Ok now to the issue at hand making your own soap. For many this can seem very overwhelming since to make soap totally from scratch you will need to add lye which can be very dangerous and most don't want it in their homes due to having little ones. I can relate , I did in fact at one time make the old fashioned totally from scratch soaps. But it was bit difficult since I needed tallow , tallow is the fat from beef or any other animal ( this is melted into liquid in the soap making process). But beef works best ( little odor in the soap) , this is almost impossible to find. Most places already have contracts with other soap maker's and are unwilling to sell to a private buyer.
|Calla Lily Bath Soaps|
|Silicone Butterfly Mold|
You can make Castile soap out of Olive Oil but that to can be a pain since good grade Olive oil can be very expensive. I will add the recipe for the Castile soap below but for now we will discuss melt and pour soap bases.
I love melt and pour soaps , they are inexpensive to make and easy as well. No lye required!!! They come in white and glycerin , the glycerin is best for your skin and if you have any allergies this is the one I recommend. The glycerin is a little more expensive but not by much and just as easy to work with as the white. Most people like the white because it gives a nicer color. There are many places you can purchase these soap bases ( My personal Favorite is Florida Soap Supplies ) either online or at your local craft store. Online is cheaper most of the time , but you do usually want to buy in bulk to get any real savings. The benefit is you'll always have soap ready to make or simply cut off a piece and use at any time. I recommend reading the ingredients of any melt and pour soap base first since many people are allergic to many different things. The problem is many people don't know what the chemical names are or mean. They are easily looked up on the net or you can always request from the seller before you make your purchase as to what the ingredients really are. Or ask specific questions regarding your personal allergy. If they can't tell you , you don't want to purchase from them.
Essential Oils are the best additive if you have allergies since you know exactly what they are you will know if your allergic or not. Example being if your allergic to Oranges don't use Orange essential oil. And essential oils go a long way. Most soap suppliers carry these as well as synthetic oils of all different scents. Most colors can be achieved with simple food coloring and this is the main ingredient in my Bath Crayons. Of course Bath Crayons use much more food coloring. I will include this recipe as well , out of all the soaps I make this is by far the favorite of past customers and my 9 yr. old.
To use the melt and pour soap bases all you need is a glass measuring cup , the soap base and a micro wave as well as a few molds. Molds can be made of just about anything from old plastic containers to silicone molds anything that can stand the heat of the warm soap and can be placed in the fridge til it is ready to un-mold. Scents of your choice and anything organic you would like to add such as oatmeal or sea salt.
Cut up your soap base in the amount you would like and depending on the size of you mold/s . Now this part is how I make my melt and our soaps. place cut up soap base in micro safe measuring cup , this allows for easy pouring. Place in micro wave and set timer for 15 mins. for 1 cup of soap base. Take out , stir if needed place back in micro wave at 5 min. intervals til completely melted. Add scents , color and any other additives of your choice. Pour directly into your mold/s. Let stand for 10-15 mins. and place in fridge til firm. This can take up to 2 hrs. or more depending on the size of your mold. If you are making a loaf to cut into blocks I recommend letting it sit over night in the fridge. Once firm take your mold out of the fridge and let stand for about 5 minutes , again depending on your mold. It should slide out easily with little pressure to the bottom unless you are using a formed silicone mold , these will need to have a little pressure applied to the bottom as you lift from the sides for it to release. Once out of the mold you can keep your soaps in the fridge or let stand til the moisture from the fridge has evaporated totally , then wrap and store on a shelf. There that was easy wasn't it. ; )
It seems harder then it is once you have made a few batches it is so simple you'll wonder why you have been buying commercial soaps. As promised here is the recipe for the Castile Soap. This takes time so be prepared to give it the time it needs to set. And make very sure you measure exactly as the recipe requires. Wear rubber gloves when working with the lye and some may want to wear goggles to protect their eyes. No joke Lye is not something to be played with at all!!!!
