Visit FamilyCorner.com for tons of seasonal ideas!
quick link - go to our home page quick link - kid's crafts, family fun, printables, etc quick link - sign up for our free newsletter quick link - holiday crafts, recipes and ideas quick link - gardening, organizing, saving money, decorating and more quick link - our FunBook is filled with lots of quick ideas, tips and crafts quick link - join our bustling community of friendly members


Go Back   FamilyCorner.com Forums >

Crafty Corner If you are creative, love to knit or crochet, paint, or just enjoy making fun stuff with your kids, this is the forum for you.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 3 votes, 4.67 average.
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-27-2002, 08:31 PM
Member
FamilyCorner Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: TX
Posts: 33
Making Soap

Has anyone made soap before? I mean the make it from scratch stuff. I have been reading a lot about it and want to try. I would just like to know if anyone had any advice before I try it.
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 08-01-2002, 07:44 AM
DragonsPearls's Avatar
Member
FamilyCorner Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Birmingham AL
Posts: 28
I've been making soap for about 6 years now, and I absolutely love it. Haven't bought soap from a store since I started making it, and love the way it makes my skin feel.

Before starting, read as much as you can. You'll want to be familiar enough with the process so that you're comfortable with it before you start making a batch. There are plenty of good books, and loads of informational websites, plus sites with recipes. There are also soapmaking elists that you can join. If you need book titles, websites, or elists, let me know and I'll post some.

Learn about the ingredients that you want to use. You'll want to know what qualities and/or benefits they impart to soap. You'll want to know how these ingredients may affect the skin, and/or what they can do for the skin. There are many different oils, fats and butters that you can use to make your soap base, plus there are many extras you can add to give additional benefits to your soap. Even after 6 years, I'm still learning!

Start with small, 1 pound batches. Small batches are easier to work with as you learn, and of course, use less ingredients so that if you make a mistake, you don't waste as much.

Don't invest a lot of money on expensive equipment until you're sure you want to continue doing this. You can use Rubbermaid drawer dividers (or similar) as molds. You can also use sturdy plastic shoe boxes, cat litter pans, and even sturdy cardboard boxes for molds. Line your mold with freezer paper. If you don't, you'll either have a mess (like with cardboard boxes), or you won't be able to get the soap out of the mold (like with drawer dividers). Ask me how I learned this!!

For mixing your soap batch, you can use almost anything: Rubbermaid or other heavy duty plastic bowls; heavy, tempered glass bowls; ceramic bowls; stainless steel bowls. I use the ceramic insert for my crockpot, which is dedicated to soapmaking. Don't worry, I have another that I use for cooking.

For mixing your lye solution, you'll need either a Rubbermaid (or other heavy duty plastic) pitcher, a tempered glass container (Pyrex measuring cups work well), or a stanless steel container or pitcher. Do not use untempered glass since the temps of the lye solution can reach above 200 degrees, which can cause the glass to shatter.

You'll also need a thermometer for checking the temps of your lye solution and oils. I use a quick read one that I got from Wal-Mart for about $5. And you'll probably want a plastic or stainless steel whisk for mixing your lye solution and soap. I find them much better than using a spoon or spatula.

WARNING: Never, ever use anything made of aluminum for soapmaking. Lye and aluminum do not mix.

Start with a simple "recipe" using oils readily available at local stores. While there are many different oils, etc that you can use to make soap, many are expensive and are best left until you are ready to move beyond a basic recipe. You can easily, and inexpensively, make a "grocery store" soap using oils and fats found where you buy food. It may not be *the* best soap for your skin, but it will be a good, functional soap that doesn't contain all the chemicals of store-bought soap. To me, any homemade soap without all the chemicals is a vast improvement over store-bought. I don't recommend you start with Castile (100% Olive) since Castile is notoriously tricky. Also stay away from Pomace Olive Oil until you've gained some experience since it can, and usually does, accelerate trace.

Always run your lye recipes through a lye calculator before making them. I can give you a some websites with online calculators if you need them. You need to make sure that you have enough lye to saponify the oils properly, and you need to figure in a lye discount or superfatting percentage so that the soap isn't too harsh because of excess lye.

