Do-It-Yourself Experiment #7: Homemade Soap
My sister has been making homemade soap for a number of months, so she inspired me to add it to my list of Do-It-Yourself Experiments to try this year. And she graciously came over to help me make it, because I’m pretty positive I would have ruined the whole batch without her experienced help.
Homemade Lemon Lavender Oatmeal Soap
28 ounces cold water
12 ounces lye crystals
48 ounces Crisco
21 ounces Olive oil
18 ounces coconut oil
1 cup pulverized oats
1 cup dried lavender
1 small bottle lavender essential oil
1 small bottle lemon essential oil
Note: I’m sharing the recipe we used for those who have made soap before and know how to do it. I’m showing pictures below of how we did it, but I’m specifically leaving out the detailed instructions because I’m not qualified to give a tutorial on soap-making when I’ve only done it once myself! It’s a learned art and I encourage you to learn from more experienced and knowledgeable people before trying yourself. If you want to read more about making soap, check out Miller Soap.
Then we added in the lye crystals slowly while mixing. We did this outside with gloves on as you have to be very careful when working with lye crystals. The mixture gets very hot very quickly.
While the lye mixture was cooling, we melted the fats in a big pot on the stove over low heat.
Once we got the lye mixture to the right temperature, we slowly mixed it into the melted fats and then used a stick blender get it to trace. This took us around 10 minutes, but I also didn’t have a clue what I was doing and my sister had to coach me a lot on what it meant for the mixture to “trace”.
We finally got it, and then we added in the essential oils, oatmeal, and lavender and poured it into the soap mold to cure (the mold was a cardboard box with a plastic trash sack in it!). I left it on the kitchen table with a piece of wood and a blanket over it for two days and then cut it up tonight. It needs to cure for a few more weeks and then it will be ready for use.
I cannot tell you then sense of accomplishment I felt from cutting up the bars of soap tonight! It’s hard to describe, but there’s just such a deep feeling of fulfillment from putting forth the effort to make items from scratch. And I can’t wait to actually use the soap once it’s ready!
In case you missed it, here’s the list of the 12 Do-It-Yourself Projects I Plan to Try in 2011:
January: Make From-Scratch Chai Tea
February: Make Homemade Dishwashing Detergent
March: Make Homemade Hamburger Buns
April: Make Homemade Laundry Soap
May: Make Appliqued Flower Tee
June: Make Homemade Hummus
July: Make Strawberry Freezer Jam
August: Make Homemade Soap
September: Sew a Rag Quilt
October: Make Homemade Apple Butter
November: Make Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
December: Make Homemade Marshmallows
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