Tuesday, March 4, 2014

DIY Wedding Favors - Melt and Pour Soap & Crochet River Rocks

It's wedding planning season, and I happen to have a family wedding to attend this spring! After seeing some cute ideas on Etsy and then coming across a blog post about melt and pour soaps...light bulb! My future sister-in-law has been kind enough to put up with me bombarding her with pins and ideas for her upcoming wedding and has agreed to let me make her wedding favors. Since the wedding will have an intimate, vintage garden feel, I decided on soaps and crochet rocks.

DIY Garden Wedding Favors, Melt and Pour Soap & Crochet River Rocks by Over the Apple Tree

Melt and pour soap is crazy easy. The soap base and fragrances are available at any major craft store and you can also use stuff you probably have already in your kitchen to mix in as well. You can make one bar at a time or a large batch like I did. Mixed soaps can be poured into individual molds or in my case, a large rectangle and then cut into bars with a knife. 

Honey Almond Chamomile Goat's Milk Soap
3 lbs goat's milk soap base
2 tbsp ground up oatmeal
2 tbsp honey
3 chamomile tea bags
1 tsp honey almond fragrance

*I also created a Honey Almond Chai Soap by substituting the chamomile tea with chai tea*
Directions:
For my mold I used a 9 oz cereal box lined with wax paper. I've had some questions about the cereal box. I used a box instead of something like a cake pan because it has 90 degree angles on sides and corners. I tipped it sideways and cut off one big side then taped the end back together. Prepare mold and set aside. I wanted to add a little oatmeal just because it's so good for skin. Grind oatmeal in a food processor, measure amount you need and place in small bowl. Cut open tea bags and pour out tea leaves into the bowl. 

Cut soap base into small pieces and place in a large microwave safe dish. Since this is a large batch, you can microwave for 1 minute, stir and repeat a couple times. When you see that it's getting more melted reduce microwave time to 30 second intervals, stirring in between until soap is completely melted. 

Add oatmeal, tea and honey to melted soap base and gently mix. Add fragrance and mix. Now pour into mold. If you don't want any bubbles on top you can lightly spray alcohol across top. 

Let the soap remain in the mold until it is completely cooled, should take a few hours. I let mine sit overnight.



When soap is cooled, you can cut into bars. With my size mold I got 12 bars for each 3 lb soap batch.

cut soap into barscut soap into bars

honey almond chamomile goat's milk soap, Over The Apple Tree

To fancy these up for wedding favors, I cut scrapbook paper into 2x9 inch strips(a paper trimmer will get this done quickly and accurately!) then trimmed the edges with fancy scissors. I wrapped bars in plastic wrap then secured the paper strips around with tape. To make the personalized labels, I used PicMonkey to create the image I liked and then imported the image into a word document. After you figure out the size you'll need, just copy the image to fill up the page and print on card stock. Now cut out labels and attach with glue stick.

Use scrapbook paper to wrap and personalize DIY soap by Over The Apple Tree

DIY soap wedding favors by Over The Apple Tree

Make your own melt and pour soap for unique wedding favors by Over the Apple Tree

Learn from my mistakes:
I had never done this before and here are some things I messed up so you don't have to.
  • The soap base comes already scored into easy to cut cubes. In the first batch, I left soap in the large cubes and it took a long time to melt and it ended up not heating evenly since I was working with such a large batch. Cutting the soap into smaller slices as shown in the picture above allowed it to melt more evenly and faster. 
  • Fragrance directions said 5 drops per 1 oz soap. I didn't feel like counting out 240 drops so I looked all over the internet for a tsp measurement. The info I got wasn't accurate and I ended up using 2 times the fragrance I needed in my first batch! I had to melt it back down and add more unscented soap to fix it. I did end up counting out the 240 drops and it came out to about 1 tsp. 
  • I read that you should wait till the soap is getting cooled down and thick before adding fragrance so the heat doesn't evaporate it. I waited too long and when I went to pour the melted soap into the mold it actually started to harden mid pour! This resulted in very lumpy soap. I think just adding the fragrance after you add the first ingredients will allow it to cool enough so that there won't be evaporation problems.
  • You shouldn't use bowls, utensils, etc that you intend to use for food again. You can always pick up some supplies from the thrift store for this purpose. After my over fragrance fiasco, I had to use my favorite metal bowl to make a double boiler since I didn't think I should use the microwave to melt the overly perfumed soap. I rinsed and washed out the bowl and later my husband decided to eat salad out of it...not good! This is also why I used a large piece of cardboard to cut on instead of my cutting boards.

