I've wanted to make soap for 20 years, I mean the using lye and making sure you don't go blind sorta soap. I had books about it over the years, but whenever I had strong desire I usually lived in a place it wasn't practical to do it in. Recently I had some motivation in the form of needing to entertain my sister by making things with her when shes over next weekend, and *boom* plans were made.
|freshly poured soap|
The smart thing to do was to make a sample batch so I know what I'm doing and can make it look easy when my sister makes soap with me.
Let's just say it was a good idea, since it didn't run as smoothly as I wanted. I made it outside due to the lye fumes and three kitties running around, and kept forgetting things inside. This sample batch is citrus scented with loofah and poppyseed for exfoliation, and tumeric for color.
Bramble Berry, which is a few hours north in Bellingham, WA. Their prices were comparable to a number of places I looked at (I'd say the only area lacking is a variety of soap molds). They also have a soap blog with lots of recipes and techniques called Soap Queen. I really appreciate the well written articles and information on the site.
I wont use the soap until it's cured for at least 4 weeks, so I can't give a review on how it turned out yet, but I learned a lot and will apply it for the future, hopefully resulting in better looking bars. I haven't done a price breakdown so I'm not sure if this is efficient or just a fun hobby. My recipe after the break.
Resources: There are a lot but this soap making forum is great, and was enough to convince me I could make my own wood mold really easily and save money
I used this lye calculator to get the amount of lye, fragrance, and add ins like color
1ST BATCH - CITRUS
12 oz coconut oil
20 oz olive oil (10 pomace, 10 pure - pure from Costco, which has a good rep for soap making)
14 oz palm oil
1 oz castor oil
2 oz cocoa butter, tempered
49 oz oil
The recipe makes a 5% superfat soap (which if anybody reading this is curious about the different % and what they do/mean, Google!)
6.92 oz lye
18.2 oz H2O (using 12.2 oz filtered/distilled orange spice tea, 6 oz aloe vera juice)
2.3 oz essential oils (neroli, sweet orange, lemon, lemongrass)
0.8 oz oxide/pigments
a combination of tumeric infused into 1 oz of the pure olive oil from above