Last week, as well as all the excitement of half-term and my birthday, I fulfilled an ambition to do learn something I’ve been wanting to do for ages, and I went on a soap making course.
I made the switch from shower gel to soap during My Make Do and Mend Year, in an attempt to cut down on the amount of plastic packaging we were bringing in to the house.
And it made perfect sense to learn how to make my own, but I have to confess to being a little bit put off by all the talk of caustic lye, and the need for safety goggles…
I was lucky enough to manage to book a day with Sarah Harper, of the Clovelly Soap Company (and author of The Natural and Handmade Soap Book).
It was a bit of a trek, and dreary, and rainy but what a fabulous day!
Sarah talked me through all aspects of soap making, and then I got the chance to concoct some of my own recipes, and blend my own flavours.
I was keen to make some without using palm oil (although all of Sarah’s soaps are made with organic sustainable palm oil that is fully traceable) so tried out three different recipes with different combinations of oils.
I made enough soap to last us all months!
Now I just have to patient and wait for it to ‘cure’.
In the meantime, I might make some more.
There is a definite whiff of alchemy about the reaction that occurs, to turn a pan of oil, and a bowl of really nasty caustic liquid, into smooth, silky, wonderful smelling soap.
And the possibilities are endless-you can add castor oil to make shampoo bars, add extra oils to make a moisturising shaving soap, and even grate it up to make washing powder for the washing machine. I’ve been scouring Pinterest for ideas, and needless to say, I’ve started a new board.
I think I may be hooked…
Have you ever made soap?
Any top tips to share?