The other week I tried having a go at making soap. As I only wanted to understand the basics, I kept it really simple: just vegetable oil, caustic soda and some essential eucalyptus oil.
I didn't have any fancy moulds, just what I could find: some empty pot noodle pots and some fig packs from the greengrocers.
Needless to say the actual bars didn't turn out too pretty, but as it was only an experiment it didn't bother me too much.
After curing for four weeks I ended up with something what I think of as quality soap. You may still argue that it's quite ugly, but I only made it for myself to see how it goes and I am happy with the job it does. Although pretty soft for a soap, it makes nice bubbles, smells nice, leaves you with a clean feeling and makes your skin feel quite soft.
The slightly clumsy wrapping doesn't really help getting over the ugliness, but once again this is for personal use only and does the job, so I don't really care what it looks like.
I'd like to try it as a shampoo bar, but I think I will have to mix together a slightly acidic rinse first, but I will let you know how it goes.
Anyway, to hide the slight ugliness of the soaps and to make it a bit more comfortable and an effortless way to use I created this handy little crichet soap bag, which allows you to hang your soap up in the shower and use it in its own little scrubber/bath mitt.
Now that I know how it works I already have ideas on how to turn this into Christmas presents.
I will use a similar recipe, but use lard instead of vegetable oil in order to make a more solid bar, I will use lavender oil instead of eucalyptus, maybe add a bit of colour and some dried lavender blossoms, some nicer looking moulds and possibly to finish it off a rubber stamp imprint before the soap has fully set.
I should then of course look at some more appealing wrapping or ideally get working on some more crochet soap bags.
As the soap curing process takes about four week, I better get a move on, if I want the next batch to be ready in time for Christmas, so watch this space for an update. Meanwhile I will enjoy my current batch of soap as a hand wash, face wash and instead of shower gel, which is quite a money saver as I'm having a shower every night.