Make sure you write your recipe down. Also keep notes about when you made a recipe, how it lathered, how it turned out, color, scent, any probems, etc. These notes will help you formulate better recipes as your knowledge increases and you gain more experience. They can also sometimes help you pinpoint a problem or cause if the soap didn't turn out right.

What I do when I go to make a batch is this:

1) Line the mold
2) Gather all the equipment
3) Gather all the ingredients
4) Measure water and lye, then mix lye solution and let it start cooling
5) Measure out hard oils, put them in pot to begin melting over very low heat
6) Meaure out remaining oils, add to pot with hard oils
7) Measure out any extras and have them ready to add at the proper time
8) Once lye solution and oils have reached the proper temps, begin making soap
9) Once the soap has traced and is finished "cooking", pour into mold
10) Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the soap, smoothing as much as possible (this helps prevent the formation of ash)
11) Cover mold, then wrap in a towel to insulate, put it in a draft-free spot
12) Wait until soap is ready to unmold (this is the hard part)
13) Unmold soap, cut, put on wire rack, cover with linen cloth (keeps dust and cat hair off), put in draft-free place to cure
14) Wait at least 4 weeks before using (this is hard too, although you can test a small piece 24-48 hours after unmolding)

When I first started, I wrote down the steps to follow/instructions and taped them at eye-level to a kitchen cabinet above my work space. All I had to do was look up if I became momentarily confuzzled during the process. I do the same with my recipes, which keeps them clean and out of harm's way while I work.

From my experience when working with small batches, you should begin heating your oils before mixing your lye solution. I find the smaller amount of lye solution cools much quicker than larger amounts. When I made my first batch, I followed the instructions to a T. Was I ever shocked when my lye solution was ready, and I hadn't heated my oils yet! It's easier to cool and reheat oils if necessary than it is to reheat the lye solution.

I know this is a lot of info to digest, so please ask questions on anything I haven't made very clear, or that I didn't give a detailed explanation of. Also feel free to ask questions on anything I haven't covered, or whatever comes to mind.

Carol
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 08-01-2002, 05:46 PM
Member
FamilyCorner Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: TX
Posts: 33
soapmaking

Carol, Thanks so much for all the information. I have looked at several sites with instructions and recipes, and I have a hard back book that I bought several years ago, with all the intentions in the world of using back then. Until I recently broke my leg and couldn't teach daycare I have always been too busy to try something new. Now, I have the time and my husband is excited to make it too. I made a very small batch today that I got the instructions off of a web site. It was just 1/2 lb. of lard (which I found on clearance at wallmart for .20 cents a lb. ) and lye. It was very simple and easy to do. I start getting confused when you go to add oils, fragrance, etc. I just want a good smelling easy to make, and that the ingredients will be easy to find. I live in a small town. About all we have is a Wallmart. The butcher at HEB is saving me some fat, but he says it will take several days. My husband is real anxious to try this way out. He loves doing things like that. He was astonished that I didn't want to use ashes instead of lye. Thanks for any information.
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 08-03-2002, 10:31 AM
Nine Year Member
FamilyCorner Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Winthrop, Maine
Posts: 3
Why do you have to put Lye in your soap?
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 08-03-2002, 10:48 AM
Member
FamilyCorner Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: NE
Posts: 36
Soapmaking


I have been making soap for several years now. If anyone wants to make soap without all the measuring and weighing and worrying about lye, try melt and pour soap. It's easy and doesn't take as much time as completely from scratch. Go to a craft store and buy a kit to get started and you will soon be addicted, like me, and will want to do more.

Email me if you want to ask me questions.
Blondie

[email protected]

Join my M&P soapmaking group at yahoo:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bubblemakers
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 08-05-2002, 06:03 AM
Member
FamilyCorner Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Houston, Texas area
Posts: 36
soap

There are alot of sites out there to teach you how to make soaps, candles and other things that are very "IN" and easy to make...
I think you should check out this one first:

http://www.allcrafts.net

if you can't find anything there that you like, try checking out this one next:

http://www.about.com

I could go on and on with list of sites to look at, but got to get ready for work soon...LOL...Use to work at Wal Mart in the crafts and fabrics dept, so I KNOW how that goes! Now I am at Super Target and we don't have a Crafts Dept there...wish we did.
If you want to find more sites, just put your search engine to work for ya and enter...how to make soap...or e-mail me at [email protected] and I will send you all the URL's I have in my note book.

