Coming into this project I had no idea how to make homemade soap, but I was eager to learn and ended up having a blast learning from online resources. I quickly discovered that there are 3 different ways one can approach making homemade soap: the cold-process, the hot-process, and the melt-and-pour process. I was interested in learning about all 3 methods, but decided that I would focus on the melt-and-pour process for my project. I chose the melt-and-pour process so that I would have time to be successful in soapmaking but also be allowed to be creative in this process over the length of one semester. I did do some research on the other methods. If anyone is interested in trying the cold-process this is a great site, and this is a great site for the hot-process. I am definitely interested in learning these processes when I have some more free time!
YouTube was my primary source for learning how to make melt-and-pour soap, but I also used several websites and Pinterest’s soapmaking page. While most websites and YouTube videos gave me relatively the same information, I found the below video to be particularly helpful.
Over the semester I managed to make 29 bars of soap! I didn’t find the process of soapmaking to be too difficult, so I took extra time exploring how I could be creative in my soap and make it unique. Now I am definitely not saying that I didn’t have any failures! The first time I tried to layer soap it turned out more black than beautifully multi-colored like I had hoped. I also struggled when trying to take my soap out of its moulds for the first time, but after some research discovered that leaving the moulds in the fridge to harden not only allows the soap to harden faster but also makes it easier to pop them out. Throughout the semester I added many things to my soap to make it decorative such as glitter and beads, but I also added things such as oatmeal and coffee beans to add an exfoliating texture. Below are some photos of my final creations!
I really appreciated those who posted information or videos about soapmaking on the internet as it guided and made my learning a lot easier. Like many other things in ECMP 355 this helped me realize the importance of sharing knowledge with others. I had a lot of fun making soap using the melt-and-pour process and encourage any beginners with questions to contact me either here on my blog or on Twitter (@Kelsey_Parent) as I am more than happy to share my new knowledge. Inspired by those who were willing to share their knowledge with me, I decided to make a video breaking down homemade soapmaking (using the melt-and-pour process) into 10 simple steps. This can be seen below. Enjoy!
Although I didn’t have time to make soap last week, I did spend some time researching it on the internet. I am using the melt and pour method, as it is the easiest and least time-consuming, but I mentioned in an earlier post that there are two other methods of soapmaking: the cold process and the hot process. For those that are interested in trying the cold process I would definitely recommend this site. It contains step by step directions as well as pictures to go along with each step. It is perfect for beginners! I plan on trying the cold process after I feel I have progressed as far as I can with the melt and pour method; however, it will likely be after this semester is over when I have more time on my hands.
I have also started using Pinterest as a resource for my soapmaking. If one were to search “soapmaking” on Pinterest they would come up with this page. Pinterest is a great resource for those wishing to make soap because it links several soapmakers and the resources that they have found useful. By putting together a collection of resources and ideas it becomes a lot easier for a beginner soapmaker to know where to start. It also becomes easy to ask questions as you can post comments on each of the photos/links the other users provide. In this way a soapmaking community is established. I found the below photo with the rubber ducks and blue soap bottoms really cute and will definitely be giving it a try sometime!
This video shows the basics for making soap for beginners. It doesn’t show pouring it into the molds or adding decorative pieces, but I think it did a great job of explaining the first steps any soap maker needs to take. One thing I would like to note is that I am using liquid scents instead of spices as she does in the video. I don’t plan on trying spices this semester, but it is a great idea and I might just have to try it if I continue with soap making this summer! Another great tip illustrated in the video is getting a microwavable bowl with a “pour mouth” on it. This makes it much easier to pour it into the molds later and makes the job a lot cleaner.
I decided to put my soaps into the fridge before trying to pop them out of their molds this time and found that it worked great. I am definitely glad that I read that tip! I simply placed them in the fridge overnight and they basically fell out of the molds in the morning. Much less hassle! I also experimented with layering colors and decided that although it worked I will likely try to pick two colors that contrast each other more next time. As you can see in the picture below, the orange and pink in the one soap are very similar in color. I also found that if you don’t wait for the soap to harden long enough before adding the next layer of color, the two colors will just mix together as you can see in the bluish-black soap. Check out the pics below!
