By Sami Jo Jensen
Planning a wedding can be crazy stressful — not to mention expensive — but there’s no reason it shouldn’t also be fun. For the past five years, I’ve built my blog (Poor & Pretty) on the premise that you don’t have to make or spend a lot of money to have a fun life, and the same goes for weddings.
I know, I know, there are a few things you’re going to want to drop some dough on — dresses, tuxes, location, band or DJ, cake, etc. But why not DIY a few of the things you can?
Besides saving a little bit of money and making your wedding truly unique, making handmade favors and decor will also be a great project for you and your future husband or wife to do together. And you know what they say, “the couple that crafts together, stays together.” I’m pretty sure that’s the saying …
Shortly after starting http://www.poorandpretty.com my blog in 2009, I discovered that my favorite body wash contained a bunch of really nasty chemicals that not only dried out my skin, but had also been linked to breast cancer. Yikes! So, in the spirit of DIY, I began making my own soaps. Up until a few months ago, I even sold them at stores and small craft fairs and events in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. I stopped only so that I could focus on my blog and other fun personal projects, like helping you have an awesome handmade wedding! These heart-shaped soaps are another really easy project, although many of the supplies are hard to find in local stores. Don’t worry, I share a few of my top-secret soapmaking resources at the end. 😉
This makes 52 mini heart soaps. Multiply as needed.
1 lb melt & pour soap (I used an unscented white base)
Fragrance (manmade) or essential (natural) oils – see step 4 for details
Food coloring or soap colorant, if you have it – see step 4 for details
A double-boiler OR stainless steel pan
Pyrex measuring cup (mine holds 4 cups)
Silicone heart mold (or you can use any silicone mold) – you may want a few of these if you’re making a lot. Otherwise, you will make just over 3 batches with this recipe.
Latex gloves (or similar, if you’re allergic to latex)
Optional: Isopropyl Alcohol in a spray bottle – see step 8
Treat bags (I used 6″ x 3.75″ ones found in the candy section of my local craft store)
Twine, ribbon, or string
Tags — if you’re making a lot of these, you may want them professionally printed. You might be able to get them done by the same place that’s printing your invitations. More on how I made mine in at the end of the tutorial.}
Where the heck do you get soap supplies? Here are a few of my favorite sources:
*Elements Bath & Body – they’ve got it all – soap, colorants, fragrance oils, molds, even goggles and gloves!
*Bramble Berry – another great site with everything you’ll need.
*Rustic Escentuals – I love their fragrance oils! They have a great selection; I’ve never been disappointed with any of them. They also carry many other supplies from this tutorial.
*Save On Scents – pretty much just fragrance and essential oils. They have lots of funky, rare scents like “taco” or duplications of popular scents from Bath & Body Works, Philosophy, high-end perfumes, etc.
Step 1: Unwrap your soap block and place in your double boiler or stainless steel pan on medium heat. Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn. Yes, you can burn soap! I also recommend running your exhaust fan and opening up a window or two to keep your kitchen well-ventilated during your soapmaking adventure.
Step 2: While you are waiting for the soap to melt, get your mold ready. Place it on top of paper towels or newspaper on a flat surface. The soaps will take about an hour to harden, so it’s important to keep the mold somewhere it won’t be disturbed or
accidentally bumped into.
Step 3: Check to make sure your soap isn’t burning. Stir it.
Step 4: Pull on those lovely gloves and in your Pyrex measuring cup, add your fragrance oil and colorant. For 1lb of soap, 2-3 drops of colorant should do, possibly more if you’re using food coloring. If you are using essential oils, 10-15 drops should be good. If you’re using fragrance oils, you may need a few drops more. (Essential oils tend to be stronger.)
Step 5: Put on your mask and safety goggles. Once your soap is completely melted, carefully remove it from heat and pour into the Pyrex measuring cup.
Step 6: Stir, stir, stir to properly blend your soap, colorant, and fragrance!
Step 7: Slowly and carefully pour your soap into the molds.
Step 8: If you have a spray bottle and Isopropyl Alcohol handy, mist the tops of the soaps to get rid of the bubbles that form.
Step 9: Once your soaps are fully hardened (in about 1-2 hours), turn over your mold and pop them out. Flexible silicone molds like the one I used make it very easy to remove the soaps.
Step 10: Put a few in each bag, loop a tag through some pretty twine or ribbon and tie onto the bag. Voila! Look at these cute favors!
If you’re going 100% DIY, you’ve got a few different options. You can design them on your computer, print them out on card stock and use a craft punch (I’d suggest one at least 2″ wide) to cut them. Just make sure you leave enough room on top of the tag for a hole. You could also print your designs on blank, perforated hang tag sheets like these. On mine, I used an interchangeable stamp, stamped my design onto card stock, placed a heart sticker in between the two initials, and used this 2.25″ craft punch to shape the tag. Then, I used the same craft punch to cut out pink vellum, hole punched both, and tied them on with green twine from The Twinery.