Sunday, February 26, 2017

Soap Secrets Part One

 I got a nice card from Judy the other day. In it she wrote that her husband was interested in how the soap I sent her got made so since I was making soap today, I thought I would show you all once again how it's done. That's the oil and butters up there. There's a lot of different ones for different reasons. Some are for moisture, some for bubbles, some for hardness.  I weigh them all out carefully and then melt them together in the microwave.

 To a portion of the water the recipe calls for, I add the milks, oatmeal and clay and warm it up. I make up the recipes using an online calculator that does all the figuring for me. I tell it what I want to put in the soap. It tells me how much of everything I need.

 Then it's time to figure out a color scheme. You don't have to add color. It's a pain as you probably already have read here but it does make the whole thing more fun. You mix a little of the cosmetic mica with some sweet almond oil so you can mix it with the batter later.

Now it's time to get serious. I suit up and move outside with the lye.

 It's a food grade lye but it will still burn you.

 After weighing the lye out, you add it very slowly to the precise amount of distilled water that I have had waiting in the freezer. The colder the better. This mixture heats up fast.

 To cool it down, I take it back in the house and dunk the container in cold water.

 The oils and butters are melted and ready to go but...... the trick is to get them to within 10 degrees of each other. That is not an easy task.

 After fussing with the two mixtures and getting them to temperature, it's time to stick blend them together just until they look creamy.

 Time for the additives. I put it through a strainer to catch any lumps.

Time for some scent. I look up the FDA recommendations for percentage and then use about a quarter of that. Too much makes me itch and it can make your batter go wonky. Today I'm making some Tuscan Herb with Honey and also some Green Clover with Aloe. They both smell clean and fresh. They will be perfect for spring.

 I pour the batter into the cups of mica colorant and give it a quick stir. Things start moving very quickly now.

You've got to pour before it gets too thick. I've given up on being fussy with fancy swirls. I just pour the cups of color back into the main batter. One color after the other.

 The whole mess gets poured into the mold. It will make its own willy nilly design.

 What ever is left in the color cups gets scraped onto the top.

 I take a stick to it for a messy design. I am really not fussy about appearance anymore. Soap is soap. It's how it works that matters.

Having said that I have to have my glitter. It's cosmetic grade and I love the sparkle.

 There they are ready to go to bed for a few days until I can cut them.

I have to put them way up high, out of sight or I will be tempted to cut them too soon. It's so hard to wait.

Back in the kitchen I have a mess to clean up. It's not too terrible. Dawn does the trick. Dawn does it all. Fleece, soap batter, dog baths. I love it.

The soap I made today was cold process soap. I'm out of the stuff I need for the glycerin soap but I should be getting a shipment of supplies this week. Next Sunday I'll show you how this is made. It's so easy anyone can do it. Even you!


  1. Oh wow! I appreciate your soap gifts even more now! If that's possible because I really really appreciate your soap!

  2. hmmm, very interesting to read how you make your wonderful soaps (am enjoying the soap you sent me earlier), but you know-- I think I would rather buy your soaps than to try to make my own. You already know what you are doing!! ;-)

  3. Next time you make your lip balm I think we need another how to. Love this post, it makes your wonderful soap even more precious. By the way, Dawn with salt and vinegar makes a great weed killer.

  4. Wow! That looks like a difficult and almost scary process. Thank you for taking us along and showing us how it's done. And then, after all of that hard work, you're generous heart shares it all with us. Thank you Debra. I'll love your soap even more after seeing this post.

  5. You're making it very tempting... but I DO NOT need another hobby!

  6. I LOVE THE suited up shot! you are so cute and funny! Love the soap colors . I love dawn dish soap. Dawn plus vinegar is my go to !

  7. I love the way you shared your laboratory with us! I need to get some soap made-I have a lot of family coming in March and they all like to take some home with them (even if it won't be cured by then!) You do a great job making beautiful soap we all appreciate!

  8. Thanks so much for documenting the process. First, it makes me appreciate your soaps even more. So much work! And second, it has convinced me that I do not have the time for this craft. I am SO enjoying your soaps. I swear my face has never been more clear!
    Also, it took me a whole year to finish the Brickless shawl, even though it's worsted weight!