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Sometimes I have, like, a really, really hard time getting things done. I get so excited about a billion different ideas and instead of following through with one and then moving on, I multi-task and have a trillion different things in a gazillion different states of completion. Do you do that?
Since it’s my job to craft and actually FINISH my WIPs (works in progress) it’s not such a good thing for me as a professional craft blogger. But the other day I finally got a mold in the mail I had been waiting for for a while and once I got it I totally knew that this was a little thing I was going to get knocked out in no time flat. Because, darn it, these were going to be so darn cute I wouldn’t be able to multi-task and put the project off for a few hours, ahem, or days, and it would get done and get posted and we’d all be so happy about it!
But wouldn’t you know that once I had it in my mind that I was going to straight up get shiz done, that’s just NOT the way it panned out? Within minutes, straight up MINUTES, of digging my hexagon Silicone Storage Box Flower Pot Mold out of its bubble mailer that puppy was sitting in the fridge full of clear melt and pour soap. But then I got word that I needed to run somewhere and so I left forgetting about it in the fridge. It stayed in the fridge so long that once I removed it from the mold and set it out to get back to it, where it began to warm up to room temperature, it started to sweat my essential oils out. Womp, womp.
But I was not deterred. I made yet another little soap shape that looks so much like a little glass terrarium that I want to swoon and that one turned out perfectly… no sweating, no imperfections, none of that. I felt like Goldilocks with the perfect porridge!
And so I did my thing and what I ended up with was NOT what I was hoping for. I had one sad little soap succulent sitting in some brown soap that looked an awful lot like a little pot of chocolate pudding. This just would NOT do. And I was getting tired and the hour was late so I decided to shelve things until the morning and try to come up with a better way to make this succulent soap that I saw in my head and knew I could make a reality.
The next day I had it… instead of using mica to color my “dirt” I’d use coffee! The color would be the perfect brown, the grounds of coffee would be an excellent exfoliator and I wouldn’t even need to add fragrance oil to the mix. Brilliant! (If I do say so myself :)
So my mom and I are about town and I say I need to get some coffee from the store while we go from store to store but what did I come home with? Some amazing lemon cotton candy, a bunch of yarn for a new baby blanket I’m going to hook up for a friend, a bunch of gorgeous yarn to use on my new knitting loom, and, honestly, I can’t even remember what else. But I CAN remember that I forgot about the coffee. But that was okay because my dad was going to the store the next day and he’d bring me a can of something then. But apparently forgetting the coffee is hereditary because the next evening I realized that I still didn’t have any coffee for my project.
This happened for FIVE DAYS. And you’re probably thinking, hey, now! It’s just coffee! And I totally know that but I only finally remembered to get the stuff at Walmart yesterday morning. And just because this was such a thing my dad called knowing I was at the store and asked: “did you get the coffee?” Nope. I had not. But I went straight there after realizing I needed to get it into the cart before I forgot, yet again.
And so, this soap took me almost a week to make, but never fear, when you have everything together and knock it out it doesn’t take anywhere near that long :) And if you’re still here through all of that narrative, wow. Thanks. You rock :) Just know that 95% of the people on this page will scroll past all of these words without any interest in them at all because they came here for the tutorial. Seriously.
But long story over how I couldn’t manage to buy coffee for days at a time over, are you interested to see just how I used that coffee for these amazingly stunning, totally simple and super exciting DIY succulent soap terrariums? Let’s get it…
This is how to DIY succulent soap terrariums with melt and pour and the most perfect molds.
Straight up, the reason why this project worked out so well is down to finding the right molds. I’ve linked to the EXACT molds I have used below for you to purchase but feel free to try others. If you find something else that works well, give us a heads up in the comments so we have more options! Also, you’ll need 6.6 ounces of soap PER succulent soap terrarium.
For this project you will need:
- Hexagon Silicone Storage Box Flower Pot Mold
- Succulents Silicone Fondant Mold
- Ground Coffee
- Soap Colorants (Mica, Liquid or both)
- fragrance oils or essential oils
- 91% isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle
- Melt and Pour Soap Base, clear
- Melt and Pour Soap Base, white
This is my little hexagon gift box type of mold that when filled with clear melt and pour soap looks so much like glass that it’s plain awesome. For best results, you’ll need to spray the inside of this mold with strong isopropyl alcohol so that you get that smooth as glass surface once the soap sets. Make sure your mold is on a completely even surface and then place something on top of that, like a cookie sheet. Melt your clear soap in 30-second intervals in a glass measuring cup until most is melted. When you have small chunks, stir the soap so that you use the heat already there to finish melting everything. Overheating soap will cause it to burn and this stirring to finish the melting method is the best way to prevent that. Give the soap a minute or 2 to allow some of the heat to dissipate before adding your fragrance oils or essential oils.
