Archive for the ‘Soaps’ Category

Fun Craft Ideas For Children

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Craft making with your children can be a lot of fun. Children of all ages can take advantage of a craft idea. Here are a few great ideas of crafts you can do with your children.

soap makingToddlers – Toddlers love to be involved in anything their mom and dad do. Getting them involved with coloring can be a good way to introduce them to how to properly use scissors and crayons. Try doing color activities with them, or have them help you make finger puppets out of paper.

The main thing to remember with toddlers is that whatever craft you choose to do with them, whether that is doing hand print tree art or making a cute Halloween craft, may be a bit messy. Take proper precautions ahead of time to avoid having anything ruined during finger painting or coloring. Also, supervise all crafts closely, especially when scissors are involved.

Preschool – Good craft choices with preschoolers can be educational. Have a theme and think of crafts that go with that theme. If you are learning about apples, for example, do a craft that involves apples. Do apple prints, paint apple trees, or draw pictures of apples together. You can do this with any subject your child seems interested in, even if that subject is Elmo.

Good craft choices are having a preschooler help you make a birthday card, toothpick Christmas trees, or any project where they can take stickers and put them on something. Kids will love making their own edible necklaces made out of macaroni or cheerios. Anything that involves cute, little handprint artwork is always a winning choice.

School Age Children – Children that are old enough to school have a little more options when it comes to crafts. They aren’t as much of a safety risk, and aren’t nearly as messy. Again, just like with preschoolers, find subjects that your child is interested in and cater your crafts around that. You can try to stay educational, but doing a random fun craft can also be a nice break from what they have to do at school.

Kid soap making is a wonderful choice for children. Soap making is the ultimate activity for kids, and it is an inexpensive craft that they can do with their mom, teacher, or grandparent. Soap making recipes can be found online, as are ingredients for the homemade soap. Children especially enjoy being able to pick out what color their soap will be, and have fun picking out the soap molds.

Older Children – You may think that older children might not want to be involved in a craft with the family, and you may be partly right, but there are crafts that are age appropriate for this age group. Good ideas are teaching them how to personalize their journal cover, make a new pillowcase, or create decorative hair ties. Unique decorations for their room, or making homemade picture frames to put pictures of their friends in, can also be good craft choices.

Hibiscus Plant Explained

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Hibiscus is a well known plant. It is a beautiful shrub that is easily recognized. Hibiscus plants are known for their beauty, as well as their medicinal properties.

History: Hibiscus plants are a combination of annuals, herbaceous perennials, shrubs and trees. They have a connection to about 220 of them. The more well-known hibiscus plant is the shrub.

The hibiscus shrub is a tropical plant that needs a lot of sunlight to grow. More importantly, hibiscus shrubs need to be in a warm environment for it to do well. So they do best in warmer climates that have a lot of sunshine.

Hibiscus shrubs can grow pretty tall. They can grow to be about twelve feet high, though some can get even taller. Hibiscus plants also have beautiful flowers on them.
The shrubs are seen all through out Hawaii. They have become a symbol of Hawaii, and are often referred to as the Queen of the tropics. Because of their beautiful and showy flowers, they are often used in landscapes or in potted plants on patios.

Hibiscus shrubs are used in a lot of different things. They are used in teas, wines, and tonics. Hibiscus plants are thought to help with respiratory ailments, and can aid in weight-loss.

The leaves are high in vitamin C. It is a popular ingredient in soapmaking. Soapmaking allows you to choose what ingredients and essential oils you would like to use. If you are considering soapmaking as a craft, try putting in a little hibiscus essential oil. It is good for the skin. Hibiscus can also be used in a tea bag that is used for bathing.

Hibiscus is also used to make a beverage called karkade. Karkade is a drink that contains a lot of citric acid and salts, which has it work as a diuretic. It is meant to help alleviate the rate of urination for people who have a problem with that.

Moisturizing Soap Ingredients

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Soap has a tendency of drying out skin. A lot of people choose to do soapmaking because they know exactly what ingredients are going in to the soap. Soapmaking allows you to choose your own ingredients, so you can create a more moisturizing soap than many of the commercial bath soaps that are available at the store.

Taking showers and keeping clean is very important. It is important, not only for our health, but also in our interactions with others around us. If you are constantly using a harsh soap on our skin every time you take a shower or bath, you can imagine how your skin will look after only a few uses.

If you are interested in making a good moisturizing soap there are a few things to remember. First, soapmaking doesn’t always come easily to everyone. Trial and error will help you figure out the perfect combination of ingredients for you.
It will take time for you to figure out what oils you would like to use. You won’t always instantly have a great outcome with your soaps. Be sure to have a realistic expectation that it will take time to master soapmaking.

Most commercial soaps use animal fat in their soaps. Fat is needed to make soap, but vegetable soap is recommended for a milder soap. Vegetable fats create a more moisturizing lather.

