Creating your own homemade soap can be fun, cost-effective, and an excellent way to promote environmental habits. Homemade soap can offer whatever scents you want, and you never need to run out if you have the right supplies at hand. Those supplies, however, may take a little extra work to find if you are just starting out. Before you begin, check your household stock and make a note of everything you need for your new hobby. Remember to include essentials like:
1. Plant Oils and Lye: For the common cold-pressed soapmaking process, a large amount of olive oil (occasionally replaced by similar plant oils) is required, in addition to pure water and lye. These are the “primary” ingredients that you must combine and carefully heat in order to produce soap. Two important notes: First, the plant oil should not be high-grade. Low-grade materials have some extra pulp and materials that will help the soap bind together more easily. Second, lye is extremely caustic and must be handled carefully. Take the necessary precautions.
2. Essential Oils: Essential oils give the soap color and scent. Lavender, rosemary, fruits of all kinds…there are many, many kinds of essential oils to choose from. Pick out your favorites from your local natural foods store. To make your soap more interesting, you should also consider also adding in real bits of the herbs you are using to add scent.
3. Protective Equipment: Remember how caustic lye is? Protective equipment is an important addition to your soapmaking kit, and this refers to much more than just an apron. Buy a pair of work goggles, some thick rubber gloves, and clothes that both protective you and can be sacrificed for the cause if necessary. You may also want to buy protective coverings for your counters and bowls and cups specifically for soapmaking, although the ingredients can usually be cleaned off tough materials.
4. Scales: Invest in a set of scales that takes very precise measurements if you do not already have a set available. Measure the exact amount of lye, water, and oil is vital to produce a soap ratio that will yield proper results without falling apart on your or reaching an unpleasant texture.
5. Quick-Read Thermometers: In addition to weight, the temperature of your soap project is another vital part of the process. You need to have a way to quickly take and read temperatures as you heat the ingredients to time the soapmaking process correctly and follow the steps at the right moment. Choose a high-quality thermometer you can rely on for easy readings.
6. Elbow Grease: You know what soap needs? Plenty of stirring. Prepare to use a heavy-duty spoon and stir for long periods of time. In this way soapmaking is a little like churning butter or preparing paint. You need both patience and the stamina to properly mix the ingredients over the course of a few hours. If you do not have the necessary strength, you will need to invest in a proper mixture.
7. The Soap Mold: What shape will your soap be when it is ready to set? Pick out some handy soap molds to complete your project.
8. Wrapping: Many people make soaps to sell or give as gifts. If you plan on using soap for these common purposes, then buy some classy wrapping to properly store them. For cold-pressed soaps, decorative papers or sections of thin cloth are used to store the soaps when they come out of the mold.
Paul James is professional blogger that shares information on do-it-yourself projects. He writes for ChemistryStore.com, the leading supplier of soap making supplies and cosmetic ingredients.