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How to make tea tree and turmeric layered soap

180 minutes
one soap loaf

Go au naturel with this naturally-scented and colored soap. Relaxing and refreshing tea tree essential oil gets those spa vibes going, while turmeric adds a warm and vibrant pop of color—no synthetic dyes required! Plus, learn how to use materials you likely have at home to create interesting angles for added visual appeal. 

Interested in other natural soap colorants? Popular natural soap dyes include paprika, cocoa powder, and spirulina powder. Other options include olive leaf powder, indigo powder, rose clay, alkanet root powder, and nettle leaf powder.

Additional items needed:

  • Turmeric spice
  • Latex gloves
  • Cutting board
  • Small glass containers (for measuring oil)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Microwave
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Paper towel
  • Cardboard
  • Tape


Step 1: Prepare your supplies and work space

Wash your equipment, soap molds, and utensils in warm soapy water and dry thoroughly. Don’t forget your workspace! Avoid any cross-contamination by spraying the area with rubbing alcohol or a 5% bleach solution, then wipe dry with a clean paper towel.

Step 2: Create a triangle wedge

For this step you can use whatever is easiest for you. You can use a book, a piece of wood cut at your desired angle, or you can create a cardboard triangle like we did in our Tilted Layered Candle Tutorial. For this project, we used a cardboard triangle.

Cut a piece of cardboard and bend into a triangle (score the the cardboard for easier bending). Tape the pieces together. The soap mold is heavy when filled with soap so you’ll want to either use a couple of pieces of cardboard for strong reinforcement or find some stronger cardboard. We used heavy-duty corner cardboard pieces from some packaging we had saved.

Step 3: Cut and weigh soap base

Remove the Goat’s Milk soap base from the container and cut the soap block in half. Place half back in the container and cut the other piece into 1” (2.5 cm) cubes. 

Place your funnel pouring pitcher on the scale and tare the weight. Add the soap cubes and weigh out 16 oz (454 g) for the first soap layer.

Step 4: Weigh your essential oil

This project will use 3 lb of soap base (2 lbs of Natural HF, 1 lb of Goat’s Milk) with a 1% essential oil load. Each layer will use the same amount of Tea Tree essential oil, 0.15 oz (4.25 g). 

Place small glass container on scale and tare the weight. Weigh 0.15 oz (approximately 4.25 g) of the Tea Tree essential oil (or the skin-safe EO of your choice). Set aside. You want to have your oil prepared ahead of time so the base does not start to cool and harden as you work.

Note: It is important to only use glass for this step. The fragrance can damage certain types of plastic and paper if it sits for long periods of time.

Step 5: Melt the soap base

Using the Funnel Pouring Pitcher or another microwave-safe container, melt the soap cubes in the microwave for 30 seconds intervals, stirring in between, until the soap is fully melted. Stir in between, and melt for an additional 10 seconds if necessary.

Melted soap will be extremely hot, so use caution when handling it. The soap should not exceed 160ºF (71.1°C) to avoid a rubber feel to the finished bars.

Note: If the soap base starts to foam while in the microwave, it is too hot. Stop the microwave and do not continue to heat. Stir gently to continue the melting process.

Note: A thin skin may form on the surface of the soap. Don’t worry! Simply stir it back into the melted soap. If the soap has begun to thicken at this point, microwave again in 5-10 second intervals until it has thinned out.

Step 6: Add essential oil

Add your premeasured Tea Tree essential oil to the soap base and stir well.

Step 7: Pour soap into mold

Pour soap into the rectangle mold slowly to reduce the amount of air bubbles. Spray the surface with alcohol to remove any bubbles. 

Note: This can be used liberally, however, overuse can cause the soap to foam.

Part 2: Create and pour second layer

Angle your soap mold to the opposite side.

Once your first layer has cooled and set, repeat Step 3-7 using 1 lb of Natural HF soap base.

Part 3: Create and pour third layer

Place your soap mold on a flat, level surface.

Once your second layer has cooled and set, repeat Steps 3-6 using 1 lb (454 g) of Natural HF soap base and add a pinch of turmeric spice after you add the essential oil. A little spice goes a long way—adjust the amount to achieve the desired color.

Spray the surface of the second layer with isopropyl alcohol and carefully pour your third layer. 

Step 8: Let cool and remove

Allow soap to cool completely, around 3 hours before unmolding. Tip the mold and apply light pressure to the center of the cavity. If the bar does not come out easily, allow it to cool longer, or stick the mold in the refrigerator for up to 30 minutes and try again.

Step 9: Cut your soap

Cut your soap bar into ¾ in pieces. Store your soap bars in an airtight container or in plastic wrap to reduce sweating.

Did you make it?

Show off your take on the tea tree and turmeric layered soap and all your handmade creations, with the CandleScience community by tagging us @CandleScience and using the #CandleScientist hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We may feature you in our Stories or on our website!