Other ingredients can be used in soaps to increase their moisturizing capabilities. Cocoa butter is a favorite to add because of its tremendous moisturizing properties. It retains moisture and really helps keep the skin healthy and soft.

Apricot kernel oil is another favorite. It is used on the driest of skin. Apricot oil is a favorite oil for aromatherapy and massages as well because it is easily absorbed by the skin.

Almond oil, or sweet almond oil, is another great ingredient. Almond oil is full of vitamins that can help with the skin. Almond oil makes skin soft by working to moisturize dry and easily irritated skin.

Natural Soap is Best

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

What goes on with the soapmaking process? We know that soap is needed for washing hands and for bathing. Is there anything else we should know about soap?

Soap comes in a few different forms. It can be made out of liquid or be made as a solid soap bar. It is up to you to determine what type you prefer. A lot of people choose to use a bar of soap in the shower, and use liquid soap to wash hands, but it is entirely up to you what type you like best.

Natural soap is better for you than other types of soap. One of the main reasons is the effect it has on your skin. Using natural soap keeps your skin looking healthy, not dried-out.
Handmade soap is another popular choice to use with soap. Soapmaking allows you the opportunity to make the soap yourself, with out having to worry about any ingredients that are placed in it. You will know exactly what you are washing yourself with.

Handmade soap is less risky than soap you buy at the store. A lot of the soaps found at stores are detergent bars, which contain harsher chemicals. They can cause severe irritation and dry out your skin.

Handmade soap also has a lot of good ingredients in it. You can choose which ones your would like. For example, you could add essential oil to your soap and be able to take advantage of the essential oil’s properties. If an oil is used for its soothing effect, this can be really helpful to add in a soap so you can use it to calm down after a long day.

Soapmaking is a really fun activity. There are plenty of creative ways to go about soapmaking. You can use your favorite scents, favorite essential oils, and favorite colors.

You need to understand that natural soaps that are handmade are going to be a little different than the average soap styles. Most soaps on the market are called detergent bars. They are packed with skin-irritating ingredients. It is much better to simply stay with natural soap and not have to deal with that.

Making Colored Soap With Kids

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Making soap with kids can be a fun summer project. The best part is that when you’re done, they can enjoy their creation in the bathtub. Here are some ideas on how to make colored soap with your kids.

You must start with glycerin soap, either clear or white. Other kinds of soap won’t work, so don’t substitute. You also need soap dye in the colors you want, soap or candy molds to put the soap in, and a microwave safe liquid measuring cup. You also need a spoon, Popsicle stick or coffee stirrer, and a knife for the adult to use.

Cut the glycerin soap into chunks and put in a microwave safe measuring cup. Microwave according to directions (or for 20 seconds). Continue microwaving in 10 second intervals until it has melted.
glycerin soap
Once the soap has melted, you can add colors. Add a few drops of dye and stir with a spoon. For pastel shades, add only a few drops of dye. For bold colors add more drops. Add more dye if you want to darken the color.

For a tie die effect, don’t add the dye until after you pour the soap into the molds. Add random drops of dye into the white soap and swirl with a coffee stick or toothpick. You can mix several colors for a nice effect.

Slowly pour your colored liquid soap into your molds. Set it aside to harden for 45 minutes or an hour. Some soaps require longer to harden than others.

Rinse our your measuring cup and repeat this process to make soaps in other colors. If you want multi colored layers of soap, pour the first soap in and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes to form a skin. Slowly and carefully add the second color on top.

You can make your own colors by combining dyes. If you have a hard time popping the soap out of the mold after it’s hardened, try placing them in the freezer for 10 minutes and try again. Have fun creating your own colorful glycerin soaps with your kids.

I know What Soap Is, But How Does It Actually Work?

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

A popular activity for many people is soap making. Soap making is a fun way to make your own, unique soap. But how does soap actually work, and will you be doing it the right way if you make it on your own?

The most simple way I can think of to explain how soap works is that soaps have sodium and potassium fatty acids salt in them. The fatty acid salts produce a chemical reaction known as saponification. They have strands of molecules that like water, and some strands that don’t like water. Because they are able to work with and against water, soap is able to work well with both water and oil.

Soap has hydrophillic heads that work well with water. They also have long, hydrophobic chains that join well with the oil. The particles of oil are then suspended from the water, making it easier to remove.
soap making
After oil is suspended it will detach from whatever substance it was holding on to. So if oil was on a pot, it would be able to be separated from it and be rinsed away with water. Soap allows you to get the item clean.

Grease is similar to oil. It is insoluble in water and needs soap to separate it from the water. The non-polar hydrocarbon molecules breaks up the grease molecules and all the dirt, grime, or oil that was part of the grease becomes unattached. The grease is then free to be rinsed away from the item.

Soaps are popular for cleaning. They are great for cleaning hands and cleaning items with dirt. Dirt is all over the place, and soap allows us to get dirt off easily and clean the skin or item in the process.

Soaps are now being fitted with anti-bacterial. Anti-bacterial does more than clean. It actually kills the germs, so that you have a much lower risk of getting sick. Anti-bacterial soap is very important after using the restroom, or when you are handling food or are sick.

