Beauty pins I’ve tried – Hand Milled Soap

Soap has always seemed such a tricky thing to make yourself. All those chemicals, exact measurements, precise temperatures….But when I saw my friend Mimi’s easy recipe for rebatched or hand milled soap I knew I would give it a try! Hand milled soap (I think ‘hand milled’ sounds a little more glamorous than ‘rebatched’!) means someone else has done the hard work for you, so really you are using soap that has already been made. But you are personalising it, and absolutely making it yours!

I did pin her recipe, however it was on a site that is for members only. Fine for me, however it’s no good for anyone else to find. So Mimi has very kindly told me that she will add the recipe to her public blog (which I thoroughly recommend!). You can find links to her blogs on the right-hand side of my Home page under ‘Blogroll’. I believe it will be here and I will post the link when it happens.

I first made this to give as presents last Christmas. I have also made a batch with my friend’s 9 year old daughter, which just goes to show how easy it is!

So, here’s Mimi’s recipe:

You need:

750gms Lux flakes or equivalent grated soap

3 cups of water

4 tablespoons of Milk Powder

1/2 cup Macadamia Oil

Few drops of scented or essential oil (Jasmine fragrance oil for oil burners is our favourite)

Bring a large pot of water to a simmer, and sit a large mixing bowl over it.

To the mixing bowl, add the soap flakes, milk powder and water, and stir until it becomes a thick slush.

Add the Macadamia Oil and fragrance oil and stir until combined.

Spoon into your mould/s.

Let them set overnight, then unmould onto racks to air and harden. I’ve found that leaving them for about three weeks gives them more longevity upon use.

I have always made this using 1/3 or 1/2 of the ingredients. Half the recipe fills my 6 heart-shaped silicon mould, with a little bit over.

I have followed the method above of placing a bowl over a pot of simmering water. I have also sat a bowl over another bowl full of just boiled water and mixed it on the kitchen bench. This time I used the microwave 🙂 All methods have worked! I wasn’t sure about using the microwave, but I did a search for making rebatched soap using a microwave and found plenty of recipes. So all good!

I started by mixing the soap flakes and water,

Hand milled soap 1

then it went into the microwave for 30 second increments until it got to a melted gooey glug

Hand milled soap 2

which took about 2 minutes.

Then I added the other ingredients, including some Rose fragrant oil and a couple of drops of red food colouring to give it a pretty pink tone. In this batch I used olive oil instead of macadamia oil. Pretty much any oil will work here. I was also a bit more generous with the milk powder, and added a touch more oil to keep the consistency right.

Hand milled soap 3

And I mixed it well. It smells pretty good!

Hand milled soap 4

Then it was time to put it into my mould. It was starting to cool and get a bit difficult to work with, so it went back into the microwave for a couple of 10 second bursts. The silicone moulds I used hadn’t worked terribly well for me for baking cakes. They kept getting stuck in the pointy bits!

Hand milled soap 5

The soap needs a day or so to dry a bit before you can turn it out of the moulds. It will still be a bit damp and soft, so you can smooth out any lumps and bumps on the edges. But we had a wet weekend here in Sydney, so it was 2 days before I could turn them out. In the meantime, I whipped up another batch – with tea tree oil and green food colouring. Today was a little warmer and sunnier, so I put them outside to take advantage of the weather

Hand milled soap 6

I used a plastic container lined with plastic wrap for the tea tree oil soaps, and the leftover bit of rose scented soap.

Now they need to cure, or dry out, for at least 3 weeks. If we get more rain, they will take longer 😦 But the drier they are, the longer they will last in the shower.

So what do you think? Will you give hand milled soap making a go?