Today’s “let’s see if Dawn can melt the kitchen” project involves making soap. After November’s surprise success at making a candle in a pumpkin, I was all full of myself.
I left those pumpkins outside until everyone saw them, and also when they turned soft and moldy. Now I realize that may have been why people were looking at them oddly.
This month’s craftiness involved a little more hand-eye coordination and measuring. These turned out to be skills I don’t have.
Goal: Melt blocks of soap, add coloring, drip soap into mold, add scent and voila, eight bars of sexy gingermanly soap.
Reality: Despite numerous problems with what was supposed to be an “easy” project, two of the men looked and smelled good enough to date. I mean put on display. One of them was sad, missing an eye, and reminded me of that poor gingerbread man on “Shrek.” Be goooood.
Supplies that were supposed to make eight men made only three. Even though I botched the measuring, I can’t see how the supplies would make more than five.
Details: The soap kit was $19.14 from Bramble Berry, which offers a variety of soap-making supplies and kits.
When I opened the box, there was a block of clear soap, a block of white soap, a mold of three gingerbread men and three bottles of scent — gingersnap, Santa’s spruce and white gardenia. There were two packets of coloring, one brown and one red. But no directions. Nothing anywhere. This did not bode well.
Turns out, you’re supposed to watch a video of the “soap queen” making this project online. In the video, the soap queen describes this craft project as “super fun” and “quite simple” and “really easy” and “unique” and “awesome” within the first five minutes. No good could come of this.
The video directions turned out to be a terrible idea. Your hands are full of craft crap and you can’t pause and rewind with hot soap in your hands. There are no downloadable directions AND Ms. soap queen fails to mention some important info like, oh, coloring measurements and melting times.
Also missing — several of the things you will need to make this project. The video mentions that you’ll need rubbing alcohol, a little spray bottle for the alcohol, and the tool kit you will need to put the soap into the tiny little details of the mold. Oh, and you’ll need a radar-gun-looking thermometer to make sure your soap isn’t too hot.
I borrowed the rubbing alcohol from neighbor crafty Jen (the same one who explained what a double boiler was last time.) The only spray bottle I had was the giant one I use to spray the cats with water. So I just used that. I didn’t have tools, but I did have an orange stick from a pedicure kit and a medicine bottle dropper. There ya go.
You fill in the trim and the buttons and the face first. I thought trim meant just around the man, like icing, but apparently it meant his little bits around his legs and arms too. Ah well.
The directions say you’ll just need an ounce or so for the trim and the buttons. But since I didn’t have a scale, I melted way more than needed. I had no idea how long to microwave it, so I just stood there and watched it melt, la la la la. About two minutes.
Since I was using an old medicine dropper, the soap kept getting clogged, and stuff ran where it shouldn’t, thanks to my shaky caffeine hands.
No problem! says video lady. Just give it three to five minutes to dry and then scrape it out with the tool that you don’t have. But the orange stick sort of worked. Everything gets constantly sprayed with rubbing alcohol, which makes the soap stick together yet not stick to the mold. It probably would have helped if I hadn’t used a giant spray bottle that made the kitchen smell like an operating room.
The coloring looked cool and metallic-y, probably because I put in way too much as no measuring directions were given. Again, when it was time to add the scent, I just dumped in half the bottle because I had no idea how much to add. Smells good? Add it in! I then spilled soap all over the mold because I couldn’t see how much I was pouring as my arms/bowl got in the way. My soap runneth over.
I have no idea what the two other bottles of scent were for. They were never mentioned in the video and the gardenia scent isn’t even listed in the kit ingredients.
It’s supposed to be a certain degree when you put the melted soap in the mold, but I had no idea as no one told me I’d need a soap thermometer. Hot but not bubbling? Good enough.
Five hours later, I ran some hot water over the plastic side of the mold and the soap popped out pretty easily. Granted, the trim was wrong. But two of them looked good and smelled good.
There was enough soap left for maybe one more gingerbread man because I’d wasted a ton.
The whole process was frustrating. If you buy a kit, you expect everything to be in the kit. Maybe everyone has a rubbing alcohol mister at home, but next time, I’m just buying an edible gingerbread man.