Melt and pour soapmaking involves melting and customizing pre-made soap bases. Melt and pour soap is quick to make and doesn’t need to be cured like cold process soap. As soon as the soap hardens and cools, it’s ready to go! Melt and pour soap does not require handling sodium hydroxide lye, making it a fun project for beginners and children. It also lends itself better than cold process soap to certain techniques, like incredibly crisp and clean lines.
If you’re thinking about making melt and pour soap, the first step is to choose a base! With so many different options, it can be a little overwhelming. There are a wide variety of bases, each with different ingredients which will affect how they behave, look and feel on the skin. The type of base you use will most likely depend on the design of your project, budget and personal preference.
Melt and pour bases need to be chopped into small pieces before melting. Then the base is ready to customize with color, fragrance and more!
First, it’s important to understand how melt and pour soap is different from cold process soap, and how it is similar. Both cold process and melt and pour soap are created by mixing lye and oils to start the saponification process. When these ingredients are measured correctly, there is no lye in the final bar of soap. During the soapmaking process, melt and pour soap has extra glycerin added. Glycerin is a humectant that draws moisture to the skin. The glycerin content in melt and pour soap is also what makes it possible to melt down melt and pour soap to a liquid texture that’s easy to work with. It’s also the reason that glycerin dew can form on melt and pour soap. You can read more about glycerin dew (aka: sweating) and how to prevent it in this blog post.
Bramble Berry carries several different kinds of bases to meet various needs and preferences. These bases fall into three major categories: SFIC Melt and Pour Bases, Bulk Melt and Pour Bases and Stephenson Soap Bases. Learn more about each type of base below!
About SFIC Melt and Pour Bases:
SFIC Melt and Pour Bases have the most options to choose from. These bases are also referred to as the “premium” or “house” bases. SFIC is the manufacturer of the bases, and has been producing soap bases since 1967. If you’d like to learn more about SFIC, click here. The ingredients primarily consist of coconut oil, palm oil, safflower oil, glycerin, water and sodium hydroxide. The remaining ingredients depend on the base. For example, the Goat Milk Melt and Pour Base is the only SFIC base that contains goat milk, and the Hemp Melt and Pour Soap Base is the only base that contains hemp seed oil. Can’t decide which base is the perfect one for you? The Melt and Pour Sampler Kit includes one pound of the most popular bases.
These bases come in three size options: 1 pound, 10 pounds and 50 pounds. The 1 pound blocks (shown below) come wrapped and labeled. The 10 pound and 50 pound options are shipped unwrapped and come in random size blocks. Because melt and pour is chopped into small pieces before melting, the size of the block doesn’t make much difference. If you prefer wrapped, consistent sized blocks, ordering multiple 1 pound blocks is the way to go. =) Some of the more popular bases also come in 25 pound blocks. These include Clear Melt and Pour Base, Goat Milk Melt and Pour Base and White Melt and Pour Base.
All of the SFIC bases are made with high quality ingredients, and do not contain detergents to create lather, such as SLS. Because of the high quality, they are a little bit more expensive than other base options. To compare and contrast the ingredients of these bases, check out the list below!
SFIC Melt and Pour Bases: Clear Melt and Pour, White Melt and Pour, Aloe Vera Melt and Pour, Honey Melt and Pour, Hemp Melt and Pour, Goat Milk Melt and Pour, Olive Oil Melt and Pour, Shaving Melt and Pour, Shea Melt and Pour, Palm Free Melt and Pour – Clear, Organic Melt and Pour, LCP Clear Melt and Pour, LCP White Melt and Pour
About Bulk Melt and Pour Bases:
If you are looking for a more cost effective base, the Bramble Berry Bulk Melt and Pour Bases are a great option. Unique to Bramble Berry, you won’t find this formula anywhere else. The bulk bases are made with a higher amount of glycerin than the “Premium” bases, and contain SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate). Sodium lauryl sulfate is a synthetic lathering agent that is used to give the bulk bases a creamy lather. These bases feel amazing on the skin, but if you prefer a more “natural” base, the premium SFIC bases may be a better option for you. Check out the ingredients below!
The minimum purchase size of Bramble Berry Bulk Bases are 25 pounds. The bases come in 25 pound blocks, which are encased in a plastic bag inside of the box. This is poured directly into the box by the soap maker, so there are usually little bubbles or foam at the top of the block. For tips on cutting the big block of soap up, click here to see step-by-step instructions on wrangling this economical soap base easily.
About Stephenson Melt and Pour Bases:
The Stephenson melt and pour bases are a new addition to the Bramble Berry product line. These bases are created by Stephenson Personal Care, a company that offers a wide variety of personal care bases including lotion, conditioner and more. You can find all their products here. Bramble Berry currently offers three melt and pour soap bases by Stephenson: Vanilla Stable Melt and Pour, Jelly Melt and Pour and Suspending Melt and Pour. All of these bases have unique properties that make them distinct options from both the bulk bases, and the premium SFIC bases.
The Jelly Melt and Pour Base has a fun, wiggly texture that makes it completely different from all other melt and pour options. Click here to see it in action in the Shimmery Summer Soap Jellies. The Suspending Melt and Pour Base has a thicker texture than most bases, which makes it perfect for suspending heavier additives like jojoba beads. The Vanilla Stable Melt and Pour Base is incredibly clear, so it’s great for embedding. It also limits vanilla discoloration. With fragrances that contain vanillin at more than 2%, this base will help to limit discoloration, but will not completely prevent it. Read more about fragrance discoloration here.
If you’re new to melt and pour soap, and are looking for more information on how to use the bases, check out the blog posts below! There are so many fun techniques that can be achieved with melt and pour. You can also use melt and pour as embeds within cold process as seen in the Gold Mine Cold Process Soap. Melt and pour soap can also be used to create frosting, as shown in the Whipped Soap Cupcakes video on Soap Queen TV. In addition to the posts below, watch the Basics of Melt and Pour Soapmaking Series on Soap Queen TV (see the first episode below!) This series includes information about fragrance, layers, embedding and more.
Free Beginner’s Guide to Soapmaking: Melt and Pour
Talk It Out Tuesday: Melt and Pour Soap
How to Avoid Burnt Melt and Pour
Natural Colorants for Melt and Pour Soap
Tips for Swirling Melt and Pour Soap