Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Adventures in Soap Making

Winter days are short. Without flowers, gardens, and sunshine they can become dreary. We've had a series of overcast days recently. Until yesterday, the sun hadn't been seen for weeks. It's at times like this that it is helpful to try doing something new and different.

So, we decided to make soap. We've made some kinds of soaps before using the French mill process and glycerin gel soaps. But, this was our first attempt at making soaps the old-fashioned way.

Ingredients like pumice powder, ground walnut shells, and bamboo extract were carefully measured into a small bowl.

A programmable computer chart helped us decide percentages of butters and oils to put into the mix. Avocado butter, rice bran oil, coconut butter, olive oil, and caster oil were some we selected from. Each has its own quality and fragrance.

The kitchen was given the respect of a chemistry lab when the sodium hydroxide lye came out. Goggles, rubber gloves, lots of ventilation, and a large bucket were helpful tools in keeping us safe when we used this helpful product.

The soap mold was carefully prepared. Oils were heated to just the right temperature. Liquid and lye were carefully mixed together and then carefully added to the oils. Stirring and the addition of fragrance and cosmetic aids were added.

Everything was timed and calculated with care. Our first batch was a very masculine soap, but one that is an exotic "designer" soap to be sure! Pumice powder and activated charcoal were key ingredients to the "stone-like" bars of soap.

The second batch of soap involved the development of a special recipe for "black tea soap". It smells heavenly! Containing lots of real tea, a blend of special oils, and a special crock-pot method for soap mixing, it turned out perfectly and smells good enough to eat (oh, I mean to drink, of course).

The soaps are curing now. When they are ready, I'll try to remember to post a picture for you to see.


  1. Cool! I've made lye soap once - it's fun and hard! Hope your soap turns out fantastic!

  2. Oh, my, La Tea Dah. Now that's something I've never done. Would like to smell some of them! My favorite liquid soap is orange honey from Trader Joe's. Heavenly. Susan

  3. Very nice! I can't wait to hear more about the finished product and see pictures. What a fun project!

  4. I've always wanted to try making soap so it was interesting to read your post. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product.

  5. My son and daughter in law had a soap making business 10 years ago but like so many young businesses - they had to lay that aside for better jobs. The smell in their work cottage was wonderful! Looks like you made some wonderful soaps!

  6. Sounds like fun! Looking forward to photos of the finished product.

  7. I would love to make soap but no way could I find the ingredients in this country. Looks like it was quite a process but I bet the end result is so worth it. Best wishes, Tammy

  8. Such a lovely blog-so enjoyed the soap making tutorial-new follower!


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