Don’t forget to give your mold a quick but thorough spray of alcohol and then pour the melted soap into the mold. Don’t overfill the mold, put your head down to eye level with the top of the mold and fill it just to that point. Spray the top of the liquid soap with alcohol to pop any air bubbles and leave the mold alone for about 15 minutes. Once the soap has begun to set nice and level, you can transfer it to the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to finish setting up. Don’t leave it in too long or it will start to sweat out the oils you put into it once it starts to warm back up.
FYI – you also get a lid with this mold but you can set it aside for future uses, we don’t need it for this particular project.
I don’t have any photos of the actual unmolding process because everything is kind of white/clear and it is just a big blog of white/clear and you can’t tell what’s happening anyway. So today I get to use my words :)
To unmold go around the edges and gently pull the silicone away from the set soap to break the seal. Once you’ve made it all of the way around turn the mold the other way (so that it is right side up just like in the pic above) and pull away the sides as you push down on the inside center of the mold. You might have to kind of wiggle the sides as you push down. Pull the mold straight up. The insides will still be stuck, just continue to pull straight up to remove. If it really doesn’t want to come up and out, you can wiggle your finger inside to help break the seal between the soap and the inner mold.
Once removed, you might have a slightly wonky shape from the finagling. Just set your soap down on a flat surface and push it around to be right again. Leave it a few minutes and it will be just fine.
Next up, succulents. If using mica powder, place a small amount of the powder in a cup and then add in a small amount of alcohol to make a colored liquid. You can also add a few drops of liquid soap colorant if it helps you achieve the color you’re going for. Melt your white soap base and then pour in a small amount of the mica/alcohol liquid. Stir the soap and add more until you’re happy with the color. Add fragrance oils or essential oils, if using.
Spray your silicone succulent fondant mold with alcohol making sure it gets into all of the nooks and crannies and then pour the soap into the mold. Allow the soap to set up someplace flat about 10-15 minutes. Because they are so thin, you can pop the soaps out of the mold while still warm.
Any places where the soap went outside of the mold, leaving a flap of soap off of the sides can be easily snipped away with scissors or carefully cut away with a craft knife.
Using some of the same alcohol/soap colorant brush on the color trying to get it into the nooks and crannies. This adds a little bit of dimension that looks a lot better at the end of things. Allow the soap to dry.
Variety is the spice of life! I made 3 batches of green soaps for my succulents. One was just green, the next sort of a blue-ish green- and the last a yellow-green. Now you see how in the middle there I have got 2 of the same looking succulents? That’s just the same mold indentation as the larger one. I just filled the mold up less and then trimmed away any excess with scissors for a nice, clean shape. I also did that with the 2 similar looking succulents for the left-most set of 3. While I made all of the shapes in my fondant mold because I wasn’t quite sure how this would play out, I found that these 2 shapes of succulents were the only ones that I could get a nice full look with.
With all of the succulent plants ready to go, it’s time to make the mud. Melt your white melt and pour soap and add 1-2 tablespoons of ground coffee. As the coffee is stirred into the soap you’ll notice it colors the soap a nice mud-like brown. No colorant needed here!
Give the soap a few minutes to start to cool off. Remember our little glass terrarium isn’t actually glass, it’s soap that will melt! Spray the inside of the clear soap shape with alcohol, so the two kinds of soap will stick to one another, and then pour it into the terrarium shape. FYI, you’ll need to fill the soap all the way up to the edge of the lip, not down below a bit like you see here, for best results.
Give the mud soap a few minutes to start to set up (otherwise you’ll get something like on my bigger succulent already in there, all covered with liquid soap *sigh*) and then spray both the top of the mud soap and the backs and sides of the succulent soaps. Push the succulents into the mud soap until they catch and allow to begin firming up even more. I found the best way to do this is one of my larger shapes along with one of my smaller at the same time…
Once the soap begins to set up a bit dig into the mud and pull a bit of that still gooey soap up and onto the other succulent soaps already placed. Spray this mud and the back of your last succulent for this terrarium and place on top. See how this looks already kind of set up? It should actually be a bit more liquid-y than this but this is a hard thing to capture effectively in a photo while you’re working at the same time.
Push that final succulent into the mud and soap and allow it to catch before you take the pressure away.
Boom! Aren’t those just gorgeous? Gah! My very first attempt was kind of cool but what I wound up with pretty much exceeding my expectations. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!
Yep, so sassy. Sassy soaps. Definitely, the kind of soaps you don’t waste on family!!! THESE ARE STRAIGHT UP GUEST SOAPS, FOLKS :)
Oh, and look at them from the side. Now does that not look like dirt inside of glass? But it isn’t! It’s soap.
Guys, I’m straight up pleased with these DIY succulent soap terrariums and I don’t even care that it took me ages to make them because I couldn’t remember to buy the darn coffee. What do you think? Is it pure succulent love or what?!? :)
I’d not heard of WIP before. We always called them UFO’s: Un-Finished Objects :)