Everybody needs soap. Even the people on your gift list who have everything could use a few more bars; since people have a perpetual need to stay clean, soap is one of those things you can’t ever have too much of. So if you have friends, family members or colleagues who are hard to shop for, because they already have everything they could possibly want or need, soap could possibly be a fantastic gift idea you could use when the next gift-giving occasion rolls around.
Mind you, I’m not suggesting you go to Walmart and pick up a 6-pack of Ivory or Zest to give these people. Nope. That would hardly be impressive. I have a better idea — although it would require a little more effort on your part.
What I’m suggesting instead of that: How about making them some truly spectacular bars of creative, beautiful, fragrant, luxurious soap?
While these soaps would be amazing for gift giving, there are bunches of other reasons you might want to make them. You’d probably want to have some of them for yourself. When you entertain, it would be lovely to have these soaps available in the powder room for your guests to use. And if you need a little extra cash, you might even want to try selling these at craft fairs or sites like Etsy.
I made my first soap in the late 1990s. Since then, I’ve read bunches of different soap making books. Out of all the books I’ve read, Make & Give Home Soap Making tops my list of the books that have the prettiest, most appealing and most creative soap making projects. I’m betting you’ll be able to look in this book and find a soap making recipe that would delight every single person on your gift list. For coffee lovers, try making the Coffee Latte soap. For the avid travelers on your gift list, definitely mix up a batch of the Mini Spa Travel Soap. (You’ll find more info about these projects, and others, below).
I think this book seriously has a suitable gift option for everyone. But let’s say for a minute I’m wrong about that. Maybe you’ll look through the book and think to yourself, “Grandpa (or whoever) wouldn’t like any of these!” Mind you, I think this is unlikely, but let’s just pretend for a minute. Well, if none of these recipes are quite right for someone in your inner circle, you still have options — because Kimberly encourages you to personalize these recipes by changing out your mold, soap base, fragrance or other ingredients. So you could use any of these recipes as a starting point and then dial it in to make the perfect batch of soap for the gift recipient you have in mind. You can substitute Grandpa’s favorite color or fragrance or theme in virtually any of these recipes. So you have a whole lot of flexibility here.
More Book Details:
Author: Kimberly Layton
Publisher: Leisure Arts
Copyright Date: 2018
ISBN 13: 978-1464772023
ISBN 10: 1464772029
This book is available in the following format(s):
- Softcover With Perfect Binding
- Digital download: PDF e-book — Available directly from the publisher’s website — No need to wait for shipping (or to pay for shipping). If you’re in a hurry to get started, definitely consider grabbing the e-book version.
Number of Pages: 64
The Focus of This Book:
This book has two central themes: soap making and gift giving. The book includes 13 different recipes for various soap making projects, and each project also features an idea that helps you present it beautifully for gift giving. The soap making portions include helpful step-by-step photos and clear, concise instructions.
Craft Projects and Recipes Included in This Book:
Grapefruit Pink Himalayan Salt Soap Recipe
Milk and Honey Soap Recipe
You can use two different soap bases to make this beautiful two-tone soap — a goat’s milk soap base and a honey soap base.
Mint Leaf Soap Recipe
Mini Spa Travel Soap Recipe
This is a basic glycerine soap that could appeal to anyone — young or old, male or female, rich or poor.
Gemstone Soap Recipe
Botanical Soap Sticks
There are several different variations of these pretty soap sticks that you can make using slightly different combinations of herbs and botanicals.
Charcoal Cleansing Bar
Out of all the projects in the book, this is the one I’m most excited about. I am planning to make a batch of these soaps ASAP. I have to order the ingredients for making it. If I do end up making this soap, I will update this review with additional insights afterwards.
Perhaps you’re wondering — why am I so excited about this particular soap recipe?
This isn’t the prettiest soap in the bunch. In fact, it’s the color of charcoal — a color which has been trendy lately, but not necessarily for soap.
Charcoal may not be the most beautiful soap additive you could work with, but it is actually one of the most powerful detoxifiers and purifiers you could imagine. I have literally witnessed, and experienced, healing miracles with activated charcoal. And, without having actually tried this recipe or any of the others in the book, I’m going to guess that this is the most powerful cleansing recipe in the bunch.
They sell a charcoal soap at my local health food store. I really wanted to buy it, but after reading the ingredient list carefully, I passed on it. I decided against buying it because none of the ingredients in that soap are organic, and I insist on using organic ingredients in the products I put in or on my body. So let me just say that I am beyond thrilled to find this recipe, which I can make for myself using organic ingredients.
It took me a long time to find an organic soap base that looks like it will work well for making this project. I’m going to try it and see how it works before elaborating further, but I’m really hopeful that this will turn out well. I will keep you posted on my progress with this.
Mini Soap Flowers Recipe
These little flower-shaped soaps are sooo pretty!
