These botanical soap bars are decorated with flowers, herbs, and leaves found in the garden. This is a fun project for encapsulating what grows in your own backyard to bring a little nature to your bath or shower. Handmade soap makes a lovely gift and it is surprisingly simple to make a large batch of botanical soaps with little effort. It’s amazing what you can create with the beauty of nature and a few melt and pour soap supplies!
Botanical Soap Recipe
- 2 lb clear glycerine soap base
- 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup
- Microwave or double boiler
- 1 teaspoon essential oil (your choice of scent)
- Oval silicone soap / cupcake mold
- Botanicals (see test ingredients below for ideas)
Gather up a variety of flowers, leaves, and herbs that are small enough to fit into a silicone soap/cupcake mold. See the list below on the botanicals I tested for this recipe and choose the results that you like the best.
Start with a crystal clear glycerine soap base so you can clearly see the botanicals when the soap is complete. Cut up the glycerine soap base into 1-inch cubes and add them to the Pyrex measuring cup.
Melt the soap base in a microwave or double-boiler so that it is just melted. You want the soap base to melt, but not cook. Remove the soap base from the microwave or off of the double boiler before it starts to steam. There may be a few chunks left, but that is just fine. Those will melt if you keep stirring the soap base for a few minutes after removing it from the heat.
When your soap base is melted, add in the essential oils to the soap mix.
Pour half of the soap into the silicone mold and add your botanicals. Allow them to set for a few minutes before topping up the molds with more melted soap base. You may need to gently poke the botanicals into place using a toothpick.
Use a metal spoon to skim any bubbles off the top of the soap before it dries.
Unmold the soaps when they are completely dry and then they are ready to use.
Botanical Soap Ingredient Tests
I tested a number of different botanicals from the garden and had some unexpected results.
I am so in love with the saffron soap. It took on the color and lightness of saffron and is the most striking result of them all.
The chamomile botanical soap is another favorite as the soap magnifies the small flower heads and the stems float organically in the soap.
The calendula soap looks airy with pale yellow petals floating in the soap and bursts of the flower heads.
The rosemary was cut fresh, unlike the dried herbs. While it held its shape very well, it did start to brown a little in the soap, which I don’t like as much.
The eucalyptus leaves were hard to keep in place in the soap as they are so light that they float around quite a bit. They hold their color and shape beautifully, though. (Eucalyptus shown above)
I didn’t know what to expect from the nasturtium. I thought it would probably wilt and shrivel up, but it actually held the color and shape fairly well. I would use nasturtium petals next time to see if that changes the overall look.
Give These a Pass
There were a few botanical soaps that did not turn out very well, mainly the rose petal and sage leaf. I would probably try a bay leaf next time instead of a sage leaf. The sage leaf curled and browned in the soap and doesn’t look all that interesting. The rose petals turned into brown blobs in the soap and look really ugly.
What a surprise! I thought that the rose petal soap would look the prettiest. I have reserved the leftover rose petals for a whole different soap project that will let their beauty shine through.
Making Soap is Fun!
Here are some more recipes for making soap at home. I love to make soap and I’m sure you will find a recipe or two that suits you here: