Learning how to make soap for most of us is an adventure. Whether you choose to make soap for your own personal use or for gift giving, you will no doubt be hooked after your first bath. Later you will discover all pleasure of playing with shapes using different moulds, colours and scents.
Soaps are so taken for granted that we hardly pause to think more about how they are made. The general feeling is that the entire process is far too complicated, industrial, and way out of being made a hobby. In reality, soap making is a simple process, and there are ready-made melt and pour type of kits available that allow us to make soaps with our own chosen colors, fragrances, herbal ingredients, and shapes.
Soap making can be pursued as a hobby, and can even be turned into a small home based business. All it takes is an interest in the making of soaps, and some diligence in the whole process.
Soap is a simple mixture of oils and caustic soda (lye.) The resultant liquid when left to solidify forms soap with a lot of glycerin, hence also called glycerin soap. The industrial soap manufacturers remove excess amounts of glycerin and use other ways to make the soap soft and mellow.
The soaps are made from oils. The oils used in soap making are common oils like palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, grape seed oil etc. The caustic soda used should be of industrial quality.
There is some amount of heating involved in soap making, and this therefore requires caution. The exact proportions of mixing oil and lye should also be known beforehand. The room temperature is easiest way to make the soap at home, more than ever because you don’t heat any oils and you don’t check temperatures using the room temperature method.
The room temperature soap-making
Make sure that you never use hard water for cold process soap making because the unwanted substances within the water could take part in the reaction. You can get your water tested for hardness at your local appliance store. Also, make sure that you are wearing your rubber gloves and goggles.
1. Prepare your soap mold and measure out the additives such as scent, colour, botanicals or any soap bits you may be using and set them all aside.
2. Weigh out and place all hard oils (butters, coconut oil, palm oil, tallow, lard, etc) into your soap pot.
3. Weigh out the liquid oils and set them aside as well.
4. Prepare your lye solution by first weighing out the water and then the sodium hydroxide. Slowly pour the sodium hydroxide into the water and gently stir until the crystals dissolve.
5. Once the lye solution has become clear, you can slowly pour it over the hard oils in your soap pot. The lye solution will be very hot and that heat is what will melt your hard oils. Gently mash the hard oils down into the lye solution with your whisk and slowly stir until the hard oils have completely melted.
6. Add the liquid oils to the soap pot and using your stick blender, mix until the soap traces.
7. You can now add your scent, colour and other additives. Blend and pour into your soap mold.
A melt and pour soap making kit can introduce a novice into soap making. Simply buy the kit and follow the instructions that come along. Once you are familiar with this process, you may consult other sources and can try making soap oneself.
Everyone of us wants to have a herbal soap, one filled with natural oils and fragrances. Children are delighted with soaps of various shapes such as animal figurines. Pursuing soap making as a hobby can allow you to make soaps as you desire them.