Have you ever tried soapmaking before? This hobby is a delight for the senses, what with the various fragrances, mica powders, and skin-loving, natural ingredients involved.
It can be a lovely source of aromatherapy and relaxation. It's also quite practical – after all, who doesn't have a use for a fancy, homemade soap bar?
First off, making soap is fun! It's a tactile activity that really engages the attention; enjoy the wafting scents and silky texture as you stir.
It's also super-satisfying to end up with your own, custom soap bar.
When it comes to hygiene, soap is obviously a staple. Having a consistent supply of quality soap can do wonders for your skin and encourage your kids to wash their hands - with a soap they proudly made on their own.
The best homemade soap bars, crafted with natural ingredients, can be used in soap dishes as well as in the shower.
While it can be immensely enjoyable, soapmaking takes time and care. As gifts, this can make them all the more meaningful and even sought-after.
You can't find homemade soap just anywhere, and it's unlikely to be as well-crafted in stores as it is when it's lovingly in your home (and people know this).
Arguably the best part of soap-making is the smell. When you make soap at home, it will smell heavenly, and the colorful concoction you're stirring will look like nothing so much as a magical brew.
In fact, you can use extra pleasant and natural fragrances in your soap in order to indulge in some healthy and relaxing aromatherapy.
Enjoy the heady scents of wild apples, lavender, oatmeal and honey, fresh-picked rose... whatever suits your fancy.
And of course, enjoy them again each time you use your luxurious soap bar.
It may come as a surprise to you, since kids really don't seem to be big fans of baths, but kids really seem to enjoy making soap.
The colors and smells can appeal to young ones greatly, as can taking part in what seems to be a very important activity.
After all, they're making useful, quality soap bars to use themselves (hurray), gift, and show off.
Once you’ve made a few practice batches, you may have soap good enough to sell. What’s more, there’s a definite market for homemade soap. You’ve just got to stand out, both in quality, and creativity.
Think of some unique, intriguing soap names, looks, and fragrances, or attempt some cool twists on classics (mint-and-chocolate scented ‘asphalt pie,’ rather than just your basic ‘peach pie,’ for example).
The best place to sell soap is online, through platforms that support local shops, like Esty or eBay!
There are two primary types of soapmaking: soap that's made from scratch, and melt-and-pour soap.
Both types can be of much higher quality than what you'd buy at the store since you can ensure the ingredients and fragrances are always gentle and skin friendly.
Some even go as far as to include some truly high-end ingredients, such as goat milk!
That depends, are you making soap from scratch, or opting for melt-and-pour?
If you’re a beginner at soapmaking, you’ll probably want to start with a 1 to 2-foot long, horizontal soap mold. You can cut soap bars out individually from this ‘soap loaf.’
There are also leaf-shaped molds, animals, circle-shapes, heart-shapes… you name, and you can probably find a soap mold for it somewhere. This gives you room for endless creativity!
From scratch, soap should be largely made up of ultra-skin-nourishing moisturizers, including shea butter, humanely sourced palm oil, almond oil, avocado oil, and beeswax.
Shea butter is rich in fatty acids and has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe the skin. Almond oil is not only moisturizing but also antibacterial. Beeswax will hydrate the skin by acting as a natural humectant, which means it literally attracts water to your skin, as well as by creating a protective layer.
When you use soap made from ingredients like this, you’ll be infusing your skin with moisture and nutrients, even as the soap cleanses germs and grime away!
You will need to use great caution with this ingredient. Lye is extremely toxic and acts as an acid on some surfaces, including the skin. Because it eats into things, it is also exceedingly hard to clean off.
When using lye, you will need to wear gloves and a mask, and a heat-proof container, and a heat-proof spoon or whisk with which to stir.
Since lye is almost always used in soap made from scratch, the finished bars will need a couple of weeks to cure.
Then, they're perfectly safe to use even on sensitive areas like the face - yet they will get rid of harmful bacteria like no other.
A fragrance can make or break a soap bar. An unpleasant and abrasive scent is hardly appealing, is it?
The best soap makers pick their fragrances with care, with attention to the season, whether or not holidays are coming up, the rating and reviews of potential scents, natural and quality ingredients, that sort of thing.
You should also know that fragrances containing certain ingredients can affect your soap’s texture and color. For example, fragrances containing vanilla may turn white soap tan or brown and cause it to thicken faster.
You can color your soap with a variety of mediums, but the best are powder pigments or mica powder. These are nice and fine and will mix with a smooth and even color.
There are pigments and powders in just about every shade of the rainbow, and mica powders shimmer!
Once your soap has been poured into molds, you can quickly pop on some fun toppings and decorations before it begins to harden. Some common toppings are cinnamon-stick straws, oatmeal, leftover soap drizzled like frosting, cherries made of soap, and dried lavender.
Some melt-and-pour kits come with fragrances of their own. You’ll want to double-check that these are gentle on the skin. Or simply opt to buy some separate, top-quality fragrances yourself. With melt-and-pour soap, the fragrance ingredients won’t typically affect the texture or color.
You can find a melt-and-pour soap block at your local craft store or online. These usually come odorless and clear.
Every soap bar is formed in a mold. The most practical mold is long and horizontal, about ½ a foot to 1 foot in length. This will allow you to slice out soap bars from a soap loaf.
There are also singular molds of every shape and form imaginable, including classic shapes, natural forms, and designs that are quite fanciful (unicorns, fairies, cherubs, you name it).
You can match your soap’s fragrance and color. A pumpkin orange or rustic brown for a pumpkin spice fragrance, or a pink and green swirl for apple blossom, for example.
Many craft stores and online sites also offer melt-and-pour soap kits, with many of the ingredients included for you, like fragrances, molds, pigments, etc. With a kit, soapmaking couldn’t be more affordable, or easier.
After patiently waiting for your soap to cure, you can finally place it proudly in your soap dishes and shower.
Enjoy a soft, creamy, skin-loving soap, give it away as heartfelt gifts, or sell the custom soap bars you are the proudest of.
So, what do you think? Are you a fan of fragrant scents and beautiful colors and decorations, not to mention healthier skin?
Perhaps soapmaking is the hobby for you, and you’d enjoy having homemade soap bars to use, gift, and sell.
All that you need to get started are a few key supplies, some enthusiasm, some inspiration, and a bit of know-how!