It’s Felecia here, I hope you all enjoy reading my piece about my soap making experience! Here it goes…
It is easy to take things for granted. For example, something as simple as a bar of soap. Have you ever really pondered the thought of how long it takes to make just a single bar of soap? There is a lot more to it than just mixing a few ingredients and letting it harden.
This is the story of how our new soap, Inner Peace, was created! I hope you enjoy reading my first bar of soap making story.
It all started with a simple picture of a peacock swirl pattern in a bar of soap that my grandmother, Danielle, sent to my parents and me. The picture she sent us is provided below with permission from Amy Warden from Great Cakes Soapworks who was the host for the Great Cakes Soap Challenge, my Grandmother participated in several of the challenges.
With my face glued to my Chromebook screen, I remember answering my grandmother’s questions about a new soap she wants to make quite robotically. Yes and no a few times, a sure every now and then.When she asked if I wanted to design a new fragrance for this soap, it broke my trance with the screen! That’s when my mind changed about this soap challenge.
Deciding on a Fragrance
The very first step in making soap is deciding on what you want it to smell like! For Inner Peace my grandma let me make that decision. I immediately felt nervous once she asked me if we should use essential oils or fragrance oils. I did not want to pick something that only I would find appealing, I wanted this soap to smell good enough for anybody to use.
Once my grandma started naming off some essential oils, and I heard her say “what about ylang ylang?” I made my decision to use essential oils instead of fragrance oils. Ylang ylang has always been one of my favorite scents so we used that as our base note. For our middle note we used Ginger and our top notes are a mix of Tangerine and Vanilla.
Once your oils are mixed the longer you wait to use the blend, the better. My grandma told me that when creating your own custom blend of fragrance, it does not put off it’s true scent until it has sat for at least 24 hours. When I was able to come back to my grandma’s house to start the next step of the soap, it had been 5-7 days.
Every time I catch a whiff of Inner Peace, a smile immediately pops onto my face! The sweet aroma brings me to my happy place… Walking into my great grandma’s house on Christmas day to the smell of fresh bread dough being made and eggs on the stove…. While the floral oil used brings me happiness and excitement, the rich, sweet oil makes me sigh into a relaxed state of mind.
With the overwhelming feelings of joy and comfort, it was easy for me to come up with the name, Inner Peace, for this soap.
Once we had our fragrance, we were able to start picking colors for our soap. I decided I wanted the soap to look similar to an actual peacock feather. I wanted to create something natural but unique at the same time. With that in mind the mica powders I choose were purple, teal/ turquoise, yellow, black, and white. Something I did not know is that all colors for mica powder, expect for white, must be mixed with oil instead of water. White is the only color that is to be mixed with water.
With all the colors mixed, it is then time to start measuring all the other ingredients to create the soap batter. My grandmother let me do this part and let me tell you, it is not as easy as it sounds! For each butter and oil needed you must put your bucket/bowl on your scale and zero it out between each ingredient to get the accurate weight for each. For example, when you have measured your shea butter and are ready to measure your mango butter, you must tare/zero your scale before adding the mango butter. You want to get as close as you possibly can to the required measurements for each ingredient to ensure creating the ideal batch of soap.
It was way more difficult than I had originally imagined it would be. I did not realize how much time and hard work it takes to make just one loaf of soap. The slightest mistake like adding too much of an oil or over mixing the batter, can cause issues throughout the rest of the soap making process.
This, to me, was the hardest part of making Inner Peace by far! Once we had all 5 of our colors mixed in our bottles we were ready to begin putting the bar together. We added our fragrance to our black base and poured that into our soap mold once we had the mold assembled.
My grandmother poured the base and immediately started squeezing purple soap batter in a zigzag pattern across the black. I joined in and we continued this pattern until all of our colors were gone from each bottle.
I have drawn the picture located to the left to demonstrate the zig zag pattern I am talking about. When doing this you want to make sure that the soap batter in each color touches the edge each time you bring the bottle to the left or right.
To achieve the peacock swirl pattern a wide tooth comb is needed to create columns in the soap batter. We made our comb piece out of cardboard and skewers.
Unfortunately our batter started to thicken while we were layering our colors so when we took our wide tooth comb piece I made, it was difficult to pull through but that didn’t stop us from finishing what we started.
Once we made lines through the zig zag pattern of our colors my grandmother took another stick and started from the top left corner making an “S” in between the lines the comb piece created. She let me do the last few columns, I was nervous but fun once I got the hang of it!
While waiting for our soap to cure, my grandmother started putting together a label we would want to use as apart of the packaging for Inner Peace. This is was one of my favorite parts in creating my first bar of soap. I wanted a label that would compliment the fragrance of the product. With the fragrance being light, fresh, and floral like I knew for sure that we needed to have pastel colors and a flower somewhere on the packaging. My grandmother was able to capture my vision and put it down on paper! I think this label is the perfect match for Inner Peace.
After 1-2 days we can clean up each bar of soap. This can be done by hand with a knife or potato peeler, that’s the way I prefer to do it. You can also do it with a set of shavers or edgers. The ones my grandmother has are made out of plexiglas.
Once your bars of soap are cut, cleaned, and cured, they are ready for packaging! This is the final product for Inner Peace created by my grandmother and myself. I am proud to be adding Inner Peace to the product line that we as Skin Zen have to offer.
There you have it! That is how I made my first bar of soap. I could not have done it without my grandma. She was so patient and kind as she guided me through every single step. This was an incredible opportunity and I am so happy that I did not let it pass me by. I not only got to learn something new, I was able to do it while spending quality time with my grandma. Because of this soap, Inner peace, I have a memory I can and will cherish forever.
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