Handmade Soap

Today I’m sharing with you this really simple soap recipe. I’m sorry I probably haven’t shared it early enough to get some gifts made for Christmas!

I really love soap making. I think it makes such a lovely gift too. It’s fairly simple and cheap once you have the products you need.

A bar of artisan, handmade, organic soap would usually be around £5. This works out around £20 for at least 8 large bars. You will probably have some of the ingredients at home already, so even cheaper!

This recipe is adapted from Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas.  

I have made pink salt, lavender and fennel. There are so many different variety’s you can make.

I do apologise for not having many pictures of the process, I had Arthur in the next room while making and didn’t have time for pics. I recommend doing this while the kids are in bed…

When using caustic soda, make sure your area is well ventilated and use rubber gloves. Also make sure you use a plastic bucket as it will heat up!

It takes around hour to make the soaps, 24 hours to set and 6 weeks to dry and mature – a little late for Christmas, but I’ll just add a little note telling recipients to leave them for a couple of weeks!

You will need;

900ml water

295g Pure Caustic Soda *

615g Coconut Oil

800ml sunflower oil

800ml olive oil

Essential oils/fragrance (approx 20ml)

Any dried fruit/herbs/flowers you like.

For these particular ones, I used pink salt fennel and dried lavender flowers.

Put 900ml cold tap water into a plastic bucket.  Carefully whisk in the caustic soda.  The mixture will begin to get hot due to the chemical reaction.  Be careful. 

Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over a low heat and measure out the other two oils.  Add them to the bucket and stir the mixture for 40 minutes.

After about 40 minutes, the mixture will start to change colour and thicken a little.  You may notice a slight change in texture.  Now add your choice of oils and decorations. I added around 30 drops of fennel oil, and a large handful of pink salt

Pour it into the moulds. I used a plastic tub, lined with grease proof paper and it worked great.

Leave them to set for at least 24 hours. Turn them out of the moulds (or slice into bars) and leave to dry for 6 weeks.  This is so the caustic soda dissolves and so is important.  They will harden up too. The pink salt gives a lovely scrub like finish. You could add petals, seeds, oats, so many possibilities.

I hope you enjoy making these. You can also find some really simple handmade candle tutorial here

Thank you for reading,

Love Amy 💕

* Caustic soda, while harsh to use, is essential and completely disappears in the soap making process, making is completely safe for your skin.

Pumpkin Candles

This is a lovely seasonal activity.

They are really simple to make and these little munchkin pumpkins make for the most wonderful, natural, autumnal decorations.

It’s a little tricky for younger kids, but they will most certainly enjoy the prep part, scooping out the seeds!

You can use these instructions for making any kind of candle, just use little jars or moulds instead of pumpkins of course.

These will last a few days I would imagine, the pumpkin will begin to go old and mouldy after that, so I would advise to make and plan to use them rather quickly.

I am in no way an expert in candle making, but this is a simple activity that takes just a few supplies to make, I have no candle making equipment and I’m assuming you don’t too. If you have a double boiler I’m envious, ha!

I’m sure you will have all the tools you need quite handy (bar the beeswax and wicks)

Here is what you will need;

• 1lb of Natural Beeswax, or an alternative (soy wax) I bought mine on eBay for £7. This is enough to make 6 small pumpkins.

• Candle Wicks

• Munchkin Pumpkins

• Large Pan

• Jug and spoon for pouring wax, I have an old jug and spoon I use every time I make this, they take a little cleaning if you want to use them for food again!

• Tin can, cleaned and ready for use. Only heat wax in metal. Plastic or glass will melt or shatter.

• Food Thermometer

• Pencils/Sticks

• String

• An old tea towel is handy, if you are quite messy like me. Use this to sit your pumpkins on when pouring.

Now that you have everything together, here is how you make them;

1. Prepare your pumpkins! Cut the tops off, and clean them out.

2. Take a wick, sitting it at the bottom of the pumpkin. You need to keep the wick steady and central in the pumpkin. I use two pencils and some string to do this. Have all your pumpkins ready for pouring.

3. Take a pan and and add approximately 2 inches of water and bring to the boil. Add your beeswax to the tin can, and stand this in the pan. You will need to do a few batches of wax, unless you use a large tin.

The trick to melting beeswax is low and slow! Keep the pan of water at a steady simmer, stirring the wax.

Don’t leave this unattended, it may take around 10-20 mins to melt.

I use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the wax. It should melt around 62-66 Degrees Celsius.

Don’t allow it to pass 77, it will discolour and loose it’s lovely odour.

4. Your wax is ready to pour. I transfer it to a glass just to make it easier. Pour into your pumpkins! The pencils should hold your wick steady.

5. Leave your pumpkins stand for at least one hour, to let them set. Then cut the wick, removing the pencils.

Tada! You can make a few variations to this if you wish. You could add fragrance oil, imagine pumpkin spice! I rather like the simple smell of the beeswax for the pumpkins.

You can add dried herbs if you wish. I’m going to be keeping my old jars and I’ll be making these as Christmas gifts.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, I’d love to know if you make them!

Thank you for reading!

Amy 💖