Add some chinoiserie style to your bathroom by making these two-tone bas relief decorative hand soaps. This intermediate projects uses melt-and-pour soap and an inexpensive silicone mold.
If you’re all about chinoiserie and grandmillennial style, then you need to make these peony-scented decorative soaps.
These beautiful two-toned soaps feature an intricate dragon motif, like something you might find on a vintage blue-and-white ginger jar. They make wonderful gifts and also are great to use as guest soaps in a powder room.
Since I love all things chinoiserie. I knew I needed this mold for my soapmaking
While the design on these decorative soaps is detailed, you don’t have to be an expert soapmaker to make them. I strive to keep my homemade beauty projects simple and accessible. If want don’t want to go to the trouble of making two-tone soap bars, just make all-white, all-blue or all-pink bars.
More Chinoiserie Crafts
Supplies to Make Chinoiserie Soap
You’ll need the following supplies and ingredients to make these two-tone, bas relief guest soaps.
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- small and medium-sized glass measuring cups or microwave-safe bowls
- kitchen or postal scale
- rubber spatula
- Silicone dragon soap mold
- melt and pour soap base
- soap fragrance (I used Pink Peony and Cactus Flower from Brambleberry)
- Soap colorant (you can use liquid colorant, mica powder or a color block)
- spoon and small bowl if using mica colorant
- graduated plastic droppers
- isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle
- Infrared thermometer (optional, but really helpful when you’re layering soap or using mix-ins like glitter)
How to Make melt-and-pour Decorative Soaps
For this particular soap recipe, you will need soap-making ingredients in these amounts:
- 11 ounces of white shea melt-and-pour soap base
- 6 to 8 milliliters of soap fragrance
- soap colorant (I used blue mica, a Caribbean blue color block and a raspberry color block to make the soaps shown here.) You can also use liquid colorant. The actual amount of colorant needed will depend on how vibrant you want the soap to be.)
Tips for Making multiple bars of soap
This recipe makes two chinoiserie dragon soaps of the same color combo. I only have one dragon mold, so I have to let one bar cure, unmold it and then remelt the soap to make the second bar.
If you’re planning to make large quantities of this soap, it makes sense to invest in multiple molds. (I love this butterfly and lily soap mold and this butterfly and bamboo mold definitely has chinoiserie vibes.)
Helpful Tips Before You Begin
If you’re using a fragrance with any vanilla in it, be sure to use an equal amount of vanilla color stabilizer so the soap doesn’t change color over time.
Also, be aware that some melt-and-pour soap bases harden quicker than others. Because this soap requires detail work and layering, I do not recommend using one of the quick-curing soap bases, such as Stephenson’s Ultra Clear Soap Base. It sets too quickly to fill in the dragon design on the soap, and it also doesn’t remelt as well as some other varieities of soap.
Creating the dragon detail on the soap
Cut the soap base into small cubes. Place two ounces of soap into the small measuring cup and microwave in 5 to 10 second bursts, until completely melted.
Use the infrared termometer to check the temperature of the melted soap. Let it cool to around 135 degrees, stirring to prevent a film from forming on top. If the soap is too hot, it may melt the dropper.
Spritz the silicone mold with alcohol.
Workling quickly and carefully, fill the dropper with melted soap. Use the dropper to fill in the details of the dragon and the circle around the edge of the soap. Spray alcohol to pop any bubbles that form as you work.
Use a toothpick or a wooden skewer to clean up any mistakes. If the soap in the measuring cup starts to cool and harden while you’re working, you can reheat in the microwave in 3 to 5 second bursts. Don’t overheat the soap, as it could burn.
The dragon details on the soap will begin to set and harden quickly, so you can move onto preparing the soap for the colored part of the bar.
Adding Fragrance and Color to Melt and Pour Soap
Place the remaining chopped soap in the medium-sized measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30-second increments, stirring with a spatula, until the soap is completely melted.
Add colorant to the soap, stirring until the color is completly incorporated. If youre using liquid colorant, add a few drops at a time until you achieve the desired color.
If you’re using a color block, add small pieces, one at a time, stirring to incorporate, until you reach the desired color.
If you’re using mica colorant, mix mica powder in a small amount of alcohol, stirring until dissolved, before adding to the melted soap.
Should the soap solidy or develop a skin while adding in the color, return the mixture to the microwave and heat in 10 to 15 second bursts until remelted.
Use a graduated pipette to add 6 to 8 ML of fragrance to the melted soap, stirring to combine. If necessary, add an equal amount of vanilla color stabilizer to the melted soap, stirring to combine.
Continuing stirring the colored, scented soap until it reaches a temperature of 125 to 130 degrees.
Spritz the silcone mold and the dragon detail with alcohol.
Pour melted, scented, colored soap into the mold, Pour almost to the top of the mold without overflowing.
Spritz the soap with alcohol to pop any bubbles on the surface.
Set aside the two measuring cups and reserve any leftover soap to remelt to make the second bar.
Allow to cool and harden for several hours before moving the mold.
Repeat steps above to make a second bar of decorative hand soap. Wrap finished soaps in plastic to prevent sweating or glycerin dew from developing on the surface.
If you don’t want to make two-tone soap, you can just pour the colored, scented soap into the mold and allow to cure.
But I really like the look of the blue and white soap bars and the pink and white soap bars. With practice, youll be able to expertly fill in the dragon details to create the two-tone effect.
With soapmaking, you can also use any fragrance you like, or you can leave the bars unscented.
You can make these soaps any color you like, and you can also experiment with different two-tone combinations.
More Homemade Soap Projects
If you enjoyed making chinoiserie soap, soap, try one of these other homemade soap recipes: