Our Soap Making Workshop

Sunday was busy, busy, busy.

Kim and I taught our first public soap making workshop!

It was over-subscribed, which was great news for us which tells us that there is a lot of interest in the course, so there is an overflow session which will be on Sunday 28th April so that no one misses out.

We now have a dedicated green workshop site – Little Green Workshops (www.littlegreenworkshops.com.au) that lists all available courses that we teach.  If you missed this one, there should be another listed soon.

Anyway, here is our set up.  We had four lovely ladies willing to learn a new skill.

We had one demo station set up on the right, with chairs in front so the students could see the safety brief and how I made the first batch of soap.  After they chose their colour and fragrance, I stepped them through the process, so that they felt comfortable when it came to their turn.

On the tables against the wall (where the power outlets were), we set up another two stations for the students.  I helped them as they followed the process making sure that they understood all the steps and treated the caustic soda with the respect it deserves.

Once all the students had completed their soap, they got to take home one of my home made wooden soap moulds as part of the course fee.

Kim then showed everyone how to cut the bars after the block of soap has cured for 48 hours, so they understood the entire process.

You can read more about our soap making recipe and watch our video tutorial at this post titled “Secret of Good Soap“.

We had great fun, and am looking forward to the next workshop in April.

Oh, by the way.  I wrote and submitted another article for Grass Roots Magazine the other day.  It is all about soap making and the process we use.  Look out for it when it hits the newsagent shelves.

So, who else has recently taken up making their own soap.  What fats or oils do you use?

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Gavin,
    I started making soap last year. I used mainly coconut oil and olive oil, although some of my soaps have hemp and castor oil as well. I don’t use any colourings and try to use esential oils for fragrance.
    I have made citrus poppy seed, honey beeswax oatmeal, a lavender patchouli blend (special request from my daughter-in-law), shaving soap with benontin clay and a cedar lavender fragrance. The shaving soap was very popular with the guys for Christmas. I have also done a plain soap with just a bit of tea tree oil to use a base for laundry soap. My oldest son has shown great interest in learning how to make soap, so I have been teaching him.
    PS I have been enjoying the articles that pop up on Facebook from Greening of Gavin!!
    Barb

  2. says

    I’m going to have to find a soap workshop around here – you are just too far away :). I’m a bit scared of some parts of the process, and being walked through by someone with experience would be great. Lucky Melton people!

  3. says

    So far i’ve made 2 batches in recent months using the recipe of Rhonda’s at Down To Earth blog. I love it. So easy just using copha, olive oil & caustic soda. This time around i added dried lavender.

  4. Anonymous says

    Hi Jeanette
    I made lavender soap sometime ago using my own dried lavender. Smells nice and looks nice but the lavender can turn brown in the soap and each bud looks like a blob of mould.
    It’s perfectly ok to use just not as pretty to look at. I think there may be 2 causes- the lavender may not have been dry enough and there nay be a chemical reaction between the soap and the oils in the lavender
    The other thing that often comes up with soap making us whether you can make soap without the caustic soda. As I am sure Gavin can affirm you can’t (with one exception*). The chemical reaction that occurs in the process (saponification) and the curing process does however lead to the caustic becoming ‘neutralised’
    *The exception to using caustic is that you can use potassium hydroxide but the soap becomes really soft I believe. I haven’t tried this just read about it
    Claire in kalorama

  5. Anonymous says

    We had a demo workshop here in Manitoba Canada recently where the demonstrator used lard (purified pork fat) and coconut oil in the ratio of 1110 gms lard to 473 gms coconut oil. It made a very nice soapy soap but the smell reminds me of the soap we had in England after WW2 when everything was rationed.

  6. says

    We make our soap from the local biodynamic cows. There is lots and lots of beef fat left over and we get it for free. I make it into tallow (takes a while to do this when you are dealing with 500kg of beef fat). I add some local coconut oil from the coconut plantation down the road (it makes the soap foam better – purely for looks). Fantastic soap. Thanks Gavin for getting started on the soap journey!

  7. says

    wow saw your article in grass roots No 216 don,t usually buy mags but couldn’t resist it with your soap making piece it was worth spending the money and now found this site also from article
    hopefully one day I will become a soap maker for the family.
    It is always something I wanted to do but was too scared to do now I am not. It is on my list now so thanks soooooooooo much for this wonderful well written article.
    wildlifeplantcraft.blogspot.com/.

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