Friday, May 2, 2008

Craft 101: Making Soap

Soap making is yet another craft that's been on my "wish I knew how" list. So I contacted my friend Jee, who is in the process of creating her own Bath & Beauty line for the lowdown...

There are apparently four different methods of making soap:

1. Melt and Pour great for beginners since it doesn't involve lye. It involves melting a soap base, adding color and fragrance and then pouring the soap into molds. It's the easiest method and fun to experiment. You can use the soap right away.

2. Cold Process – Melted fats (oils or lard) mixed with lye. Takes a lot more practice to get it just right. Takes the longest since soap needs to cure for 2-6 weeks after it's made.

3. Hot Process –
Is quicker than cold process since cure time is cut (you can use the soap after only a week) by "cooking" the soap in the pot over a stove or a crockpot.

4. Handmilled/Rebatched –
shredding homemade soap (cold or hot process) then adding "additives" such as pureed fruits or vegetables, herbs, grains, scents and colors. Hand milled soaps allow one to use all kinds of creativity in the processing of these bars. Hand milled soaps are a lot harder and hold their shape and color longer.

So I've compiled a list of recommended books, great sites with tons of clear information about soap making, easy projects and the best youtube video I could find demostrating the cold process technique. Go on... get started!

>> continue reading Craft 101: Making Soap
>> see other Craft 101 features

2 comments:

avienndha said...

A great place for soap making supplies is www.fromnaturewithlove.com

They also have a soap oil calculator on their site for mixing all types of oils for cold process to make sure you have the right %'s : ) It's pretty cool.

groovygrrl said...

May I toot my own horn? Ebooks offer the crafter the opportunity to help the environment while still learning. My beginner soapmaking book has 55 photographs--one of every single step of the Cold Process method.

Just a thought, for those who are new to the craft. Enjoy!

Amy
Author, Making Soap In Your Own Kitchen and Best Soap Recipes