So, I finally was able to squeeze in a quick soap-making adventure. Of course, I love this hobby/craft, but its on the bottom of the priority list. Make it happen, right?
Since, I was short on time, and tired...I made a small batch that I knew would trace and cook fast...and it did.
Ingredients: Vegetable shortening, coconut oil, beeswax, lye, distilled water, honey.
Here's a picture of all the stuff you need:
(this picture was taken prior to starting the Castile Soap, but still gives you the idea)
*Distilled water. This is debated among soapmakers. However, the more experience you get, the more you will realize how the difference in water can make your soap. If you can collect fresh rainwater, this is great for your soap. I like to use the purist I can get, which is distilled for me. I would think the lye would kill all the buggies and germies anyways, but I haven't researched it enough to know....so spend the $0.83 at WalMart and get a gallon of distilled. :)
*crock pot - size will determine how many pounds you are making. I have a large one and a small one :)
* glass or plastic measuring bowls/cups
*a seperate designated measuring cup for lye (mine is marked with black marker) and a designated measuring and mixing pitcher for the water (remember your lye will be mixing in this, so glass or dishwasher safe plastic only)
*an accurate scale
*a mold to put your soap in. I use an ice bin that is dishwasher safe, but even plastic storage containers could work or shoe boxes. I would advise with CPHP to oil the mold. Some people use mineral oil because it can't be saponified, but personally I use coconut oil. If using wood or shoe boxes, parchment or freezer paper will work just fine to line the mold.
*lye safety materials: apple cider vinegar to neutralize a spill, gloves, and goggles
*stick blender (optional, but makes life much easier in soapmaking!)
First, caution about Lye. It is caustic and you will find horror stories regarding people messing with it. Always, always, always, treat it with respect. I do not mix lye around my children or have it within reach. When I'm not using it, it is stored, locked away from reach. This container has a child-safety type cap on it. Lye can be hard to find locally, most people have to order from the internet and before having it shipped to you, you have to fill out a special form, usually. Fortunately, I can get mine locally from Lowe's in the drain cleaning section. IT MUST SAY 100% LYE. Do NOT use Draino for soapmaking, it has other metals in it, and you're asking for trouble. I can usually get 2 lbs. for around $14.00. I know it's cheaper on the internet but 1) shipping is expensive, so it adds to the same price anyways 2) I don't have to wait for a shipment when I buy locally 3) I don't have to fill out a form. Always, pour the lye into your liquid, NEVER the other way around. If you do, you will be sorry with a dangerous mess on your hands. So just remember that, and don't test that one out! :) Here's a picture (and use a glass or plastic container to mix you lye solution, not aluminum...I also use a wooden spoon)
While the lye is chillin, start weighing and melting your hard oils. Must have an accurate scale. I mostly measure in ounces. My dear husband recently got me a baker's scale, that is digital (awesome!), tares (double awesome!), and measures in %, Gm, ounces and pounds. With soapmaking, everything must be weighed accurately.
Melted oils together:
Now I have my crockpot (smaller one, since this is a small batch) in the sink and I gave it a few stirs to finish melting the rest of the oils. I put it in the sink, in case I have a spillage. If you are able to plug it in and cook your soap in the sink like this, that would be good because occassionally, soap will volcano while cooking, and this is no fun to clean up because the lye is still caustic.
Pouring lye solution:
See how quickly it changed color and started getting thick?
Put the crock on low and cook:
Let it stand til its completely cool. I like to let mine sit overnight, if I think I can cut it the next day :) Just check on it.
Now start soaping! :)