Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Funny Thing About Soap Making

Like so many people, I’m having a handmade Holiday this year. And it’s not all about the budget (although it doesn’t hurt, either!). As this is the first year I’ve started making a living writing and selling things I design and make, it just seemed, well, odd and a little hypocritical if all of the gifts coming from our home came from a big box store.

But like many other artisans and most other families, December is crammed tighter than Santa’s sack. And, of course, I decided on this idea after Thanksgiving.

Of all places, I got the project idea, Pantry Soaps from a mass email from Martha – yes – Stewart Living. No, not soap from scratch. Well, not this year, anyway. (Anyone familiar with my shop knows I’ll try almost anything.) This process is called melt and pour. You buy a block of soap base, melt it, add in whatever, and pour. Not only was it easy, it was fun, and a heck of a lot easier than baking. I used their ideas and made soaps with oatmeal, honey and spices. But, true to who I am, I also made my own versions, including vanilla mint (which, by the way, makes the clear soap have an amber hue) and one I call “oatmeal cookie”. All add-ins were items I already have in the kitchen.
But after the soap was set and cooling, there was a mess greeting me by the microwave. Oh, was there mess! A mess that I left sitting on the counter all night long, still not knowing how I was going to clean it up.

Then it dawned on me.

This is soap. You wash with it. It dissolves in water.

Like it's supposed to do.


Is time tight, and are you looking for handmade soaps to buy? You won’t see them in my shop, but these fellow artisans, as well as many others, do make and carry them: E-Scentual Creations, Soapsmith Bonnie Bartley, and AJ Sweet Soap.


  1. Sound like a soaping adventure. I am sure your family will love your soap creations! Thanks for the mention of my studio, I appreciate it.

    Bonnie Bartley, soapsmith

  2. Julie, I just read this now - I've always talked a big game about making soap "one of these days" - perhaps, I'll give it a go...