Lime and Coconut Soap Recipe
This fragrant soap is said to be smoothing, moisturizing and exfoliating, all at once.
Marbled Lemon Bliss Soap on a Rope Recipe
Coffee Latte Soap Recipe
Loofah Sponge Soap Recipe
Do you enjoy scrubbing and exfoliating with a loofah? If so, here’s a neat idea to try: Incorporate a loofah into your soap to save a step. This is another project I cannot wait to try!
Classic Lavender Soap Recipe
This soap looks lovely, but the thing that caught my attention here is actually the giftwrap idea that goes along with it. OH wow, it is SO BRILLIANT that when you see it, I think you’ll be saying “Why didn’t I think of that?” This is definitely an idea you need to have in your idea file for those times when you run out of giftwrap, and you are looking around the house trying to think of a suitable alternative. I think you’re going to love this. The simplicity and creativity of it are remarkable, and the idea makes use of a simple item you probably have in your kitchen at this very moment.
The Best Things About This Book
The soaps featured in this book are really beautiful and creative. They will make truly impressive gifts to give you everyone you know.
I’ve read quite a few books on soap making, and this one has some of the prettiest project ideas I’ve encountered so far. For that reason alone, I think this book is a great find.
There are NO weird ideas in this book. Every single idea presented here is usable and appealing.
These soaps all fall into one of two categories: Either they’re basic, super simple designs, or they’re ultra pretty, stylish and on-trend designs. The basic soaps are suitable for making and giving to anyone at all on your gift list; and the pretty designs, for the most part, are better suited for giving to the ladies on your gift list (in my opinion).
Other Observations About This Book
Soap making can be a complex process, as I found out in the late 1990s when I first attempted it. However, one of the best things about this book is that the author, Kimberly Layton, has simplified the soap making process to its most basic essential steps. On the one hand, that is absolutely fantastic – because what you have here is an easy introduction to soap making for total beginners.
The text of this book is extremely concise, readable and easy to understand.
The flip side of that: This book doesn’t give you all that much general technical information about soap making. There is enough info here to get you started, but you don’t get into much depth with this book. This is great from the standpoint that you are unlikely to get bogged down in so many details that you get analysis paralysis. But if you’re interested in learning a lot of technical information about soap making, this isn’t the book for that.
What this book does well is giving you exceptionally beautiful ideas and instructions for specific projects you can make – plus ideas you can use to present them to others as gifts.
Step-by-step photos accompany each project, so you will be able to get a clear idea of what you need to do to succeed with each project.
These recipes all utilize melt and pour soap bases — which means that you do not have to mess around with dangerous lye. On the one hand, that makes these projects easy and hassle free.
On the other hand, that also means that your materials are likely to cost somewhat more than they would if you were to make your soap entirely from scratch. If your primary objective for soap making is to save money or start a soap making business, melt and pour soap bases, in general, may not be exactly the right option for you — which would mean that this book would have limited usefulness for you (although the project ideas in it are still likely to inspire you, even if you decide you’d rather make soap from scratch rather than using melt and pour soap bases).
This book really doesn’t get into any detail about where to get the ingredients you’ll use for soap making. For me, that is not a deal breaker, because I am SO ULTRA PICKY about the ingredients I put on my skin – I would be unlikely to follow someone else’s recommendations on this anyway. But if this is something you would need a lot of help with, you may need to seek some additional guidance, because the book doesn’t get into a lot of detail about it.
Knowing this, I will do my best to update this review with product recommendations after I’ve actually tested some of these recipes. In the meanwhile, feel free to leave a comment if you have questions. I can’t promise to have answers for everything, but I will do my best to help if I am able to.
I’m delighted to recommend this book to other craft enthusiasts, particularly to casual crafters who are not concerned with learning all the technical details about soap making. If your main objective for soap making is making gifts for others or just having a fun creative outlet, this book is likely to be exactly what you want. If you’re starting a new soap making business, this book is also a good choice, but don’t let it be your only reference. You’ll probably want a book about soap making theory in addition to this lovely but brief (64 page) project book.
Where to Buy This Book:
Similar Craft Books and Related Resources
Want to find more books in the “Make & Give” series by Leisure Arts? I invite you to check out the following book reviews on our website:
If you’d like to learn how to grow your own lavender and other herbs for soap making, candle making, self-care recipes, crafts and / or cooking, I highly recommend The Homesteader’s Herbal Companion by Amy Fewell. The book includes information about how to grow various herbs, the purposes you’d want to use them for, and recipes that help you get the best use out of each herb. I think this book makes a fantastic companion for all the books in the Make & Give series by Leisure Arts, particularly if you’re interested in growing some of the herbal ingredients for your recipes in your own garden.
By Amy Solovay
About Your Book Reviewer: Amy Solovay is an avid crafter who enjoys making soaps and many other art and crafts projects.
This page was last updated on 7-28-2021.