 Crochet River Rocks
Yes these are crocheted rocks. Why would anyone waste time crocheting rocks? Ummm, because it looks cool! I saw these on Pinterest and thought they were so pretty and would go great with the theme of the wedding. You can pretty much use any small crochet doily pattern and just work it until it's the size you need for the rock. A few of the sites I found with patterns for rocks are The Purl B and Number One Churchill's Green. Don't forget to check Ravelry for doily patterns as well. After you've done a few you'll be able to make up your own patterns as you go. 

Crochet river rocks make unique wedding favors by Over The Apple Tree

Honey Almond Chamomile Goat's Milk Soap, melt and pour soap recipe by Over the Apple Tree

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55 comments:

  1. These look fantastic. The fragrances you have picked are my absolute favourites. I am going to make this!

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    1. It really does smell great and the scent of the tea comes out even more when you use it! Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. You made me laugh with the story about your husband eating salad out of the bowl right after…I can only imagine. These look fabulous! Pinned, definitely going to try out. Thanks for sharing, coming to you from Wake up Wednesdays link up.

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    1. Yeah it was pretty nasty. I know, because he shoved some at me and asks, does this taste like soap? Thanks so much for visiting me!

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  3. Hi Laura, how beautiful the rocks look crocheted and the soap looks so nice! I pinned to my craft board on Pinterest! Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful ideas!
    Julie at Julie's Lifestyle

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    1. Thanks so much Julie! I had fun working on these projects. It's so nice to be able to do something for someone else that really appreciates it:-)

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  4. soap is a lovely idea for wedding favor. I love the crochet rocks!!!!! Thank you for sharing your sweet blog at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop ♥

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    1. Thank YOU for hosting Katherine! If it weren't for the link parties no one would ever see my stuff!

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  5. Very pretty! Want to make me some wedding favors? j/k ;)

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    1. Ummm, pass! The soap is really easy and fast to make. I did 42 soaps total(3 1/2 batches), that can be done in one day and then wrapping and labeling could be done the next day. I was crocheting about 3-4 rocks every night...let's just say I'm glad it'll be a small wedding! Thanks for stopping by to take a look Bethany!

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  6. I'm visiting from Diana Rambles! Cute favors! I'm pinning the recipe:)

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    1. Thanks Amy, come visit me again!

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  7. Love! Pinned it! I've always been intimidated by soap projects.

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    1. I always thought of soap making as a complicated and dangerous project, which I guess it is if you're making it from scratch. With the melt and pour, all the hard work is done for you! Thanks for stopping by Heidi!

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  8. Oh my goodness I love these ideas! The crocheted rocks are amazing looking! I have also seen the soap idea on Etsy and thought it was an awesome idea...just not the price, but this is reasonable! Brilliant!

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    1. Thanks Heather! Yeah, the price wasn't bad at all especially when the craft store has coupons!

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  9. I love these! So cute and elegant! THanks for sharing at The Weekend Retreat! Hope to see you back on Thursday!

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  10. great ideas! I love both items. I was interested in making soap but i looked at recipes involving lye and got scared. Maybe I will try the melt and pour way!

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  11. These are such cute ideas!

    Thanks for joining the Link Up this week!

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  12. What a beautiful idea!

    P.S. I found you on the www.skiptomylou.org linky party and you now have a new follower!

