This is a really fun and visually engaging craft that allows you to use herbs, flower petals, citrus peels, and other natural elements in creating beautiful and high-quality gifts that won't break the bank. In fact, the more you make, the more cost-effective it becomes. It also allows a lot of room for creativity and experimentation- let your intuition guide you to create new combinations of flavor, essence, and color. Here I will show you the basics of making salt scrubs and soaps for the tub or shower. Just make sure to use a fine-mesh drain so you don't clog it!
For the soaps, we're not making them completely from scratch. Get a good, natural unscented glycerine soap that will easily melt down. I recommend the brand Clearly Natural - Essentials - it's super cheap, goes for around $1.50 for a bar and it's made from natural ingredients and contains no parabens or animal products. But I'm mostly recommending it because it melts down easily. We tried the Whole Foods Brand and it just bubbled a lot and made a thick foam.
For the salts, you can use any combination of salts really, but I went with Epsom salt because it's the best for soaking in and it also has a nice grain. It relieves sore joints and makes your muscles feel relaxed. Make sure if you're using epsom salt to label the salts as non-edible! People may see the herbs and think they're for brining. This is not so!
What you'll need: These are suggestions but you can really get as creative as you want to.
- Clearly Natural - Essentials unscented soap bars (1 bar per 6-7 small round soaps)
- Epsom salt or other coarse grain salt
- Herbs (try rosemary, thyme, sage)
- Dried flowers (try rose, hibiscus, lavender, honeysuckle, elderflower)
- Citrus peels (try orange, grapefruit, lemon - pomegranate peel is great!)
- Essential oils (try jojoba, peppermint, lavender, etc)
- Glass jars for packaging up salts - 4 oz mason jar is a good size
- Small waxed paper cups for small round soaps or other containers to use as molds
1. Gather your ingredients into bowls. Peel the citrus with a vegetable peeler, trying not to get too much pith.
2. Scoop about 6-7 heaping teaspoonfuls of salt into a mixing bowl. Add your herbs, oats, and flower petals. With scissors, slice your citrus peel into small bits. Add however much you want to (see below for some suggestions).
3. Mix it all together. Add a few drops of any essential oils if you are using, just remember that a little often goes a loooong way, and you won't want to overpower the delicate flavors of what you already have in your mixture. I didn't use any essential oils- they're totally optional.
4. Repeat with other combinations, and when finished mixing each, add it to a jar. It really is that simple. Here are some combinations to start from:
- rose, oat, grapefruit peel, thyme.
- thyme, rosemary, honeysuckle, lemon.
- hibiscus, rosemary, thyme, black salt, pomegranate peel.
- lavender, thyme, oat, pomegranate peel.
PART II: Soaps
1. Slice your bar of soap into small pieces. In a double boiler, melt the pieces of soap. If you don't have a double boiler, do what I did and rest a heat resistant glass measuring cup inside of a pot of boiling water and put the pieces of soap in the dry, clean measuring cup. Stir occasionally until it's completely liquid, about 10 minutes or longer.
2. Begin laying out your herb mixes that you would like to embed in your soap. As I said, I used waxed paper cups as the mold but you can try anything. I also used a small rectangular soy sauce tray which worked quite well. Now is the time to add essential oils if you're using them.
3. Line up the soap molds and once the soap is liquid, pour it over the herb blend.
4. Allow the soap to cool in its mold until the soap is completely hardened. You may put it on a window ledge with cold air coming in, or you can put it in the refrigerator temporarily.
5. Remove the soap from the mold once hardened. If using paper cups, peel the paper away to reveal the soap.
Enjoy your handmade items and wrap them up for your friends to give as gifts.