We moved into our home three years ago. Every Christmas since then, I have made some sort of holiday gift for our neighbors. The first year, I made mini loaves of lemon bread with a jar of raspberry coulis. Year two was buckeyes. Year three was homemade vanilla. Seems like I am trying to fatten up the ‘hood.
I do this gift giving in part to be nice and neighborly, but the bigger reason is as a preemptive apology for all the antics that will be streaming from our home for the next 11 months. My children can be found totally naked in our back yard all summer long. They are also usually screaming at the top of their tiny lungs that they found dog poop in the yard. This charming announcement always comes at dinner time when all our neighbors are trying to enjoy a peaceful BBQ in their yards. We owe them. So, I make stuff once a year to try to buy them off.
This year, I moved away from the food gifts and made some DIY soap. There are several different ways to make soap from scratch. I did the lazy man way and bought pre-made soap base, added some stuff from the pantry, and called it a day. I’m not trying to open a soap factory here, people.
Soap Mold – I bought three 2.5 inch x 2.5 inch square molds at Michaels for $3.
1.5 cups of oats
Microwave safe bowl
Craft paper/tape/pen/scissors – for the wrapping
1. Grind oatmeal in a food processor until it is partially ground. You don’t want powder, but you don’t want full oats. Here is what mine looked like:
2. Release soap base from container and break it into 4-6 pieces.
3. Melt it per the instructions on the container. I put mine in the microwave for 1 minute increments, stirring it between heating periods.
4. Once the base is melted, stir in the oats. Work quickly because the soap starts to harden fairly quickly.
5. Pour the soap into the molds.
6. Let it cool for about 45 minutes before removing the soap.
For the wrapping (for square soap)
1. Cut strips of brown craft paper 8 inches long and 1 inch wide.
2. Hold it over your soap to determine where you want to write your phrase.
3. Write “happy holidays” or “warm wishes” or “bite me” or whatever you want.
4. Wrap the paper around the soap and tape on.
5. Decorate the sides and label the back with the type of soap.
Don’t heat the soap in the container it is packaged in. If you do and it melts the container a bit and you end up leaving a trail of melted soap all over your kitchen floor, wipe it up and enjoy the cleanest patch of flooring you have had in years.
Don’t buy the soap scent they sell. I did, thinking the soap base would need it. It didn’t.
This made 9 squares of soap for me. Two of those were not all the way filled, but they were both over 1/2 filled.
If you don’t have brown craft paper on hand, don’t buy any. Just use a brown paper grocery bag.