Like so many other homeschoolers, I grew up with at least some interest in the “homesteading arts”, which often sporadically resurfaces with a vengeance.
So when I started thinking about making my own soap as part of my spring cleaning, I went all out researching. Looking at all the books we carry, I loved Storey Publishing’s simple, easy-to-understand manuals:
Their authors often interject realistic advice, or recount other stories they’ve heard; and since they have a naturalistic emphasis, you end up learning more about herbs, milk, skin care, the history of soap, and a good deal of other relevant information. They also seem willing to accommodate learners of all “levels” as it were–you could build a mold out of plywood, or you can line a box. Whatever works.
While the goal of making soap still is on my list for the summer, I’ve started learning at least how to start:
*Pick up CHEAP enamel/stainless steel pots & pans, glass bowls, rubber/silicon spatulas/spoons and other “soap-only” supplies at yard sales, discount stores, dollar stores…I’ve been thrilled at how much you can save—and at the selection & sizes available!
*Keep an eye out for interesting shapes for molds! While you have to know what materials you can and can’t use, an interesting mold can become a unique dècor accent.
*Google wholesalers for more unique ingredients like coconut oil, which you can buy in bulk at much cheaper rates than the grocery-store sized bottles.
*Read ALL the instructions before getting started. I normally don’t do this…and when I was reading through the first couple chapters, all I could think was “I’m REALLY glad I’m reading this all first!”
Learn about soap-making.