DIY Soap

Whether you're tired of spending top-dollar on expensive, organic soaps—or just don't know what to do with all those bar nubs lying around the tubs and showers of your home, soap-making is a pretty easy and extremely rewarding project.

There are a few different ways to go about the soap-making process. For Better Farm's first foray into this experiment, we went with the "melt and pour" method. This involves buying a huge block of glycerin soap from a local craft shop, melting it down, and pouring it into molds with the essential oils, herbs, and yummy additives of your choosing. Our intern Ali Carter headed straight to Better Farm's herb and flower gardens for inspiration; clipping sage, rose petals, and dill. She also cut up some lemon peel and found ginger, sesame seeds, oatmeal, coconut, cinnamon, and nutmeg in the kitchen. Add in some local honey and essential oils, and we had enough ingredients to make three different kinds of soap.

Ali went ahead and cut the mammoth block of glycerin into smaller, more manageable pieces, and threw them into her spliced together double-boiler setup.

Once the glycerin was melted down, she poured it into molds (ice cube trays!) and added some choice ingredients. She also put some rope into the mold so her soaps would have handles. The molds were put into the fridge until the glycerin hardened up. Ali then broke the soaps free from their molds, and voila! An afternoon of soap-making yielded dozens of little bars with which the masses can keep clean.


Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.