Soap Favor Boxes by Erin

Anne-Marie Note: Like the way guest blogger Erin thinks? She’s teaching Scrubs 101 and 201 at the 2012 Soap Weekend Intensive. The link hasn’t been made public yet so shhhh, you’ve got a head start. Only 19 spots are available – don’t miss out and sign up for Soap Weekend Intensive in June 2012 HERE!

Part of my graphic design training was creating package design, and making custom box dies was always one of my favorite tasks! It requires you to see a three dimensional object deconstructed into two dimensions and I think it is a fun brain exercise. I bought an eyelet setter a while ago and one of my first thoughts was how to make a soap box that could be tied together without the use of glue. This is one of my simple designs for a 2 inch by 3 inch by 1 inch bar of soap. The eyelets make clean holes to lace ribbon, and add a nice finished design element to the box. You can download the template for this box here and follow the simple instructions to put it together! ~Erin Pikor

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DIY Wedding Bouquet for under $30

Weddings are beautiful occasions. A day of love and togetherness and the celebration of a new beginning. Unfortunately the sticker price for these festive events can be a shock especially if the bride and groom are paying for it themselves! There are clever ways to save money and going the DIY route on a lot of tasks can really help save money. When researching wedding bouquets I found that the standard was about $175-$250 for a simple rose bouquet. When you start counting Bridesmaid Bouquets and Boutonnieres you are looking at spending $1000 plus dollars. No Thank You! I made this elegant handmade bouquet for less than $30 and there were plenty of flowers left over. I used them in vases but I could have easily gotten another bouquet and a few Boutonnieres out of the three bunches of Calla Lilies that I bought at Trader Joe’s for $7 per bundle. The ribbon was in the $1 bin at a craft store and the pins were about $4.00 for 100 pins. I had the floral wire but it can be purchased for a couple of dollars at a craft store. All you need is an eye for matching color, a few simple supplies and about 30 minutes of time. I embellished the bouquet with lavender and greens found around the yard!

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Red Velvet Cupcakes: Recipe no. 5

I was thrilled to see these cupcakes flying off the stand at my wedding reception despite the fact that they are gluten, dairy, soy and egg free. Due to my many food sensitivities I have taken up the hobby of converting some of my favorite recipes into tasty treats that won’t harm my body. After four failed attempts I was able to modify the fifth attempt at these Red Velvet Cupcakes (Recipe no. 5) into something that was worthy of serving to my guests.  Thank you to all of my taste testers who gave feedback on the first four trys!

NOTE: Please read the entire recipe through before you start and be sure to follow the method exactly for best results.

Hope you enjoy these! –erin

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Naiad Soap Arts Project: Snowflake Soap

Buy everything you need in the click of a button!
Kit does not include the snowflake cutters or scale.


Snowflake 5 piece cookie cutter set
• 2-3 oz Bramble Berry white soap base
• 17 oz Bramble Berry clear soap base
Super Pearly White Mica
Shredded Iridescent Glitter
Liquid Blue – non bleeding
• Fragrance of your choice – I used Bramble Berry’s Santa’s Spruce for this one.
• 2 cup capacity containers or glass microwave safe measuring cup
• 1 cup capacity pyrex containers or glass microwave safe measuring cup
(if you have two, 2 cup capacity pyrex containers that will work just fine!)
• 8 in. x 8 in. Glossy Silicone Square mold
Scale that weighs to a tenth of an ounce
• Clean cutting surface
2 Plastic droppers – one for fragrance, one for soap
• 1/4 Teaspoon measuring spoon
• sprayer with rubbing alcohol
• food thermometer
• cup with just under boiling water
• plastic wrap


1) Melt 5 oz of clear soap in 2 cup microwave safe measuring cup – about 1 minute. Add about ¼  teaspoon of shredded glitter and set aside.

2) Melt 1.5 oz of clear soap in 1 cup microwave safe measuring cup – 20-30 seconds. TIP: add a little white soap or more mica to make it more opaque! Add ¼ teaspoon of Super Pearly white Mica.

3) Pour clear soap with glitter into the bottom of the silicone cake pan – spray with rubbing alcohol to remove air bubbles.

4) Pour pearly soap over the clear soap in a thin horizontal and vertical lines about 1 inch apart. TIP:– make sure soap is not too hot at this point or your lines will bleed into each other and you will get a solid sheet of pearly soap.

5) Using your wooden skewer or toothpick start slowly at one corner creating swirls in the soap using long motions in a diagonal to the cake pan. Time permitting do lengthwise lines perpendicular to the cake pan as well. The soap will form a skin quickly so work as fast as possible. No matter what happens the swirls will be perfect! If you have air bubbles spray with rubbing alcohol. Let soap set at room temp for about 20 minutes.