Soap making is a great opportunity for people to make their own soap. The soap you make on your own should, if done properly, still be able to have the same cleaning properties. The difference is that you will have the pleasure and opportunity of  soap making for yourself.

The Ever Popular Soap on a Rope

Monday, June 21st, 2010

There are many good reasons for soap making using a rope. I think it’s great for camping since it helps keep your soap out of the dirt. At home it’s nice because with your soap hanging to dry, you don’t end up with all that slimy soap mess in your soap holder. When soap is securely attached to a rope, you have an easier time finding it and catching it when it lands in the tub!

So, how do you make soap on a rope?  It’s really easy, and lots of fun! If you already have a favorite soap recipe, start your soap making like you would normally do. You will also need about 18 inches of some kind of rope.

The easiest is to use melt and pour soap and add your own fragrance. If you have a double sided mold that snaps together, you push both ends of the rope down into the opening so that they will be about halfway into the bar of soap. You want to make sure your soap is firmly attached to the rope! Put some rubber bands around the mold as extra security to hold it together, and pour your soap into the mold, overfilling slightly.
soap making
If you are using a one sided mold, again start your soap making in your usual fashion, then pour your soap into the mold so it is about half full.  Let it set up just a bit to form a film, then lay the ends of your rope on top of your soap so they will be at least halfway encased in the finished soap. Finish filling up your mold by pouring the rest of the soap over the top of your rope, making sure the rope doesn’t float.

Place your soap where it won’t be disturbed. Let your soap harden as you normally would do before removing it from the mold. Voilá, you have soap on a rope!

You can also make soap on a rope from a regular bar of soap and mold it with your hands. Turn the bar of soap into soap flakes by grating it (or using a food processor). Add enough water to make a dough and knead it with your hands. (For 3 cups of soap flakes add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of water.)

Tie a knot in the ends of your rope to hold them together. Put a few drops of vegetable oil on your hands so the soap dough won’t stick so much. Form a ball out of your soap dough and push your knotted rope down into the ball about half way.

The artistic minded can mold the soap ball into different shapes using your hands. Set your completed project aside where it can dry at least overnight. You now have your very own soap on a rope creation with soap making!

Soap Carving Fun

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Carving bars of soap can only be considered good clean fun! One of the projects my cub scouts looked forward to was the day they got to carve a bar of soap into whatever they wanted. They soon learned that carving soap took more talent than you might think.

So where did carving soap get started? What prompted people to spend their time carving soap? Is soap carving really an art?

Hand carved soap flowers were first carved in the village of Chian Rai, in Northern Thailand. Villagers began carving soap as a hobby in the evenings after their work was done. These soaps were then sold at the evening bazaar along with other handcrafted items. Since carving soap added to their incomes, carving soap became a profitable pass time.
soap making supplies
As carved soap caught on in popularity, others began trying out their artistic abilities on bars of soap. In order to carve soap, it has to be soft enough that it won’t flake or break off while you are carving it. The soap making process must be just right for your carving project to be a success.

Most of us think of soap as a temporary medium, and wouldn’t really consider it as a medium for art, yet many artistic things are made from glass or other fragile mediums. Soap carvings are usually done in miniature, limited in size to the bar of soap used. On occasion, larger works of art have been made from soap.

The world’s largest soap sculpture was made by Bev Kirk for the Ivory soap making company. She sculpted a winged pig which she titled “Sudsie, A Boar of Soap.” This was carved from a block of soap five feet by five feet by six feet, and the finished sculpture weighed 7000 pounds.

I remember my mother having pretty soap flowers by our bathroom sinks. They were so pretty she wouldn’t let us use them! She considered them a work of art worthy of display.

None of the soap making carvings made by my cub scouts would merit status as great works of art. Even so, we all had a lot of good clean fun creating them. Who knows, with practice, maybe someday one of my cub scouts will become a famous soap making sculptor.

Making Glycerin Soap with Kids

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Glycerin soap is a great craft to do with kids. The extra glycerin in the soap produces a very moisturizing bar of soap. The clear soap also gives you the opportunity to add extra fun by putting things into the soap.

Clear soap base can be purchased in large blocks to be melted down. This melted soap can be colored, and fragrance added as desired. This melted soap is then poured into soap molds and is known as “melt and pour” soap making.

Melt and pour soap making is great for doing with kids. There are no harmful chemicals to mix, so it is quite safe. You still need to have common sense such as: don’t cut yourself with the knife, and don’t put your fingers in the hot soap.
soap making
Instead of using melt and pour soap, you could make your own soap. This method would be slightly more complicated and would require more adult supervision. Making transparent soap involves more steps than regular cold process soap making.

If using melt and pour soap, first cut the block of soap into pieces and melt it in the top of a double boiler. To add surprises, while the soap is melting, put small toys in the soap molds. Face the toys down in the molds so they will be visible from the top of the soap.

