Soap making is a great hobby that can be adapted for all skill levels and interest.
People make soap for fun, for their health and for profit. Some soap makers want to know more about how to make soap naturally and reduce being exposed to harsh chemicals.
Soap is very much part of our daily lives. We wash ourselves, our clothes, our homes with it and yet it may be sometimes overlooked.
Saponification is the term used to define the process that produces soap and glycerin.
Oil or Fatty Acid + Lye or Base = Soap, one kind of salt
Soap making instructions can be found in books and on the internet.
You may even be able to find a soap making class in your community.
It is a good idea to start by reading up on the various methods; the cold process soap making process has you make your product from scratch which is great for unleashing your creativity, this way of making soap can be a bit overwhelming at first and I suggest that you start with small batches.
Most soap making information is pretty straight forward and soap making recipes are like any other recipe. You will need to be aware and practice safety when handling lye (sodium hydroxide) and other supplies that may be hot. Goggles and gloves should always be worn and your work area well covered. Of course, I did not worry about having a plastic cover in my kitchen the first time that I handled lye. Needless to say, that some lye crystals added character to my oak dining room table. Live and learn…
Lye is a part of the process of saponification and soap making. The only no-lye soap making alternative is melt and pour or rebatching soap making methods. I will reformulate this, there will be lye in the premade soap base because you cannot have soap without lye, but the soap making supplier will have done that part.
Most of the soap recipes on this site will produce 2 pounds (1000 grams) of soap. This amount gives about 7 to 8 bars of soap, which is large enough to really try the bars and give a few away and it will not break the bank if your soap batch does not turn out right. Yeah…this will probably happen to you more than once in your soaping experience…Trial and error is all part of the learning and developing a new skill.
There are great melt and pour recipes that have skin moisturizing benefits and natural additives enhance your products. As you sift through the soap making instructions, just remember to read the labels, there exist a variety of premade soap bases such as olive oil, goat’s milk, glycerin and shea butter. You can add scents, milk powders, colorants and exfoliants.
You will need some soap making equipment and these tools are separate (if they are in contact with lye) from your baking and other craft supplies.
Soap making molds can include be simple washed milk/juice cartons, wooden loaves or silicone cookware works great.
There are some great soap molds out there that really celebrate the creative process and as you build confidence, your little corner with your soap making stuff will quickly become crowded, yeah we have all been there. There are also soap stamps and techniques for embedding objects (e.g. plastic toys like gold fish or rubber ducks) or embedding soap shapes like confetti, squares, stars, hearts…
As I began to read about how to make soap and test natural soap recipes I was overjoyed by all the soap making information that I found but also a bit overwhelmed by different ways that soap makers do things and recipes that were not always complete. I hope that this site supports you on your personal quest to find out how to make soap.