I was inspired to so some herbal oil infusions this week. I did a couple of small infusions of natural colorants…and the others were just nice herbs to make soap with. Whether you infuse calendula petals or lavender…eucalyptus, patchouli, or sage, it’s a lovely way to add some extra herbal goodness to your soaps (both liquid and bar), lotions, bath oils, massage bars and even bath bombs. It just takes some oil, some herbs and some heat.
George Doyle / Getty Images
Great idea Shelly – you get yummy yogurt and soap molds at the same time!
I’ve seen those containers. They’re short and round, but taper a little from the top to the base, so you’re not going to be able to use the standard “height X length X width” formula. You’re going to need to use the “water method” – which calculates the total volume of the mold using water – I cover it in methods of calculating the volume of a soap mold. I happened to have one of those containers handy, so I went ahead and calculated the volume and the recipe that would go into 10 of them. Here are my results.
Check out previous questions I’ve answered in the Mailbag Monday Archive.
Did you know that you can use liquids other than water to make soap? Tea, juice, milk, wine, infusions, even beer. A cup of tea for the soap…a cup of tea for the soap maker. It takes some extra steps, and requires some extra caution, but you can make some wonderful soaps!
Photo credit: Steve Wisbauer / Getty Images
Monica Rodriguez / Getty Images
I’m not sure what is aligning in the universe of late…but this past week, 4 different people have come up to me and said, “I want to learn to make soap – what do I need to get started?”
The lucky news is, it’s really very easy to get started making soap – you probably have most of the equipment you need in your kitchen – and can get the rest at your local thrift or discount store.
Now just because it’s easy to get started, doesn’t mean that there aren’t some important things you need to know. So be sure you know the Top Things You Need to Know to Get Started Making Soap.
I remember the sweet, tangy and creamy mix of orange and vanilla Popsicles when I was a kid. As I was thinking about summertime soap projects, I imagined a melt and pour soap inspired by those treats. It has a white “ice cream” core – surrounded by a sweet orange layer that I created an essential oil blend of orange, benzoin and litsea for. It smells just like a creamsicle…and makes me smile every morning in the shower!
So in a “what’s in my shower this week” report – I got out one of the last remaining bars of this batch of oatmeal/goat’s milk soap. After unmolding, it continued to turn an even deeper brown due to the vanilla-containing fragrance oil. The oatmeal gives a wonderful light scrub. Much gentler than other natural exfoliants. This week, I’m getting back into the soap kitchen with two “food-inspired” batches – one cold process and the other melt and pour. Stay tuned!
Hopefully you remember the story of the Lovin Soap Project which has been traveling to Haiti to teach women in tent villages how to make soap – and through it, transform their lives. Amanda Gail and Benjamin Aaron are back in Haiti today, working with the women of the OFEDA tent camp. Talk of body care products was weighed down with heavy news that the women are going to be evicted from the land the camp is on. So not only are they losing their homes, but the community they have built.
There are still glimmers of hope, however strained it may be. As Benjamin wrote to me today, “Soapmaking and bodycare production are the vehicle in which positive and fruitful change will come to pass. Under the circumstances of today’s events, which aren’t anything we can really grasp, they showed up. The women we teach have complete faith in the process, in themselves and us. They know they will be successful.”
Take a minute to read the whole story at the Lovin Soap Project website. You can learn more about the project and how to lend your support.
May and June are great months for soap and candle conferences!
In addition to the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild’s conference, the Tennessee Soap and Candle gathering is also in May. It’s an annual gathering of soapmakers and candlemakers from Tennessee and the Southeast region, and this year’s lineup features some of the best and brightest teachers and soap/candle making personalities in the country including Amanda Griffin, Benjamin Aaron, Kayla Fioravanti, Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Marla Bosworth and more.
June 13-14 is the Lone Star Soap & Toiletries Seminar, deep in the heart of Texas and will feature the wonderful Elin Criswell, Stacy Durham, Theresa Mendez, Pat Potter, and Kathy White. Also in June is the Alabama Soap & Candle Association’s gathering featuring Lela Barker, Kenna Cote, and several other great speakers. I’ve been to both the Texas and Alabama gatherings and they are truly wonderful!
A “gathering” is a truly marvelous place to share ideas, share tips, visit vendors and see in-person demonstrations. If you have not been to one you are really missing out! If there’s not one in your area…create one. It just takes a few (two or more?) soap makers in a kitchen or recreation center to make a gathering. It just take a gathering to make a basket full of great soap and candle making memories!
Photo: Trinette Reed / Getty Images
Spring is here…at least here in the Northern Hemisphere. That usually means more working around the house and yard. So, whether for your own use, or for gifts, it’s great to have some “household” soaps on hand. About this time of year, I’ll make up some batches of Household Soap Combo soaps. Whether it’s my gardening soap or my super scrubby pumice soap, they’re fun to make, make great gifts, and do a great job cleaning up dirty hands. They also make delightful, useful, housewarming presents. And…if you don’t have time for cold process soap to cure, you can use melt and pour soap base and have it ready tonight!
You may have started out just making old fashioned plain white soap. Or you may have started using color from the beginning. Over the past couple of years, the art of marbling or swirling color into soap has become a real passion and a real art form among soap makers. Here is a collection of tutorials, resources and videos to get you started making marvelous swirls in your own soap.