Sunday, 1 April 2012

Keeping my medium size hands warm.

Autumn is here! And a mountain girl has to keep warm somehow. A massive mug full of tea solves every chilly issue:)

I've started making cold pressed soap again!. I first started making soap around 5 years's very tedious and highly addictive- they make great presents and also feel a lot better on the skin than the commercial stuff you can buy at supermarkets. I've made 3 batches so far (around 53 bars) but they will take 6 weeks to cure.

Making soap is lots of fun, but not great to do around children or animals due to the fumes and and the burning potential of caustic soda. Soap making is a simple process made more difficult by using caustic soda. There is absolutely no way to make soap from scratch without using caustic soda. Even natural soaps used in shops is made using caustic soda But the process of soap making, saponification- neutralises the caustic soda and by the time the soap is cures, there is no caustic soda in the soap. You also need oils or fats to make soap and when mixed with the oils, the caustic soda chemically reacts and neutralises. Caustic soda is the part that cleans, and the oils are the part that feels good on your skin.

Probably the most difficult part is mixing the oils and the caustic soda together. You can only mix them together when both have reached a temperature of 45-50 degrees Celsius. If they are at different temperatures, the soap will not work. You also  need to be prepared to stir for a long time but a stick blender can help that.

You can create different effects with the soap- you can make it look like an iced cake, or you can use perfect molds.

I like mine to look handmade and rough but that's just me. You can also add fragrance at the 'trace' stage (when slight ripples form on the surface and remain there after mixing for a while). But you also need to make sure you don't put too much fragrance in or it can burn. I use essential oils.

There are many books out there, with different recipes. And there are so many lovely oils you can use like coconut oil, macadamia oil, almond oil, palm oil, olive oil (you get the drift)...

If you have the patience and the time, it's worth giving a go.

Have a lovely week.


Anonymous said...

So want to learn how to do this, you're such a clever cookie :-)

the textured leaf said...

One day Iid like you to show me this process in person, x