I mentioned in my Year of Projects Posts, that I was trying my hand at soap making and several readers expressed that I share my experiences. So here we are!
Firstly, I just have to say, these are my own very limited observations and thoughts, and are not intended to be comprehensive or provide a tutorial or such like.
I have now tried two methods of soap making, melt and pour and a natural soap (a more traditional soap).
Lets start with the natural soap. (I am using a kit - the Natural Soap Making Kit by Kirstie Allsopp as seen here.)
Now firstly I have to say that it is not finished yet. I went against all my knitting training and did not read through the pattern to the end first! If I had I would have found that when my soap is at the stage it is at, at the moment, it is still corrosive and needs 3/4 weeks to 'age'!! (I will come back to this later).
Now the Scientist in me is a little agitated at the lack of a definitive timescale, so I will get some pH paper from school to test it before I use it. Here it is - curing. A little rustic looking, but, I guess, that is the point.
The melt and pour base.
Now this was a whole different kettle of fish. This was so easy - you just cut up how much you want, melt it in the microwave, add colouring and pour into moulds. I will make some adjustments to my original batch however. I used too much and therefore by the time it was all melting it had formed bubbles which resulted in a white bloom to the finished soap. You can just about make it out on this photo - the top soap was the one with bubbles, the bottom soap made later without.
In summary, I want this soap for myself and gifts. In truth I think that means it will be the melt and pour base that I get more of for ease and reliability. I will however, use up the kit and will be a little more adventurous if the soaps I have here lather well.
So there you have it - my assessment of soap making!