Hello everyone! I hope your January is progressing nicely and the weather where you are isn’t so bad.
Today I want to share and show another item I added to the ladies gifts this year, something I had been thinking about trying for years, but never went beyond the thinking stage; handmade soap.
There are different ways to make soap for yourself or your loved ones. You can go to your local craft store and purchase some melt and pour soap base, or you can make it from scratch with oils, butters, lye, and liquids. I didn’t want to do the melt and pour method because it seemed to expensive for what it was. However, when thinking about starting from scratch, the biggest hold up for me was working with the lye. I did a lot of research and just decided that with the proper precautions and a whole lot of common sense I had nothing to worry about.
When you talk about making soap from scratch, there are a couple of different ways to accomplish this, Cold Process and Hot Process. The traditional way that grandparents and great grandparents used is referred to as Cold Process. With this method all of the ingredients are mix together, pour it into a mold, left to sit for a day or so, remove it from the mold and cut into bars and then they sit for 4 – 6 weeks to cure, mellow, and harden. During this wait the soap goes through its chemical process of saponification and becomes soap.
The new and some would say “faster” method is called Hot Process. Here you will mix all of the ingredients as before but everything is added to a crock pot and it is cooked through the saponification stage. The mix is then scooped into the molds and left to cool before removing and cutting into bars. While you can use this soap as soon as you cut it, a general rule of thumb is to still let it sit for 2 to 4 weeks to harden. I found one site online that suggested you weigh one of your bars of soap and keep a record of the weight change or water loss of that one bar. When it stops “losing weight”, it’s ready to use.
I have used each method to make soap, but my personal preference (so far) is the hot process method. I haven’t completely ruled out trying another batch or two of cold process, but I think for general soap making it’s the crock pot for me. 😉
That was the “tell” part of the post and now for the “show”!!!
Here is my very first batch of hot process soap! Isn’t it pretty??? LOL This recipe uses Crisco, olive oil, lard, coconut oil, and a water lye solution. I used two Pringles cans as my mold for this soap, (something that can only be done with hot process) and as you can see I didn’t get it packed down completely so there are some holes in my bars. Not a big deal since this was a first time try and for our personal use.
My next attempt was a goat’s milk honey soap. I didn’t understand how much this recipe would make, so I made an error in splitting it into two molds, hence the short stack! Lol The recipe for this soap includes olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, shea butter, sweet almond oil, a goat’s milk water and lye solution, and a tablespoon of honey is added after the cook time.
For the actual gifts I remade this same recipe and put it all in one mold to make a full bar. I also added a piece of bubble wrap to give the illusion of the honey comb. Pretty cool, but I didn’t take a picture of the finished bars! But you get the idea of what that looked like and it was a pretty cool idea so thank you to whoever first mentioned that on your soap blog!!!
The third (and fourth) batch of soap was a coffee scrub kitchen soap. This only has three different oils in it, coconut, olive and soybean oil (otherwise known as vegetable oil). The lye is mixed with a strong coffee and a teaspoon of coffee grounds are added for exfoliation. I decided to try this recipe using both cold and hot process and you can see the difference in the picture below. The hot process is the darker bar and the lighter one is cold process. The hot process bar also has a more rustic look and texture to the top of the bar, versus the smother look of the cold process. The reason for this difference is when the cold process soap is poured into the mold it is the consistency of pudding and the top will smooth out. With hot process, after cooking the soap it is the consistency of mashed potatoes, so you just sort of glop the mixture into the molds. I’ll do another post soon and show you what I mean by that.
This has been a fun process to learn and there is still so much left to learn! With the help of more experienced soapers out there, I hope to one day know enough to try and come up with my own recipe, but until then, I have tons of different recipes to choose from online!
Thanks so much for stopping by!