Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Soapmaking Class

I had so much fun last Saturday!  I have been teaching this soap making class for our local college on a much smaller scale.  This was the first time that I tried teaching a class where we made TWO batches of soap.  We were busy!  I was able to do this because......I FINISHED MY SOAPMAKING BOOK!!!

My book is a condensed version of what I've learned over 9 years of soap making. It covers a wide range of topics, basic step-by-step instructions, has over a dozen tried and true recipes, troubleshooting tips and a great list of resources!  I'll write more in depth about it in a day or so when I put it up for sale!!!

!My finished book!

I tried to teach as much of what I have learned as possible for this class.  I heard someone mention "information overload"!  I also want my students to touch and feel and learn about base oils, fine oils, essential oils, butters, clays, coloring and more.  I want them confident so that they could will go home and make soap (hear that ladies?!).  I've done all the "wrong" things according to other soap makers!  I've *gasp* shared my secrets, shared many short cuts, given you great recipes, shared my list of resources, essentially shared it all!

Let me share the day with you....I had  a lovely group of ladies - they came from all sweet lady even came from West Virginia!

Neat group of ladies!

My goal for each class is to make two batches of soap.  The first one a very simple batch and the second one incorporating, coloring, fine oils, superfatting, and perhaps special layering techniques...each class will be a little different depending on what soaps we make that day.

We got to touch and experience different oils and how they felt on our skin.

Fine oil sampling!

We did the same with butters...

Trying different butters!

And clays...

Sampling clays!

We learned that lye isn't so scary....that seems to be the biggest hurdle in soap making!  People are afraid of lye and have heard all sorts of untruths.  You have to be careful with lye but it isn't the end of the world if you get it on your will NOT eat down to your bones or even really burn. Vinegar is a quick fix.  I think it helped when I touched the beads of lye, explained what I felt and showed the proper steps to get it off of my skin.  As long as you wear proper protection and are careful, you will be fine!

I taught how to experiment with blending essential oils inexpensively and each table got to create their own special blend! I placed many essential oils on the tables so that there would be many choices. Trying to decide what oils to use was a lot of fun.

Picking oils!

Learning the tips for experimenting with blending will save lots of money for each of these future soap makers!

Creating blends!

We mixed spices to color one of our batches of soap.

Mixing spices for color!

It is necessary to get the soap mold ready BEFORE you begin to put your lye water and oils together.  The ladies did a terrific job each time!

Lining the mold!

Of course, after we spent time learning about all of the "fun stuff", we actually made soap....TWICE!  Here we are blending the lye water and the oils.

Putting it all together

And now we begin to mix...we are working to achieve "trace".

Working for trace!

And my friend Faith (who took all of these wonderful pictures!) got a fabulous picture of trace.

Reaching trace!

See how the drips from the blender sit on top of the mixture in the pot?

Time to get it in the mold, smooth the top and start on the next batch!

Smoothing soap!

Josiah had time last week to create these molds and have them available at the class!

Josiah's Soap Molds!

Josiah did  a great  job on these loaf molds.  He is such an entrepreneur....always coming  up with little businesses...he is now working on a cutter to match these molds!

These molds will hold a batch of soap that will equal about 10 bars depending on how you cut them.  I am recalculating all of the recipes in my book to fit this mold - although I still tell you how to make your batch fit any mold you'd like....and how to change molds anytime you like and still use the same recipe!

I made soap the day before the class so that I could show them how to trim the soap in the mold...and cut the soap.

Trimming in the mold! Cutting soap!

While I was cleaning up the mess from the first batch, the ladies got to take a break, snack on some herbed cheese and crackers, chips with fresh salsa from the garden and of course...chocolate!  Then we got busy and did our next batch. I cut both batches of soap the next day and they turned out beautifully! These ladies did a great job!

Of course, even though we are working hard and learning a lot...we are still having a lot of fun!

Having fun!

I can't wait to see what soaps these ladies create!  I hope they will all keep in touch and send me a picture of their first batch.

I'll be teaching this class again on September 26th....hope ya'll can join me here on the farm!  If you are interested, drop me a line or give me a call....we'll have a lot of fun!



  1. That was such an awesome class - thank you so much! I learned so much, and you're a great teacher. :-) I don't know when I can convince Mom to get all the materials (maybe after the wedding?), but when that happens I'd like to start making some soaps of my own.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us! We had such a great time!

  2. Looks like terrific fun!

    I thought of you this morning as I was washing my hands in the bathroom with your soap. I'll have to get the wrapper out to see which one it is, I think it's the "kitchen" one, Oh I just LOVE it!

  3. Can't wait to get ahold of your book on soap making! I think the lye thing is what is holding me back, not to mention finding all the things I need to actually do the soap making. Hopefully you will let us know where to purchase lye, it doesn't seem to be available around here.

  4. Lady Why,
    Just a days or so:)

    I'm so glad ya'll came - I had a lot of fun too. I guess I just love to teach :)
    Love you guys!

    Andrea Cherie,
    Now I'm curious! Let me know which one you love so much :)

    Don't be scared of lye! You can always call me or email me and I'll walk you through it :)


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