Homemade Lye

Making LyeLye is one of the ingredients used in old-fashioned soap making. I usually make the glycerin soap because it’s safer and pours into a mold more crisply, but once in a while someone puts in an order for good old-fashioned lye soap. The trouble is, sometimes it seems like finding waste from a nuclear reactor would be easier than drumming up some lye. However, this problem can be easily solved with a little homemade lye. Continue reading

How to Make Fossil Soaps (melt and pour)

How to Make Fossil Soaps (melt and pour)

It’s easy to make “fossil” soaps with safer melt and pour soap, and it makes a fun craft to do with kids (under adult supervision). Continue reading

How to Make Halloween Spider Soaps

How to Make Halloween Spider Soaps Get your kitchen or bathroom ready for Halloween by making some Halloween spider soaps. Continue reading

An Introduction to Essential Oils

The use of essential oils, a practice known as aromatherapy, is a centuries old method believed to have originated in Arabic countries. Essential oils are obtained by collecting the oil that seeps from flower blossoms. These oils are very concentrated and often take thousands of blossoms to create just a few teaspoons of essential oils. While essential oils could be used like an early form of perfume simply because they smell good, their more common use was in methods of healing, and are still vey popular today for that reason.

Our sense of smell, while often viewed as one of the lesser of the five senses, is in fact far more potent than many people realize. Our sense of smell is often responsible for imprinting memories on our brains, and many of deepest memories are triggered when we experience the scent of whatever we smelled when that memory occurred. Our sense of smell has a unique effect on our emotions and moods, and as much of the body’s physical well-being derives from the mind, essential oils help to balance out ones mind and thus heal ones body.

Different essential oils affect a person in different ways. You can achieve your desired outcome, whether it be more energy, treating depression, or easing the pain of a headache, simply by using an appropriate oil. The most common way of using essential oils is probably the bath method, in which a person runs a bath and put 4-5 drops of essential oil on the surface. The drops of oil spread across the top of the water and are absorbed by the person’s skin; the hot water aids in the absorption. Few things de-stress the body better after hard day than a hot bath bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil.

Candles made with essential oils are equally effective, as the scent of the oil is released while the candle burns. Be sure the candle is actually made with pure essential oil, however, and not a synthetic fragrance oil or it will not have the same effect. Soaps made with essential oils are also a safe way to experience their benefits.

Because essential oils are so concentrated, they should almost always be diluted in a bowl of water or “carrier oil” such as sweet almond or canola oil (in the case of a bar of soap, the soap itself is the diluting agent). Lavender oil is the exception, as it is gentle enough to use straight on the skin without diluting, but some other oils can burn the skin if used in large doses or directly on the skin. When in doubt, dilute. 2-3 drops of essential oil in a bowl of water or carrier oil with generally do the trick for most ailments. Use your fingers or a cloth to apply the diluted oil to the skin. Essential oils should never be taken internally.

Because the brain can only process so many smells at one time, do not use more than 3 or 4 different types of essential oil at once, or the brain may have trouble discerning which is which. Also, using the same oil for too many days in a row will desensitize the olfactory and make the oil less effective. It’s best not to use an oil for more than 10 days in a row without taking a break in between.
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf

How to Make a Two Layer Melt-and-Pour Soap Bar

Melt-and-Pour Soap is a fun and safe alternative to traditional lye for making handmade soaps. This video demonstrates how to use two colors to make a two layer bar of soap, with a clear glycerin layer on top.

Halloween Spider Soaps

My aunt had a cute idea of putting bugs into soap bars for Halloween, so today I went ahead and tried it. It’s a very simple project, and can be done using transparent melt and pour glycerin. You’ll also need some plastic spiders which can be found pretty much anywhere this time of the year. Black is traditional, but other colors look great too.

Start by pouring a layer of glycerin into a brownie pan. Quickly set the spiders in the glycerin layer, making sure their legs poke down into the glycerin. When the first layer of glycerin has hardened, pour a second layer over it, covering the spiders. You can also allow a bit of the spider to stick out the top for texture.

Cut the soap into bars allowing one spider for each bar. Put the bars in a soap dish and warn arachnophobics to be ware!


No spiders were harmed in the making of these soaps.