I found a great video that describes the melt and pour process pretty well. Check it out here! The only thing they leave out is adding the fragrance, which is done at the same time as when you add the colouring. I think that adding fragrance really adds to the final product and would recommend it to other soap makers. One tip that I found particularly helpful in this video was putting the soap in the fridge so that it is easier to take them out of the molds. I had trouble getting some of my soap out of the mold last time so am definitely going to try this method.
This time I decided that I was going to experiment with colour and texture. I filled some of the molds up halfway, let them harden, and then filled them up the rest of the way with another color. I also added sparkles and beads for decoration. In the soap that I left clear I added some regular oatmeal to add an exfoliating texture. They are still hardening but check out the pics below to see where I’m at. More to come!
So last night I finally attempted making soap for the first time. It was definitely a new experience! I used this website to guide me, but as the “ingredients” or products that I was using weren’t exactly the same I had to experiment a little bit. I had difficulty getting the glycerin out of the tub initially so I just scrapped it off of the top of the block. After a little more effort I was able to get the entire 10lb block of glycerin out of the tub so that I could just cut off the portion that I wanted and this was much easier! The only benefit I can see from scraping it off the top is that the pieces are thinner so it would likely take less time to melt in the microwave. Cutting off a piece approximately the same size as the bar of soap you want to make is much quicker! Once I had my desired amount of glycerin removed from the 10lb block I placed it in a microwavable container and microwaved it on high for 40 seconds. It was not completely melted after this so I gave it a stir and kept putting it back in for 10 second intervals until it was completely melted.
This is where the fun part starts! I decided that I would make apple soap so I added green food coloring and an apple fragrance that I picked up at Michael’s craft store. I pretty much just guessed how much to put and kept adding the drops until I had my desired fragrance and color. I then poured the mixture into the molds and added silver glitter to three of the bars to give them a more decorative look. Check out the pics below!
So this past week I have been spending time researching the different methods to make soap and discovered that there are three processes. These are the: Hot Process, Cold Process, and the Melt and Pour Process. I discovered fairly quickly that the Melt and Pour Process is the easiest, so I have decided that for my project I will stick to this method. By choosing this method I will have more of an opportunity to get creative with the colors, scents, and textures/decorations that I combine. I will likely continue to look into the other methods just so I keep learning about the process but it won’t be my main focus. From the research I have done one of the main things that I have concluded is that I want my soap to be chemical free. It’s crazy how much is really in there!
My next move was to get my supplies. There are several different things that you can use when making soap, but the basics are: glycerin, essential oil, colouring, and molds. I was able to get everything I needed except for the coloring at the craft store Michaels. To cut costs I am using food coloring instead of special soap coloring. I asked my sister who has made soap before and she said that it works just as well so I am willing to give it a shot! I was really impressed with Michael’s assortment of scents and molds and am excited to see how my first batch will turn out!
So now a little help from you guys. You can basically add anything you want to the soap to make it decorative (because it will be partially clear) and I am trying to think of some unique things to add to my soap. So far I have thought of the following: coffee beans, oatmeal (exfoliating?), and beads. Can you think of any other cool things I could add?
At Christmas a few years ago, my sister surprised us each with a little bag of different homemade soaps. I have always thought this was really cool and would like to give it a try. I know that the process can be somewhat complicated so I am curious to see what those on the web will have to say to help me out. As I know nothing about making homemade soap, this could be an interesting endeavor! I am hoping that once I have mastered the basics I will be able to get more creative with colors and textures. I started by just looking around on the web for ingredients and different processes, and what I found was a little bit overwhelming. It seems as though there are several different methods and ingredients that you can use to make your own soap, so before I go buy anything I am going to continue to read through them and pick what I think will work the best for me. So help me out. Has anyone out there ever made homemade soap before? What ingredients did you use or avoid? I’m hoping my soap will look something like the soap in the picture I found below, but am both excited and worried about the adventure I have ahead of me!