There is little as special as a peaceful bath with soap you have made yourself.  Try different scents, and let the kids experiment with their own colours and smells. Handmade soap is spectacular hostess treat for the holidays, or perfect for holiday gifts.  Once you are comfortable with the basics, you can try different recipes, or interesting moulds to create amazing one-of-a-kind soaps.

* 4 oz clear glycerin soap base
* 4-8 drops soap fragrance
* 4-oz capacity soap mold
* microwave-safe measuring cup (2-cup size)
* instant-read thermometer
* spray bottle filled with rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
* vegetable oil in oil mister or vegetable oil

Instructions: Prepare the soap mold by spritzing lightly with vegetable oil sprayer and wiping nearly dry.

Cut clear glycerin soap base in 1-inch chunks.

Place soap in a microwave-safe measuring cup.

Heat on High for 15 seconds, then for 5 second intervals until soap is melted.  Do not allow soap to boil.

Remove measuring cup from microwave.

Add fragrance, colorant, and soap glitter if desired.  Add these ingredients sparingly, a drop at a time.  General guidelines are 1 to 4 drops soap fragrance per ounce, 1 to 4 drops colorant per 4-ounce bar.  Mix gently but thoroughly after each addition.

Insert an instant-read thermometer to monitor soap temperature.  When thermometer reads 120 degrees (or when soap forms a skin in the measuring cup), move skin aside and gently pour soap into prepared mold.

Immediately spritz the soap surface with a light mist of rubbing alcohol to control any bubbles that have risen to the surface.

Cool soap completely before attempting to unmold.  You may put the mold in the refrigerator to cool, but do not put it in the freezer.  Press the mold gently with your thumb to unmold.

Allow soap to cure 3 to 4 weeks before wrapping.  Wrap completed soap with clear plastic food wrap, and attach a gift label with soap contents listed.

Makes 1 4-ounce bar.

Check out or homemade playdoh if you’re on a roll.