Soap Scene / soap making on a budget
Have you ever gone overboard with purchases for a great new hobby? I have, and my basement is full of totes with labels such as: Ornament Making Supplies, Scrapbooking Supplies, Knitting Supplies, and Candle Making Tote 1 of 2. 1 of 2?? Yep. I have a problem (they are huge totes).
Luckily for me (and my husband) I have really, truly, fallen in love and can’t stop soaping. Check out some of my latest and greatest creations here at River Bend Soap Company.
I encourage you to try making soap at least once in your life. There is nothing quite like showering in the morning using your very own handcrafted soap. If soaping isn’t for you, then I encourage you to do the next best thing: use my soap!
In all sincerity, make sure you enjoy making your own soap before you invest in fancy equipment. I tried making soap many years ago and it wasn't very satisfying because I was planning to triple mill. I got through the first cycle and threw in the towel; I couldn’t stand grating my beautiful slab of soap even one more time.
11 years later, during a conversation with a friend, I discovered that she is an expert soap maker and LOVES doing it. She directed me to Susan Miller Cavitch's books and instructed me to read them cover to cover several times. She told me to resist the temptation of buying an expensive soap mold and to instead get a 3 1/2" pvc pipe and some freezer paper to line it. Life altering event, that conversation, and I am so happy I listened!
I laid out the money for some base ingredients, chose an inexpensive, but pleasant essential oil combo (ylang-ylang & lemongrass) and set to work. Luckily for me, I had the stainless steel pot from my initial failed attempt so I didn't lay out the cash for that. I would have hit garage sales and thrift stores if I didn't!
I followed the recipe carefully and did not lose heart with the 45 minute trace time. Just by chance, (I got really busy with my children's activities) I let the soap sit overly long in the mold (over a week). If I hadn't, I would have been discouraged trying to get it out, but I didn't figure that out until I had a few more batches under my belt. I carefully cut 1" wide slices and was tickled to see how many cakes of soaps I had made!
I was not all that crazy about the scent, however, and decided I had made a bad decision with my selection (be patient, this isn’t about instant gratification). The next five weeks were agonizing as I waited to try my first soap. I would wander by and gently handle the creamy, ivory pucks, hoping that they would yield a lovely lather and scent. On the morning that my soap was ready to try, I practically skipped to the shower and squealed with delight when it not only lathered right up, but smelled heavenly and rinsed cleaner than I can ever remember any soap rinsing (Tarlac, btw). It was at that moment, naked, with only me and my soap, that I fell in love and decided that this is the life for me.
Stay tuned for more adventures on the Soap Scene from River Bend Soap Company!