I have been bitten..

...by the soapmaking bug!! I had contemplated making soap in the past, but somehow it always seemed too complicated and frightening..particularly with the use of caustic soda solution and safety goggles, gloves and face masks. BUT, something happened, I was browsing the internet one day (as I often do), looking for soapmaking information when I stumbled across a soapmaking tutorial at: down to earth blogspot.

I suddenly had all the motivation I needed and set about gathering supplies. The first few batches turned out very pleasing (even though a little light on the scent). Here are a few pics

Cocoa and cinnamon soap (I have actually raided this batch to start using, even though we are just at the 3 week mark. It smells almost yummy and makes me hungry to think about it. I used cocoa powder & cinnamon sticks ground up in a spice grinder and these add a scrubby exfolliating touch to the soap. My dry skin has improved 100% since using. I like it!!

Chamomile, Sage & Lavender soap (used a strong herbal tea infusion with herbs from my garden in place of water, added dried chamomile and sage at trace, along with lavender ess. oil. The scent is very faint, so will need to add more essential oil next time.

Coconut Cream and Lime soap (used a 440g tin of coconut cream in place of water, infused olive oil with kaffir lime leaves, added lime ess.oil at trace.
I'm really looking forward to trying this one, it looks so creamy!

Olive Oil, Tea Tree & Honey soap (this is more of a 'hair bar', as I wanted to try something to deter head lice when school starts up again. We had such an awful time last year, the youngest one kept bringing them home. This bar has 70% olive oil and 30% coconut oil, with 50ml tea tree ess. oil and 20 ml lavender ess. oil added at trace. It is setting nicely. I am assuming the honey colour is from the high quantity of olive oil.

And then.... I hit a hurdle! I had romantic visions of a creamy, smooth, olive oil and milk bar, scented with rose, and delicate petals scattered throughout. It was not to be. The batch was disastrous and I don't know if I can save it. Looking back, I can see what went wrong, when the recipe said to add the lye to the icy cold milk, I went ahead and added it! FAST! Now I read that you are meant to add it slowly..VERY slowly, and of course the milk turned orange, ok, I thought, that's normal (I think), so I just kept adding and adding and stirring. It turned a brownish colour and the milk actually curdled. The book I had said that the milky lye solution would appear 'grainy' and this would dissapear in the soapmaking process, so in it all went to the oil mixture, once they were the same temperature! What a disaster, there are lumps of curdled milk all throughout the batch (ack!), even though it has set nicely. I am wondering if I grate it down and melt and re-mould it if this will improve it. Or should the whole thing be tossed?

The offending botched soap #1


  1. hey, just found your blog from the d2e forum. great! i also have recently been bitten by the bug, but i've only gotten in ONE batch. how many bars of soap do you have in all those photos?!?! i kept scrolling, and the soap kept coming! you'd better start a business up, and quick. those are some gorgeous soaps. and to be honest, to someone who doesn't know, that "curdled milk" doesn't look like anything wrong. looks like just another add in, in the photo at least. does it smell bad? i'd say just use it!
    i'll be doing a post soon about my attempts to make laundry detergent and dish soap out of my first batch. mixed reviews so far...

  2. Hi! Thanks for your thoughts on the soap! The first couple of batches I cut quite small, and ended up with about 24 bars of soap, the last couple I made (including the offending one!), I cut into slightly larger pieces, which resulted in about 16-18 bars per batch. The last soap with the curdled milk is still curing, so I haven't used it yet, but I think I am tempted to give it a go. It doesn't smell bad at all and it is setting very firm. If it doesn't satisfy, I was thinking it could be grated up and made into washing powder - which I am really interested in! I will be sure to check out your blog for your upcoming post!! Christine

  3. How did the milk soap turn out? I would love to give it a go, but want to see if you were able to use it. I would love to come up with a soap that did not require lye...

  4. When I make milk soaps i freeze the milk first in an ice cube tray. I then put them in a container in a sink of cold water and pour the lye mix in very slowly so the milk does not burn. Have the oils ready at temp. because this milk/lye will be ready to mix when all the lye is incorporated. I have never had a problem with this method. I love goat's milk soap - so creamy.

  5. are you selling???


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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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