Moms are notoriously easy to please when it comes to Mother’s Day gifts. But thoughtfully handmade gifts bring the appreciation level up a notch.
These handcrafted loofah soaps are unique, natural and pretty.
Because of the loofah encased in glycerin soap, these have natural scrubbing properties that make them great for any crafter who wants to scrub paint and glue from her hands. Gardeners appreciate them, and they’re wonderful for exfoliating.
These soaps are a staple in my gift-giving repertoire because they’re easy and quick to make — but they don’t look that way. I suppose I’m going to have to find something new to give, now that the secret is out.
A loofah is the natural, cylindrical fibrous interior of a gourd-type plant. Dried, loofahs have abrasive scrubbing properties. Loofahs are used on their own as sponges or scrubbers.
- A cylinder-shaped loofah (purchased online or sometimes found on the bathing products aisle at the drug store)
- Melt-and-pour soap, transparent (optional: additional opaque or white soap)
- Oil scent of your choosing
- Food coloring
- Pringles potato chip can
- Olive oil cooking spray
- A dedicated microwave-safe measuring cup (I like the 4-cup size) and a dedicated wooden spoon for soap use only
Empty your Pringles can. Wash and dry it thoroughly, then spray the inside lightly with your cooking spray.
Rinse the loofah and squeeze all of the moisture out that you can. Allow it to swell somewhat and slide it into the Pringles can. A snug fit is best. I sometimes use a loofah and a half for a whole Pringles can. You can easily cut the loofah with a serrated knife.
Cut your soap into cubes and fill your microwave-safe cup with transparent soap. Now, put in 2-3 cubes of opaque soap. This will allow you to see the color of the soap and still see the loofah through it. You can use transparent soap, but I personally like the semi-opaque look that adding a small amount of opaque soap gives you.
Melt your soap in the microwave, being careful not to let it bubble or boil. Start at 2 minutes and keep melting in 1-minute increments, watching closely. When it is nearly melted, you can stir the rest of the lumps gently until it’s thoroughly melted.
Add a small amount of food coloring and oil scent. I add a lot of scent because I like a more highly scented soap. My favorite color is a light lime/olive green. One to two drops of neon green food color will yield that color.
I also like orange with a citrus scent because the loofah, when sliced, looks like an orange slice. Packaged in a clear sack with a silk leaf, it’s whimsical and summery.
Now pour the soap over the loofah. This may take several cups of soap. Put the can in the refrigerator to harden.
Once the soap has hardened properly (this will take several hours), use a serrated knife to cut the metallic ring from the top of the potato chip can. Because Pringles makes its cans from cardboard, you will be able to tear the cardboard away from the soap. (This means you’ll need a potato chip can each time you make this soap.)
Using a towel and holding the soap cylinder tightly, slice through the soap and loofah. This is the most difficult part and will take some patience and strength. Be very careful so that you don’t cut yourself while slicing the soap cylinder.
Now package in a clear bag, and secure the top with a ribbon or leaf. I have my own labels that I also stick on my packages to tell about the soaps.
Do you make crocheted or knitted face cloths? Package your soap with one of them, or add some homemade bath salts in a pretty container and put the assortment in a beautiful basket for gift-giving.
But be sure to save one for yourself!
For questions or clarification, comment on this article at www.hersutah.com.
BATH SALTS RECIPE
- 2 cups Epsom salts (found in most drug stores)
- 1 cup sea salt or rock salt (craft stores, drug stores or grocery stores)
- Food color, 4-6 drops (mix, mix, mix — the color will tend to clump)
- Essential oil or oil scent (craft store or online)
- Optional: 1-2 teaspoons glycerin (drug stores, some craft stores)