I’m falling in love with the classes at Brookline Arts Center. As you might recall, I made a ring there in October during my Jewelry/Metalsmithing class. The idea of taking the Memories to Art intensive gets me a little too excited. I mean, putting pictures on tiles and fabric – AWESOME!
This past Saturday, I took a wonderful cold process soap making class with Back Porch Soap Co. founder Marla Bosworth. I was curious about cold process soaps because I’d always done melt and pour and thought I could get a little more fancy with cold process since it’s essentially creating a soap completely from scratch.
I have a soap making book and I’d read about the process on various blogs, but I could never wrap my head around it. I am definitely a learn by doing type of person. Plus, the idea of working with Lye was downright frightening.
Lye is a corrosive substance that is often used in oven cleaner and draino. My grandfather used pure Lye soap to combat his terrible acne. And it worked. Because it burns a layer of skin off of your face. It is currently only sold at Ace Hardware due to the fact it is an active ingredient in some chemical bombs.
Lye is nothing to mess around with, which is why Marla outfitted us all with Judge Doom like rubber gloves, goggles, and a mask. Pretty bad ass for soap making, right?
Based off of Marla’s recipe, we combined the correct amounts of Lye and distilled water together which, on their own, heated to about 160 degrees. While we waited for the Lye concoction to cool, we melted the essential oils (which I believe were coconut butter, olive oil, and shea butter). Once both liquids had cooled to 115 degrees they were combined. (Note: Always, always, always add the lye to whatever you’re combining it with).
After they were stirred together and started to harden (there is a technical term for this) the fragrance oils of peppermint and rosemary were added. And they smelled incredible. This particular batch gave us about 40 bars of soap.
Marla provided us with smallish tupperware containers as molds. We adorned what will be the bottoms of our soaps with rose petals, chamomille buds, cranberry seeds, poppy seeds, etc. Sheets of freezer paper protected the bottom and tops of our soaps.
Our soaps were then to sit for 24 hours in their molds. I cut mine after about 36 hours after ripping the tupperware apart. I knew my soap would be stubborn. It is now curing on my shelf for 4-6 weeks. Right now, due to the lye, it is the most dangerous soap in the world.
I would also like to note that Lindsay posted a really awesome post on her blog about various scarf projects – which I really want to do – and mentioned my post about the t-shirt scarf! Happy Happy!