Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Soap Making Morning--the Equipment

I thought for a long time before I decided to try making soap.  Just what I need--another project that requires "stuff."  But I want something better for my skin than what I was buying at the big chain grocery and drug stores that left my skin irritated and very dry.

I read books about it.  I read Internet articles about it.  I looked at bars of soap on people's Internet stores.  I smelled the soaps at shops and craft fairs.  I learned that there's more than one way to make soap.  But I still wasn't certain that this was something that I wanted to try. 

Then I read These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner.  It's a novel inspired by the life of Nancy Turner's great-grandmother, Sarah Prine, and it's set in territorial Arizona.  In the novel, Sarah Prine helps to support herself and her daughter by making soap and selling it to a store in Tucson. 

Of course, the way that Sarah Prine did it 100 years ago or so is different from how I do it now.  Where Sarah used ashes to make her lye and used tallow or lard from butchered animals, modern soapmakers can take advantage of lye (sodium hydroxide) made especially for soap making and the various oils to make a nice bar of soap.  I guess I felt that, if Sarah could do it on her own back then, I could do it now.  I like history and I like to try things that my ancestors probably did.  I like that connection with my ancestors. 

So, now I really wanted to try it.  Here are some websites that helped me learn how to make soap:

Miller's Homemade Soap Pages
Teach Soap
Soap Making at

There are many others out there and I really appreciate the generosity of the soapmakers who share their information on the Internet for people like me who are interested and need the push.  I decided that I wanted to try the cold process method of soapmaking.

I started gathering the "stuff."  Here is a good list  from Magestic Mountain Sage.

You probably have many of these things already.  And the things that you don't have aren't that expensive. 
Once you gather your equipment, you'll need supplies or ingredients.  We'll talk about those in another post . . .  See you then!!

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