How do I make soap?
The million dollar question! In truth there are a couple of soap making methods, another couple of variations around those and another simplified version which is not really soap making but can be good fun anyway!
Cold Process Soap Making is the most common method.
It involves selecting your chosen recipe ( and don't worry I have some basic recipes on another blog post.
Melting your oils and butters together.
Mixing your lye solution.
Using a simple stick blender to mix with your sodium hydroxide (aka lye) solution until they have emulsified.
Adding colourants and/or scents of your choice and then pouring in to a mould.
You then generally cut your soap 24 to 48 hours later and then you have to leave it to cure for 4 to 6 weeks. In the case of soap curing means allow the chemical processes to occur so your ingredients turn into soap and then also allow the water to evaporate whilst your bars of soap become harder and milder over the coming weeks.
That really is the entire process and it can easily be achieved in less than an hour. It is called cold process because the soap is made at cool temperatures and no external heat is used to assist the saponifocation process.
What is saponification? In simple terms it is the chemical process that occurs between the sodium hydroxide and the butters and oils that are being used that turns them in to soap.
Cold process soap making is very popular as it allows soap makers to be really creative with colours and patterns and it produces a lovely smooth bar of soap. But equally, you can achieve simplicity such as those in the image above very easily.
Many of the tools you will need can be found in your kitchen already and ingredients are readily available online. Some are even found in your local supermarket although this approach may be a little more costly than buying from a specialist supplier.
Once you have mastered the soap making process the possibilities are endless and you will be giving friends and family the BEST presents!
You may even look to start your own soap making business - yes it is possible to make money from soap making but that really needs to be another blog post in it;s own right as there is a fair bit of legislation around the selling of cosmetic products within the EU. If you are outside of the EU you will need to check within your own country.
If you would like to know more about my soap making journey then you can find out how I caught the bug here. If you would like to find out more about making your own soap then you can find out more about my onlin and hands on soap making workshops and Soap Making Made Easy eBook here