Happy craftin'
Michele
__________________
Michele
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 08-05-2002, 02:43 PM
Member
FamilyCorner Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: TX
Posts: 33
soapmaking

Michele, thanks, I can't wait to start looking at some of these sites. I noticed your from Houston, TX well I am just down the road in Cleveland about 30 minutes from Humble. Anyway, thanks. Lori
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 08-06-2002, 09:31 AM
Member
FamilyCorner Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Houston, Texas area
Posts: 36
Lori...yeah girl, been to Celevland once! We moved to a new house in Deer Park off 225...love it!!
Anyway, here are some more things to look at when ya got some time.

http://www.allcrafts.net
http://crafterscommunity.com
http://www.craftown.com
http://www.creativehomemaking.com
http://www.candlemaking.org.uk
http://www.allthingsfrugal.com
http://www.pioneerthinking.com
http://www.makestuff.com
http://www.childfun.com
http://www.amazingmoms.com
http://www.crafts4kids.com
http://www.newhomemaker.com

There are tons of sites out there to do or make anything you can think of...cool thing the internet!

If you ever want to contact me about sites or say hey...my e-mail add is :

[email protected]

I work full time at Target so it might take me a day or 2, but I will get back to ya...take care of you and yours...Michele
__________________
Michele
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 08-06-2002, 11:41 AM
DragonsPearls's Avatar
Member
FamilyCorner Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Birmingham AL
Posts: 28
You're welcome, Lori. Sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner, but I've been super busy.

I've never used lard to make soap, but I'm thinking about getting some to make a soap for household cleaning and laundry. While lard doesn't contribute much to skin care, it does help make a hard bar of soap. I've heard people swear by soap made with lard, so it can't be all bad.

You can make soap with just about any oil you can find in a grocery store. Olive, while a tad on the expensive side (as compared to some other oils) makes a very mild, hard bar of soap. It doesn't make a lot of lather, but you can't ask for a better oil for sensitive skin. You can also use canola, soy, sunflower, and peanut oils. I wouldn't use a mixed veggie oil since you won't know the exact percentage of each oil to be able to accurately figure the right amount of lye. You can also use shortening, but I suggest that you not unless you can find one that is 100% of one type of oil. Most are blends, and it's hard to correctly figure the lye amount for them.

I'm not quite sure what you mean about when to add oils. All your base oils for the soap go into the pot before adding the lye solution. If you use a solid oil or fat, such as lard, put it in the pot first and begin melting it over low heat. As the solid oil/fat melts, measure out the other base oils and add to the pot. If you're confused about when to add the extra oil, usually called superfatting, those are most often added at trace.

Recently on one of the soapmaking elists I'm on, there was a discussion about when to add superfatting oils. Conventional wisdom or technique is to add it at trace. Many soapers, including me, add it with the base oils. I've done it both ways, and can't discern any noticeable difference between the two techniques when it comes to the finished bar of soap, so it's a matter of convienence and preference. However, if you are wanting to add a somewhat fragile oil, such as Borage, Rosehip or Evening Primrose, then I would add it at trace, rather than with the base oils.

As for adding extras, the time to add most of them is when the soap has reached trace, right before you pour it into the mold. Some can be added once you've mixed the lye solution and oils, but many, like fragrance and essential oils, are not added until trace. Colorant can be added before or after trace, dependent on what effect you're trying to achieve. For solid, one color soap, add the colorant after mixing the oils and lye solution (some soapers mix it into the base oils before adding the lye solution). For swirling, you have to wait until trace. Exactly how you do it depends on how many colors are being used in the swirl ... color into white, white into color, or color into color. Swirling is not something I've done as I don't use any colorants at all, just what color is achieved from infusing herbs into a base oil, or using ingredients like clay.

If you want to add an ingredient such as milk, there are several ways to do it. You can reduce the amount of water you use for your lye solution, and add that same amount of milk to the soap at trace. For example, reduce your water by 1 ounce, and add 1 ounce milk at trace. You can mix water and milk in whatever proporation you like (e.g. 50-50), or you can use only milk as your liquid. It is advisable to make either of these as cold as possible to prevent the lye from scorching the milk. You can freeze it until it is very slushy and then add the lye to it, stirring constantly until it's liquid again and the lye is dissoved. Or you can completely freeze it, then break it into chunks, and add the lye to the chunks, again stirring constantly. I've got a bookmark for the frozen milk method. It was developed for goat milk, but can be used with any milk. Let me know if you want it.

