Over the past few years I’ve made 35 batches of soap. Here’s why you might try:
You like DIY projects and want to learn another
You hate DIY projects but want to learn about ingredients in store-bought soap
You like cooking and baking, i.e., experimenting with endless combinations of oils, fats and additives like oats, orange peel, honey, clay and essential oils
You’re scared of lye (also found in foods like bagels and olives)
You like chemistry
To make soap, you need an acid and a base to react with one another and neutralize into a salt—that’s saponification. Soap is a salt.
The cold-process method uses lye as a base, fats and oils for acid, water and reaction heat only (no external heat). Ask your Grandma. She probably used animal-based fats like lard or tallow to make soap! I’ll teach you how to make all-vegetable soaps — without palm oil.
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Make soap in March
My blogs this month break down soap-making for beginners:
Week 1: Some background (buy or borrow a book)
Week 2: Supplies and ingredients (oils, fats and essential oils)
Week 3: The method, step-by-step
Week 4: My favourite recipes
Week 5: Troubleshooting and your questions answered!
Vegetable oils have different properties and require different amounts of lye. One type of oil might lather well but be drying. Another may produce a weak lather but create a hard bar. A third oil might clean well but make a soft bar. That’s why I like to use a combination of five to twelve different fats and oils per recipe.
What can you do this week?
And enter to win a deluxe soap-making kit donated by Voyageur Soap & Candle Company Ltd. ($79.95 value) which contains:
A four-pound wooden soap mold
Pre-measured soap kit and essential oil
Natural powdered colourant
Steel cutting blade
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green