I'm getting ready for work, but I just found this incredible interview of Dana Meanor of DLPom Hancrafted Expressions. Dana combines soaps and paper making in her craft business (as well as some incredible jewelry). Her soaps are handcrafted pieces of scented art, and her packaging is made by recycling ink-free paper into her packaging sleeves. Not only is she creating a very hot craft product – the soaps – but she's also making some great marketing moves by recycling paper and making some innovative – and eco-friendly – packaging.
I know a lot of the crafters on the Crafting Biz list are interested in soap making, so I thought I would share Dana's Top 5 Tips for a Soap-Making Beginner:
- Be very aware of safety precautions when handling lye. ALWAYS pour the lye crystals into your liquid, and not the other way around. NEVER pour water onto the lye crystals as this can cause a very dangerous volcano effect in the container you are using. The lye solution can cause a very serious alkaline burn. Accidental splashes from raw soap can also burn and irritate the skin. Have a bottle of white vinegar handy to immediately neutralize any contact with your skin.
- Assemble all your equipment and tools ahead of time. Sometimes the process moves quickly, and you need to have everything handy.
- Use a simple soap recipe with only 2-3 oils that has already been tested as a successful recipe. Creating your own soap recipes is an advanced technique that requires more understanding of soap making chemistry.
- Buy your fixed oils, essential oils, fragrance oils, and additives from a reliable company that has experience with cold process soap. Bad or inferior ingredients will lead to bad soap. One exception I’ve found is for olive oil, which can be purchased from your local grocery.
- Get an electric stick blender solely used for soap making to help speed up the tracing process. Otherwise, you may wait hours (and I do mean many hours!), for the soap to reach a trace state. And you can’t pour the soap into a mold before it traces.
And, I've been talking to a top soap making author about doing some kind of training for the Crafting Biz community. We've almost got the details worked out, so watch your email for a notice of what we're going to do.
And, make sure you check out Dana's interview. Here's the link again: