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Easy Soap Recipes with Garden Flowers

March 13, 2015

Working with caustic lye has never appealed to me, so I set out to develop easy soap recipes that don’t require a respirator, special equipment or very much time. Now that I’ve got it figured out, every month or so, I spend a few minutes in the kitchen whipping up a supply of fragrant, homemade soap that lasts for weeks.

Easy soap recipe homemade bar

These easy soap recipes take about 5 minutes of work & are inexpensive. Pair them with our herbal aromatherapy humidifier sachets for gifts!

Not only are my DIY soap recipes easy to prepare, but they cost much less per bar* than the $4+/bar I had been paying for organically based bars of soap at the grocery store or farmer’s market. Plus, I can decorate my easy soap recipes with a number of homegrown flowers and herbs from my garden. We use these soaps daily in our shower, and I’ve always got a few bars on hand for gifts.

Peppermint Seahawk fan easy soap recipe bar

My easy soap recipe for peppermint pucks is a great green & blue gift
for your favorite Seattle Seahawks fans!

Following are a just a few of my botanically rich and easy soap recipes — peppermint, rose and citrus. Plus, I’ve put together a shopping widget to make it easy for you to buy all the ingredients you’ll need to grow your own flowers and make your own soaps at home. And, for you knitters, we’ve got a link for instructions to DIY exfoliating soap sleeves.

Main ingredients for these recipes: Vegetable glycerine goat’s milk melt and pour soap base, essential oil drops, a few dried flower petals (from your garden or herbal apothecary) and a few drops of olive or sweet almond oil.

Easy soap recipe materials and tools

Our easy soap recipes use just a few botanical ingredients & tools like these.

Tools for making these soaps: A microwavable measuring cup with a pouring spout, a spoon, a clean rag and a soap mold. (For my soaps, I use an old muffin tin that I no longer bake in; it burned everything! Using a loaf pan is also an option, but it will take longer to set up, and you will need to slice your bars. I do covet fancy flower and bird-shaped silicone molds for gifts; those are available below. Update 11/2018: Check out the soap molds for sale via our Amazon Store ; these make for some super-cute soap gifts!)

(Purchases through our affiliate links pay a small percentage to Garden Mentors. Thank you!)

With gear in hand, get ready to spend just a few minutes preparing a delicious batch of homemade soaps!

Three Soap Recipes from Garden MentorsPrint Print
(Each recipe makes about 8, 3-4 ounce muffin-size soaps)

Sudsy Citrus Soap Ingredients:

1 lb Melt & Pour Goat’s Milk Organic Glycerine Soap Base

30 drops grapefruit essential oil

2 t. dried Calendula petals

2 t. freshly zested grapefruit or lime (optional)

1/2 t. sweet almond or olive oil

rose petal easy soap recipe

Colorful & fragrant dried rose petals adorn this batch of homemade soap.

Romantic Rose Soap Ingredients:

1 lb Melt & Pour Goat’s Milk Organic Glycerine Soap Base

10-15 drops pure rose essential oil (or less expensive rose geranium oil)

2-3 t. dried rose petals

1/2 t. sweet almond or olive oil

Peppermint “Seahawks” Soap Ingredients:

1 lb Melt & Pour Goat’s Milk Organic Glycerine Soap Base

15 drops pure peppermint essential oil

2 t. dried cornflower or bachelor button flower petals

2 t. dried peppermint leaves

1/2 t. sweet almond or olive oil

Preparation for each recipe:

If you are using a muffin tin or other non-silicone soap mold, oil it well with sweet almond or olive oil. Set aside.

oiling a muffin tin soap mold

Wipe a non-silicone mold with sweet almond oil or olive oil before adding soap.

Chop soap base into uniform pieces and place in microwavable measuring cup with spout (or a bowl, but pouring will be more difficult). Do not fill completely to the top; you don’t want it to overflow. Cover and place in microwave. Melt for about 20 seconds and stir. Continue melting another 10-20 seconds, watching carefully. You want it melted, but not overcooked, which can happen fast.

Sprinkle drops of essential oil into the melted soap base. Try not to breathe too deeply right over the warm mixture; it can go from smelling great to overwhelming your sinuses.

Pour the fragrant mixture into your molds, distributing the liquid equally. (Don’t worry if you don’t fill every muffin tin.)