6) Now that the first layer is all set up, we are ready for the second layer! Melt the remaining 12 oz of clear soap in a clean pyrex about 2.5 – 3  minutes

7) Mix 10 drops of BB liquid non bleed blue plus ¼ teaspoon of super pearly mica – you can add more or less blue to your liking but we want it dark so that there is nice contrast with the pretty swirls you just made. I like the non bleed blue here. After time a bleeding color will muddy up the swirls. Add 6 -8 ml of your fragrance oil. Really scent it well since the first layer is not scented.

8) Spray the first layer of soap thoroughly with rubbing alcohol and pour your blue soap over it – make sure the blue soap is not too hot, you can use the food thermometer to make sure it is about 120 degrees. We don’t want to melt the first layer! Spray with rubbing alcohol to remove air bubbles if necessary. Let that set up for another 20 minutes or so, until it is completely set up.

9) Yay! Our soap is ready for cutting – remove the soap from the cake pan by gently peeling it up starting at one corner, and pulling it away from the cake pan. Lay it on your cutting surface with the swirl side up.

10) Using the 4 inch (the one in the middle) snowflake cutter from the set cut out 4 snowflakes from the sheet. Press on all edges until the cutter is completely through the soap – a small plate works well to press the cutter into the soap.

11) Using the small detail cutter in the set cut six times on each of the six sides. You want the two pointed side of the cutter to be on the same plane as the first indent, and the single pointed side to be facing the center of the snowflake as shown TIP: use the wooded skewer to pop the tiny piece of soap out of the cutter! Do this for all 4 snowflakes.

12) Next fill in the cut outs with white soap. First lay out a piece of plastic wrap on your table and gently press the soap onto it, swirl side up. We want a tight seal between the bottom of the soap and the plastic wrap so that we don’t get bleeding on the back of the snowflake.

13) Melt the remaining 1 oz of soap. Lightly spray cut outs with rubbing alcohol.

14) Get the cup of hot water ready. Using a plastic dropper fill the cut outs with white soap. It is ok if you don’t fill them all the way – it looks pretty like that! If you get a little white soap on the face of the snowflake just wipe it away with your finger tip while the soap is still liquid. Make sure to clean the plastic dropper in your cup of hot water!

15) Spray with rubbing alcohol to remove air bubbles. Let set up and let the rubbing alcohol completely evaporate from the surface of the soap.

16) You are finally done – a what a lovely reward! They are pretty from the front and the back!

Save all of the leftover soap – you can use it in another project or re-melt it with a little more blue to use as the second layer of another sheet of snowflake soap!

Shrink Wrap or package in a poly bag with ribbon!

You can even use your wooden skewer to make a hole in the tip of one of the snowflake sides and string a ribbon through it for a pretty “soap ornament”!


Naiad Soap Arts Project: Bird on Branch Mini Cakes

Oh, I said I wasn’t going to bake this year but this project with the bird.on.branch mold has been waiting to be created for some time now and the holidays and a cold rainy day finally inspired me to get it done! (the rain does not make for great pics so please excuse that!) You can find my original bird.on.branch mold at Bramble Berry. Originally intended for soap making, the mold material is PERFECT for molding chocolate so I have two – one for making soap and one for making chocolate. I have provided a gluten free vegan recipe for the cake as well as links/resources for vegan chocolate and cream filling if you want to make this project all Vegan.

This is a lengthy post so read the whole thing before you begin. :)