After the soap has melted, you can add scents or fragrances to the soap if you want. Pour your melted soap over the top of the toys into the soap molds. Let the soap cool and harden.

Make sure the soap is completely cooled and hardened before you try popping it out of the mold. If you try getting it out while the soap is still warm, the soap will bend. After removing your soap from the mold, wrap it in clear plastic.

Your soap is now ready to use. Children will love washing their way towards the toy hidden inside the soap. They will think bath time has never been so fun!

The History of Soap Making

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Long ago people figured out that water is good for cleaning things. It also didn’t take long to learn that water alone can’t clean everything. At some point, someone figured out how to make soap, probably from animal fat that mixed with the ashes of the fires the meat was cooked on.

No one knows where soap making began. Clay tablets dating back to 2500 BC suggest that soap was first used for styling hair, as well as to aid in healing wounds. Ancient Greeks were said to use a combination of lye and ashes to clean their pots and the statues of their gods.

Cleopatra used milk, honey and essential oils in her bathing rituals. She used sand as a cleaning agent, scrubbing off skin as well as dirt. In ancient Rome, oils were used that were then scraped off the body with a strigil, taking some of the dirt with the oil.
soap making
The Gauls and the Romans combined goat’s tallow and the ashes of the beech tree to create their soaps. Roman legend has it that soap got it’s name from Mount Sapo, where animals were sacrificed. Rain washed the ashes and animal fats down the mountain into the clay soil along the Tiber River. Women washing clothes there found that the clothes came clean more easily using this mixture.

The first of the Roman baths using water from their aqueducts was built about 312 BC and bathing became quite popular. By the second century AD, soap was recommended for both medicinal and cleaning reasons. During excavations of Pompeii, an entire soap making factory was revealed, complete with bars of soap. After the fall of Rome, bathing and using soap declined, possibly aiding the spread of plagues during the Dark Ages. Japan and Iceland continued bathing throughout this time period.

In 1399, King Henry IV of England instituted the Order of the Bath among his knights. To join this order the knight had to venture into a tub filled with water at least once during his knighthood. Queen Elizabeth bathed every three months, and was considered a sophisticated lady.

Marseilles, France was reknown for its soap. The plentiful olive trees supplied the olive oil, and vegetable soda was also abundant. In the early days of the United States, pilgrims and pioneers made their own soap once a year on soap making day. This lye soap was fine for washing clothes, but was hard on the skin and not pleasant for bathing.

Palmolive soap, made from palm and olive oils, was in use before 1917. Ivory soap came about when a worker accidentally left the soap mixer running while he went to lunch; incorporating more air into the mixture and creating a soap that floats. Regardless of how soap use began, we can say with confidence that it’s use is here to stay.

How old is Soap?

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Soap is a beautiful substance.  It is what helps us keep our friends, family, and jobs.  With it we feel clean, happy, and healthy.  So when exactly was soap created?

The art of soap making dates all the way back to the Babylonians.  When ancient Babylon was being excavated, a clay cylinder that was dated 2800 BC had a soap like substance within it.  There is also a clay tablet that had a formula for making soap that was dated 2200 BC.

Even the Egyptians used soap.  It is mentioned in the Ebers papyrus that the Egyptians made a type of soap by combining animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts.  There is also Egyptian documentation that they used a substance like soap to prepare wool for weaving.

soap making

There is a Roman legend of how soap received its name.  This legend says that on Mount Sapo animals were sacrificed to their Gods.  When it rained, it would wash the melted animal fat and ashes down the mountain into the clay by Tiber River.

Women would go to Tiber River to clean their laundry.  After a while, the women discovered that using the clay mixture was a very effective tool in cleaning.  Some say that this legend is not true because there is no such mountain, but as legends go no one knows for sure.

Soap making continued through out time and was often thought of as women’s work.  The finer soaps were made in Europe in the 16th century using vegetable oil instead of animal fat.  Chemists were the first to use vegetable oil, lye, and aromatic oils in soap.

Until the Industrial Revolution, soap making was done on a small and personal scale.  The large manufacturing of soap helped to create low priced and higher quality soap.  Transparent soap was invented in London by Andrew Pears in 1789.

The majority of today’s soap is still manufactured.  Although, there are some shops and boutiques that sell their own line of home made soap.  Some individuals still like making soap as a personal hobby.

Sensitive Skin and Soap

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Soap and sensitive skin do not always work well together. There are going to be certain ingredients that make soap harsher on the skin. Soap making is a refined process, so be sure to know what is in your soap before you buy it.

Natural soaps are usually soaps that people have homemade that may contain synthetic ingredients. Soap making can be made with organic essential oils, but it can also include synthetic fragrances that can be harmful to your skin. When you are at the store buying your natural soap because you have sensitive skin there are a few things to look out for.

