Friday, November 21, 2008

Adventures in Soap Making

People, I made soap!

Okay, well, I sorta made soap. I guess what I really did is turn some lovely handmade cold process soap base into scented stuff. But I made soap... that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Of course I had to photo log my journey. What kind of blogger would I be if I did not?

First I had to measure off one pound of the goat milk soap base and cut it into chunks. For a really dry soap, grating is best, but this soap was still pretty fresh and soft, so I took my chances and cut it into chunks.

Then I dumped it into a pot. Now, melting the base on direct heat like this was not one of the recommended methods of rebatching it. However, I don't have a double boiler, did not want to use the microwave, or take hours melting it in the oven. So, I decided to take my chances. Because me taking my chances in the kitchen?

That always works out well.

Next I measured and added 1/4 cup milk, added it to the pot and turned the heat on low. While it got to cookin', I decided to measure out my essential oils to try to get a good combo of scents going. I decided to try a mixture of cedarwood and sage based on a soap I bought off of Etsy for Dustin. He loved it. Any handmade soap that excites my husband is a good soap in my book because then he looks at me just a liiiittle less strangely when I go and spend our entire life savings on it.

I decided to throw in just a tiny hint of lime because I'm obsessed with citrus. Just a tiny bit though. You have to be careful wth citrus oils. Actually you have to be careful with all of the oils.

Let me take the time to add a healthy warning here. Essential oils can be good and wonderful and they can be dangerous. Don't go adding them all willy nilly to things. In fact, don't play around with them at all unless you know what you're doing. I don't know what I'm doing, so I really should not be within 100 meters of them. However, I did look them up on my supplier's website to get the safe and recommended 1-lb soap amounts for each of the oils. Hopefully our skin will remain on our bodies and we will not melt when we step out into the sunlight.

Let me also throw in another warning here. Don't use your food stuffs for your soap stuffs. Once essential oils, fragrance oils, or colorants touch any of your food stuffs they can no longer be food stuffs. I bought a cheap set of pans, spoons, and measuring items to be used only for soap.

Ok, enough of the scary stuffs.

By this time I saw that it was not melting very fast.


So I turned up the heat to medium low.

That worked.


That is what I called the rice krispie phase. Because a couple weeks ago we made rice krispie treats and the melting soap looked a lot like melting marshmellows.

Another warning: melting soap is not melting marshmellows. Don't eat it. Even though it's goat's milk and oil.

Then it hit the tapioca pudding phase, which I failed to capture. Sorry. I was too afraid you'd eat it.

Next comes the vanilla puddin' phase. Ahhh, vanilla puddin'.

See? Aint she purdy?

This is where you stir in the extra stuffs. Essential oils, fragrance oils, colorants, seeds, herbs, small critters...

I just chose the cedarwood, sage, and lime essential oils. I decided to keep it all natural. No pretty colors needed. It was a nice creamy vanilla puddin' already. Who needs, like, purple? I wanted to add some kind of exfoliant but I didn't know if what I had on hand would work so I skipped that.

It was time to pour it into the mold. Now, I must have misunderstood the mold description when I bought it because I thought it made a 16 oz bar in each of the cavities. However, I quickly found that there was no way the entire 16 oz was going to fit into one cavity. Apparently it makes two 8 oz bars of soap. Oookay.

I had to let it cool off, then popped it into the freezer to harden it long enough to get it out of the mold. Once it softened up again, I cut it into weird sized bars.


Now we have 8 2oz bars of cedarwood sage soap with a twist. It smells delightfully spicy with just a little refreshing zing! in the background. Love it.

We're supposed to wait a few to several weeks for it to fully harden and be ready to use. However, I confess that I took the tiniest bit of it and used it on my hands. It lathers like a dream.

I have four more pounds of soap base left and several scents from which to choose. Next time I'm doing something girly. Once I use all the base, I want to buy my own oils and lye and make some completely from scratch.

You know me. I'm clumsy. Doesn't seem like such a wise idea?

Pray for me.

And don't eat my soap. It just looks like white fudge.


Kim said...

Wow!!! Nice looking soap!!

Heidi @ GGIP said...

YAy! I have always kindof wanted to try my hand at soap making. I'm sure i could do it because I was a chemist and chemistry is what makes soap. But anyhow, I have never tried, but man, what a great christmas gift that would make!

Looks like tons of fun to me. I bet it smells wonderful!

The Rock Chick said...

Oh the scent sounds great! I saw Mike Rowe make soap on Dirty jobs once and although it wasn't the greatest of segments, I've always wanted to give it a try since I saw that!

Were the ingredients expensive?

Shannon said...

So cool! I've wanted to do this for a while. I love soap too, but not as much as you :)

Chris the Crazy Conservative said...

Once again, cool pictures. I really like all the bokeh you have going on here. I might be interested in giving your soap a try.... after Dustin uses it and survives!

Angie said...

That soap making process looks really cool. Now if you ever make a full size lemongrass soap or one of those soaps that work for tough cleaning, for grease on hands and stuff, I'm all over that and would be happy to buy them from you!

Dustin said...

You really need to fill me in on these things before I read about them on your blog. I REALLY thought that vanilla pudding and white fudge tasted awful the other day, but didn't have the heart to say anything so I just kept on eating it...and now I find out it was all SOAP???

Just kidding of course :)

You did fail to mention, however, that the plastic cup you used for the essential oils was more of a cup shaped funnel by the time you were done...

So yeah...heed the essential oils warnings!

Stacy said...

Those are some nice looking soaps- I'd love to try goats milk soap! I have a friend who made soaps and lotions for Christmas gifts one year. She told me that poppyseeds, oatmeal run through a blender, and white sugar will all make good exfoliants.
If you don't have a double boiler, get a cheap glass or metal bowl that will fit somewhat inside of the one you're boiling water in. Voila! Makeshift double boiler!

movie buff said...

how does it actually work?

Jessica Morris said...

I am impressed! It looks great :)
I think I am going to try in the spring.
By that time you'll be a pro and I can ask you all sorts of questions.

Crystal said...

Jessica/Rock Chick - the ingredients were a little cheaper than buying handmade soap. Of course, it WAS handmade soap base (from, so, yeah. You can get cheap soap bases from other places, but I don't know how good they are. You know me, I'm into crunchy natural handmade stuff. :)

Angie - give it a shot! I don't think I'd ever be interested in selling soap. Too much liability. :) There are, however, some FABULOUS soapers on Etsy that sell their fabulous soaps. I recommend you check them out!

Dustin was right - yes, the oils did break down the plastic in the little cup I used to mix them. That was... interesting. lol

Stacy - that's what I do when I need to melt chocolate or something. I didn't want to sacrifice one of my precious glass bowls for soap though. I might buy one in the future for that purpose.

movie buff - the soap? As far as I can tell, it works great! :)

Nicole said...

I don't care what you say. I am going to eat your soap! Kudos to youdos! I want a piece!