September 23, 2010

Soap Balls

If your mind went in the gutter, please remove it now! :)
Ever wonder what to do with your homemade or even bought soap scraps? Make soap balls! They looks so cute on your bathroom counter in a little basket. Just grab one and wash your hands. I made these yesterday using my scraps from making soap and a bar of plain old homemade lye soap I bought at the Amish variety store. You can use all scraps, I just didn't have enough.
Grate your soap scraps so they are in small pieces. You will need about a cup full. Put in a microwave safe bowl. Add 1/8 to 1/4 cup of water and stir. You don't want it runny but enough to soften the soap pieces. Place in microwave for about a minute, stirring occasionally until soap is melted.
This ensures that all soap is melted and additives get mixed well especially if you are adding color. (Please see addendum for alternate ways to soften your soap). Add fragrance, color, ground oatmeal, whatever additives you want and stir. If it's too dry add a tiny bit more water. Let sit until the soap starts to cool and you can roll it into balls. Place on wax paper to harden. Make sure your kids know it's soap, not candy because it looks good enough to eat. Let them sit for a couple of days or longer to dry out some (or stick them in your dehydrator for an hour like I did!)

Editing to add:
After doing some more research on making soap balls, it is suggested that you use similar colors and similar scents for your soap balls so you don't end up with ugly colored soap or some weird perfume-like smell (or) buy plain white bars of soap and add your own additives to your soap balls.

I have also found many tutorials that skip the microwave step all together and I will definitely be trying this method as well. Grate your soap, add about a tablespoon of water and let sit for 15 minutes to soften. Add your scent, color and additives if you want to add them (or leave the soap as is). You may need to add more water if too dry or wait a little longer if too wet to get soap to ball-forming consistency. Roll into balls, put on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Allow soap balls to dry. This could take up to 2 weeks but generally takes about 2 days. Reshape the balls once a day so they keep their round shape.

So there are your alternatives. Either way you have soap balls!
Have fun making them!


~ H said...

Won't the smell of the original bar still be there? I would have to be very careful not to mix different scented soaps if that was the case.

VERY CUTE though!!! My girls would love to do this.

Kentucky Farm Girl said...

H, the lye soap that I used was plain and I didn't have a whole lot of scrap soap so the scent wasn't an issue but I will see if I can find any info on that for you. I do know people use commercial bar soaps to rebatch and then add their own scents, additives, etc. and I haven't heard of the original scent being a problem. Off to search for back soon!

Kathy in KY said...

If I did that on the stove, would I add the same amount of water. I don't have a microwave, or should I use a double-boiler? Those look great, and I'd love to add some oatmeal to mine. I get scraps of soap all of the time from when I shower/bathe. Thanks for the idea. Take care, from Fayette Co KY.

Kentucky Farm Girl said...

H and Kathy, I added a few more tips in the original post.

I would think it could be done on the stove Kathy but according to the second set of instructions I found you don't have to use the microwave. If you do want to use the melting method, I would probably put my soap scraps in a plastic baggy and let them sit in hot water on the stove over low heat for a few minutes. You could then mix everything in the baggy before removing it to form into balls.

Kentucky Farm Girl said...

As far as amount of water, it can be adjusted. At first use enough to soften your soap shaving then add a little more after the oatmeal and other additives if it's too dry to form balls. Just don't go overboard with the water or it will take longer for them to dry. As I mentioned above, I dried mine in my dehydrator and it worked well. Only took about an hour.

Lisa said...

Funny you should mention this. Because when I cut up my sugar/vanilla goats milk soap a few days ago, I had scraps from the side. It was still soft enough to mold into something else. I made it into a cookie shape (not a good idea since it looks like a chocolate chip cookie and smells like it too). But I could have easily made it into a ball. Thanks for the new ideas.


Arlene said...

Nice soap balls.

Cindy said...

Thanks for this wonderful idea, KFG! It has sparked so many more ideas :)

This is basically the same thing as rebatching or milling....if your going to do a big batch, it can be done in a double boiler on the stove or on the woodstove in the winter :) The directions I've read for rebatching is using 3-4 Tblsp of water OR milk for a big pan full -- reduces drying time.

Kentucky Farm Girl said...

I've read anything from 1/4 cup to just wetting your hands so I think it depends on how dry the soap is when you start. I've just decided to add a tiny bit at a time until I get the consistency I want. I love the milk idea as well. I'm making a basic goat's milk soap right now and I'm trying to decide what I want to add to it.

Crunchy Diva said...

what a great idea. for some reason i save soap scraps & now i know what to do with them.


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