First, assemble everything you’ll need:
I find about 9.5 ounces of base is enough to do 300 petals and fifty or so leaves. I melt the base in the microwave – while it’s melting, I put about 3 inches of water in the pot on the stove and bring it to a simmer.
Add FO to melted base, stir well. During the holidays, I add a little gold mica and dip holly leaves. A silver or gold mica might look nice if you have a dark red rose petal.
Place Pyrex measure of melted base into pot of water (basically creating a double boiler of sorts) – turn heat to low. Be sure the water level is well above the level of soap – this helps keep the soap from forming a skin so quickly. Add petals and stir well to coat with soap. I do more than one color at once, but make sure your petals don’t bleed – the darker colors sometimes do. Leave the spoon in the measure. You can add a couple handfuls of petals at a time.
If at all possible, you want to work right next to the stove, so you can keep your base warm in the double boiler while dipping.
Using chopsticks (or long tweezers, if you can locate them – I haven’t had much luck) remove a petal from melted base, allowing as much soap to run off as possible.
Slip with chopsticks, dropping petal back into melted soap. Swear creatively, then notice your three year old standing nearby watching you. Deny all knowledge when she says “$hit” on the phone to your mother-in-law. “Really, Mom, I have no idea. Maybe she heard Bill when he was working on the car…”
If nothing else, this will improve your skill with chopsticks.
Scrape the petal against the spoon handle (see, I told you to leave it there for a reason!) to get off even more soap. The more you get off, the less problem you’ll have with drips and flat spots. Sometimes two petals will nest together – I just peel them apart with my fingers before they cool. It’s not that hot, really. If you find them after they have cooled, toss ’em back in the soap. And don’t forget to peel them apart next time.
As you work, you’ll get a build up of soap sludge on the chopsticks and spoon handle. I just scrape the chopsticks against the top of the glass measure and let the sludge fall into the soap to melt again.