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Using Flowers & Vegetables in Soap Making & Candle Making

A Bountiful Garden of Inspiration and Ingredients

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The world around you can provide wonderful ingredients and inspiration for soap making and candle making. Whether you're making soap and candles in the shape of flowers or vegetables, or you're incorporating flowers or vegetables into your soaps and candles, the bounty of nature can certainly be brought indoors!

1. Using Flower Petals in Soap Recipes

David Fisher

It's so tempting when dreaming up your soap recipes to want to mix in some dried flower petals. Crushed rose petals, lavender buds, bluebonnets...there are so many to choose from. Adding flowers works just fine in melt and pour soap, but unfortunately, very few flowers retain their color in cold process soap.

2. Using Natural Colorants in Soap

soap made with annatto colorant and poppy seeds
David Fisher
There are many options when it comes to coloring your soaps with natural ingredients. Though usually not as vibrant as synthetic colors, natural colorants can be just as lovely.

3. Gallery of Natural Colorants in Soaps

soap colored with wheatgrass
Maggie Hanus - A Wild Soap Bar LLC
Just because the colorants you're using in your soap making are natural, doesn't mean they can't be gorgeous - as is evidenced by this collection of photos of soaps from the 2010 Lone Star Soap & Toiletries' Soapmaker's Seminar. A group of soap makers each chose a colorant and made a small batch using the same recipe blend of palm, olive and coconut oils.

4. Floating Flower Candles

Floating flower candles
David Fisher

A more advanced variation of my Basic Floating Candles project that uses a muffin pan as a mold. While the simple round candles that the muffin pan makes are wonderful, I wanted to make something a little more extravagant, so I got out these two piece floating flower molds.

5. Molded Rose Candles

molded rose candles
David Fisher

Many candle (and soap) makers have used flexible silicone and latex molds for quite some time - either finding them online, or making them themselves. They're wonderful for making unique and intricate soaps and candles, but until recently have not been very affordable. But new technology, and the baking industry have made silicone molds much more affordable.

Here's a candle making project that uses a silicone baking mold for Molded Rose Candles. These instructions will work for more than just roses...you can use them with pretty much any similar silicone candle mold.

6. Dipped Flower Petals (and Leaves) Melt and Pour Soaps

Dipped Flower Petals Soaps
David Fisher
Using silk flower petals and leaves, you can create an elegant hand soap that will liven up your bathroom. Try making unique seasonal flower soaps at home.

7. Cucumber Soap

cucumber soap
David Fisher
For a subtle, light green-beige color in your soap, you can use cucumber - skin, flesh, seeds and all.

8. Carrot Juice Soap

David Fisher
For a lovely, muted orange color in your soap, use carrot juice instead of plain water to make your lye solution.

9. Tomato Basil Soap

tomoato basil soap
David Fisher
For a warm, speckled orange-red color in your soap, try using tomato paste, ground tomatoes, and/or a touch of basil in your soap.

10. Infusing Soy Wax with Natural Colors

natural colors infused into soy wax
David Fisher
A candle maker wrote me recently asking if the same natural colorants used in soap making could be used in candles. Hmmmm. I had to think. Even though "natural" candles are very popular these days, I had never heard of anyone using any natural colorants in candles. I know that pigments and other "dispersed" colors like micas and oxides don't work well in candles because they clog the wick. But I wasn't sure about an "infused" color. You can make an herbal oil infusion for soap making - and soy wax is just modified soy bean oil - so I decided to try it!

11. Gallery of Soy Candle Wax Infused with Natural Colors

soy wax infused with alkanet
David Fisher
Natural is popular these days - and yes, it IS possible to color your soy candles with natural colorants. Here are 8 tests I did with colorants I usually use in soap. You'll see that four of the eight give really nice colors!
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