I was about to have a clean crisis here because I was running out of soap. Making soap was yet another task on the list of things I wanted to do the week after Christmas. I finally got to it yesterday.
If you are interested in making your own soap I have instructions here.
When I started making soap for myself I'd make about 2 lbs. in a batch and I'd make a few batches at a time. Over time people have asked for it and while I don't actively advertise it, I do sell some. My soap is fragrance-free so that appeals to the allergic types, like me. One day when I was making soap I realized that I could easily double or triple the batches so now I make double batches. My bowls aren't big enough for triple batches. I have several recipes only because I like making different things but when I'm in the shower I couldn't tell you which soap I'm using. I make my recipes to have certain properties of cleanliness, creaminess, hardness, conditioning and bubbles so they are really all about the same.
These are the first 2 batches that I made yesterday. The process is to measure the oils/fats and the water/lye. I melt the oils while I mix the lye and then it has to cool to about 100 degrees before I can mix it together. Because of the wait time I can easily make 2 different batches at a time. While the first is cooling I weigh out the ingredients, melt the oils and mix the lye for the second batch and get all of the molds ready. By the time I do that the first batch is ready to mix and pour and once those are done I can mix and pour the second batch.
These photos are right before I cover then with plastic wrap covered cardboard "lids" and then cover them in several layers of blankets. They will stay covered for 24 hours and then uncovered for another day or so before I unmold them. Then they cure at least 3 weeks.
I still had ingredients left so I kept going and made 2 more double batches. It's the most soap I've ever made at one time. I even ran out of molds so for the last batch I lined a box with freezer paper. I like the silicone molds because they are easy to pop the soap out but it's no problem cutting a big slab either.
That's about 16 lbs. of soap once it's cured. It shrinks considerably during that process and can lose up to 10% of it's weight. I read on a message board once that someone had soap lose 50% of weight but I can't imagine how that happens since the shrinkage is due to water evaporation and I've never seen a recipe with 50% water. But I'm no professional so I'll take her word for it. Either way, I love it when I have 3 shelves full of soap in the basement and today those shelves are bare.
This week is a busy week. I am getting ready for Birds of a Feather next week. I'll be selling some of my Crystal mandalas and teaching 2 classes. If you are in the Newport News area, Thursday afternoon is open to the public. You can come shop and stay for charity bingo that bight.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.