Looking for a terrific gift for the coffee lover in your life? Think about making these Coffee Bean Soap Bars, highlighted on the Living Well, Spending Less blog. Making soap is often an intimidating idea, since traditional processes involve working with lye, a hazardous prospect even for experienced crafters. Fortunately, now crafters have the option of newly developed melt-and-pour soap bases that both eliminate lye dangers and streamline the process considerably. Starting with this base makes for a project that’s fairly inexpensive (especially if you do it in bulk) and completely safe…a combination that’s hard to beat. Gather a quantity of soap base, a microwave-safe glass bowl, and soap molds, and you have the beginnings of making a variety of soaps as special treats for yourself and others.
Specifically for coffee bean soap, you’ll want to grind the beans fine enough that they can disperse through the soap and give it an even texture. If you want the lovely color of coffee to spread throughout the bar, select a soap base with a suspension formula. The suspension will keep the fragments “floating” in the liquid soap, rather than sinking to the bottom of it and becoming a “stripe” in the finished product. Finally, you’ll want to also be sure you include fragrance oil in the mix; apparently, coffee beans smell great when ground, but their aroma isn’t strong enough to carry through into the soap once it’s cooled and done. You can find step-by-step directions on making this and other soaps on the Living Well, Spending Less blog—just in time to get a head start on your handmade gifts for the upcoming holidays!