I am obsessed with soap. I think other soapers on the forums say they are addicts. It does seem like that's what I am. I think about it, read about it, talk about it, and now I'm writing about it. I do want to make sure that this "good thing" doesn't take the place of Jesus. I'm afraid that at the moment it may be. I'm hoping that documenting a little of my journey will get some of it out of my system. I'm also hoping that it will encourage those of you who are afraid to start, who think they will make too many mistakes, to get soaping. I will be honest about my mistakes so you can see that if I can do, it, you can do it!
In the winter of 2014 I decided to start making soap. But I didn't have the courage to start with what I called "real soap". I decided to try again with the type of soap making called Melt and Pour. The type that my daughters and I had made when they were little. I got a book and found out there is a lot more to it than what the girls and I did all those years ago. All kinds of fragrances, essential oils, molds, and techniques. I was ready to get started. But my daughter, Emily, was the one who really started me on the process. For Christmas (without me asking) she gave me a block of shea butter base and a 6 cavity mold. Now I really had to begin!
My first soap was an Earth Bar from a book by Marie Browning. I used some pre-made white base. After Christmas I had sent for an essential oil sampler from Brambleberry as well as an "amazing dozen" sampler from Majestic Mountain Sage. I also ordered some colorant from Brambleberry and sample blocks of melt and pour. It was a great deal. Lots of different bases to try for $20. I wasn't ready to waste the shea butter base that Emily had gotten me just yet.
Getting ready to make my first soap.
I don't remember if the book called for it, but I added some dried parsley, oat bran and a sprinkle of cinnamon to that first bar. (I'm sure it did as I can't believe I would have been adventurous on my first attempt.) I started to pour it and ugh, there were unmelted white pieces in it. I tried to re-melt but the soap I'd poured in the molds had already started to set up. Then I poured fragrance oil on the counter. And not a scent that I particularly liked. I was using patchouli, sandalwood and fir. I tried spraying the soap in the mold with alcohol to get rid of bubbles but they had already set up. This was not going well for my first soap bar!
Those are some ugly bubbles! But fortunately the top was nice and smooth and much better than the bottom.
My second try was simpler. A Butter Bar. Also from Marie Browning's book. Not really made with butter but it looked like it. It was supposed to have had a butter maple scent but I couldn't find any so I used a vanilla fragrance oil. I was so proud of those first bars! They were a beautiful creamy yellow. I think I was as proud as Tom Hanks was in the movie Castaway when he first made fire. I sent pictures to my husband at work, I emailed my kids and my friends. I danced around the kitchen beating my chest! (no, not really)
I HAD MADE SOAP!