A Beginner's Guide to Soap Making

 Welcome to the world of Soap Making!  

Soap is a lovely gift to give for Christmas, birthdays or anytime of year with seasonal ingredients for a hostess gift or small token of thanks.  Today I am going to walk you through the basics, from where to purchase materials, how to use your garden ingredients in soap and different ideas for gifting basic soap recipes.  Ready to jump on in?  Here we go!

Various melting bases can be used to make the process quick and easy! 
 I like a basic goat's milk base, but have also enjoyed experimenting with a clear glycerin soap!

 Soap can also make a fun gift BEFORE it is "made" and molded.  

Another alternative to hard soaps is a sugar scrub like the one below!  RECIPE HERE
Want a more practical soap?  You might want to try your hand at MAKING YOUR OWN DIY LAUNDRY SOAP!

What tools and supplies must you have in order to begin soap-making?  Where can moms get all these supplies if they don’t already have them on hand? The only thing you MUST have for meltable soap-making are the soap bases.  Consumer Crafts has four good bases that I love!  I have also worked with Stephenson's natural care and their melt and pour bases are very easy to work with as well!  For easy ordering, you can pick them up on amazon HERE! (<<)

You will also need some type of mold and then any colors and scents you would like to add.  Molds can be purchased, but I like to use kitchen pans like the bundt pan above and this brownie pan for the cute little square soaps.  It is that cool "stretchy" silicone so getting the soap out is REALLY easy.

Getting the soaps out of a cake pan can be a little more difficult, 
but if you spray the mold well with cooking spray before making the soap, it is not that big of a deal :)

How long does it take to make one bar of soap (or one batch of soaps)?  It only takes 5-10 minutes to actually make the soap, but allowing it to cool fully takes around an hour.  Then you simply pop the soaps out of molds and cut them up (if you are making bars from a loaf pan, etc.).  Wrap them up and you are good to go!

How do you get different fragrances and scents into soaps and what are some good scents for beginners to start with?  I like to use natural scents, so I typically just raid my garden and my pantry :)  I used lavender for THIS SOAP RECIPE, allspice for a gardener's soap and cut up herbs like basil and lemon balm often make their way into my soaps.

 If you are not giving gifts right away, the natural herbs can brown, so I simply make a "rescued soap"  
if I know the soaps will not be used right away. LEARN HOW HERE! (psst...it's simple!)

Do you gift soaps to your family and friend or do you use them at home?  BOTH!!  THIS SOAP is a fun kid's soap to gift!

What is the best scented soap you have made thus far?  This lavender soap has been the best received by readers, but I really love all the different types!

Meet the Blogger: Amy Renea is a freelance writer and photographer out of Hershey, PA.  She lives with her husband, three rambunctious boys, a brand new baby girl and a gaggle of hens out back!  Amy writes for Celebrating Everyday Life magazine, Houzz.com and other editorial publications as well as writing for her lifestyle blog, A Nest for All Seasons.  Find Amy on facebook, twitter, pinterest and G+!

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 If you liked this tutorial, then you might enjoy the BOOK!

Make your own coconut oil.
Gather your own sea salt.
Grow your own grapevines for wreaths.
Give gifts naturally grown and crafted from your backyard garden.

Each chapter focuses on a plant or groups of plants and how to grow them in your home garden.  Then, gather up those natural ingredients and get crafting! From lavender wreaths and hypertufa planters to lambsear angels and pickled tomatoes, there are projects for beginners on up!

Crafting with Nature is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a MillionPOWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), IndieBoundAlibrisGlose.comThe Book Depository and Walmart.com.  Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there. 
 If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!