Wednesday, 13 October 2010

How do I do it?!

Quite a few people ask me how do I make my soaps, especially once they've seen them in real life.. So I thought I'd do a little bloggy about how I got into soap making and the soap making process!

At the moment I am too unwell to work as I have an anxiety disorder and as you may guess I do get very bored home alone all the time. One evening a few months ago I was just browsing online and typed in cupcake candles on youtube or google and a video came up of this american lady showing you how to make a cupcake soap! I was amazed.. I then ordered 1 kilo of soap and 3 fragrances and 3 colourants and couldn't wait to get started.

A few days later they arrived and I got cracking! It was all a bit trial and error at first.. I tried whipping the soap to make the "icing" for the cupcakes but it was a disaster! The soap would set too quickly and got hard and get stuck in the piper... I tried whipping it for a shorter while but then it was too running and slided off the cupcake :( Very annoying!

I then done some research online on how to make cupcake soaps and discovered an American site selling soaping materials with different moulds etc. Since then it's all gone up hill really... I took photos of what I'd made at put them on my facebook and loads of people were interested and I soon started selling them! At first I only had the odd order here and there, but now I get at least one every other day. Sometimes I'll got about 3 days with no orders, and then on the 4th day I'll get loads! I get a lot of emails from people asking for quotes on larger orders for wedding favours or whole sale, I'm kept busy replying to questions a lot!

So how do I make the soaps? I use a process called Melt and Pour - there are two soap methods, Melt and Pour or Cold Process. Cold Process is a lot more taxing and involves using chemicals and then waiting 6-8 weeks for the soap to "cure" after you've made it so it's safe to use. Well me being me and very impatient I decided to go for the melt and pour method.

I'll do a step by step guide of how I make my soaps:
1. I use an ice cream scoop to scoop out some soap base from my big tub. The Soap base is just white with no fragrances or oils added.

2.I then cut it into small pieces and put it in the microwave for 30 second bursts so I don't over heat the soap. I've done this before and it all boils up and sort of disapears - not good!

3.Once it's melted I give it a stir and add a few drops of colourant. I then use a pipette and add the fragrance. Depending on the fragrance I then add something called Vanilla Stabilizer. Any fragrance that has vanilla in eventually turns the soap brown unless the stabilizer is added. If it turns brown it doesn't effect the soap in anyway, it's still safe to use and smells yummy but doesn't look as pretty! So I add eaqual amounts of stabilizer as fragrance to the base. I give it a stir so it's all mixed in, if it's not mixed in well enough the fragrance oil seperates and floats to the top of the soap which isn't good!

4.I then add glitter if desired and pour it into a mould. Depending on the soap depends on the next steps.. If I'm making a cupcake I pour in the cherry topping first...wait for that to set, then add the icing colours, wait for that to set..then add the base. If I'm doing a layered bar or ice lolly I pour each colour alternatively and wait for each layer to set before I add the next. I've been impatient in the past and poured the second layer before the first has set and as the soap is very hot, it melts the skin of the first layer and the colours all combine and go funny! Patience is a virtue!

5.Once I've poured all the layers I put the mould in a safe place where it's not going to get knocked over and leave it to set. These can vary from 10 mins to an hour. In this time I usually wash up my jugs and spoons and write out the labels.

6. When the soaps are set I pop them out of their moulds. I love this part! No two soap are exactly the same and I love seeing the cupcakes when they're finished.

7. I then sprinkle some glitter on top if needed and place them in their bags or boxes, tie with ribbon and add the fragrance labels. If I'm sending them in the post I wrap each one in tissue paper and bubble wrap and pack them up in a box ready to go! I also add in a little thank you note and business card too. I really enjoy wrapping everything up.. I think it's nice to take the time to make things look nice and like a lovely gift. I think it's little things like that that make all the difference! I often get feedback from customers saying how nicely everything was wrapped.

So, now you know! I love making soaps, it keeps me very busy and any money I earn is a bonus! I've made quite a few friends online through selling my soaps too :)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for doing this post chick! Wow, it sounds lovely and fun - I'd love to have a "craftsy" hobby but I'm not great at art or baking or anything and I'd love to try out soapmaking!xxxxxx