Soapmaking is a craft more than a business. It is a hobby to many of us just like making cookies, or creating potpourri. But for some it is their livelihood. For those of us who have chosen this craft, what does it mean to you? Is it knowing that you are creating something that someone will enjoy having around their home? Or is it feeling good when you finish and know that you have made something that others will treasure?
Soapmaking can be as simple as making soap balls or as involved as making customized soaps, lotions, scrubs, bath gels and creams. There are different types of materials used in soapmaking. The most common types of materials are fats and oils, lye and vegetable oils. All soapmaking ingredients, oils and fats should always be measured and weighed.
Soapmaking can also include the use of molds in making soap. The three basic types of soap molds are; rubbermolded, thermoset and acrylic. There are four primary types of soap molds; plastic, ceramic, terra-cotta and metal.
One way to learn the art of soapmaking is by learning to mix your own lye solution. This can be as simple as mixing together one part lye and two parts water. But for those who wish to take it to the next level, a quality Soapmaking soap recipe book will contain detailed instructions on how to mix your own lye solution. A soap mold is made by pouring melted soap into a mold and then heating the mixture until it melts. Then the soap can be easily removed from the mold by carefully removing the mold’s edges.
Mixing your own soap requires a lot of skill but with a little practice, you can make beautiful bar soaps in no time. Before you start soapmaking, you must determine the essential oils that you will be using and their relative percentage in the soap. Essential oils are the fatty acids that are found in plants and are responsible for the scent of the plant as well as the color of the soap. A soap maker needs to know the percentage of each essential oil that will be used in making the soap.
In soapmaking, you will also need to purchase the necessary equipment such as a double boiler, stirring sticks, soap molds, measuring cup, and dish soap. To begin, you need to heat up the double boiler which is commonly called a hot water boiler or a boil-over. Put in two or three sets of long sleeves for boiling the water. Set the heating to the appropriate setting and place the stirring stick into the middle of the burner. Turn on the flame and wait for the soap mixture to boil.
After boiling the water, remove it from the heat and pour it into the stainless steel mixing container or a large pan to cool down to room temperature. Add the sugar or brown sugar, oil and lye and stir until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Make sure to stir constantly as hot and solid lye burns easily. The mixture is now ready to pour into the molds. You can use small capacity or large molds depending on the properties of the soap you intend to produce.
Making of homemade toilet soaps is very rewarding experience especially if you have kids at home. They will enjoy playing with your handmade soaps. Homemade soaps can also help improve your skills in creating other shapes like balls, figurines, animals, flowers, etc. But if you’re interested in producing glycerin based toilet soaps, then you can also check out the recipes at my blog. You can find lots of useful information there.