How to make soap the easy way!
Why not give soap making a try, as a hobby or maybe make some money at your local fair, it’s not as difficult as you may think. Below is an easy method, there are other methods too that you can try. You can make soap using traditional methods using the finest ingredients and they beat any shop bought soap hands down. You can choose the shape, design, colour, fragrance and final packaging to make the perfect gift.
Tools and Safety first:
- Caustic soda! make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Always wear protective clothing and work in a good ventilated room. When mixing, always add caustic soda to cold water, never water to caustic soda. This is a project for adults only! Due to any splashes or spillages, children and chemicals don’t mix!
- Goggles (Very important! Don’t cheat!)
- An apron
- Rubber gloves (caustic soda can harm your skin)
- A large plastic bucket approx. 2ft deep (don’t use cast iron or aluminium)
- Plastic containers or moulds (again, don’t use metal containers)
Tip: The balance between the acids and alkali’s in your mixture have to be correct, or your soap won’t work as soap so it’s worth taking extra care in measuring..
- 900ml water
- 615g coconut oil (or vegetable fat)
- 295g caustic soda (or lye) (make sure you buy pure sodium hydroxide and not something caustic soda based, that might include other ingredients, ask at your store!)
- 800ml sunflower oil
- 800ml olive oil
- Essential oils (for fragrance)
- Other additives (dried herbs, petals and fruit depending on what soaps you want to make)
You may want to dress your soap up with the type of cutters you use and bows. Ties, ribbons etc.
Pour 900ml of water into the plastic bucket. Making sure to wear your apron, rubber gloves and goggles, carefully whisk the 295g of caustic soda into the water and watch as the chemical reactions cause it to heat up. (Make sure you add the soda to the water, NOT the other way round.) Once this reaction is happening, it’s time to add the oils.
Put the 615g of coconut oil into a large pan on a low heat and it will melt very quickly. To this, add 800mls of sunflower oil and the same again of a good quality olive oil.
Once the mixture has started to change colour and texture, divided the base soap mixture into three mixing bowls (for three different fragranced soaps) and add fragrance with the essential oils, you can use lots of different fragrances such as orange, lime, cinnamon, lime etc. There are so many flavours to choose from. (parsley and 20g of lime essence in example.)
Transfer your mixtures to the moulds to set. You can use simple plastic tubs that you’ll probably have in your kitchen cupboard – but you can use any manner of plastic containers you like. (Cinnamon and orange essence, as well as some fresh orange zest in this example). Wrap the moulds in a blanket for 24 hours to slowly cool down and set.
Once the soaps have cooled down and set, take them out the moulds and leave them to dry in a cupboard for six weeks so the caustic soda dissolves and the soap won’t have any harmful effects on your skin.
Finally, when the six weeks are up. The blocks can be cut into smaller slices or cut with pastry cutter shapes and wrapped with ribbons and bows. Use your imagination for exciting displays and wrapping.
If you search on soap making supplies online you can find lots of supplies at a price that suits you. By carefully choosing a combination of quality oils, adding your favourite fragrance or essential oils, and swirling in a lively colorant, your soap suddenly takes on that charming “character” that commercially manufactured soap can’t even begin to compete with.
Here is also a video tutorial, there is lots of information on the Internet and books at stores/library to help you further and this article is to plant the seed for another hobby idea which i hope you enjoy.