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  13. I love this idea and they turned out so pretty, not to mention they will go perfect with your future sister-in-law's vintage-garden themed wedding. Pinned! Thanks for sharing at The Makers!

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    1. Thanks for hosting so I can have a place to share:-) I appreciate you stopping by Katie!

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  14. These are wonderful! I love the way they turned out. I have been making a lot more of my own beauty products but not soap yet. These look wonderful-I will have to try them out!

    Stopping by from the MaMade blog hop!

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  15. these are absolutely precious for favors...gorg!

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  16. I love the crotchet river rocks so original!

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    1. Thanks Zelda, I love how they came out too. They did take some time, good thing it's for a small wedding!

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  17. this is something I've always wanted to do very allergic to alot of over the counter thanks for sharing visiting from mamade hop have a great day

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Robin! The soap is really easy, maybe give it a try in small batches to test for allergy.

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  18. I love this idea! I never would have thought to do something like that as a wedding favor, AWESOME idea! :) Thanks for sharing at the MaMade Blog Hop! I hope you have a great weekend :)

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    1. Thanks so much Michelle! I was surprised how easy they were, although I have to admit, the rocks were a bit time consuming:-)

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  19. Hey! I love this! I'm featuring you over at my blog Sunday morning for my "Best of the Internet" series! Check it out at http://mommylikewhoa.com :)

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  20. Can you just just honey and almond extract instead of buying the fragrance?

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    1. This is the first time I've made soap so I'm no expert...I'm not sure if using food grade extracts in soap is a good idea. I know they have a high concentration of alcohol which could have a bad effect on the soap base. They may also not be good for contact with skin. You might want to try and do some research in some soap making forums before you attempt it.

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  21. Thank you for sharing this wedding idea. I love your article and I've learned a lot on this. Soap is one of the great wedding favor that can be given to all the guests. This is great! Visit our blog Unique Wedding Favour Ideas

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  22. Excellent content with lovely wedding favors. I am feeling glad by visiting on this superb blog post. Thank you so much for sharing these useful wedding favors.

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  23. I love the way the soap bars came out. I'm definitely going to try it out. I'm a little confused as how to use the empty cereal box though. Can you please explain exactly how to use the cereal box?

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    1. Sorry it took so long to reply, your question was in my spam folder! So I could have used something like a cake pan as the mold, but I wanted to make sure all pieces would have 90 degree angles. This is where a box worked better. I taped the top of the cereal box closed and cut one side of the box off. This way all my pieces, especially the corners, were squared off without me having to trim them later.

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  24. Thanks for the Learn From My Mistakes list. That's very helpful!

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  25. I made the soap, and bagged it, and now they are moldy.... did you find this problem? or did you leave them unwrapped, or give them away before they molded?

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    1. Oh no, that's disappointing! I've made this a few times and I've never had a problem with mold. I wonder if you let it sit and cool long enough before wrapping? I leave mine to harden for at least a day or two before I cut and wrap. It should also be stored in a cool dry place.

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  26. Those look gorgeous! Thanks for including things you learned, I always find that information to be so valuable!

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  27. Thanks for linking up with TSNEM, your sister is lucky to have your help :)

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  28. A great craft, this would make a perfect gift or wedding favour!

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    1. when is the best time to cut the soap?
      i am afraid if i wait too long to cut it and it's rock solid hard, it will crumble when i do.
      m

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    2. when is the best time to cut the soap?
      i am afraid if i wait too long to cut it and it's rock solid hard, it will crumble when i do.
      m

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    3. Have never had a problem with crumble. It cuts the same as when you cut the melt and pour base

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  29. Such fabulous wedding favors Laura! Pinning to my wedding board to share! Thanks so much for stopping in and linking up with us for Brag About It this week. Take care.

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  30. Dear wow, I never thought about making soap, but am now intrigued and excited to try the chai oatmeal version. More to follow. Also, rocks are fantastic and the crochet idea is another project added to the many ways I can express my love ❤ for "yarning " as I affectionately call crocheting. Glad to have found your blog. Blessings 🐸

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