• 12 oz of white chocolate (I used Guittard melting chocolates)
or try the vegan white chocolate
• 1/4 oz food grade cocoa butter
• Oil based food colors in green, yellow and red
bird on branch soap mold from Bramble Berry
• small paint brush, medium paint brush, clean and never used for paint
• small ceramic or glass microwaveable containers for melting chocolate in microwave or double boiler.
• shallow pan with water to keep chocolate melted (optional)
• protective gloves or hot pot holders for handling hot containers
• whipped cream, or chocolate mousse. (for Vegan frosting check out the book Babycakes)
• Chocolate (or vanilla depending on your preference) cake cooled and cut into pieces. You can use homemade, store bought or boxed cake, or try my gluten, dairy, egg free chocolate cake! (see recipe below)
• 8×8 inch cake pan
• cooling rack
Chocolate Cake Gluten Free
Modified from Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods to make the cake, soy, dairy and egg free as well!
• 1-1/2 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
• 1 cup Brown Sugar
• 1/2 cup Cocoa powder, unsweetened
• 1 tsp. Baking Soda
• 1 tsp. Baking Powder
• 1 tsp. Xantham Gum
• 3/4 tsp. Salt
• 1/2 cup Almond Milk (use rice milk for nut allergies)
• 1 cup Virgin Coconut Oil melted plus more for pan
• 4 Tbs. Applesauce
• 1 tsp. Vanilla
• 3/4 cup warm strong brewed Coffee
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your 8” x 8” cake pan with coconut oil. In a medium bowl mix together dry ingredients with a whisk until blended. In a separate bowl combine Almond Milk, Applesauce, Coffee and Vanilla and stir well. Add your wet ingredients including Coconut Oil into your dry ingredients and stir thoroughly. The mixture will be thick. Transfer to your greased pan. Spread out so the mixture is even. Bake for  30-35 minutes turning the pan 180 degrees halfway through baking. Cake is done when an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean. Take the cake out of the oven and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife along the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Cutting the cake for the mold:
• Using a serrated knife cut the edges and top off of the cake.
• Cut the cake in half


• Cut each half into three equal rectangles

• Cut the bottom off of each of the rectangles and then slice the rectangles in half. You should be left with pieces 2 inches wide, 3 inches tall and ½ inch thick. These will be the middles of our chocolate covered cakes. You should get 12 slices total.

1) Melt your chocolate per package instructions in the microwave or a double boiler. Melt two containers with 5.5 oz of white chocolate each, and one container with 1 oz + 1/4 oz cocoa butter.
2) Once chocolate is melted, color one of the 5.5 oz containers of chocolate with green and yellow oil based food colors until desired color is achieved. Add red color to your 1 oz of white chocolate and cocoa butter mix until you get a nice dark red.
I kept my chocolate melted in a pan of hot water but you can pop the chocolate back into the microwave at any time to re-melt it!
3) Using a small brush or popsicle stick carefully spread green chocolate into the recessed bird and branch part of two of the mold cavities. Do the same with the white chocolate in the other two cavities. You may get chocolate outside the edges and this is ok. Once the chocolate is set, about 5 minutes, using a small piece of paper towel rub off unwanted chocolate. You can use the tip of your finger to smooth out rough edges as well.

4) once the chocolate is set spoon white chocolate over the green bird designs and green chocolate over the white bird design until you get an even coat on the bottom of the mold. Let set about 10 minutes – you can pop it in the refrigerator to speed up the process.

5) Once the bottom chocolate is set using a popsicle stick or butter knife spread a coat of chocolate on the edges of the mold in the same color that you used to coat the bottom of the mold. The chocolate will be thick enough to stick to the sides. Set upside down to cool, another 10 minutes or so.

6) When the chocolate is set, spread a thin 1/4 inch layer of your whipped cream or chocolate mouse into the bottom of each of the mold cavities. Press one piece of your cut chocolate cake into each mold so that the cake sits below the edge of the mold cavity. This is so that we have space to top off with more melted chocolate.

7) Top off each with melted chocolate. Tap the mold on the counter to eliminate air bubbles around the edges and fill with more chocolate if necessary. Let set up on the counter for 20 minutes or in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

8) When the chocolate is set it should easily separate from the edge of the mold. Press down around the edges of each cavity to release the chocolate. Put a cooling rack on top the mold and flip the mold and rack over to invert the chocolates on to the rack. You may need to gently press on the molds to release the chocolates.
NOTE: The first time I unmolded these I made the mistake of trying to unmold them individually onto my hands. They all ended up falling out and the chocolate cracked so be sure to use a large plate, cookie sheet or baking rack to do this.

9) Use your small brush and your red chocolate to decorate the cakes!


Shea Butter Soap Cupcakes – Cold Process soap

Hi Everyone! Please welcome Erin from Naiad Soap Arts who generously offered to help me out while Anne-Marie is away. Erin’s soap craftsmanship is mind boggling, not to mention beautiful. She created this amazing tutorial just for Soap Queen, enjoy! ~Amber

Have you been drooling over all of the cupcake themed bath and body treats lately? I have! Here is another to add to the collection – a deliciously sweet Cold Process Soap Cupcake scented with Strawberry and Cream cheese! The end result smells just like a cupcake!


If you unfamiliar with Cold Process consider this DVD or this Book. For your safety please do not try this until you are familiar with the Cold Process method of soap making and are familiar with safety precautions when handling Sodium Hydroxide. Many thanks ~ erin
Now let’s get started!

