Handmade soaps can be costly in most stores, but if you're craving that money texture and earthy feel, why not make your own soaps right at home? Soap making is a fun craft and also a great gift idea. The possibilities are literally endless. Here are some preparation techniques:
- Melt and Pour- This is a simple way to make soap. All you have to do is buy the soap batches , melt them, add fragrance and color, and then pour them into a mold . There aren't any technical skills required for this method and once in the mold all that's left to do is wait for the soap to harden. The problem with this method is that it leaves your creative edge out. Like baking a cake out of a box, you are basically making someone else's recipe with this melt and pour scheme. If you want to truly create your own soaps from scratch, you might want to try doing it a different way.
- Rebatching- This is similar to the melt and pour method. To rebatch your own soaps, melt down all sorts of soaps that you gather up and mix them with milk, water, or any other ingredient, and hten pour. It's an easy and inexpensive technique, but again, you lose some of your creative edge.
For both of the above techniques, you will need some basic equipment. A microwave is a great tool for melting the melt and pour soap base or the soap that you plan to use in your rebatch can be put in a covered microwaveable bowl on high for 1 minute. Otherwise, you can use a stove and a double boiler for the same melting effects. Store the wax inside the boiler and wait for the water to get hot. Then set it down to low and wait for the wax to liquify. You'll also need some essential oils or fragrance oil and some dye or coloring.
There are a plethora of soap molds on the market today, available in materials like plastic , wood, metal, and silicone. The molds come in all sorts of shapes like flowers, animals, sporting equipment, and more. Be choosy when you are picking sizes. Smaller soaps tend to be prettier and more dainty, but they are not as practical. Think about what you are going to be doing with your soaps before you settle on a specific mold. Interestingly, soap and candle molds are foten interchangeable, so consider taking up two hobbies at once!
When buying wooden molds be sure to look out for ones that slide. That way, it is much easier to dislodge the soap once it has hardened. Wooden molds are ideal for making three dimensional shapes. Another way to get the 3-D look is to use a two sided mold. Plastics and Silicone molds are very easy to remove hardened soap from-just make sure that they dishwasher safe for easy clean-up. Avoid using easily breakable molds like those made out of ceramic or glass-they are not worth it.
There are plenty of objects lying around your house that you can use as soap-making molds, too. Some ideas:
- butter or margarine containers
- muffic tins
- plastic ice cream cups
- tin cans
- microwave safe bowls
Making Soap From Scratch
Now for the real deal-no kits or pre-made powders. Professional soap making requires patience, technique, and of course lots of creativity. There are two ways to do this. They are known as either the hot process or the cold process. Unlike melt and pour methods, these two processes allow you to create soaps for whatever purpose that you have in mind, like acne-clearing, moisturizing, exfoliating, etc. There are no limits to where you could go with this craft. However, you must remember it does not only take a few hours. Generally, you will not be able to handle the soap for a week after molding it and up to a month before using it at all. Lastly, soap contains lye, which can be dangerous. For this reason, this activity is not a good idea for kids and should be enjoyed by adults only. You'll need these items before you begin:
- In Preparation
- Melting Process
Obviously there are other ingredients that you need. Here's where additives come into play. Don't get overwhelmed, but the recipes for soap can be a little tricky. There are many recipes that you can find, all over the internet. Teachsoap.com has plenty of cool ideas and unconventional soap ideas. Many call for lye (Sodium Hydroxide) and different types of wax . If you visit the site, you can see that the necessary ingredients are all very specifically measured out in the recipes. Make sure that you have accurate measuring tools!