Soap is an important part of our everyday lives as we use it for cleaning almost everything that we have. It is made from two basic ingredients, fatty acids and lye. When these two are combined, they undergo a process called saponification. After this mixture has hardened, the finished product is a soap that can be used for different cleaning purposes.
One hobby that you can take up is soap making. This way, you won’t have to settle for the boring bar-shaped soaps that are usually sold in the supermarket. Other special soaps on the other hand, cost a lot of money to be used everyday. Making soap at home will not only be a lot cheaper, but it will also allow you to design your own soap and to add color and fragrances that would suit your personal preference. This can even be done by children as it is an easy activity to do, but be sure to always provide adult supervision as lye is an extremely corrosive substance.
There are two basic ways to go about soap making. The first is a hot process wherein you will have to heat the fats before making them undergo saponification. After saponification, the mixture is still heated for a few hours before it is allowed to cool and take its final shape. The second process is called the cold process where heating is disregarded. Combining the fats and lye are done immediately and the mixture is allowed to cool similar to the hot process. During this time, dyes can be mixed to add color to your soap.
Another easier way to make soap is by using ready-made glycerin soap. Since it is already pre-prepared, you will just need to melt the glycerin soap and mold it in any way that you like. Similar to the previous processes, dyes and fragrances can be added to the melted soap. This is also the safer way of soap making as you will not be required to handle lye, which is a very corrosive substance.
The kind of fat used, and the type of lye will determine the properties of your soap. Coconut oil will produce a soap that is good for lathering. Vegetable oil and olive oil will produce a softer kind of soap. Sodium hydroxide forms a hard type of soap while potassium hydroxide forms a softer kind of soap. Mix and match these properties to achieve the type of soap that you would prefer.
Using combinations of molds, dyes, fragrances and lotions will help you make different variations of soap. You can even design soap that looks like animals, food or any other thing that you may desire. It takes some practice to come up with nice designs so make sure to allot some time for this hobby and you be making perfectly crafted soaps in no time.
Some protective precautions that you should take when making soap is that you should always wear protective equipment. Never hold or touch lye with your bare hands. It can easily corrode your skin causing serious damage. Goggles and face masks should also be worn at all times as the fumes can be dangerous and hurt your eyes or lungs if left unprotected.
With constant practice, you will be able to make soap very easily and you can try making a lot of different designs. These can be perfect for gifting as well as designing your different rooms at home. And if you get tired of looking at your old designs, you can always use them when showering in the bathroom.