Soap making… that’s it?

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Christmas of 2018 has come and gone, and life has since resumed a some what normal schedule. It was crazy for a little while. The husband had an out of town trip, my son got sick, then I got sick, and work got a bit crazy. I digress. This is a blog about making soap! For the holidays, I decided that I wanted to make small token gifts to the family outside of our normal Secret Santa that we do for the adults. It makes me happy to make others happy, when possible.

I have never made soap before. I thought it would be a very labor intensive; a time consuming project. I imagined it would be like churning butter. I saw myself sitting over a large vat of a hot liquid substance, constantly stirring to keep the proportions right forever. With an image like that, I wonder why I even pursued it in the first place. I did what I usually do when dawning a new adventure, I googled. And I found that it was actually a lot less complicated than I could ever imagined it to be.

First, you buy the soap base. That’s right. You buy the soap. Its already made. Someone already sat over that large vat of hot stuff for you. Ok. ok. I know that’s not really how its done, but the hard stuff of soap making was done for you in a factory somewhere and packaged. Now, you get to do the fun stuff. You can color it the way you like, or leave it transparent. You can add scented oils, or seeds for exfoliating. You can use molds for shaping. And all of this fun stuff is available at Michael’s.

It was Christmas, so I decided I would use green for the base and I bought small apricot seeds. For the scent, I chose rosemary. I thought that would be a little nicer than something like mint for the holidays. I also bought a basic soap mold for my first try.

When I finally had some time, I followed the directions on the package and melted the soap in the microwave. I dedicated a couple of old plastic microwavable containers to the craft. Once the soap was melted down completely, I added the green coloring made for soap, then the scented oil, and the seeds. Once it was thoroughly stirred, I poured the soap mixture into the mold and allowed it to solidify. Solidification took about an hour.

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When I came back to check on the mixture I noticed all my seeds fell to the bottom of the soap. I wondered what I did wrong. I googled again and learned that the soap base that I chose was not the right kind for seeds as its too thin and will not suspend them in place.  So, on the next batch I repeated the same process, but left out the seeds.

I also noticed that even though it smelled very strong when I put the rosemary in, the soap was actually very lightly scented after it cooled. It may take a few rounds of practice to get the right level of oil into the mixture without over or under doing it.

To make the soaps a little more present like, I took red ribbon and some ready made bows and hot glued it around the soap. I put them together and made a simple presentation.

At the Christmas party, I was prepared to bring my soap back home with me after sitting it out for the taking. I thought most people would be unimpressed or over look it. To my surprise, people noticed it quite quickly. I was only left with 2. There were a few “oh! you made this?” -s and “I think I’ll have to take one” -s . I was thrilled that I did something that made a few people happy and to be able to bring a bar back home for myself to use. Success!

I have since learned that there are much more complicated recipes for those who want to really get into soap making. I rather like the “template”, if you will. Its not something I am interested in getting into depth in, but I’d definitely enjoy this simple process anytime I feel the need to be creative, but not have a lot of time.

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What has your experience been with soap making? Are you new to it? Did you have a complete success or did you learn what not to do again? Share your story in the comments!

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