Monday, December 9, 2019

Handmade Soap For Gifts.

Soap, Soap Bars, Handmade, Cake MouldOften times, I"ll make bars of soap to give everyone at Christmas because it is easy and it is something people use. Soap can be the usual squarish shape or it can be something like the soap cupcakes in the picture for today's column.

The other thing about making soap is you have your choice to make it completely from scratch or save time by buying the bases and customizing the mixtures to create fancy bars of soap.

I admit, I tend to begin with the bases because I do not want to work with lye.  I'm scared of lye but I know people who regularly make their own soap from scratch.  I'll be talking about making soap both ways so you can choose the method you are more comfortable with.

First is the method I use.  I pop into Hancocks,  Michaels, Jo-ann's, Hobby Lobby, or other store that stocks all sorts of craft items.  I look for the bars of soap base designed to be melted and poured into molds.  So here are the steps to using these.

Soap using the purchased base.
1. Cut the base into small pieces and place in a microwavable container.
2. Cover the container with plastic wrap
3.  Place in the microwave and heat for one minute. Take it out and stir the mixture.  If it is not melted, cover and microwave again for no more than a minute.  Repeat until the mixture is completely liquid.
4. Add in the essential oil at a 0.4 ounce to one pound of soap ratio.
5. Add the soap safe colorant by the drop.
6. This is where you would add the oatmeal, lavender, cinnamon bits, etc.  Don't add too much.
7. Stir carefully til mixed and pour into the soap molds.
8. Let cool for several hours till ready.

Second, there is the cold pressed soap.  This is the one you might think of when you decide to make your own soap from scratch.  Most people now use oils rather than tallow or lard because they are so much easier to find. The ratio of the oils changes depending what you want the final product to be but you can use certain basic recipes with minor changes.

This is also the method you need to have a scale because it's all done in ounces or pounds.  Your ingredient weights need to be accurate.  The area needs to be properly ventilated.  You also need to use safety glasses and rubber gloves.

There are a couple of ratios for oils that one can use.  First is a 34/33/33 or 34 percent olive oil, 33 percent coconut oil, or 33 percent palm oil. The other possibility is 30/30/30/10.  The 30 precents are for coconut oil, palm oil, and coconut oil with the last 10 percent being sweet almond oil, mango butter, shea butter, or rice oil or a mix.

This website has an easy to use lye calculator so you can input the types of oils, amount of final product, and it tells you how much lye and water you need for the mixture.  It is easy to use.  If you plan to make your own soap from scratch it is recommended you use a lye calculator to make sure all the proportions are correct.

For the 30/30/30/10 recipe you need:
5 oz mango butter
15 oz olive oil
15 oz coconut oil
15 oz palm oil
7.19 oz lye
16.08 oz water

Before starting, make sure you have everything out and have all the oils weighted.  Use your safety glasses and gloves through the whole process.

1. Measure the lye carefully.
2.  Add the lye slowly to the water, never the other way around. Make sure there is a lot of air circulation.
3. Stir the lye mixture carefully and slowly unto the lye is dissolved.
4. Let the lye mixture cool.
5. Measure and heat any solid oils until totally melted.
6. Add liquid oils to the melted solid oils and stir together.
7. When both the oil mixture and the lye mixtures have cooled to about 100 to 110 degrees F, slowly pour the lye mixture into the oil mixture until it begins to thicken.
8.  Add the fragrance and color at this point.
9.  When totally mixed, pour into molds and let set for a couple of days to solidify.
10. Cut into bars and let set for a couple more weeks to age it properly.
11.  Wrap the bars and you are done.

Be sure to use the lye calculator for cold pressed soaps because it allows you to calculate the amount of lye needed for any mixture of oils you have around.  There are other lye calculators out there but this one is fairly easy to use.

I would also suggest you read up more on making cold pressed soaps from different websites to see if they have a recipe you'd prefer to make.

I love making soap for Christmas because it is one gift everyone can use. My sister-in-laws put the handmade soap in their guest bathrooms.  Let me know what you think because I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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