Friday, March 11, 2011

Learning about Soap Making in Modern Times

I have continued reading and learning through books and the internet about soap-making,  yesterday I also got 3 of the 5 books I had on hold from the library.  One is "Soap and Candle Making for Dummies", which I started reading last night, then realized they don't even talk about making regular soap using lye.  They just talk about the melt and pour method, and buying soap, melting it and coloring and scenting it.  Not the book I was looking for.

The second is  "The complete Idiots guide to soap making".  I haven't begun reading it, but have purused it this morning, and it talks about all the processes, including hot and cold methods, and gives all the basic instructions for making soap. this one has a lot of useful information I can tell.  The third book that came in is "Making Scented Soap", it really goes into detail about all the different essential oils. 

The most informative website has been Kathy Miller's site  It has soap making recipes, her favorites recipes, how she makes, cures and packages her soap, plus what she's learned in 30 years of soap-making.  Experience teaches all the lessons, why not learn from someone who's been doing it for this many years.

Here are a few of the modern times soap making tips I've learned about.  In the old days the lard from pigs and tallow from beef was used on the farms for candle and soap-making by the women.  Now we can go online or to stores and buy things like palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil, sunflower oil, and basically any vegetable oil that I want to put in the soap.  Any good vegetable oil can saponify.  So here's my new plan,  I'll start with these oils, palm, coconut, olive, castor, and cocoa butter.   I decided to make all vegetable soaps after reading more on soapmaking, about the many different oils, and how they affect things like; the feel on skin, moisturizing, cleansing ability, smell, and hardness when dry.  I also want to try additives like goats milk, honey, oatmeal and bran.

After learning more about soap-making, I am now planning to do large batches of soap, poured into molds made out of wood, Some will be large rectangular, and a couple long rectangular ones.  You line the wooden boxes with freezer paper, let the soap cure for 48 hours, take out of the mold (easily with freezer paper as a liner) then cut into bars, cure for 3 to 4 weeks, then it's ready to use.   I will also be making larger batches of soap, and at the trace point with add any natural colors, essential oils, or fragrances.  I also want to try swirling a couple colors together, and will get a paddle mixer.  A paddle mixer is a small hand held mixer you can make a smoothie with in a glass.  I see them at Goodwill all the time.  They were a real popular gift several years ago.  This is supposedy one of the revolutionary things in Kathi Miller's modern soapmaking techniques, it helps blend all the ingredients quickly, and she claims it has really helped her soap texture be nicer all the way around.

My husband Jarin  loves the fact that I'm making soap, so he said he'd make me some soap boxes today.  I showed him several designs this morning, along with measurements.  When he's done, I'll share a picture of them.  Tomorrow I'm hoping to make soap, and will document the new process.  I sure wish I would have found some of this information sooner.

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