Thursday, February 14, 2013

Before you start making soap

Research, research, research
I've decided to start my soap making adventure by learning how to make a cold process soap. Along the way, some friends have asked me for a tutorial and although I don't think of myself as someone who is ready to write tutorials just yet, I started this blog as a diary where I describe my soap making experience in plain words and hopefully - some might find it useful. In this first post, I will try and point out a couple of things you need to do and buy before you start making your own soaps.

If you're like me, you have probably done lots and lots of reading on the subject of soap making before deciding you want to give it a try. When I say a lot, I mean months and months of searching the internet, watching video tutorials for everything from soap making basics to soap wrapping ideas. Finally, my husband told me: When will you start making it already?
That got me going. Now I just had to:

Find a simple recipe for beginers. I've decided to start with the Cold Process and chose this recipe.

There are a lots of good resources out there for us soap enthusiasts which explain the basics, 
but my personal favorite is Soap Making Essentials. They have easy to follow recipes, such as this one and it's a really good place to start.

Purchase or gather your equipment for soap making 

Since you'll be working with lye you must take safety measures such as wearing long sleeves and apron to protect your skin and clothes from exposure to lye. Other than that, you'll be needing the following equipment: 

-protective gloves              

-protective goggles  
-mask (optional)

-candy thermometer (some recommend
 having two of them, one for lye and
 the other for oils, but I just wipe my
 thermometer with a paper towel between

-pyrex bowl or mason jar (for water
 and lye solution)

-plastic or stainless steel spoon you will
 use for lye

-digital scale (I bought mine for 15 eur)

-hand blender

-whisk or a wooden/plastic spoon

-plastic bowl or stainless steel pot for your oils

-small bowl for measuring the lye powder

-couple of plastic bowls you might use for mixing different colors into your soap once it reaches trace

-mold - you can use a carton box, tupperware, cake mold or even a Pringles box (more about it in another post)

-baking paper for lining the molds

-paper towels for cleaning

Notice:  store the utencils you'll be using for soap making separately and don't use them for anything else.

Purchase the soap making supplies, such as lye, distilled water, oils, butters, fragrances, essential oils etc. 

No need to spend too much in the beginning, make it simple. If you want to color your first soap, you can use some stuff you already have in your kitchen, such as red pepper (peach color), curry (yellow), cocoa (brown) etc. Also, instead of using fragrance and essential oils, you can use vanilla, cinnamon or cocoa which all give a nice discrete aroma.

Chose working space for soap making carefully, making sure it's well aired and has enough room for all your supplies and equipment. 

Protect your working surface with newspapers, plastic membrane or old towels and gather all of your supplies and equipment on it. Make sure you have paper towels at hand, you'll be needing them, a lot.

Finally, take your recipe and start measuring. It's time to make your first batch of soap! 


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  2. Yes, I too have done lot of research before making soaps. Now a days various books, tutorials are available on net which describes to make soap.
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