First, look at the ingredients of the soap. Soap can be scented because of the essential oils in the product. A lot of times, however, fragrance oils need to be created because they are not available as essential oils.
soap making
If you have sensitive skin you want to stay away from fragrance oils. Fragrances made from essential oils can be very expensive, so when performing soap making some people choose to simply use fragrance oils instead. Fragrance oils have a much higher chance of irritating skin, so look for them in the ingredients.

When you are looking at the ingredient list it is important to see what colorants are listed. This will determine how natural the soap actually is. Some colorants will be more natural, and better than skin, than others.

Very natural soaps will be colored by the plant or herb itself. More synthetic colors are listed as Red #2, etc. Soap that is colored by herbal, or mineral, colorants are the most natural colorants available and will be better for sensitive skin.

Lye is a key ingredient with soap making. When you see that listed in the ingredients don’t panic. Since there is no residual lye in the bar after it becomes soap it is completely safe.

Natural soap is very good for the skin. Some people find that switching soap brands can do wonders for bad skin conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema. Be sure to find the most natural type of soap to protect your skin best.

Benefits of Aromatherapy

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Aromatherapy has been around for centuries.  The proof that aromatherapy works is in how long it has been used.  Aromatherapy is even a multi-cultural healing tool.

It is thought that the Egyptians in 1555 B.C. were the first to use aromatherapy. The Chinese used it as well and compiled a book of which essential oils are best for what.  The Greeks and Romans used it as well.

Aromatherapy is a natural way of helping the body heal using essential oils.  Essential oils come from plants.  Steam distillation is the purest way of extracting essential oils.

making essential oils

You can buy essential oils at most natural stores.  Organic essential oils are oils from plants that did not have pesticides sprayed on them.  Non-organic essential oils come from plants that did have pesticides sprayed on them.  The pesticides can contaminate the essential oils.  Making essential oils will give you the power to know exactly how the plants are grown.

Buying essential oils can get expensive, that is why making essential oils is a smart idea.  Make sure that when you are making essential oils you store the oils in dark glass bottles.  Essential oils are light sensitive so that is why you use dark bottles.

Essential oils can be applied in several ways.  They can be massage into the skin using carrier oils.  It can also be diffused, breathed in with steam, and mix with water for sprays.

One of the largest benefits of essential oils is that they have no side effects.  They are fast acting because they are absorbed into the blood stream through the skin or inhaled.  The essential oils are naturally expelled from the body through perspiring or breathing.

Each essential oil has its own natural healing properties.  Lavender, geranium, and bergamot help to reduce stress, depression, and fatigue.  Essential oils can be used separately or mixed together for multiple purposes.

Cold Process or hot process soap?

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

In the soap making process, making cold process soap and hot process soap is quite different. Often the end products look alike and it is difficult to tell them apart. The usual commercial soap purchased at a store is made using the hot process, as it is much faster to make.

In the hot soap making process larger batches can be made in a shorter processing time, thus maximizing profits. In manufacturing the soap, the glycerin in the soap is removed as a by-product from the heating process, along with the waste product, lye. This cooked soap lacking glycerin dries our skin.

Glycerin is a natural humectant, drawing moisture to our skin. This maintains the proper water balance and makes our skin feel soft. The glycerin removed during the hot soap making process is isolated from the waste products and sold separately as expensive beauty bars, supplied to spas and beauty parlors.

soap making process

To the cooked soap, devoid of glycerin, synthetic fillers and fragrances are added. Artificial moisturizers are also added to overcome the drying effect of the soap. These synthetic ingredients may cause skin irritation and allergies may develop over time.

Many people develop overly dry skin from using commercial products. Mothers who wash their hands often are particularly affected. Some manufacturers add natural essential oils to their soaps in an effort to improve them, but the effect is spoiled by the other chemical substances present in the soap.

In the cold soap making process, the glycerin remains intact in the soap since it isn’t subjected to any heat. Most natural handmade soap manufacturers make soap on a small or meduim scale. Personal attention is paid to the soap making process.

Using all natural ingredients in the soap increases the benefits of using it. Natural handmade soap can improve your skin. People suffering from sensitive skin, dry skin, or other skin ailments may benefit greatly by switching to a cold process soap made from natural ingredients.

Cold process soap gently cleanses without drying. Made without harmful chemicals or other synthetic ingredients, all natural soap will increase your peace of mind. Make the switch today and feel the difference tomorrow.

Making Your Own Natural Soap

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Whether you’re pinching your penny or looking for a new hobby, the process of making your own homemade natural soap has attracted many.  A starter kit designed for beginners might be the best option for you if you’re just starting out.  If you want to take on a bigger challenge, however, you might consider searching out recipes and trying one on your own.

Starter Kits for Natural Soap

Soap making starter kits contain all the soap supplies you will need, and are the simplest way to go.  Complete with molds and detailed instructions, you will be guided every step of the way.  Look for a kit in a craft store, or shop online.

Melt and Pour Soap is what you’ll most likely find in these starter kits.  Just as its name indicates, you melt the glycerin, and pour it into the molds.  Using your microwave makes the process even simpler.

soap supplies

The Hot Process

When making natural soap using the hot process, be prepared for a few hours of heat.  Mix your soap supplies and ingredients over the stove in a double boiler or stock pot, and cook for several hours.  Finally, pour into molds.

