Soap making – good clean fun

November 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Who knew soap making could be such a rush?

110 101

097 107

Top left – oatmeal and clove on the bottom, orange rind and turmeric on top.
Top right – Cypress & rosemary swirled with green clay.
Bottom left – Cocoa and cinnamon shampoo bar. Unfortunately this one smells more like dog biscuits than chocolate. Oops.

Bottom right – Cardamom & bergamot and French clay.

I ought to be grovelling apologies and writing a catch up post about all the stuff that’s happened in the past few months, because there have been some major events and changes. But I won’t. Either because those things are too momentous to be flippantly bound up into words just yet, or because I am just plain old contrary. Or perhaps a little of both.

Instead I’ll tell you what I’m excited about at the moment. Soap! Doesn’t sound very exciting. I appreciate that.

Personally my main association with soap is as an uninspiring last-resort gift for someone you don’t know well enough to find something better for. Or as a slight sense of disappointment after excitedly opening a prettily wrapped present. Usually followed by a sneeze caused by the synthetic stench. (Could this be the origin of the phrase ‘not something to sneeze at’? Or is that the other bastion of last-resort gifts, the hanky?) It’s the sort of thing people regift.

But (and like mine, it’s a big but) it turns out that when you make it yourself, it’s almost as exhilarating as performing secret-garden-shed-bomb-making-alchemy! Mixing ancient ingredients like lye and tallow (not that I’ve used tallow myself), stirring til it changes form and becomes an altogether different creature. Or the slight burn as you discover that in your enthusiasm you’ve slopped some on your wrist and haven’t noticed in the blur of excitement and rush to get the stuff glopped into the form before it solidifies. The agony of suspense having to wait a day til you can pop it out of its form, chop it up and see what it looks like, and the mysterious changes in colour, texture and scent over the next few weeks as it cures.

Am I calling to you yet? No? You surprise me.

What if I attempt to lure you in with the promise of a soap-of-all-trades? One that you can use in the hand basin or the shower without drying out your skin, that you can also use to wash your hair (without stripping it of all its defenses and requiring gobs of conditioner to restore to the point of brushability), and that allows you to lather up to a sleek foam which will impress even your razor? Imagine ditching the various bottles of guff in your shower and having just a single bar of soap.. Sound appealing? It does to me.

Plus you get to heat water just by stirring in some tiny white beads of caustic soda, and there are warnings splashed all over every soap making guide about how you can accidentally make a volcano if you add the ingredients in the wrong order. Oooh! Full permission to don a lab coat and goggles, and cackle like a mad scientist!

Well, I’m still working on the perfect all-in-one bar, but when I’ve finished tinkering with recipes, I’ll get back to you.

Now I’m going to inflict it on all my friends and relations for Christmas.



Chocolate soap. I’m hoping the chocolate smell will rematerialise after curing.

I’m hoping the cocoa butter smell will rematerialise once it’s finished curing.


Entry filed under: Crafty Stuff. Tags: , , .

Increasing, aka make one This little piggy

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