Making soap is like a unique art form that can be as versatile as you want it to be. From different oils to different scents, you have full control of your soaps. There’s a couple of methods to soap making, we’ll be sharing a traditional from scratch method called ‘cold process’. This method is one of the oldest and most common that includes a mix of oils and lye. Even though is fun to make, you need to follow a couple of safety measures. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 16 oz of olive oil and or coconut oil
- 3.7 oz of distilled water
- 3 tablespoons of essential oils for fragrance (optional)
- 2.05 oz of lye: now, this is an ingredient that can be a little intimidating due to it’s potential to burn the skin. It is very important that you use gloves and goggles to ensure that you’re not getting this touch your skin. Lye can be a dangerous substance if not use properly.
Tools and equipment:
- Safety gloves
- Safety goggles
- Soap mold
- Kitchen scale
- Measuring cups
- Hand blender
- 2 glass pitcher or heat proof container to mix the ingredients
1. Lye solution
Place your container on the kitchen scale and zero out the weight. You want to mix your water with the lye very carefully using your safety gloves and goggles in a well ventilated area. This solution will steam up! Mix with a spatula until the lye is completely dissolved keeping your face away from the fumes. After this, cool it down using a basin of water until it reaches around 100°F.
2. Blending it all
The olive oil and lye must be around the same temperature, therefore warm up the olive oil to match the lye solution. Pour the lye and olive oil into a container and mix together using a hand stick blender. You will need the mix to reach ‘trace’ which is a term used by soap makers to define when the mix is done blending. This is when the liquid will look more opaque and leaves a “trace” when you pull out the blender, having a custard-like consistency. You can now add your essential oils and blend one more time.
3. Almost done
At this point you want to add your mix to a soap mold of your choice. Leave it uncovered on room temperature for 48 hours. This is when you need patience, curing soap can take anywhere from two weeks to a month for the saponification to complete and fully dry. During this time all the water will evaporate from the soap, after the 48 hours you can remove it from the soap mold with gloves on. To finish curing it, place it in a book shelve or anywhere away from direct sunlight. If you don’t wait until the soap bars are harden all the way, they can disintegrate quickly or may still contain small amounts of lye. For olive oil soap, a full month is recommended.
That’s it! Even though soap making can be a little time consuming. It feels insanely gratifying to create your own soap and experiment with scents and different oils, plus they make a great gift. Happy soap making!