Handmade soaps are usually pretty costly when you purchase them in a store, but if you make your own at home you can save a bundle and have fun doing it at the same time! There are several different approaches to soap making
and the process can be as easy or as difficult as you want. Imagine the different ways that you can bake a cake; Betty Crocker makes things simple, but starting from scratch gives you that something special that makes your cake unique. The same holds true for making soap.
* '''Melt and Pour ''': This is a fairly simple method of soap making that consists of buying molds
. This is an inexpensive method of making customized soap that doesn't require any technical skills. Once it hardens, the soap is ready to use. Unfortunately, like all prepared kits (remember the Betty Crocker example), soap that is ready to melt and pour is already full of chemicals and ingredients that you have no control over. It kind of takes the creativity and the "I want to try something new" feeling away from the experience.
* '''Rebatching''': Basically, this is the same technique as melt and pour, but with a little more leeway in the preparation. Just gather up all kinds of soap, grind them up, melt and combine them with milk, water, or any other ingredient, and pour. Easy and cheap, but again, you won't have much say in the creative process.
For both of the above processes, you'll need a few basic supplies.
Choosing a mold is easy but there are a few things you should keep in mind. Avoid molds made from ceramic and glass, as they are easy to break and can crack from high heat or extreme cold. Size is also an important factor, as too-small soaps are often hard to remove and don't last as long. Soap molds and candle molds can also be used interchangeably.
Soap from Scratch
Now on to the "real" thing: making soap from scratch. This is the way the pros do it, and it requires technique, patience, and creativity. There are two methods to making soap from scratch: hot process and cold process. Both methods allow you to create an infinite number of soaps with varying designs, colors, fragrances, and purposes; scrubbing, moisturizing, and shaving soaps are just a few ideas but the possibilities are endless. Even though you're itching to get started on your personalized acne-busting face soap, there are a few important things to remember.
* Soap from scratch takes a lot longer to make than if you use the melt and pour method. Also, you'll have to wait up to a week to cut the soap and up to a month before you can use it.
, the active ingredient, is a very caustic and can be very dangerous if not handled properly. You should research safety precautions before beginning anything and always have an adult present.
Finally, you'll need several items that you may or may not already own.
* '''In preparation'''
to keep your skin safe while handling the soap making materials.
** An accurate stainless steel measuring spoons
for preparing the batch.
** A stainless steel pitcher
in which to prepare the lye as well as a stainless steel spoon.
** Glass or Pyrex pitchers
to hold the other ingredients before melting them.
* '''Melting process'''
** A double boiler
** A thermometer
** A stainless steel ladle
** Rubber spatulas
** Soap molds