The nice thing about the hot method is that because of the cooking process, it expedites the time it takes for your soap to cure.  On the downside, some of the valuable glycerin is lost while the mixture is heated over the stove.  Soothing the skin by pulling moisture right out of the air, glycerin is one of the most valuable components of natural soap.

The Cold Process

While the glycerin retention and preparation is much more favorable in the cold method, the time to wait is not.  Soap created through the cold process takes three to four weeks to cure, meaning you must hold off for that long before ever using your soap.

Find an easy recipe that others have been successful with.  After setting out your soap supplies, line the container(s) you will be using with plastic wrap, wax paper, or parchment paper.  In a large mixing bowl, add the lye to the distilled water and take caution – lye causes heat, and there will be fumes.

Melt the oils in the microwave, and add to the lye-water mixture; stir.  Place the mixture in the lined containers, and wait for it to solidify.  Cut into bars, and set aside to cure according to recipe instructions.  Use within twelve months.

Organic or Natural?

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Sometimes it’s confusing to know the difference between something labeled as “organic” and something else labeled “natural”. The certification of organic varies from country to country, but involves a set of standards for those growing, storing, processing, packaging and shipping food products. This includes everyone from the seed suppliers, farmers, processors, retailers and restaurants. Here are some of the general rules for something labeled organic.

Synthetic chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics and food additives, and also genetically modified organisms are avoided. The farmland where the food is grown needs to be chemical free for at least three years. Accurate records need to be kept including production and sales numbers.

There needs to be a strict separation between certified and non-certified products in order to avoid contamination. The premises need to be inspected periodically to ensure these regulations are followed. Even when these rules are followed, there are differences in the levels of organic products.
candle and soap making
Something labeled as 100% organic means that all products used were made from ingredients certified to be 100% chemical free. An organic label means the products are 95% free of chemicals.  If it says made with organic ingredients, the product must contain a minimum of 70% chemical free ingredients.

There may be some chemical free ingredients specified in the ingredient list, but it can’t be considered “certified” unless it meets the above criteria. Non-certified and certified food producers both adhere to the same agricultural standards for food safety and other governmental regulations.  Obtaining the specialized certified label requires extra precaution to ensure consumers are getting what they expect.

Natural ingredients are those that have not been processed with chemicals and synthetics since leaving the farm. This means the farmer could have used chemical fertilizers and pesticides while the food was growing, but that no additional chemicals were added later. Thus, natural candle and soap making implies that no additional chemicals are added to the original products used in creating the candle or soap.

The word natural is overused, along with unrefined, pure, wholesome, and authentic. This can make it difficult to sift through the labels to find the truth. Natural candle and soap making can vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Knowing the difference between the certifications used on different labels can help us better understand what we are buying. Although it can be confusing, it is well worth the time it takes to read the labels a little closer. This can give you peace of mind when candle or soap making that you are really getting what you want.

The Difference between Natural and Regular Soap

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

If ever given the option, it is always better to use natural or organic products.  Organic food is better for your body, and with soap it is no different.  Knowing the differences between the soap making process of natural and regular soap will allow you to make yet another better choice in your day-to-day life.

The first major difference between natural soap and regular soap includes what they are made from.  During the soap making process, natural soap is always a mixture of lye, water, and oil, whereas the regular soaps you buy from the store are detergent-based from petroleum.  While petrol may be good for your car, it is definitely not good for your skin.

Regular soap contains ingredients which are harmful to your skin.  These include isopropyl alcohol, BHT, and Tricoslan which is found in most anti-bacterial soaps.  Natural soap contains none of these harmful substances.

The most noticeable difference between natural soap and regular soap is the effect it has on your skin.  Natural soap is soothing, whereas regular soap commonly acts as an irritant.  If you are looking for smoother, softer skin, consider switching to a natural brand.

soap making process

The most common irritant in regular detergent-based soaps is alkali.  Alkali causes tight, itchy, and/or flaky skin.  If you suffer from any of these conditions, check the amount of alkali listed on your product’s label.

On the other hand, natural soap carries a high level of glycerin after the soap making process.  This compound soothes and moisturizes the skin.  It pulls moisture out of the air, making your skin stay soft longer than it would by using regular soaps.

Some would assume that the tag of ‘natural’ also means the tag of a higher price.  There is actually little price difference between natural and regular soap.  Making your own natural soap at home may bring its price down even further.

Again, some might claim it an inconvenience to buy natural soap rather than purchase what they are used to.  With the ever-increasing popularity of organic products, however, natural soap is easier to find than ever before.  Look more carefully at the same places you usually shop, visit a store selling organics, or even shop online.

Five Tricks for a Better Natural Soap

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Natural soap making has become more common with our increased awareness of what harmful chemicals can do. Good natural soap requires the right combination of ingredients. Here are five tricks for better soap.

