Saturday Soaps

Several of my friends want me to teach them how to make soap, so I’m making a series of blogs teaching the process. I’m callings this series “Saturday Soaps.” This first post explains what supplies will be needed. My grandmother, Minnie Haskins, was a master soap maker. She taught me and I inherited her recipes. Join us, and learn to make your own soap. You’ll never want to use store-bought soap again!

Supplies Needed for Cold Process Soap Making

Cold Process Soap Making combines oils and sodium hydroxide, which produces a chemical reaction known as saponification, which heats from the inside out.

You will need a mold for your soap.  This can be a cardboard box lined with freezer paper, a traditional wooden soapbox with either a removable bottom or sides or silicone bread or soap molds.

You will need to cover your mold for the first 24 hours while your soap becomes firm.  Some contemporary molds come with lids.  However, you can use cardboard from the flaps of boxes to cover your mold.  If your mold is a cardboard box lined with freezer paper, then you can just fold the top over your soap.

An accurate kitchen scale is highly recommended for beginners.  When my grandmother taught me soap-making, she had 50 years of soap-making experience.  She made a batch of soap every other month and she used different sizes of Mason jars to measure her ingredients.  Contemporary soap recipes require the use of a kitchen scale.

Stainless steel spoon or an electric stick mixer.  You will need a small spoon to mix the lye water, and a large one if you stir your batch of soap by hand.  The alternative is an electric stick mixer, which speeds up the soap-making process.

A large bowl for mixing your soap.  The bowl will get hot so beware.  I recommend a stoneware pottery bowl or a large heat-resistant glass container with a handle.

Heat resistant glass measuring cup to measure and mix your lye water.  I use a large glass measuring cup for the lye and another to measure my water.

Assorted plastic containers to measure the fat or oil used in the soap recipe.

Old towels to cover the molds during the first 24 hours while the soap becomes firm.

Safety goggles to protect your eyes, and gloves while mixing the lye water.  Wear a long sleeve, natural fiber top, and closed-in shoes when mixing lye water.  Remove young children and pets from the process.  I make soap outside under my carport as a safety precaution.

A metal cutter or large knife to cut your soap into bars, and a potato peeler to clean up any uneven edges.

After your soap becomes firm and is cut into bars, it will need to cure for four to eight weeks.  I use a large cardboard box with needlepoint plastic sheets at the bottom.  The box flaps are what I use to cover my silicone molds.

Stay Tuned! Next Saturday, I’ll assemble my supplies and show you my set-up!


Resources

Published by Carola Jones, Artist

Indigenous Artist, Writer, Designer | Internet Techie | Pow Wow Dancer | Lover of Dyeing Cloth Especially With Indigo, Madder & Marigold | 4th Generation Hand Embroidery & Sewing Enthusiastic | Working Traveler | NC Toisnot & Mattamuskeet Tuscarora & FL Seminole | Algonquin Gullah Mixed Blood

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