Soap recipe for 6 cupcakes:
7.5 oz. Coconut oil 76 degree
7.5 oz. Palm Oil
6.25 oz. Olive Oil Pomace
2.5 oz. Castor Oil
1.25 oz. Shea Butter
7 oz. of distilled water
3.5 oz. of Sodium Hydroxide
1 oz. Cream Cheese Frosting Fragrance Oil
1 oz. Strawberry Fragrance Oil
we will be soaping at 100 degrees
There is a little extra soap incase you want to add more frosting than I did!
If not, have a small plastic container ready for extra soap!

Other supplies:
• Round Cupcake Silicone Mold
• 6 paper cupcake liners
• Flamingo Pink High PH Lab Color
• Iridescent Glitter
• Disposable Cake Decorating bag
• Plastic Star Cake Decorating Tip or stainless steel decorating tip
• Stick Blender
• scale

• safety goggles
• gloves
• plastic spoon
• stainless steel whisk (for thorough stirring)
• one, 2 cup microwave safe glass measuring cup
• one, 4 cup microwave safe glass measuring cup
• one, 8 cup microwave safe glass measuring cup
• one, 2 cup plastic or glass cup for measuring sodium hydroxide. (I have one measuring cup I use for sodium hydroxide and nothing else and I suggest you designate a sturdy measuring cup for this task)
• thermometer(s) that reads up to 200 degrees
• box large enough to fit the mold, and at least 6 inches deep.
For all supplies without a link you can do a web search to find them and many of the cake supplies will be available in a local craft or baking store. The measuring cups can be found at any big box store that sells kitchenware.
1) Get everything out and within easy reach. Line the cupcake mold with paper liners, cut the tip of the plastic disposable decorating bag so that the plastic star tip fits in it, weigh out your 1 oz of fragrance oils and set aside ( I like to save empty fragrance oil bottles for this), double check that you have all of your supplies ready.


2) In your 8 cup measuring glass, weigh out your Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, and Shea butter. Microwave until melted about 4 minutes
3) Add your olive oil and castor oil and set aside.


4 ) PUT ON YOUR SAFETY GOGGLES AND GLOVES. They will be on from here on out. :)
5) In your 2 cup glass measuring glass weigh out your water, set aside. In your 2 cup glass or plastic measuring cup weigh out sodium hydroxide. VERY IMPORTANT: in a well ventilated area mix the sodium hydroxide into the water (never the other way around). Be sure not to inhale any of the fumes as they are toxic. Stir with your plastic spoon until the solution is clear and all of the sodium hydroxide is dissolved – about 2 minutes. Set aside with your thermometer and wait for the temp to reach 100 degrees. Start with ice water to expedite this part!


6) Once the sodium hydroxide is just above 100 degrees, take the temperature of your oils and make sure they are also at 100 degrees. If it is too hot pop the container in an ice water bath and if it is too cool pop in the microwave for just a few seconds at a time. NOTE: temperatures can be within 5 degrees of each other.Slowly mix the sodium hydroxide solution into the oils while mixing with the same plastic spoon you used to mix the sodium hydroxide solution. Finish off by mixing with your stick blender until you achieve a light trace (looks like thin pudding). This took me about 1 minute.


7) Separate out 18 oz. of soap into your 4 cup glass measuring cup, add 1 oz of Cream Cheese Frosting FO, stir well, pour into your cupcake mold, and tap on the counter to level out soap. Set aside.


8) To the remaining soap add your 1 oz of Strawberry FO, and 40 drops of Flamingo Pink labcolor or until you get a pink that you like. The soap should be getting pretty thick at this point. Stir with your whisk until the soap is very thick and can hold shape.

9) Fill your disposable decorating bag with the strawberry pink soap. Make sure you hold the decorating tip securely in the bottom and keep it in place until the bag is full of soap. Twist the top or secure with a twist tie.

10) Begin piping frosting onto the tops of your cupcakes in a circular motion, building up tapered layers as you go. Repeat with all six cupcake soaps. I used a small star tip to get a tight ridge on the frosting but a larger tip will make for the big fluffy frosting look you have probably seen!

11) Sprinkle with glitter when you are finished.

12) Place a box over the top of the mold, tall enough for clearance for the soap frosting. Cover with a blanket and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours. After 24 hours your cupcakes should be very firm and easily removed from the mold. You can peel the paper at this point or keep it on. Let them cure for 4 weeks in a cool, dry place!

Afternote: the Cream Cheese Frosting FO will start to darken the soap because of the vanilla in the fragrance. I think the end result is going to be a tan color and you can see that starting to happen in the photo. If you do not want this to happen choose a non-discoloring Fragrance.
Happy Soaping!