Sunday, January 20, 2008

I'm a soap-maker

Yesterday morning I dragged a friend to a soap-making workshop. It was a two hour demonstration on how to make cold process soap. I've probably been researching soap-making since early December. I've read everything I could find on the Internet and in books about the soap making process. Even though I felt very prepared to dive in and make my first batch, I was really happy to have had the chance to see someone else do it before trying it for myself.

I was so excited when I got home from the demonstration yesterday. I gave Joe the dimensions of the mold that I wanted him to make for me. I had NO IDEA that he would make me the most beautiful soap mold I've ever seen. I must have told him a zillion times how beautiful it is and that he did NOT NEED to bevel the edges!!!!!!!

Anyways, here's the beautiful box he made for me.

So this morning, before the sun was even up, I gathered all my supplies together so I could try my first batch. After I did that I threw a load of laundry in the washer, changed kitty litter and did a little tidying up. I was very scared to actually start soap making.

Once I got started, it was fun!! The first thing I noticed though (and it made me a little scared) was that the lye seemed almost electrically charged and was jumping out of the container.

The process went quite smoothly. Thank goodness it's absolutely freezing here because when I needed to cool off my oil quickly, I just took the pot outside and left it there for a few minutes.

The only other mishap I had was with the stick blender. After I added the lye to the oil, at one point I think I lifted the blender a little too close to the surface and splashed the soap everywhere.

I used a recipe I found online for chocolate mint soap. I decided to get a little creative which was probably a big mistake for my first batch. I added the fragrance oil (peppermint), all the time keeping my fingers crossed that I added enough. And then I scooped out some of the mixture before I added the cocoa. I poured the mixture into the (beautiful) mold and then poured in the reserved uncoloured soap. I attempted to make swirls, but that didn't work out too well.

I covered the soap with plastic wrap and put the lid on the mold.

The mold is now wrapped in two towels and a blanket and the soap inside is hopefully "doing it's thing". I have to wait 24-48 hours before I can remove the bar from the mold. I'll do that tomorrow evening after work. Once the bar is removed, I have to cut it into 1" pieces and let the bars dry for 3-4 weeks before they can be used.

If you're interested in making soap, my advice is to educate yourself. Once you think you know what it's all about, read some more. I have been reading and asking questions for almost two months now and I was still very afraid to do it.

I have NO IDEA what I'm going to discover tomorrow evening when I get home from work and open up the mold. Now I'm scared about that. :)


Jodi said...

Okay, so do you use it to wash or do you eat it? Personally I would be into the eating part....chocolate mint...YUM!

Christy said...

Don't be scared! You know that any new craft is a learning process. I can't wait to see how your yummy soaps come out. :)

And tell Joe (again) that the mold is gorgeous! Gotta love a man who'll bevel your edges. :)

Sequana said...

I'm all set to purchase a bar of your very first batch. *S*

I hope you're gonna sell it somewhere. It's just beautiful in the mold. And the mold is AWEsome!

lera said...

Look at that fancy-schmancy mold!! You go, Joe!!!!

(Did you find a different recipe than the one I use?)

Angela said...

It sure does look great.

Sonja said...

The swirls look good to me!

Little Mysteries said...

Looks fantastic. The mold is amazing. You make it sounds so interesting. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

Katie Jean said...

wow Joe's the man! That is a great looking soap mold. John is so not handy that I think he couldn't even attempt to make such a thing.

I can't wait to see how the soap turns out. sounds yummy!

Mary Sarah said...

Whoo Hoo! You did it! I'll be waiting to hear how it turns out! The mold is fantastic!

Chara Michele said...

I am excited to see how it turns out! I have heard so much about how hard soap making is that I think I will probably never try it, I would rather just appreciate the homemade soap that others have made for me & that I have bought:)

That mold is amazing! Joe did a wonderful job on that!

Anonymous said...

wow.. you REALLY wanted to make soap today - getting up before the sun. yowzah!

Floss said...

I was really excited to read your post - soap making is something that intrigues me. Can't wait to see what it looks like when you pry it open.

Randi said...

I REALLY want to try this myself. One of my friends wants to do it with me, but we are both kind of chicken. The lye process seems a bit tricky.

Thanks for the encouragement. You made this look easy.

Fabulous box, by the way!

Felicia said...

Woo hoo!

Felicia said...

Sorry, I jumped the gun there! LOL I meant to say how totally and completely awesome it is that you've made your first batch of soap. Yippee! It looks beautiful and sounds like its going to smell heavenly.

And let me just say how attractive that soap mold is. Joe certainly is a sweetheart and outdid himself :)

groovygrrl said...

Congratulations on your first batch of soap! Your mold is beautiful. Are the ends hinged so you can slide the soap out?

If not, put it in the freezer for a little while, and hopefully it will pop out when you invert it onto the table.

For your first time, your swirls look lovely.

Always use a recipe that has proper amounts or percentages listed. Peppermint essential oil can irritate the skin if used in large proportions.

Post photos when it is finished! Hooray!

Author, _Making Soap In Your Own Kitchen_, a beginner's guide to soap making.
Find it here:

groovygrrl said...

Whoops to me. I see you used peppermint fragrance oil. No worries.


Anonymous said...

wow! your husband made that? amazing!

and soap?!? soap!