*Some of the recipes in this list of activities require the use of the chemical lye. Please take the proper protective measures and use your discretion during the activities*
Alkali base (lye) + water + acid (your oil/fat) = soap Soap is made when your base ingredients go through the chemical process of saponification. *Define saponification* We will be using the following soap making methods Melt and Pour – you are using a base that has already undergone saponification This process is ideal if you are working with young group members because you’re not dealing with active lye. It can be a great entryway for people who are nervous about the lye. Cold Process – mixing lye and oils together to create the saponification process, involving a curing time Hot Process -mixing lye and oils together with heat to shorten the saponification process For Melt and Pour soap you will need the following supplies: 2lb melt and pour shea butter soap 3-4 drops vitamin E oil 2 tablespoons essential oils (your choice) Soap colorant (your choice) Cut the shea butter soap base in to squares. Cutting the soap into cubes will help with melting time Place in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until completely melted (around 30 seconds, depending on microwave wattage). Remove from microwave and stir. Add colorant. Stir well to distribute the color evenly Add oils. Stir well to distribute evenly Pour the soap evenly into your molds (or old cardboard box lined with wax or parchment paper) and allow to harden at room temperature for at least 2 hours. (Or you can chill for 1 hour to speed up the cooling process). To make soap using the cold or hot or cold process method, you’ll need the following supplies: • Oil of choice • Lye • Essential oils, herbs, colorants or add-ins (optional) • Protective gear (goggles and gloves) • Immersion blender or stick blender • Thermometer • Crockpot (for hot process only) • Soap mold (or old cardboard box lined with wax or parchment paper) • Sharp knife Coconut oil is common and found in many soap recipes. It’s cleansing and helps create a hard bar of soap. Olive Oil is very moisturizing to the skin with Vitamin E and K and also creates a creamy soap. Lard and tallow help create creamy soap, lather, a hard bar and a white color (many people prefer a soap with a mix of the two). Castor Oil helps the lather to stay longer when you’re using it and acts as a humectant, helping draw the moisture down into the skin. Avocado Oil creates a medium lather, gentle on the skin and great for your face How to Stay Safe with Lye Slowly add your lye to the water. It immediately gets as hot as boiling water and never pour your water into the lye, it can cause a chemical reaction like a volcano. For the first few minutes lye water will let off caustic fumes. The fumes themselves can burn your airway and the lye water itself can burn your skin. Do not lean over or breath in the fumes. Wear proper safety gear. Be sure you’re well protected by wearing a long-sleeved shirt, pants, shoes, safety goggles, and gloves! Your hands are the closest part to the lye because you’re stirring it. You must have good ventilation. Mixing it outside is best, but if you’re mixing indoors make sure it’s under an exhaust fan and in an excellent ventilated area, no kids or animals running through or around! The fumes are done letting off after the first few minutes. This recipe will make 10 3oz bars of soap 22oz oil of your choice .5oz essential oil of your choice 3oz Sodium hydroxide (lye) 7oz water How to make cold process soap safely 1. Mix your lye with your water. Always pour the lye into the water, and not vice versa, to avoid a dangerous eruption. Allow it to cool. 2. Mix your oils together (melting any that are solid when room temperature) and allow oils and lye to cool to the same temperature near 120 degrees Fahrenheit. 3. Add your lye water to your oils and mix them until it reaches the tracing point. Trace is where you can drip the soap on to the top layer and see a line on the top. 4. At this point, you add in your herbs, spices, natural scents. 5. Pour it into your mold, wrap it up with a blanket or towel for 24 hours to keep it insulated so it doesn’t cool off too quickly. 6. At the 24 to 48-hour mark, cut your soap into bars and allow it to cure. 7. Cure bars for 4 to 6 weeks in a single layer on a cookie sheet, flip bars once a week so they cure evenly. 8. As it cures, the soap continues to go through the saponification process and the bar will harden up. You don’t want your bars to be too soft and you also need it to finish out the saponification process so it’s not too harsh on your skin. How to make hot process soap safely 1. Mix your lye with your water. Always pour the lye into the water, and not vice versa, to avoid a dangerous eruption. Allow it to cool. 2. Mix your liquid oils together (melting any that are solid when room temperature) and allow oils and lye to cool to the same temperature near 120 degrees Fahrenheit. 3. Add your lye water to your oils and mix them until it reaches the tracing point. Trace is where you can drip the soap on to the top layer and see a line on the top. 4. In a crockpot, cook on low for 60 minutes. The soap will expand and look like waves on the edges of the crockpot. After 60 minutes you shouldn’t see any pools of oil remaining and your soap will almost look like mashed potatoes. 5. At this point, you add in your herbs, spices, natural scents and stir them in well. 6. Spoon the soap into your mold, tapping your mold gently on the table to avoid air pockets. 7. Wrap up your mold with a blanket or towel for 24 hours to keep it insulated so it doesn’t cool off too quickly. 8. At the 24 to 48-hour mark, cut your soap into bars. 9. Technically, your soap is ready to use, but if you allow it to cure for a week or two, your bars will last longer.