Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Getting Soapy

I found myself in a crafting mood today, and wound up at a local crafters' paradise, Bargain Bill's.  This store has 2000 square feet dedicated to All Things Craft.  They also have a year-round Christmas section, but I managed to avoid wandering in there.

Of course, with that much of a crafty selection it can be hard to weed out some of the choices.  I opted to not do painted wood objects, or gather up more yarn, or some kind of foam letter project.  I didn't want to do scrapbooking, and beading wasn't quite where I was at....and then I found it. 

Soap making.

Now there's a project that I've actually been wanting to do for a while, although the actual making of the soap base makes me nervous still.  I was pretty sure that the melt and pour stuff wouldn't eat my skin off (as an inadvertent mishap with lye in the mix might), and it would let me play around with things like coloring, essential oils, and "additives".  Ooooh.  Things you can mix in to make your soap prettier.  That's what I'm about!

I swear, this is soap making for idiots, it's so easy.  I love it!  Sometimes, it is just nice to have an instant gratification project to pull out and play with.  Essentially, you start with a big block of soap base (I chose an olive oil based soap) that you cut into individual cubes:

Then, you put the cubes in a pyrex bowl and microwave, stirring occasionally, until it is all melted and smooth and very, very hot.  That's when you get to add fun things like color, scented oils, and other stuff.  I amassed a little collection for my starter kit.

Not pictured is the tub of oatmeal I pulled out of the pantry.  I do love a soap with oatmeal in it!

Anyway, once you've mixed everything in, you pour your soap into a handy dandy mold:

I can hear you all thinking, Hey, isn't that a tin bread loaf mold?  Yes, yes it is.  There were some smidgy little cute molds for quite a few dollars, but all I wanted was a loaf that I could slice into bars.  I decided that tinfoil bread pans would be perfect for the job.  Lo and behold, they make a great mold that is easy to turn the hardened soap out of.  After 20 minutes or so, this is what you wind up with:

Tah dah.

With my handy kitchen knife, it is easy as pie to slice into bars:

This batch is Tangerine & Lychee, with oatmeal and granulated orange peel.

I love this one!  Red Currant & Thyme scent, with oatmeal.  Plus, it's pink.  Whoo!

I am working on a third batch now, which is Sandalwood with cinnamon and oatmeal mixed in.  It smells really, really good--but it did wind up kind of brown in color.  Still, it should be fun to scrub up with!

Not bad for a first try at soap making.  It really was simple and fun to do.  Now, to muster up my courage to make my own soap from scratch....well, maybe I'll stick with this for a while!

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