I need to experiment with different paper and maybe buy some other nibs for the dip pen.
I love the colours of the inks though – I bought an acrylic “process yellow” by Daler Rowney and it’s thicker, like a paint. When I mix it with the red, the oranges are spectacular.
I’ve never really bought colours of paints/inks individually before – I usually just use whatever is in the cheap set from “the works” that happens to be on offer when i need new paints.
Because the inks are so expensive (£5 each) I have to buy them individually, and wait betweentimes, which means I’m falling in love with each colour as I get it.
I’ve been sketching for years but I’ve never been very confident with colour. At school i was the queen of the detailed pencil sketch but I never learnt how to use oils etc. Painting skin – faces and bodies – is still a mystery to me (although no doubt a quick exploration on Youtube will yield instruction videos).
I am really, really loving the inks – they’re a nice compromise between sketching and painting, and everything comes out looking like children’s books from my youth.