52 Ounces Olive Oil
7 Ounces Lye
20 Ounces Cold Water
Scale to weigh
2 thermometers (glass is best , candy therms. work best)
Soap Pot / Stock pots work great , non stick is NOT recommended
Large plastic container with lid / , locking lids are great
Weigh the required amount of Lye into Pitcher ( glass or plastic). Set aside.
Using the same method measure the water into the other Pitcher. DO NOT COMBINE at this point!!!
Make sure the lye pitcher is resting on a protected surface. Carefully add the water to the lye pitcher.
Be VERY CAREFUL NOT TO SPLASH the water into the Lye!!!
After adding water to the lye stir carefully with wooden spoon. If you don't stir thoroughly the lye may cake at the bottom. Place thermometer in the mix and it will have to heat from 150 - 200 degrees.
As you check the lye solution you need to measure out your fats / oils. Once measured place fats in soap pot and heat on low med.to med. heat until it reaches 105 degrees. Remove from heat.
Double check your temps on both the lye solution and the oil. You will need to cool them off because they both need to be between 95 and 100 degrees at this point. You can Place the Lye Pitcher in some cold water to aid in the cooling.
Stirring gently with your wooden spoon add the lye solution to the oil , only by stirring in this fashion can you be sure the lye mixes with the fats / oil properly.
Continue to stir until the mixture starts to cream and or leave trailings , trailings are when you lift the spoon and you can see trails in the mixture / little lines that look like trails.
Your soap should still be warm , ladle or pour carefully into your mold. Lock lid in place and wrap the entire mold insulating materials.
Place wrapped mold in a warm area and check twice a day. To do this carefully unwrap the mold and uncover the soap. You will probably notice some oil on top of the soap. Using your wood spoon carefully stir this layer back into the soap. Then replace lid and re-wrap. Repeat this every 12 hours or until the layer of oil no longer forms.
Once finished you have Castile Soap. You can remove from your mold and cut with a knife into blocks. At this stage you might want to add color or scents in order to do this you will need to shred your soap base and add the right amount of water. Heating in a double boiler.
This requires a base recipe. Which can be found in a future Blog post. Since this will take time I will allow a few weeks before posting the recipes.
Oatmeal Melt and Pour Soap :
Melt and pour soap base , white or glycerin.
Coloring of Choice ( not recommended )
Scents ( Optional and not recommended )
Whole herbs (are ok as long as they are not astringent , grind as finely as possible)
Oatmeal soaps are primarily for skin conditions so scents and herbs are not usually recommended. I have had many requests for Oatmeal and Lavender but they will counter act each other. Lavender is astringent and can dry skin while oatmeal is a soothing agent. If you want the scent I would recommend using a synthetic scent that won't dry the skin , it doesn't take much so it isn't as harsh as you might think being a synthetic scent. Plus most are oil based which is soothing for the skin as well.
Grind Oatmeal to a fine powder either in your blender or with a mortar and pestle. Once your melt and pour base is ready following the instructions given in the blog add the oatmeal mixing completely. Pour into your mold and proceed as normal in the blog posted above.
Bath Crayons /Melt and Pour
|Christmas Train Bath Crayons|
Melt the soap base in the micro according to the instructions in the blog above. Add as much food coloring as you would like to get a nice crayon. Pour into your molds. Smaller molds work best for little fingers and they won't go crazy with them. This is easily cleaned with bleach water if you have grout that the food coloring could get into. Simply spray and wait then rinse.
|Rubber Ducky Bath Crayons|
Step By Step Melt and Pour :
|Supplies , Molds , Scents , Colors, Soap Bases , Herbs , Scale , Measuring Cup , Plastic Spoon Marked for Soap Only|
|Glycerin Soap Base , Scent and Color|
|Cut up and Micro wave 15 mins. then every 5-10 mins til melted DON'T OVERHEAT|
|Gently Stir in Color Once Melted|
|Add Scent and Herbs if You choose|
|Pour Into Mold Let Rest at least 15 Mins.|
|Place in Fridge til Firm|
|The Ducky on the left is White soap base and has been finished for this Tutorial|