Maybe I am weird, but I absolutely LOVE making soap. It is one of those crafting projects where I can completely zone out and create something lovely. Now I am not here to give you tutorials of how to make soap. For that, I defer to the experts. If you are working for an internet expert and, in my opinion, THE expert, please see The Soap Queen. She is amazing and will give you video tutorials on everything you need to know from melt and pour to cold process from beginner to expert. She also has great tutorials for bath bombs, bath salts and all sorts of fun stuff. She even sells all sorts of soap making supplies that she stands by as far as quality goes. She has been doing this much longer than I have and she has convinced me that I can do it. Honestly, I have her to thank for giving me a hobby that I love.
Right now, due to my asthma, I do not mess with lye so cold process is out for me. I simply do melt and pour and I experiment with lots of types of melt and pour soap bases and scents. I have a ton of fun with this very simple process and the creativity it gives me. Colors, molds, and lots of scents and colors and types of soaps. My family are my testers and I truly enjoy it. It gives me time to zone out from the craziness of my life and just make something pretty. Mine are incredibly simple and do not have mixed colors but my family and friends still love them and I sell them for enough that I can support my hobby. What else could I want?
I have learned a couple of things that I think may help the very novice soap maker about saving some money when buying supplies. For instance, the supplies at craft stores, especially big box stores are usually pretty expensive. I melt my soap in the microwave in a big pyrex pourable glass dish that I got at Goodwill for $1. I love it. It cleans up very easily and I can pop it in the dishwasher if I am especially lazy. The silicone molds are easy to find on sale. I have found fun molds on sale at Target, Walmart, and I have found some of my best molds for great prices on sale from third party sellers or vendors on Amazon. I just search “soap making” or “silicone soap molds” and you will find a ton. You can also find fun single molds on sale as well. Take note, some of those are from overseas and can take a while to get. They are good quality, and a good price so I don’t mind waiting for them. I have a cat, owl, flowers, and I scored dolphin ones. It has been fun. Being a nurse I am heavy into hand washing. So I make a lot of fun soaps for my friends and clients to help encourage kids to wash their hands and sell them for a very low price or give them way to clients that buy my stuff.
The most economical and best quality melt and pour soap bases I have been able to find have been online through third party sellers on Amazon as well. The reason why I like going through Amazon is because I have Amazon Prime and I can often save on shipping or pay nothing at all. Just please make sure you fill out the product and customer service evaluations. Their small businesses survive off of those! I have tried lots of them and I cannot say anyone is worse or better. I simply go back and forth and try and spread my business out among the companies. Also, it depends on how much soap I want to make. Some places will sell their soap in 2 pound blocks and others sell them in five pound blocks. You just need to pay attention so you can get the best price. I have bought goats milk glycerin soap base, shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, honey, and oatmeal. I have had fun offering different kinds to my customers. They often like the variety.
Scents and coloring I have had the same luck. One note of caution: If you plan to sell your soaps, make sure if you buy a scent, make sure you do not tout it as essential oil unless it really is. With the regular scents, you have to use much more to get your soaps to have a scent. With essential oils, they are specially prepared (and should say how on the bottle) and you have to use much, much less. Also, you might be using a tincture instead of an essential oil. Please make sure you clarify. Those of the essential oil community are very passionate about what they do and you must make sure you identify the difference.
Essential oils are also touted for their therapeutic properties. I have bought and used essential oils for my soap and I can really tell the difference, especially with the lavender soap. If you ever get the chance to look at the healing properties of herbs, I highly recommend it. I plan to blog on that at a later time. They truly have wonderful healing properties – for instance, tea tree oil or rosemary is a great substitution for those who do not like the chemicals in antibacterial soap. Both have natural antiseptic properties.
Below are just a few pictures of my first attempt at soap making. I wanted to show you how easy it is to have a great product right from the start. You can make them more and more complicated as you get better and feel more comfortable. I am currently growing my own lavender and rosemary. I am going to wrap a fresh sprig with each bar for Christmas gifts. If I get more adventurous, I will let you know.