• Anna Matlock

We did the thing, finally!

Y'all. Words can not express how excited I am to have completed (mostly) my first batch of soap! I got a chance to do this when my sister was in town, bless her for letting me do this on her trip here. She also photographed the entire process. We had so much fun and I needed the extra encouragement through this soap making journey! Shout out to my sis!

Okay. So. I have been looking around for a product that fits my needs and generally the needs of most people. I am a tad on the crunchy side so I wanted to make sure these products where safe to use!! I found my supplier at Bramble Berry! They are a wonderful company and have given a lot of thought about what they sell and what goes into their products. They also make these wonderful beginner kits, so if soaping is something that interests you, go there and get a kit girl! Pictured above are most of the items they send in the kit. I'll explain as we go.

I swear I am more organized that this. I was super pumped about getting started and it all made sense to me, ha! Making soap with Sodium Hydroxide, aka lye, is a bit dangerous if you don't do it correctly, hence the eye wear, gloves, and long sleeves. If you make soap this way make sure you suit up for safety!

The first step in making your wonderful bar of soap is to measure out the amount of lye needed and at it to the water. DO IN THIS ORDER or it'll be the kind of chemical reaction you wanted in elementary school to get that awesome volcano project an A++. Seriously, you could mess up your kitchen. Youtube it.

Adding the LYE TO THE WATER, remember. And make sure you are in a well ventilated area. The fumes are stinky. If you are extra sensitive, you may choose to wear a mask!

Science is pretty cool. Now, once you have added the lye to the water, it heats up to about 186 degrees Fahrenheit!! Within seconds! It was so awesome to watch and to feel the heat coming off.

Have I lost you yet!?

Next we measure out the fragrance, in this recipe we used Essential oil Lavender 40/42 blend. Let me telllllll you, this stuff if STRONG. I know because I spilled it all over the countertops while pouring it out.

Bramble Berry has these amazing quick mix bags that have all the oils you need mixed together in the perfect amount. All you have to do is pop it in the microwave and heat them up until the are clear. Go back to the first picture to see the back at room temperature!

Wine. Don't forget to measure out your wine. We choose a delicious bottle of white for this soap making process. But in all seriousness, you have to wait for the oils and the lye water mixture to cool down between 110-130 degrees (ideally within 10 degrees of each other) before you can continue. This took a painstakingly 45 minutes. I got smart at let it cool by the open window. It was chilly out there!

Next we add Sodium Lactate! This is a liquid salt that is naturally derived from the fermentation of sugars commonly found in corn or beets. This will help to make a bar of soap that is harder and lasts longer!

In goes the ultramarine violet oxide pigment! I did this step wrong, ish. Ideally I should have mixed it in a tablespoon of liquid oil and made sure there were no clumps. You learn as you go, right?!

Here is one happy girl! Using the stick blender for a quick pulse to mix in the colorant.

NERD ALERT!! We had a lot of fun with these protective glasses. Anyway, he we add the lye water mixture to our oils... Here comes the fun part!

We blended these to emulsify and get a thick trace. This took about two minutes! I wanted a thicker batter so I could shape the top of the bar once it was in the mold. I think I maybe have blended it a little much and definitely achieved a thick trace. OOPS.

Pouring into the mold!!

Look at that thick, wet soap! *insert Micheal Scott "that's what she said" meme*

Sprinkle some lavender buds on top after shaping peaks!

Finally, spray with alcohol to prevent air bubbles and soda ash. I should have sprayed more because my bars definitely had some soda ash. Soda ash is when the air interacts with the batter and makes it look "ashy" on top. The bar is still safe to use and works just fine, but it is not as bright on top as I would have liked.

Here is the finished product two days after letting it rest int the mold. I checked on my "sleeping soap" every day, multiple times a day!

I cut the bars from top to bottom. This would make the most sense, right?! Well you see those lines? That is from dragging the lavender buds all the way through the soap while cutting. Rookie mistake! They are not perfect bars of soap by any stretch of the imagination but I made them and they smell great! The hardest part will be waiting the 4-6 weeks to cure. Once they are done curing, then I can ship these bad boys to you so you can enjoy them too! I have been using pieces that come off and washing my hands with them. The smell is so relaxing and its SUPER sudsy! Love this bar and it may become a staple.

Hope you found this inspirational, yet slightly educational. I by no means am claiming to be a expert but did learn a lot from my first ever soaping experience. I can't wait to do it again!


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