Soap Making Theory: Handouts from Shea 2013 workshops
Soap Making TheorySoap making is a wonderfully creative way to express yourself. There are so many different oils, dried herbs, clays,colors and fragrance that you can choose from. Soap can be utilitarian or beautiful works of art. The best part is thatyou get to decide all of those things when you make your own soap.When making soap please take extra precautions to be safe.• Choose a time that you will not be interrupted.• Work in a well-ventilated area.• Make sure that there are no children in your working area.• Make sure that there are no pets in your working area as well.• Wear appropriate safety gear.• Use extreme caution when handling lye.• Do not get distracted with other things while making soap.• Follow safe directions.• Follow your recipe.• Precisely weigh and measure your ingredients.• NEVER pour water in to your LYE! NEVER!!!• Always slowly pour your lye in to your water.• You should not ever use the same pots, spoons, spatulas that you make soap with to prepare your food.You should have 2 separate sets of utensils.• Always wear closed toe shoes when working with lye.• Have extra water on hand in the event you accidentally spill some on yourself. You will want to saturatethe area with water.• You can also have vinegar or lemon juice on hand in the event of a lye burn. These ingredients helpneutralize the lye.Lye Safety• Always work in a well-ventilated area as not to inhale the Lye fumes.• Wear close toed shoes and clothes that cover your legs. When measuring, pouring and stirring your lye, longsleeve shirts are preferable.• Treat Lye with Respect. Always handle it carefully and with purpose.• Always wear your protective gear when using Lye.• Keep extra water on hand in the event of a spill.• Always slowly pour lye into cold water. NEVER pour water into lye, it may/ will cause an explosion.• Always keep your dry lye in a tightly sealed container away from the sun and labeled Danger Lye.
Here’s how to make soap.Preparing your work area.1. Clean your work area.2. Gather all of the utensils, ingredients, molds, liners and supplies that you will need.3. Clean the utensils and molds that you will be using.4. You should cover your work area with newspapers if you do not wish to ruin that area. You never knowwhen you accidently spill some lye or lye water or even a bunch of oil. If this happens the newspaperswill help protect your work area from damage.5. Get out your recipe and take time to review it. You want to make sure it looks right, that your math iscorrect and in general nothing looks odd.6. You should confirm that your mold is clean and then you should line it if needs to be lined.7. Put on an apron to protect your clothing.8. Put on your protective eye gear.9. Put on your protective face mask.10. Put on your gloves.Putting your recipe together.11. You should weigh out your water into a stainless steel pot. If you have access to cold water, that’s whatyou should use.12. Now you will accurately and carefully weigh your lye into a separate container. You could use a stainlesssteel pot, a glass bowl, a glass measuring cup or a heavy duty plastic pitcher.13. Once you have measured both the lye and the water carefully and accurately you may move to the nextstep.14. In a well-ventilated area you will take your wire whisk and place it in the pot of water.15. Carefully pick up your lye container and slowly pour a little bit of lye at a time into the cold water at thesame time you should be stirring with your wire whisk. The lye will start to dissolve in the water and itwill heat the water incredibly fast. While it is heating up it is also expelling dangerous fumes. Youshould never inhale them as they will indeed burn your lungs. Which is why it is so important to wear agood quality face mask.16. Wash your wire whisk, you will need it again shortly.17. After you have mixed your lye water, please put it in a spot that it will not be disturbed. You do notwant unsuspecting kids, pets, friends or house guest to come along and spill your dangerous lye water.You want your lye water to cool down significantly so we will give it some time to do that. You can takeyour face mask off once the lye water has cooled enough for the dangerous vapors to dissipate.18. Now you may begin weighing out your oils. You may do this in any order you prefer, I recommendweighing your solid/ hard oils firs.19. Weigh each oil and place it in the stainless steel pot.20. Once all the hard oils and butters are weighed and placed into the stainless steel pot. Heat them up tomelt the oils. Once they are melted go ahead and take them off the heat.21. Weigh each individual liquid oil and place them into the stainless steel pot that has the melted hard oilsin. By melting the hard oils and taking them off the heat and then adding the liquid oils you are coolingdown the hot melted oils. This method actually helps you conserve time, which I am a fan of.
Mixing it up!22. While your oils and lye water are cooling down, you should weigh out any additional ingredients thatyou will be using. Like your fragrances or your dried herbs and colorings. These should all be weighedinto separate individual containers.23. Let check the lye water & Oils.24. Ideally you would like the lye water to be between 100⁰F - 120⁰F25. You also would like to make sure your oils cool to the same temperature as the lye water.26. When both the oils and the lye water have cooled to within 10⁰F of each other you can proceed.27. Place your stainless steel pot of oils in a safe place where you can easily stir.28. Place your clean wire whisk into your pot of oils29. Carefully get your lye water.30. Slowly and carefully pour your lye water into your stainless steel pot of oils. You will immediately seethe oils changing once the lye water hits them.31. You should now start mixing the oils and lye water together with your wire whisk. You are going to stirtogether until the mixture starts to thicken slightly. This is called trace.32. At trace is when you would add any additional items.33. Once you have added your additional ingredients you can now pour your soap into your lined mold.34. After your soap is poured in to your mold place it carefully in a location where it will be not be touchedor disrupted for 24 hours. It should also be a place where children or pets will not get to it.35. You may choose to insulate your soap if you like. I have never found it to be necessary so I do notinsulate. If you would like to insulate you would just wrap your soap mold filled with soap in an oldtowel or blanket for 2 hours.36. You made SOAP!!!! Congratulations.37. Now you must do the dishes and thoroughly clean up.38. After 24 hours take a look at your soap if it looks hard put on some gloves and remove it from the mold.Once it is removed from the mold you can cut it into bars of soap. A sharp kitchen knife works well.39. Once it is cut into bars, place the bars on a shelf or somewhere that it will not be disturbed. Whenplacing the bars on a shelf make sure they do not touch each other. You want air to circulate aroundthem so that they will cure. You will leave them curing for 4 weeks. During this time the water willevaporate from them and make hard bars of soap.40. It has been 4 weeks go ahead and lather up. Enjoy your soap.