This Tutorial is Full of Errors. You're Welcome. 🙂
My son and I made awesome giant gummy bear jelly soaps, and had a ton of fun, AND ended up loving how they turned out, but this project was riddled with mistakes.
I’m leaving all of the mistakes in this tutorial, so you can avoid them if you try making your own jelly soap.
Using Stephenson Jelly Soap Base
Stephenson melt and pour soap base is kind of my go-to for soap bases when I’m not making a large batch of soap, and so it ends up being what I pick when I work with Spencer on a project. I also think Stephenson’s ultra clear melt and pour base is the most clear base on the market. For project when you need uber-clear, like our fish in a bag soap, you can’t beat it.
Admittedly, I went into this project a little cocky. I mean, it’s melt and pour soap, how hard can it be? I KNOW I could have (and clearly should have) checked the Stephenson website for tips before I started this project, but I didn’t…because I was still in the “you melt, you pour, it’s not rocket-science” brain space.
Uh…it’s completely different than any other soap base I’ve ever used. It’s goo. How do you cut goo? Do you need to cut goo?
But I definitely have some bones to pick with the Stephenson people. I think they were lazy.
They didn’t bother to make a jelly soap package. It appears to me that they just put the jelly soap base in the crystal clear soap base container, and added a sticker that says “jelly soap”.
Do those instructions still apply? Can I expect this product to function the same way as the crystal soap base whose name is on the package?
I Didn't Cut the Jelly Soap into Cubes
I was trying to determine how much soap was going to fit into each giant gummy bear soap mold, so I wanted to work in a smaller batch amount.
The soap was cut into a half of a container, but not into smaller chunks.
But I plopped it into my microwave safe bowl in one big chunk.
DON’T DO THAT.
I started the microwave process the way I would with any other melt and pour soap base…in 30 second bursts in the microwave.
But after 30 seconds, it looked exactly the same.
Like, exactly the same.
I put it in for another 60 seconds, and it was still just a giant chunk…
With regular melt and pour, this would have been pretty liquified by now.
After another minute, I started to get some melting around the edges, and that’s when I decided I probably should have cut the jelly soap base into cubes…
So, I did it in my container using my popsicle stick. Whatever, it worked…it’s not like I needed a blade.
and then I made the second big mistake.
I Stirred It
Stirring your melt and pour base is normal…and it usually helps the base melt when you stir the little chunks in between microwave sessions.
Again, some package instructions would have gone a long way toward making it clear that there are some key differences in how this base should be used!
What I learned about jelly soap base, however, is that you should stir it as little as possible!
And I stirred the crap out of it!
Stirring jelly soap base creates bubbles (well, stirring any soap base creates bubbles). In a regular melt and pour base, you would spray the bubbles with rubbing alcohol and they would rise to the surface and pop.
With jelly soap, it’s so thick, any bubbles you create are basically going to stay put in your soap. You can see below that even once it was melted and I’d squirted it with rubbing alcohol, all of my bubbles just kind of had a party and made a giant pile of bubbles.
That glob never went away. When I do this again, I’ll probably scoop it off of the top before I pour!
I Left It On A Table to Cool
There’s no photo of this, and it’s kind of out of order in this post since in the post we haven’t actually made gummy bear soap yet. But I wanted to toss it in here while I was busy talking about mistakes.
I left this soap out on the table to cool, but that appeared to have been the wrong thing to do. About an hour into it, I checked it and it was SLIMEY. Not slimey in a jelly soap kind of way, slimey in an it’s melting sort of way.
Many jelly soaps, I’ve learned, benefit from a little cure time in the fridge. After freaking out thinking I’d ruined the project, and the video we’d be filming the whole time, I left them alone in the fridge for a day.
THAT seems to have been the right answer, because they firmed up and lost their slimeyness. 🙂
Frangrancing, Coloring, and Pouring
The Giant Gummy Bear Molds
The giant gummy bear molds came from Amazon (and I think for the purpose of making actual giant gummy bears!), but they worked really really well.
They were super-sturdy, so when you filled them, you could easily move them to another part of the work surface and get them out of your way.
The set came with 4 colors. We learned that a 2lb container of jelly soap base made 3 giant gummy bears, so Spence picked the three favorite colors.
In the tutorial video linked below, I show you each fragrance we used for our gummy bear jelly soaps, but we have a ot of fragrances to choose from and Spence went with a different scent for each color. I will link some Amazon options for you down below, but we also determined while we were making this project that the soap base smells really nice and clean all by itself.
So, if you scent your soap, please be sure to check to make sure you have purchased a skin-safe fragrance. Many fragrance oils are not suitable for bath and body products. Even essential oils need to have their usage rates checked.
Each fragrance oil manufacturer should provide a safe usage percentage for their oils, and for essential oils, I like to use eocalc.com. It’s a great free online resource to help you safely scent your bath and body products with essential oils.
To color these jelly soaps, I used liquid soap dye. I got a multi-pack from Amazon and I use it all the time. It was not expensive and I have all of the colors on hand when I need them without having to mix up micas or add a process…
With these liquid soap dyes, add a little bit at a time. A little goes a long way. In our video, Spence got a little aggressive with some of the drops so we had to thin out the red with extra melted soap. 🙂
This was the easiest part! We sprayed our giant gummy bear molds with rubbing alcohol first, and then just poured the melted jelly base in before it got too cool.
Then we just repeated the process for blue and green.
Although, by now we were smart enough to cube the soap first. 🙂
Unmold and Enjoy!
After a stint in the fridge to set up, popping these out of the mold was a piece of cake!
Once you flip them over and lift up a little gravity does all the work for you. You can see here that the soap is just releasing itself from the mold.
Having not experienced jelly soap before, we decided to give it a test.
To use a jelly soap, you rip off a chunk of it (rather than taking the whole soap with you to the sink or into the tub!) . It gets even more slippery when wet.
Spence just ripped off a hand to test with. 🙂
It produced an excellent lather, but was hard to hold onto!
Spencer had the foresight to pull up the plunger before we tested the soap, so we didn’t lose it to the drain!
We both agreed it would be a ton of fun in the tub when you already have the stopper in and aren’t worried about it sliding down the drain anyway. 🙂
If you want to watch the adventure unfold (and meet Dr. Soapy (!) (?)) you can watch the video below, which is episode 4 of Fun and Son. If this is your first visit here, this post helps explain how Fun and Son came to be!