Making your own soap is a great hobby and can become a rewarding career. You might be looking for a more natural alternative to commercial soap or looking for a new creative adventure. You don’t need to be a chemist to make beautiful soaps at home. Let’s talk about the soap making supplies you’ll need to get started.
Soap Making Supplies
Finding all the right soap making supplies can seem overwhelming at first, but you don’t need much to get started. The items are easy to find and inexpensive. The basic ingredients in any soap bar are lye, liquid, and oil (such as olive oil). Some people like to add fragrances and colorants. Vegans can substitute animal fat with palm or coconut oil. You can easily find soap making supplies in local craft stores, health food stores, and online stores.
Pre-Made Soap Base
Pre-made soap bases are available to purchase at specialty stores or online stores. While many of these bases are made with natural ingredients, they’re already fully saponified, so you don’t have to deal with alkali salts or toxin fumes that come from handling lye. These bases come in various scents and qualities, so choose one that meets your needs. After melting the base, you will mix it with essential oils and other natural ingredients such as herbs, flowers, and berries.
Lye is the acidic ingredient that makes soap saponify and harden. Lye (sodium hydroxide) is made of strong chemicals and must be mixed with liquid and handled with care. It’s vital to use heatproof gloves when working with it and always have a vinegar solution on hand in case of spills. Lye is naturally a white powder, but you can also buy it in flakes or pellets that dissolve quickly in water. You should never use lye without distilled water or some other pure liquid form to bind with the lye.
These soap making supplies make up the bulk of your soap, giving it its texture and consistency. They also provide the soap with its moisturizing qualities. When making vegan soaps, saponified oils are commonly made from vegetable oil or animal fat but can also include coconut oil or palm oil.
Distilled water contains no minerals or chemicals that can interfere with mixing lye and oil. Many experts recommend using pure rainwater to make soap. Most tap water has too many minerals and other contaminants to use safely. The amount of water varies greatly depending on what soap you’re making. Handmade soap is usually softer than store-bought soap and should contain less water.
Essential Oils and Natural Ingredients
Essential oils used for scent are concentrated extracts from plants. Use only therapeutic-grade essential oils in your soap as fragrance oils can have toxic chemicals. You can also use natural colorants such as spirulina or beetroot powder for green and pink hues. Adding a dash of peppermint oil can create something better for your skin. Crushing rose petals and mixing them with olive oil will give an herbal delight.
Assembling Your Soap-Making Supplies
Soapmaking requires specialized tools and supplies. You can purchase them at a store specializing in soap-making products. It’s also possible to find many soap-making supplies in your kitchen or around the house.
You will need a mold for curing your finished bars. After your mixture has been heated and stirred, pour it into molds where it hardens into bars of soap. If you’re just starting with soapmaking, it’s fine to go with a basic plastic mold with removable bottoms. Many shops sell silicone molds designed for soapmaking for easy removal.
Weighing Scale; Preferably Digital
You will need to measure many ingredients by weight rather than volume, so having a scale will come in handy. You’ll need to weigh the oils, water, and lye solution in certain proportions in order for the soap to set properly.
You will need a pot to melt ingredients together. Use a pot that can hold about twice as much liquid as you’ll use for your batch. Afterwards, you’ll require the extra space for mixing your lye solution.
Soapmaking involves chemicals that can be dangerous if handled improperly. Don’t skip the goggles, gloves, and long sleeves. Safety goggles (for splashing) and a face shield (for breathing protection while mixing) are preferred when making soap.
Other soap-making supplies you might need include:
- A heat source that can safely take your container to 120°F (49°C) will work
- A whisk helps mix the lye-water mixture into the oils more effectively than stirring with a spoon or fork alone
- Digital thermometer with a clip (so you can attach it to the pot)
- Stick blender or immersion blender
- Glass/heatproof plastic measuring cup
- Wooden spoon
- Rubber spatula
- Long-handled metal spoon
Before making soap, you must take some safety precautions to ensure the process goes smoothly.
- Wear gloves and protective eyewear when handling lye or other acidic ingredients
- Work in an area with adequate ventilation (preferably outside)
- Prepare your kitchen by covering surfaces with newspaper
- Cover your skin and wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty
- Use only glass or stainless steel containers for mixing lye. Plastic will melt!
Try Out Your Soap Making Skills Today
Soap making is a fun and easy craft to learn, and you can put your personal touch on it by creating unique fragrances for your soaps. You can also experiment with different soap making supplies and recipes. Look for oils, butter, and other ingredients that you think will work well together. Be sure to check the safety of the soap making supplies you plan to use before you begin making the soaps.