1. Get the basics right. High priced ingredients aren’t really necessary to make good soap. Often high-priced ingredients try to make up for an inferior soap recipe.

Recipes using coconut, palm and olive oils, though simple, are often the best recipes. There is no need for sugar in soap. Other expensive oils such as rice bran oil, emu oil or shea butter are also not necessary.
natural soap making
2. Use the right amount of coconut oil. Coconut oil in natural soap making creates a soap that lathers well with lots of big bubbles.  However, too much coconut oil cleans too well, drying out the skin.

3. Use enough fragrance. Many recipes don’t call for enough scent oil, so when you’re done, what little scent you used was wasted. In your natural soap making, use enough scent oil so you can enjoy it later.

4. Palm kernel oil also takes a prominent place in natural soap making. It takes the place of animal fats such as beef tallow or lard. Palm oil makes a fairly mild hard soap with only fair lathering qualities.

5. Moisturize with olive oil or something like it. The unsaturated oils such as olive oil act as moisturizers in natural soap making. These oils attract moisture to the skin and give the soap a luxury feel. Castile soap, made with only olive oil, makes for a thiner soap and doesn’t lather as well as soap containing coconut oil.

Natural soaps need not be expensive, and don’t need to include exotic ingredients. The trick is to get the right blend of ingredients in order to clean the skin without drying it. With the proper recipe, all natural  soaps can be a joy to use.

Planning the Perfect Party

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

I bet when you hear the words “perfect hostess” you picture someone you know.  This person is maybe a friend or family member that always seems to throw the best parties.  You have also maybe wondered why their parties are always a hit, when other parties you’ve been to, or thrown yourself, seem to flop.  The secrets to planning the perfect party are actually quite simple! Here are 3 tips for making your next shin-dig a smash.

The first thing you want to do is pick a theme for your party.  A theme is the reason for the party.  It should be what the party surrounds or the main event though it’s usually quite simple.  A theme can be anything from a movie/TV show, to a game/craft, or even as simple as a color.  Once the theme is determined, the next task is to decide on an activity or event which coordinates with the theme.

So let’s do an example.  Let’s say you want to host a party for a few girl friends. You choose a Spa Theme for your gathering.  A great activity for a spa themed party would be natural soap making for example.

natural soap making

Natural soap making is a great craft for an intimate gathering.  Choosing a craft like natural soap making is a good choice because it gives your guests something fun to do and makes everyone feel comfortable.  You can easily learn about natural soap making in a variety of books and online websites.

Another important part of any good party is the food!  Whither you plan to serve light snacks, or a full meal, your food should tie in with your theme. But even more importantly than that, be sure to have enough food for your party.  Always plan for more food than you think you’ll need.  An easy way for a party to flop is for food to run out.  This will embarrass the host and make the guest feel unwelcomed.

Take for instance our Spa Night example above.  A spa menu typically includes healthy foods.  What you pick for edibles will also depend on your guests’ and your personal preferences as well.  You may decide on healthy choices like fruit platters, a sushi bar, or wrap sandwiches.  Top these items off with chic tooth picks and you’ll have your guests oohing and ahhhing.  Matching the food with the theme helps to really pull your party together.

The theme and the food are essential to a party, but the most important tip for planning the perfect party is the hostess herself.  It’s important to be fresh upbeat for your guests.  If your company senses that you are frazzled or worn out, they won’t be having fun; they’ll be worrying about you.

In summary, always make sure you have a purpose or theme for your party.  Remember to center the food on your theme and make sure there is enough. Then relax, put on a smile and enjoy your own bash!

What Homemade Lye Soap Really Means

Friday, April 9th, 2010

When someone refers to homemade lye soap, it can be hard to know what they mean if you have never heard it before. Lye is a chemical used to turn ingredients in to soap. This soap making process is often referred to as homemade lye soap.

Lye is used in all soaps at one point. To differentiate between soap makers who are using fresh lye and those who are not, the term “homemade lye soap” came about. This is to help those who are trying to explain their soap making process with lye, and help the rest of us out there who also know that lye is a normal ingredient in all soap.

People make lye soap in a few different soap making processes. There is the heated way, where everything is heated together. The other way is called the cool version, where no heat is required.

The reason why some people choose not to deal with lye is because it is a dangerous chemical. Lye can cause a harmful chemical reaction to your skin if it comes in contact with it. Because of this some soap makers like to use base soap that has already been mixed with lye instead of dealing with lye in its raw form.
soap making process
The chemical lye can actually be made by people who would like to make soap. Homemade lye is often thought of as the only natural way of making soap. Homemade lye has been made by hand for hundreds of years from people around the world, and many people feel it should remain that way.

Others feel that commercial lye, or buying a block of the chemical, works just as well. Commercial lye is usually viewed as less natural. However, since both the commercial lye and homemade lye cause the same result when it causes a catalyst with the soap, it is up to the user which one they would rather use.

