Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hand Made Soap

Hand Made Soap

You can learn about more about soap making on soapcalc.net. You can also go to this sight and come up with your own recipes using different oils. Another good spot for recipes is thesage.com. Basic soap is a combination of oil, water, and lye. You can’t make soap without lye. Lye causes the chemical reaction that turns the fat into soap.

In this instruction set you will find a basic recipe for soap using ingredients you have on hand or that you can purchase at a grocery store. Lye can usually be purchased at a hardware store. I have found it at C&S. Make sure you buy 100 percent lye. It will be in the plumbing department next to the drain openers. You can find fragrance oil at Super Walmart next to the candle making supplies. I found these fragrances work great but be aware that any vanilla scent will turn your soap brown, which is okay if you want brown soap. You can find colorants at Michael’s in the soap making section. All of these items can also be purchased on line at thesage.com or southernsoapers.com.

Along with the recipe ingredients, you will need to gather some basic soap making equipment. You will need a basic scale to weigh out the oils, lye, and water. You will need a small plastic pail for the water/lye mixture. You will need some newspaper to line all of your work surfaces. You will need some rubber gloves and safety goggles to protect your hands and eyes from the lye. You will need a plastic pail that you can put in the microwave to melt the oils. You will need an instant read thermometer to measure the temperature of your oils and your lye water. You will need a hand blender to mix the oil and lye water. You will need a spoon and a rubber spatula. You will need some molds for your soap. The mold can be as easy as a Velveeta box lined with parchment paper or a silicone pan.

Ingredient                              Ounces

Water                                     24.32

Lye - NaOH                            9.245

# √ Oil/Fat                %           Ounces


Crisco                     50%            32


Milk Fat (Butter)    37.5 %         24


Coconut              12.5%             8

The first step is to line your work area with newspaper. You should even line the sink. Put on your goggles and gloves. Weigh out the water. You can use ice as part of the water. This helps the temperature to cool to the correct temperature more quickly. Put your water pail in the sink. Weigh out the lye. Add the lye to the water and stir. Step away from the lye/water. You can take off the goggles and gloves for a time. Weigh out the oils and put them in the plastic microwavable pail.

Put the oils in the microwave just until everything is melted.

At this point you need to take the temperature of the lye/water and the oil. Wait until the temperature is between 110-120 degrees F for both the lye/water and the oils to proceed to the next step. This is important! If the temperature is too high your soap will turn into an oily mess! Believe me, I have made a few too many oily messes before I discovered this.

Put on your gloves and goggles. When the oil and lye/water are at the right temperature add the lye water to the oil pail. Use a hand-held blender to stir this mixture. When the pioneers did this step it would take several hours to get the soap blended. With the miracle of a handheld blender this step only takes about 3 or 4 minutes. Blend the mixture until it becomes the thickness of a thin pudding or gravy. This is called trace. Add 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of fragrance oil and incorporate with the hand-held blender. Add any colorant, incorporating with the blender. Carefully pour the soap into the molds. Clean up is pretty easy because you have just made soap. Use plenty of warm water.

Wait for 24 hours before you cut the soap. Allow the soap to dry for 3 weeks before you use it. It needs some time to complete its chemical processes and to dry out.

So, what happens if you have a big oily mess? Don’t panic. Just wait a few hours and take the oily mess out of molds . Use a mixer and mix it up just like whipping up mashed potatoes. If the soap is too thick put it in the microwave for a few minutes. Put the soap back in the molds and bake it in the oven at 200 degrees for a couple of hours. Take it out of the oven and let it sit over night. Cut the soap the next day. You can use this soap 2 or 3 days after it is cut because the oven processing has speeded up the chemical process. I’ve never made a soap mistake that I could not redeem by this method.

After you learn to make basic soap you can get artistic! Good Luck.

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