Hello my name is Marie Ackland and ive been making and selling soap for 20 years now. I use basic techniques and principles that anybody can follow to make the most amazing soap.
During the last 5 years ive been teaching soap making in various classes and home study courses.
It really is rewarding to receive the many emails i get from happy soap makers, delighted with their fantastic homemade soap creations.
Soap making was originally a hobby of mine that gave me great pleasure, theres something quite satisfying about creating from scratch a beautifully scented bar of soap.
It then turned into a full time passion, creating wonderful soap for family and friends to enjoy. Then a friend asked If i would take some along to a local craft fair she was running, which I did and from that day on I never looked back. I now have a great soap business which makes a healthy profit and gives me great satisfaction.
So now 20 years on from my first batch I love to teach the art of soap making. Believe me over 20 years of soap making I know a thing or to, ive certainly had most things go wrong at some time or another in the early years. It can be frustrating at first but if you learn the fundamentals and put into practice my methods you WILL have great soap every time.
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Soap making is becoming more and more popular, with many people looking for natural products to use as an alternative to commercially produced soap. Homemade soap has the advantage of being chemical free and pure, as well as cheap. Learning how to make soap at home also has great benefits for people who suffer from skin irritations, acne, eczema and psoriasis.
There are various methods on how to make soap, and each of them has its own techniques, ranging from basic skills to more advanced soap making processes.
How to make soap - the Cold Process
The cold process in soap making involves mixing a lye solution - sodium hydroxide and water - with fats or oils to produce a substance which is then thoroughly blended and poured into a soap mold. Soapmakers learn how to make soap by allowing the mixture to thicken to the correct consistency, know as tracing. The saponification process in soap making means that the lye reacts with the fat and oil to produce glycerin, which gives the soap its mildness and skin softening properties.
How to make soap - the Melt and Pour Method
The melt and pour process is an easy way to learn how to make soap; there is no saponification involved, as there is with the cold process of soap making. With melt and pour, or soap crafting, a base soap (clear glycerin soap) is melted down in a double boiler or microwave oven. Once the soap mixture is melted, fragrance and coloring can be added to give the soap an attractive appearance and scent. Melt and pour is a great way for children to learn how to make soap, as it is not necessary to handle lye, which is caustic and can be dangerous to work with.
How to make soap - the Hot Process
Making soap using the hot process involves heating up the mixture to burn off the excess liquid. Most soapmakers will learn how to make soap using the cold process first, as the hot process is a bit more difficult to master. Soapers know how to make the soap mixture reach the full saponification stage by examining the thickness of the substance, or even by tasting the blended soap! This method of soap making takes longer to produce, but the soft mixture is then put into molds and can be used almost immediately.
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Soap Making Recipes
Homemade soap has excellent benefits for the skin, helping to ease conditions like eczema, psoriasis and acne. Soap making recipes are now widely available in book stores and on the internet and include hundreds of soap variations. Once you have grasped the basics of soap making, you can start making your own natural soap products using only those ingredients that you want to have in your soap.
Basic soap recipe ingredients:
Lye (sodium hydrochloride)
Fats and oils (lard, tallow fat, olive oil, coconut oil)
Fragrance oils and essential oils
Your chosen soap recipe should include the right type of fats or oils for you. Many soap making recipes use animal fats, but you can also use vegetable shortening. Various types of oil appear in soap recipes too. Olive oil helps make soap moisturizing, while coconut oil gives your soap a good lather effect. Other oils often seen in soap making recipes include almond oil, coconut oil and sunflower oil. When you're making homemade soap, you must take care to use the correct combination of fats and oils as they have different "saponification" properties, so you can't just substitute the same quantity of lard for olive oil, for example.
Fragrance oils and essential oils are the additives that give soap making recipes their appeal. Fragrance oils tend not to be so widely used in beginners soap making recipes as they contain alcohol and can interfere with the soap making process. Essential oils on the other hand, while a bit more expensive, are easier to use. Soap making recipes will usually tell you to add fragrance oils at the trace stage, although essential oils can be added earlier, with the base oils. Fragrance and essential oils come in a huge variety of scents and all have different aromatherapy and skin conditioning properties. Some of the soap making recipes you see today include these types of natural additives:
* Lavender soap making recipes; lavender is an essential aromatherapy oil said to have calming effects. It is also gentle on skin and acts as an insect repellent.
* Chamomile soap making recipes; with a gentle sweet scent, chamomile helps relieve stress and aid peaceful sleep.
* Citrus oil soap making recipes; lemon, orange and lime oils can give your soap a stimulating aroma and help you feel refreshed.
Of course, many of the aromatherapy and fragrance oils can be put together to create even more interesting soap making recipes. You can have a lot of fun playing around with the different scents and blends to come up with a perfect recipe for making your handcrafted soap!