Handmade lotion bars are a perfect gift for a crafter, gardener or anyone with dry hands. Similar types of bars sell for as much as $20 at bath and body shops. But most of the supplies can be picked up at craft and hobby shops.

Handmade lotion bars are a perfect gift for a crafter, gardener or anyone with dry hands. They feel amazing on chapped hands and help heal those little cracks, dry spots and rough edges.

Lotion bars look similar to a bar of soap but are made of solidified lotion. To use the bar, you just rub the bar into your hands (without water). Next, rub your hands together to smooth the lotion into the dry skin. Within minutes, your hands will begin to feel softer.

This recipe is boutique quality without the price tag. Once you have gathered your supplies and dive into the making, you will be surprised at how many bars you can make.

Similar types of bars sell for as much as $20 at bath and body shops. Most of the supplies can be picked up at craft and hobby shops. Online retailers can be a huge source for supplies and essential oils. I personally like thesage.com for bases and scents.

For this design, I used a rectangular soap mold, but you can use any shape you desire. You can even make this recipe and pour it into a small jar or pot.

Jazz up homemade lotion bars with personalized packaging. Zip-type baggies adorned with custom stickers is a quick way to package them. Adorned travel soapboxes are good containers for people who are on the go.

Lotion bars can be wrapped with craft paper and twine for a natural look. Cello bags lined with parchment paper and tied with a bow is another quick and easy gift-wrap idea.
    
    Supplies:
    
    Glass measuring cup
    Small saucepan
    Popsicle stick for stirring
    3 tablespoons beeswax pellets
    2 tablespoons regular cocoa butter
    3 tablespoons shea butter
    2 tablespoons sweet almond oil
    2 tablespoons calendula oil
    1/4 teaspoon vitamin E acetate
    Essential oil -- optional
    Soap bar mold
    
Steps:
    
1. Mix all ingredients together in a very clean glass measuring cup. Place inside a large pot. Fill the sides of the pot halfway up with water to create a double boiler.

2. Heat on medium and stir until all the ingredients (except the essential oil) are blended. This should take a minute or two.

3. Remove from heat and add a few drops of essential oil for scent if desired. Only add a few drops at a time until your desired scent is reached.

4. Pour into a mold and allow to cool on a cookie rack for about 30 minutes. Pop the bar out of the mold. The bar should feel firm when properly cooled.

5. To package as a gift, wrap in a cello bag and tie or staple on a handmade gift tag, silk flower and a decorative ribbon.
    
Cathie Filian is a lifestyle expert, Emmy-nominated television host, author and designer. Learn more about Cathie by visiting her blog at www.cathiefilian.com.