Today I’m sharing with you one of my newest craft obsessions and there are a few that are going to be revealing themselves in the coming weeks here on the ol’ blog… soap making. As it turns out soap making is So. Much. Fun.
My very first project to share with you here are loofah soap bars. They’re super easy to make and super impressive looking. Rob has already used his manly scented version and while he found it to be a bit scratchy in the more, ahem, sensitive regions but he loved the scent and the lather and he said he felt super clean. Huzzah! With that kind of an endorsement I figure this will make a great gift project for the men and women on your Christmas list!
Now did you know where loofah comes from? Because I sure as heck didn’t until this summer. In fact, Rob and I, for whatever reason, were pretty sure that it came from the ocean. Did you think that, too? Seriously because we never discussed this and we both thought the same exact totally wrong thing! Maybe this is a huge misconception? Or maybe we’re just stupidly perfect for each other. Aw :)
At any rate, loofah are a gourd that are grown in the ground. We met a local farmer who actually showed us how. They grow up like a vine and form these long, tube like gourds. The exterior is sloughed away and inside is this weird, Shredded Wheat type of thing that is moist and must be dried out. Apparently chickens really like to eat them, too. And why shouldn’t they? They’re related to the cucumber and are totally edible. Now how cool is all of that business?
Now I bought loofah from our health food store that sells local produce for about $5. You can also buy a whole loofah online at Amazon for around $10. Of the loofah I purchased I made 4 soap bars, watched Carly eat about 3 inches of the thing and I still have over half of it left. And so there you have it. Dogs AND chickens love loofah. And you will, too, once you scrub a dub with one of these awesome loofah soaps. Let’s get it!
For this project you will need:
- Whole loofah (also called luffa)
- Clear soap base
- Soap colors <— I used these colors but my set was cheaper from Michael’s.
- Essential oils/fragrant oils
- Bar soap mold
Because loofah can be kind of big I’d really, really suggest this awesome, large bar soap mold I scored from Amazon for about $13. It seems pricey but I’m going to get so much use out of this sucker that I’m really happy with the purchase…
Cut your loofah into slices slightly thinner than your soap mold. A bread knife works super well. If your slices are too thin they disappear in the soap and are just kind of “meh” looking (my blue one turned out that way which is why it’s in the back on pics :)
Jam that business into the mold. Loofah is squishy-ish so you have some play with getting them to fit even if your loofah is a bit bigger.
If you’re a perfectionist, as I can be, you can use scissors to snip the stray Shredded Wheat business for prettier, cleaner edges.
Melt your clear soap base in a microwavable safe cup according to package directions. The mold that I am using took about 1.25 pounds of melt and pour soap base.
Add your choice of colors and scents to the melted soap. Be careful. This business is HOT and that can mean nasty burns!
Pour the melted soap into the soap mold, over the loofah. Be sure to pay attention to how hot your soap is in relation to the heat your mold can take. Some will warp if you’re not careful…
Allow the soaps to sit for a few hours so the soap can harden up.
I popped mine out 3 hours later but they can take up to 24 hours depending on your soap base.
Now isn’t that so nifty? The soap completely envelops the loofah so that, at least at first, the sides are nice and smooth and perfectly gift-worthy. I’m seriously swooning over here (and rubbing my hands together like a praying mantis waiting for my shipment of soap making supplies, get ready for it!)