Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Soap 101

This is my latest obsession! I discovered handmade soap at the Renaissance Faire this year. I never expecte to go ga-ga over it, but once I tried it, I was hooked! I had two failed experiences, but this is my first success. So what's in it you ask? An exra virgin olive oil with a little bit of coconut oil for added hardness. Its considered a castile soap and will be very mild on the skin. I did add half an ounce of a masculine fragrance oil so my hubby would try it, but that's it. There's no additives or detergents, besides the Sodium Hydroxide that kickstarts the chemical reaction turning the oils into soap. After the oils have saponified, there is only soap, no lye. (Which I doublechecked using a lye calculator)

There were air bubbles in this batch, but that's probably because I stirred too long. I am new at recognizing the stages. It was the consistency of thick pudding when I put it in the mold. Each time I make soap, I learn a little more and perfect the skills.

From reading on the internet, I built my own mold. This makes a loaf that made about ten bars. The ends come off to aid in removing the loaf from the mold. It cost less than $3 to build, and I borrowed the tools from my hubby's garage. Oh yeah, it's also lined with wax paper to ease the release.

The first step is to liquify the oils, so I heat them up the allow it to cool to a little more than room temperature. Close to the same temperature of the lye solution.Which may have cooled by now. The pan I bought specifically for my soap making project so I wouldn't contaminate my food cooking utensils. Cost less than $6 at a thrift store.

This is today's project, and look how simple it is! Most of these ingredients you can get locally, at your grocery store and hardware store. I picked up the lye crystals (Sodium Hydroxide) at Ace Hardware for $3.99.

This baar will be 100% vegetable bar of soap, with no animal fats or byproducts. Now tell me that's not fun?

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