What to do with leftover soap scraps

What to do with leftover soap scraps
Soap scraps are those pieces of soap leftover from the soapmaking project. For those who make melt and pour soap it is the soap left in the pot that dries into one solid piece that can be scooped out and used. For those who make cold process soap, it is the ends of the soap loaf after the 'good' pieces have been cut off. Some stores sell their soap scraps as a goody bag and others sell them or give them away as samples. But castoffs or not soap scraps are valuable real estate in soapmaking. They make great gifts and have a homespun sophistication all their own.

Soap scraps are also good to use as filler pieces in other soap projects, especially if they are used as contrasting or complementary colors. Soap scraps can be used to make remelted soap and when grated and made into soap balls, makes a really wonderful item that may be further embellished with herbs, flowers or spices.

Soap Ball Ingredients:
* Freshly grated(shredded) soap
* 1/8 - 1/4 tsp essential oil/fragrance oil per soap ball
* A few drops deionized water
* Crushed herbs/flowers/spices to coat the balls

There are no hard and fast rules as there are few ingredients. Once you get started using up those scraps of soap, there are infinite ways to embellish and present the soaps so that they are simply divine.

The first time I saw soap balls was in a French handmade soap shop in New York City. The soap balls were plain white and rustic with the most heavenly scent. They were presented on a white platter, each tied with a single ribbon that encircled the soap and held together with a straight pin. Years later after making soap and creating my own soap balls, I realized what they were and how easy it is to make them.

1. The first thing to consider is that the soap pieces should be a bit moist. The ideal soap used to make soap balls would be soap that is freshly grated and still a bit moist and pliable. The drier the soap, the harder it is to scrunch it into one cohesive ball. Cold process soap that has cured while it may appear tough on the outside, when grated is usually still moist on the inside.

Cold process soap that has not cured fully and still has some lye remaining in it can also be used. To grate this type of soap, follow the same precautions as when handling lye but when the soap balls are complete, embellish and store in a dry location to cure for 3-6 weeks.

2. Next a liquid of choice is needed to hold the soap together. Fragrance/essential oil counts as part of that liquid but a liquid that is not purely oil is better to hold the pieces together. Ideally, a few drops of water mixed with the fragrance can be used.

3. Sprinkle the grated soap with the liquids, knead them a bit to get the pieces to stick together and roll them into a ball shape. Finish by rolling in whatever spice, flower petals or herbs used to embellish them.

Here are some sample essential oil/fragrance oil, herbs, flowers or spices combinations.

1. Covering - ground nutmeg,black sesame seeds
Essential oil - clove and bay eo blend

2. Covering - crushed rose petals (remove stem or any hard pieces)
Essential oil - rosewood, frankincense and lavender eo blend
Essential oil - rose geranium
Essential oil/Fragrance oil - patchouli and rose (rose fragrance oil maybe substituted rose essential oil

3. Covering - crushed dried mint leaves
Essential oil - peppermint, lemon/lime, rosemary eo blend

4. Covering - dried lemongrass shredded in fine pieces
Essential oil - lemongrass, orange eo blend

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