Again today I am turning my entry over to Gail Kappenman as she walks us through creating a batch of homemade soap.
Lye soap is relatively easy to make. Finding the ingredients at reasonable prices can be more challenging. For the woman who wishes merely to supply her household with homemade soap, a very suitable and pleasant soap can be made with just olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, water, and lye. The oils just mentioned are relatively easy to find and not terribly expensive. (Your local grocer probably carries Red Devil Lye, which is the type used by home soapmakers. It must be the granules in a 16 oz bottle, not liquid! You may have to ask the manager to order it for you, as many stores no longer keep it on their shelves. Unfortunately, this form of lye is used when creating drug labs in homes, so stores have made it more difficult to obtain.)
Soapmaking books are easy to find in your local library. A simple outline of soapmaking steps follows. . .
1) You must obtain a recipe, or have enough knowledge of making soap to create your own recipe using an on-line lye calculator.
2) Prepare the water and lye solution, always adding the lye granules to the water and not the other way around. (Caution: Lye reacts immediately and violently with water. Mixing the two needs to be done outdoors and AWAY from any children or pets – lye solution can badly burn and is fatal if consumed. If you maintain some safety standards, making your own soap is quite safe. If you cannot guarantee your pets and children will stay out of the lye solution while it is cooling, stick with making melt and pour soaps for fun and buy your lye soaps from a soapmaker!)
3) Mix your oils together in a pan over medium heat, until they are melted and the solution is a nice, clear golden yellow. Remove from heat and cool to about 115 degrees.
4) Using digital thermometers, when the lye/water solution and the oil mixture are about 115 degrees each, you will need to blend them together. You can do this by hand-stirring, but it takes forever. A stick blender works much better! Make sure once you use it for making soap you never cook with it again. Blending is done by slowing pouring the lye/water mixture into the oil mixture while using the stick blender. Having a helper is great, but not a vital necessity.
5) After all the lye/water has been poured into the fats/oils mixture, blending is continued until “tracing” happens. The entire pot of soap will be turning a creamy tan-yellow and it will be slowly turning into the consistency of runny pudding. When you can take a spoon and drizzle some of the “pudding” across the top of the mixture and see the trail it leaves, it is then “tracing” and it’s time to pour into your mold.
6) After the soap is poured into a mold, it is heavily wrapped in blankets to retain as much heat as possible for the next 12-16 hours. After about 20 hours, the blankets can be removed. After another day, the soap can be removed from the mold and cut into blocks.
The above is simply a sketch of the details involved in soapmaking. A book on the art of soapmaking will give much more specific directions, as well as helpful photos of each step.
As a special deal to all of Patti’s loyal customers and friends, I’m willing to offer you all a chance to try some homemade soap for pennies! Handmade soap runs from $1.00 to $2.00 or more per ounce. If you send me $1.00, I will send you a 1 ounce sample slice – enough to enjoy for a few baths and many handwashings. Your $1.00 covers the cost of a bubble envelope and first-class postage. You may specify scented or unscented. I don’t stock a lot of different scents anymore, as we have largely devoted our time to our primary home business, which is self-publishing. However, I do still make soap batches to order, so I have a few leftover bars from which to cut samples. You may choose from:
1) plain goat’s milk, no scent, no color;
2) goat’s milk with frankincense and myrrh essential oils;
3) goat’s milk with sweet orange essential oil; or
4) plain soap (made with water, not goat’s milk) with lavender and purple coloring (marbled).
My website is for our primary home business, self-publishing for authors and selling unit studies. However, you may feel free to contact me through our web site: http://www.kapandpen.com, our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail: Gail Kappenman, 4100 Fork Shoals Road, Simpsonville, SC 29680. Plain batches of soap with no scents or colors are $3.00 for a 4 oz. bar, with a 10-bar minimum order. Scented and colored batches are $4.00 for a 4 oz. bar, with a 10-bar minimum order. Shipping is $6.00 for up to 15 bars. Above that, a priority flat rate box will be used, and I can fit 30 to 40 bars in a box for $9.50, including delivery confirmation.
Thanks Gail for this great information and special offer!! Hope you guys take advantage of this.