Rose Petal Soap
...craft a great gift idea!

It's not difficult to make Rose Petal Soap. Combine some simple craft-making with your own fresh or dried rose petals and the result can be very satisfying. We are talking rose petal soap with real rose petals, not SILK ones!

Fresh petals must be very dry or you could use your own dried petals. (Go to: Drying Roses.) You could also purchase freeze-dried rose petals, which could be used whole, ground up into smaller pieces or re-constituted. (Take them into the shower with you!)

Pink rose

There are four or five recognized soap making methods but only two of them are appropriate here, for making rose petal soap. The traditional Cold Process uses Lye (Caustic Soda) which turns rose petals brown or even black, so it's not a good choice. Adding petals to the melt and pour method is much more successful as is the simpler method of grating and melting plain translucent bars of soap.

The simpler method requires you to grate up (use a cheese grater) plain soap while adding small amounts of hot water to make a paste. A drop of rose essence is added and a few petals and the mixture pressed into a candy mould or small bread baking dish.(make sure the dish is lined with vegetable oil first!) Left to harden for a few hours, it can be removed, left to dry completely for a few more hours and then cut into bars. Don't use food coloring only specific soap dyes if you want coloring, and your choice of original soap to use is crucial: "See-thru works well, but not-see-thru tends to burn".

A better method is the more professional, "Melt and Pour" method.It's easier, quicker and produces a good end result without compromising the petals that are added. Basically it means, melting down one of several soap bases, adding essential oils, fragrances, colors and additives (such as rose petals) and pouring into a mould to harden.

The soap base (which you would purchase from a craft store) could be Translucent Glycerine, White Glycerine, Castile Base (mostly Olive Oil) or a Goats Milk Base. Glycerine would be the most straightforward, and I personally like to see the petals inside the rose petal soap.

This would be melted in a double boiler over hot water until liquid. Colorant could be added to the soap base as it melts. Fragrance and essential oils are added after melting: about 5 drops of rose oil essence per 1 lb of soap. Moisturizers and Vitamins can be added at this point but should be heated up first before adding to the soap base. These are technically called "fixed or carrier oils".

Next the dried petals, herbs and seeds are added. Oatmeal is a good additive as it acts as a scrubbing agent. Finally the mixture is poured into the mould to set. Bubbles forming on top can be pricked with a sharp knife or sprayed with a fine rubbing alcohol spray. The mould could be a glass jar, ice cube trays, jelly moulds, glass dishes or even a small bread pan. Rose petal soap made in a bread pan can be cut cross-ways to make several oblong pieces.

Your newly made soap should sit in the mould for at least six hours and then left to cure for a week or two. Don't forget to line the mould with mineral or vegetable oil before pouring!

So here are a couple of recipes that may be of interest. The first a clear oatmeal and rose petal soap, and the second sizzling bath salts.

A. Cut up a bar of glycerin into 1 inch chunks and place in a glass bowl or glass measuring cup.

B. Microwave on "high" for 1 minute to melt the chunks. Watch it carefully so as not to over heat. (You could put the container of Glycerin chunks over hot water and stir with a metal fork until liquid. Sort of double boiler set up!)

C. Remove from the microwave (or heat), skim off any skin that formed. Add a tablespoon full of oatmeal, a small handful of petals and one drop of rose essence. Blend gently with a metal fork.

D. Brush mineral or vegetable oil (I prefer Olive oil) on the inside of the mould you have chosen and then pour the liquid in. Let harden for 3 hours, remove and let dry for 2 more hours. Cut and package.

As easy as ABCD......couple of extra ideas:

*...Adding Paprika gives the soap a soft coloring and adding 1/4 cup of the contents of a herbal tea bag adds some great aromas.

*...Package your soap in cellophane, tied with a ribbon and add a dried rose bud.

Now, how about some Sizzling Rose Petals for your bath?

Mix 1 cup of Baking Soda, 3/4 of a cup of Citric Acid (powder form), 3 tablespoons of Cornstarch and 1/2 cup of Sea Salt with a generous handful of Rose Petals, in a glass bowl. Make sure the petals are very dry! You can use fresh petals if you use the mix right away or dried petals if you are planning it as a gift for later. Keep it in a dry, sealed glass jar beside the tub.

One scoop dropped into the bath and FIZZ.

Another great gift!

You have to try this with your own dried petals this year. 

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