Posts Tagged ‘soap making supplies’

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!

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.