Holiday Gift Tips That Are Sure To Wow!

To inspire your creative juices and promote seasonal profits for your artisan business this holiday season, consider these great soap making tips and home decorating ideas that are sure to wow clients and recipients.

According to www.soapmakingfun.com, there are two ways to make seasonal soaps this Christmas: 1) Create bars suggestive of the yuletide, and 2) encase handmade soaps in holiday-themed packaging. Use traditional Christmas symbols (e.g., Santa, snowmen, angels, wreaths, pine trees, stockings) to create the perfect combinations of color and holiday theme.

Traditional colors of red, green, white and gold are always good choices. The use of micas combined with liquid colorants produce the more vivid colors: Ruby Mica or thoroughly mixed Ultramarine Red for reds, Emerald Mica for greens, and Polar Ice Mica for white. For more natural colors, the use of turmeric for gold, Moroccan red clay for red, and alfalfa for green produce less vivid hues. Adding seasonal scents, like pine and peppermint, give your product that Christmas smell certain to attract buyers, and appreciative recipients will love them.

To accentuate holiday packaging, pack soaps in:

  • Fabric gift bags made of muslin, calico or mesh
  • Handy-sized pine wood crates
  • Gift baskets bundled up with glittery organza or cellophane paper
  • Christmas stocking-shaped nets
  • Corrugated carton sheets tied up with hay-like or ornamental string

For that polished, professional look, finish your products by using package trimmings made of strips of Christmas paper resembling colored aluminum foil, raffia ribbons, red and green checked cloth, shiny Twistee wires, and Christmas ribbons.

In her article, “10 Top Tips for Melt and Pour Soap Making,” soap making enthusiast Jennifer Christine (www.soapmakingfun.com) offers these tips:
  1. Use a good recipe. Even though it’s easy to make soap this way, you still need a recipe to ensure the color, fragrance and optional additives are in the right amounts.
  2. Make sure you wear the appropriate safety equipment. I like to wear protective clothing, shoes, gloves and safety goggles. Melted soap is very hot! You don’t want to get burned if you accidentally splash yourself.
  3. You need suitable soap making equipment. You can melt the block of soap in the microwave, but you need a sturdy microwave safe bowl or jug for doing this. If melting on the stove, you need a double boiler. You also need rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle, measuring spoons and a metal whisk or spoon.
  4. Ensure you make soap in a well-ventilated area (e.g., with window/s open).
  5. Don’t be disturbed by children or pets when making soap. You don’t want them (or you) to be accidentally splashed, which can happen when you’re distracted by an interruption.
  6. Ensure you’re using a good quality melt and pour soap base with colors and fragrances suitable for soap making.
  7. Have fun choosing the molds you’re going to use. You can use shell molds, flower molds, heart molds, or whatever kind of molds take your fancy.
  8. Allow enough time for the soap to set. It usually takes a few hours to set in the open or about one hour in the refrigerator. Never place it in the freezer to set.
  9. If you have trouble unmolding your soap, run some warm water over the base of the mold. The soap should pop right out.
  10. Enjoy using your scentsational hand made soap! Once it’s set, you can use it right away!
A decorative holiday item that anyone would be happy to receive is Christmas Chunk soaps. David Fisher (http://candleandsoap.about.com) uses the following items for this melt and pour method:

  • Melt and Pour Soap Base: a combination of clear base for the chunks and white base for the overpour, but you could do the opposite, or use one or the other for both
  • Mica or colorant for the chunks: GemTone Ruby Mica and a bit of Liquid Red colorant for the red chunks, and GemTone Emerald Mica and a bit of Kelly Green liquid colorant
  • Basic soap mold: a 9-bar version of this Basic Soap Mold
  • Fragrance oil of your choice
  • Cutting board, knife, measuring cups

Visit http://candleandsoap.about.com for complete details on how David makes these lovely holiday soaps. There you will also find directions and videos to other soap making projects and a myriad of ideas and instructions on how to create products for sale or as gifts; for example, Christmas melt and pour scrubby soaps, hand soaps and bath salts, holiday soap on a rope, fizzy bath bombs, and budget soap and bath kits.

A great resource for quick and easy Christmas decorating ideas is http://interiordec.about.com, where article writers feature various materials and themes for decorating. Examples include home areas such as table settings and doors that are adorned with ribbons and bows, pinecones, candles, nuts, wreaths and swags, as well as holiday plants. If you lack ideas for your holiday business or just want new ideas for your holiday inventory, visit http://interiordec.about.com for easy-to-do projects that will work for most budgets and stretch your wholesale investments.

Quick-and-easy, affordable, and personalized gifts are always a big hit during the holidays, whether you make and sell the items yourself or you're the gift recipient. While your products may have advanced to more sophisticated levels over the years, always remember the basics and have some of those items in your holiday inventory. The benefits are that they’re easier and less expensive to make in an economic crunch, but they yield big rewards and add to the warm, fuzzy feelings associated with the holidays.

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CYNTHIA BULL (www.cynrje.com) is an internationally published writer and editor who helps international authors, marketers and speakers add greater value to their products through her top-quality writing, editing and transcription services. She is the author of How To Be A Medical Transcriptionist and Winning At Work While Balancing Your Life, a contributing author of Walking with the Wise Entrepreneur (Mentors Publishing House), cited in Make BIG Profits on eBay (Entrepreneur Press), and Managing Editor of Mentors Magazine Think & Grow Rich Edition. Cynthia has created over 200 book products in the past two years for her clients and, as mentor, helps clients reach their goals through her products, experience and genuine caring. Cynthia writes this feature article exclusively for Debbie May (www.DebbieMay.com), an organization dedicated to helping small businesses succeed.