Most anything else would be added at trace, either adding directly into the soap, or by mixing it into a small amount of soap, then stirring it back into the pot. Whatever you add, be sure to incorporate it fully.

When it comes to getting ingredients, you don't have to be limited by what's available in your local area. There are many suppliers available online, and they carry a wide range of ingredients, from oils to butters to fragrance and essential oils to additives. I buy very little of my supplies locally because I can get better prices from my suppliers, and I also tend to buy bulk as much as I can.

Again, if you'd like bookmarks for suppliers, information sites, or lye calculators, just let me know and I'll post them. Feel free to ask whatever question you like. If you need help with a recipe, I'll help with that too.

Hope I've answered some of your questions with this.

Carol
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 08-06-2002, 12:00 PM
DragonsPearls's Avatar
Member
FamilyCorner Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Birmingham AL
Posts: 28
Quote:
Why do you have to put Lye in your soap?
Soap cannot be made without lye. Soap is created through the chemical reaction that occurs when oils or fats, water and lye are mixed. A very simplistic explanation is that this chemical reaction forms what are called sodium salts, and these salts bind together to produce what we call soap.

If you don't want to work with lye, but want to make soap, there are alternative methods. One is what is called Melt & Pour soadcrafting (think Primal Elements type of soap). With this, you take a ready-made base of glycerin soap, melt it, then color and/or fragrance it, and then pour into molds. What you can do with M&P is only limited by your imagination and budget. It's where I started with soapmaking, and I think it's a very creative medium to work with. I don't work with it much anymore because of my chemical sensitivities, but I still look at various things that could used as molds or embeds and start getting ideas. There are plenty of suppliers of M&P ingredients, accessories, etc online. Ask if you'd like some sites.

Another alternative is to buy ready-made soap base or soap noodles that are specially made to do what is commonly called "rebatch". It's very similar in method to M&P, yet different because you are working with a cold-process, from scratch soap base rather than a glycerin soap base. Again, you melt it, color it, fragrance it, add whatever extras you want, then pour into molds. I can give you a few suppliers who carry this type of soap base.

Both types of soap bases are made using lye, but the lye is fully saponified and no longer present in its original form, and therefore is of no danger to you. These are two different types of soap. They will look different, and they will act different. Most soap created for rebatch is all natural, and most (not all but most) M&P soap bases contain chemicals.

You can get started with M&P with supplies available at most craft stores. You'll pay more for these than you would with most online suppliers, but it's a way to try it and see if you like it, and want to continue with it, without making a large investment.

Hope this helps, and if you'd like websites for either type of soapbase, just ask.

Carol
Reply With Quote
 
Reply

Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
World card making Day Holiday Bilby Crafty Corner 14 03-27-2009 08:41 PM
Bethesda Sunscreen Soap ajrsmom Product Reviews & Announcements 3 09-16-2008 08:27 PM
How do you make a clean cut piece of soap? beckri Crafty Corner 4 10-25-2004 05:12 AM
I need ideas for foods that grow well in containers. Houston-Mom Vegetables & Fruits 12 03-02-2003 09:40 AM



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:36 AM.


Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.

POPULAR AREAS OF FAMILYCORNER.COM

Our Family FunBook is packed full of ideas from parents just like you!

Our members say that they have never found a friendlier message board community than ours!

Our kid's craft section is filled with easy ideas for creative little minds.

We have tons of free printable coloring pages to keep your little ones happy.

We offer a wide variety of free newsletters delivered right to your inbox.

Our Household Hints & Tips have a wealth of information on cleaning, organizing, and more!
Go to the funbook Go to forums Go to kid's crafts Go to printables Go to newsletters Go to Hints & Tips

Home || Newsletters || Advertising || Terms of Use || Privacy || Services || Submissions || Contact Us || Media Opportunities || Link To Us || Shop || Feedback || Staff || e-Cards || Reminder Service



FamilyCorner.com® is sponsored in part by...




Visit our friends --> MomsMenu | Main Street Mom | She Knows | Baby University | Personal Fitness Zone | iChef.com

Copyright Notice | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use/Disclaimer