Making soap is a wonderful past time. Not only does soap make a wonderful present for family and friends, but it is also much better for your own family to use than mass produced products. Commercially produced soaps have a number of harsh chemicals included and very little glycerin – a naturally occurring by-product of the soap making process that is more lucrative for companies when sold separately rather than included. Glycerin is great for the skin as it keeps is supple and soft. If you make your own soap you can make sure there is plenty included.

It is important for anyone making soap to wear the correct safety equipment. This means eye goggles and rubber gloves must always be worn. During the process the soap will become extremely hot so young children must be kept well away when you are making soap at home. It is very important that the correct measurements are used when making soap which means that an accurate and trustworthy recipe must be followed to the letter.

There are several different soap making processes, but the easiest method and the one that all beginners should start with is the melt and pour method. Very simply put, the plain soap is purchased in readymade bars that are first melted and then to which colour, fragrance and any additives you require are added. This mixture is then poured into moulds and left to cool and set. Voila, the soap is ready to be used.

The blocks of soap can be melted effectively in the microwave. When using this method, keep the bowl with the soap in covered so it doesn’t splash out of the bowl or dry out. The microwave should be switched on for just one minute at a time and then stirred. When the mixture is warm you can add food colouring. Just add one drop at a time and stir well until the desired colour is reached. Fragrances can be added from essential oils which also need thorough mixing. Additional additives might include some natural pumice stone or maybe even some rose petals from the garden.

The wonderful thing about making soap is that you can be as creative as you want. It is a lovely hobby that is not too time consuming and leaves you with some delightful soaps for you and your friends and family. If you have made soap in the past, tell us about what worked and what didn’t. Have you got any recipes that you want to share?

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