Today I am veering away from sculpture just a bit to talk about my latest hobby, cold process soap making i.e. making my own soap the old fashioned way! These fabulous homemade soaps kept popping up on my Pinterest feed and caught my interest. They were so much more than soaps; they were art in the form of soaps. One could say they are sculpted! I started doing my research and I was hooked. Yet another hobby is born!
My first block of soap was lavender made with lavender essential oil and dried lavender buds. It smells divine!
I was so pleased with my first block of soap that I immediately wanted to get more creative and jump in the deep end of cold process soap making. How do they make those wonderful two toned soaps? I found a wonderful blog www.soapqueen.com that has amazing videos and articles. After hours of research and watching other videos on YouTube I was ready to take on the challenge for my second block of soap. I decided to make this one a blend of orange, tea tree and rosemary essential oils. I colored some of my olive oil with annatto seeds before mixing my oils together. This came out a vibrant orange colour. I also dried some orange peel by baking it on low until is was dry and then ground some in a coffee grinder.
After mixing my two batches of soap, one orange (from the annatto seeds) and one plain, I poured the orange one in the mold. I covered lightly with cocoa powder and then poured in my second batch to which I had added some ground orange peel. I topped with dried orange peel and left it to set overnight.
The next morning I flew downstairs to see the outcome. I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like when I took it out the mold!
It came out absolutely amazing and smelled so yummy! Now it’s time to wait for it to cure.
One of the major challenges of cold process soap making is waiting 4 to 6 weeks for it to cure. If you use it before it can irritate your skin as the PH would be too high. Who knew that the main ingredients in soap (and yes I mean all soaps), are animal fats, vegetable oils and sodium hydroxide. Sodium hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda i.e. the most basic form of a drain cleaner! Not to worry though, no sodium hydroxide is left at the end of the saponification process i.e. the reaction between sodium hydroxide and fats that essentially produces soap. That’s why the wait for soap to cure is so important!
Oh well, while I wait I may as come up with new recipes and designs and of course make more soap!
Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well. – Vincent van Gogh