Allow the filled mold to sit for a few minutes until a light “skin” begins to form on the surface. Then, sprinkle about a 1/4 t. of petals (and peppermint leaves for the peppermint soap or citrus zest if you’re making citrus soap) over the surface of each, pushing lightly with your finger or spoon so that the petals, leaves and zest are partially submerged; the solidifying “skin” should help hold some at the surface. If they all sink, that’s okay too, but ideally a bit of the colorful flowers will decorate the surface of your soaps.

pressing flowers into diy soap

Allow a “skin” to form on your soap before adding botanicals.
This way some color will remain on top.

Insert your filled soap mold onto a level rack in your freezer. Let the soaps harden in the freezer for at least an hour; the size and material make-up of your mold may require more or less set up time.

To remove your soaps from the mold: If you are using a silicone mold, follow the directions on the mold package. (Probably, you’ll just need to twist, and they will pop out.) If you are using a muffin tin or bread pan, partially fill a cookie sheet with warm water. Set your frozen soap mold into the water bath for a moment or two. Lift it out of the water. Flip it onto a cutting board, and the soaps should pop right out. If they don’t, re-insert into water bath until they loosen. Or, use a thin knife to pop them out of the mold.

prepared soaps loosening in water bath

A warm water bath will help loosen firm, frozen soaps from the mold.

In our house, we keep the soaps in the mold in the freezer until we need them. These homemade soaps will sweat a bit at room temperature, so storing them frozen is ideal. (Don’t worry. They won’t melt to mush immediately in the shower once they’re defrosted.) If you choose to pop them from the mold to store them for use, wrap them in wax paper and store them in the freezer or fridge until you need them.

Want to knit your own soap sleeves?

Our friend and new goat momma Jenny Peterson (no longer) shares her method for knitting soap sleeves. These decorative little soap cozies look great and do a wonderful job exfoliating as you scrub. Plus, with her technique, it’s easy to reuse your homemade soap pockets. Like making your indoors look and feel fantastic with foliage? Don’t miss Jenny’s book Indoor Plant Decor: The Design Stylebook for Houseplants

Get more homemade, homegrown bath & spa recipes!

My friend Sue Goetz just published her fantastic The Herb Lover’s Spa Book. When I asked Sue about her thoughts on her favorite grow-your-own/make-your-own soaps, she had this to say: “No fragrant, healing soap would be complete without lavender buds! Use a deep purple variety like ‘Hidcote’ lavender to add a bit of color and exfoliating texture to soaps. Lavender also brings out the best of citrusy flowers and herbs; try it blended with calendula petals and lemon verbena leaves.” Pick up Sue’s book via our affiliate link now to get her wonderful recipes too.

Calendula flower

Calendula flower opening in the garden in summer sunshine.

Want more information on growing calendula, peppermint, rose or other bath botanicals?

Chime in via the comments below, and we’ll do our best to respond. And, I’ll get those into our writing queue sooner rather than later.

*So, yes, your first purchase is going to cost more than a bar of soap, but that bottle of essential oil will last for many batches of soap making as will a bottle of sweet almond oil (if you choose to use it; olive oil in your kitchen is just fine too). And, if you grow your own flowers, as they reseed themselves over time, the cost of your original seed packet will continue to diminish. Just for fun, let’s say the oils and petal ingredients add a nickle to the cost of producing one bar of soap — a hefty assumption as long as you aren’t making a rose-oil soap. Rose essential oil can be expensive, but it smells heavenly! And, let’s assume that pound of soap base makes eight bars of soap.  If the organic soap base costs $17.29 for two pounds (the price when we created the shopping widget related to this post), that brings the soap cost to about $1.08/bar. Add your nickle for other ingredients, and you have a bar that costs about $1.13 — significantly less than the $4+ price I’d been paying for bars before.


  1. barbara says:

    Thanks Robin for this! I will try this soon. One question though…..won’t the flower petals get clogged in your shower drainpipe?

  2. There are so few petals that only a few fall out as you scrub each wash. And, many are really delicate and just melt away. We haven’t had an issue with clogs – except when I made bars with big lavender buds. Those needed rethinking. Hopefully, you have a drain catch/clear for all things that “shed” in the shower. 🙂

  3. Crista Fitzgerald says:

    Could not find a link for the knitted soap sleeves. Any chance the directions are available elsewhere? Thank you.

  4. Crista, thanks for bringing the broken link to our attention. Unfortunately, it looks like Jenny’s no longer maintaining that website. You could check her new site or reach out to her here: https://www.jennynybropeterson.com. Good luck!

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