Commercial lie takes less time and effort than handmade lye. Commercial lye requires no extra waiting time, while homemade lye does. If you are planning on making your own lye plan on also adding a few extra days to your soap making process.

It can be a long process, but making your own soap can be very fulfilling. If you decide to try it out and want to buy commercial lye instead of making it on your own, look for online vendors. Most local stores do not have lye because of the danger it presents, but it is pretty easy to find online.

Soap Mold Suggestions

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Are you tired of giving the same boring presents to your family and friends? Are you tired of doing the same crafts that everyone else also does? I was as well, and I recently found a great new one – soap making.

I know there is a lot of work that goes in to the soap making process, but it is worth it. Things need to be done a specific way during the soap making process to have it turn out just right. There are also a lot of safety precautions that you need to take in the soap making process.

But the effort is well worth it. Homemade soap crafts have been one of my favorite gifts to give to friends. They have turned out to be a lot of fun, and if you have the right soap mold they can be a very cute gift.

soap making supplies

It is important to know the type of soap making process you are going to use before finding your soap mold. There is a little planning required to make sure the mold will work correctly. Since the soap may be hot, for example, you may need to find a heat resistant mold.

If you are using heat in your soap making try using Pyrex glass instead of normal glass. Ceramics or glass may not hold up well against the heat, and will also not last as long as Pyrex glass. Pyrex glass is heat resistant and sturdy.

If you are using a cold soap making process try using a wooden soap mold. Another great choice is plastic. Plastic is very flexible and won’t cause damage to the mold or the soap if you need to un-mold the soap.

Plastic can also be used in heated soap making, but it needs to be microwave plastic. Silicone also works great and is flexible. Stainless steal can also hold up to heat well.

Soap molds can be found around your home or can be bought through craft stores online or locally. Once you use the mold for soap, however, that should be its only use from there on out. Do not try to clean it and use it for baking or cooking again since there are dangerous additives that go in to soap making.

Supplies You Need When Making Your Own Soap

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

It can be very rewarding to make your own soap. However, there are different soap supplies that you need to have handy when making your own soap. Having the proper soap supplies is essential if you want to have a good experience.

Making lye soap can be fun. It also is a dangerous hobby since lye can burn like an acid if it touches your bare skin. Having the proper soap supplies can prepare you in case of any spills.

Vinegar works great to neutralize spills. Vinegar also stops lye from harming your table or other surfaces it comes in contact with if you use it quickly. Keep vinegar on hand as an added safety measure.
soap supplies
Use newspaper or other protective coverings to keep your table or work area safe. Do your work in a well ventilated area. The best way to make soap is to do it outside so you do not have to worry about toxic fumes if water and lye come in contact with one another.

Use plastic, wood or glass containers when making the soap. Lye does not work well with aluminum or copper pans. Keep safe supplies on hand to mix the soap mixture with as well. It is best to avoid using metal utensils as a precaution.

Try to keep the stirring spoons separate. Use sturdy plastic stirring spoons to do your stirring. Be sure to not mix the spoons up, but keep one for the oil and the other for the lye mixture.

Have your soap molds handy before you start working on the soap. You can use any type of molds you would like for the soap. Find a mold that suits your style. My favorites are plastic candy molds that fit the different seasons of the year.

Remember to keep other safety soap supplies on hand. Always wear gloves and protective eye wear. Oven mitts are important when making soap the heated way.

Safety Precautions You Should Take When Making Lye Soap On Your Own

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Lye soap has been around for thousands of years. However, lye is a very harmful substance and proper precautions and safeguards should be taken before trying to make soap on your own. Here are a few safety precautions to be aware of when taking on homemade lye soap.

Protect your eyes. Wear protective eye gear or goggle to keep your eyes from harm. Goggles will shield your eyes from coming in contact with lye. Be sure the goggle completely cover the eyes.

Protect your hands. Never try to make lye soap with out wearing gloves. Sturdy rubber gloves work best, though latex gloves can also provide protection.

lye soap

Wash out all pans that were used to make the lye soap thoroughly. If you touch the pans that are simply washed out and have any remnants of lye you can burn your hands. If you are making lye soap consider designating certain pots and pans for soap making and do not mix them with the rest of your kitchen items to prevent accidents.

Use the right utensils and tools when making lye soap. Use products that have less chance of causing a dangerous reaction when coming in contact with lye. Try using enamel, plastic, glass, or wood when mixing the water with the lye.

Always add lye to the water and not the other way around. If you pour the water in to the lye mixture there is a chance of a dangerous reaction where the lye may explode. This is dangerous because the explosion would cause the chemical to get all over you and anyone else around.

Keep your children out of harms way. Children have a habit of getting in the way when we least expect it. Make preparations to do your lye soap projects while children are asleep or out of the home to prevent unnecessary harm coming to them.

Store all unused lye out of reach of children. Be sure to properly label the lye and put it out of reach of pets or children. Lye can be very harmful to them if they find it, so it is important to take precautions when storing lye.