Are you looking for a creative new hobby? Are you looking to start your own business or make unique gifts? If so, soap making may be the perfect activity for you! Soap making has been around since ancient times, used not only for personal cleaning but also for creating decorative and desirable products. Today’s modern-day makers explore this craft through premade materials such as melt and pour bases while others source natural ingredients that create beautiful and luxurious handmade soaps. Whether your interests lie in creating custom cosmetics or toiletries, it all starts with learning how to make soap.
Soap making is a creative, easy to learn hobby that can end up producing spectacular results. If you’ve got an itch to make something beautiful and useful but don’t know where to begin, soap making may be the right choice for you! Making your own soap gives you control over the ingredients used and can save money on buying pre-made soaps and cosmetics.
The soap making world can be like entering the unknown, there are 1000s of ingredients to make your soaps unique and transform your product range. To make it simpler for you we have designed our website so you can browse the best ingredients for soap making and explore all the amazing possibilities for creating your recipes...
What is Soap Making?
Soap making is a craft that has been adapted over the years to create a range of incredible soap bars. From exfoliating to moisturising, gentle on skin to tough on skin. Depending on your preference there is a soap for everyone.
Making soap is a science, whether you are making cold or hot process soap, liquid soap or using a pre-made melt and pour base. The stages vary but they all start the same way, by going through a process called Saponification, which is a chemical reaction between a base and fat. This is usually your lye solution and a selection of carrier oils and butters.
The Difference Between Melt & Pour and Cold Process Soap Making
Cold Process Soap Making is a much more versatile process, where you make your lye solution, which is usually Sodium Hydroxide and Water, you then combine this with oils and butters to go through saponification. Then you can tailor your soap to your preferred, style, colours, scents, patterns and more.
Melt & Pour Soap Making uses pre-made soap bases. These bases have already gone through the saponification process and after often combined with additional ingredients such as glycerin. This means they can be melted over and over again to create soap in a few simple step. Melt & Pour Soaps, can be melted, have colour and fragrance added and then left to solidify. Once fully set you can use them immediately, without having to wait for them to cure like you do with Cold Process.
What are the must have ingredients for Cold Process Soap Making?
Cold process soap is essentially a combination of sodium hydroxide, water, carrier oils and butters. With the addition of fragrance, colours and exfoliants. All oils and butter carry different saponification values, which is the amount of lye you require for your soap to go through the chemical process. Too much oil or lye will mean they will be left over after the saponification process and result in your soap going rancid or being unsafe. So ensuring you have the right values is important.
You can also include other amazing ingredients from milk to juices, foaming agents to extracts and more. The possibilities are endless to create your perfect soap.
What are the must have ingredients for Melt & Pour Soap Making?
Melt and pour soap is a quicker soap making method. The easiest option is to find a pre-made base with all of the properties your require, from Goats Milk Melt & Pour to Shea Butter Melt & Pour, we have over 30 different bases on our website to choose from. You simply melt your base and pour into your mould, leave to set and your are done!
You can also adapt the base to add in scent, colour and exfoliants. You can also add additional oils but in the right quantities that don't change the formulation too much and risk the structure of your soap.
Explore our Soap Making Categories...
At The Soap Kitchen, we have split our menu into two formats, Explore By Craft to shop all the ingredient for soap making in one categories, or Explore By Product, for those looking for a specific ingredient or category.
Our top product categories for Soap Making include:
Our blog is full of soap making recipes, step by step guides and tips and tricks for making your own soaps. We also have a wonderful YouTube channel with videos for beginners through to more technical recipes. Click here to view our channel.
Six Soap Making Books We Recommend
Although watching tutorials is the first step for a lot of people, we know reading a physical book is also helpful. Over the years we have found lots of books extremely useful when learning to make soap. Here are our top six books for soap making:
• The Natural & Handmade Soap Book by Sarah Harper - Make beautiful handmade soap without the all the chemicals found in commercial products... and not just bath soaps and shampoo bars but also homemade washing powder and even dishwasher soap bombs - the only book to cover it all! The natural products you can make from this book are not only kinder to your skin; they are also better for the planet, helping you to achieve a less chemical-filled, lower impact lifestyle.
• The Natural Soap Making Handbook by Marina Tadiello & Patrizia Garzena - Starting with fundamental ingredients, additives, tools, equipment, safety precautions and workplace setup, the Handbook covers all modern handmade "paste" methods to manufacture as natural as possible, skin-soothing, eco-friendly, sustainable soaps. Many different processes all accurately illustrated with easy to follow step-by-step instructions. Advanced techniques for specialty soaps range from liquid soap making to milk, butter and honey soap; from layered and swirled soaps to composite soaps and embeds. Clear instructions for reclaiming, reshaping and re-batching all kinds of soap complement the authors' super-accurate troubleshooting guide to making the most of every batch.
• Smart Soap Making by Anne L Watson - Maybe you’ve made melt-and-pour soap and want to move on to something more challenging and rewarding. Maybe traditional soap making appeals to you, but you figure that working with lye is too difficult or dangerous. Or maybe you’re already doing it, but outmoded ideas and methods are complicating the process and slowing you down. No matter which of these fits you, you’ll find Smart Soap making practical, helpful, and refreshing. Written by a former professional soap maker, this book explodes the myths about soap making and shows you how to make luxurious soap with the least fuss and bother.
• Make Your Own Natural Soaps - All Natural & Herbal Recipes by Maxine Clarke - The author, Maxine Clarke grew up in Jamaica and as a child was taught to make soaps by her grandmother. They grew all the plants they needed to scent and colour their soaps and even used wood ash from the stove to make caustic potash. This background helped Maxine develop a passion for soap making and a unique type of natural soaps and toiletries, both of which she shares in 'Make Your Own Natural Soaps'. It is intended for beginners, includes both hot and cold process soap making, with careful step-by-step instructions. There are extensive bar, liquid and cream soap recipes, full details of the equipment needed to make a start and a re-batching chapter just in case anything goes wrong! And for anyone interested in turning their new skills to profit there is information on the legislation and regulations you need to comply with to be able to sell soap.
• Make Your Own Soap by Joy James - This step-by-step soap making book has full instructions showing you how to make three different recipes of homemade 'cold-process' soap. Contains over 30 full colour photographs of every single stage of the soap making process. Learn to make your own gorgeous soap in the comfort of your own home. The soaps in this book can easily be made in your own kitchen, using utensils that you've most likely got already. Each step of the process is explained fully and there are step-by-step photographs of every stage. There are also photos and descriptions of all the ingredients and utensils you'll need, including 8 base oils, 5 additives, 2 essential oils and a fragrance oil. It then goes on to describe the basic soap making process in full detail, and has a soap troubleshooting guide at the back, together with a comprehensive list of suppliers for the UK, EU, USA, Canada and Australia, as well as links to useful soap making forums online.
• The Soap Makers Companion by Susan Millar Cavitch - In this comprehensive guide, Susan Miller Cavitch covers everything you need to know to make your own soaps. Learn the basic techniques for crafting oil-, cream-, and vegetable-based soaps, and then start experimenting with your own personalised scents and effects. Cavitch provides tips for making more than 40 different specialty soaps, showing you how to design colourful marbled bars and expertly blend ingredients to create custom fragrances. You’ll soon be making luxurious soaps at a fraction of the cost of boutique products.