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The first step

As I was tidying up my many many soapy photographs this week I came across some pictures of my very first attempts at soapmaking, and thought it might be fun to share. Here, in all its glory, is my very first batch:

My first batch of soap
My first batch

Sadly I didn’t photograph the process, but I do remember that I hadn’t yet started using a stick blender, and it was stirred (and stirred, and stirred) with a balloon whisk, which took FOREVER. I used a kit for this first batch, which contained all the ingredients I needed to make CP soap, plus comprehensive instructions. It was a great introduction to the craft, but with hindsight I could have bought a couple of good soapmaking books and all the ingredients (olive oil, palm oil, sodium hydroxide) and still had change from what the kit cost me ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s the ‘cut’ ๐Ÿ˜€

First soap (cut)
First soap (cut)

It was fragranced with vanilla (FO, I assume) that was supplied with the kit, though I suspect it was a fairly small amount, given the lack of discolouration, even after the cure. It’s not the prettiest of soaps but once cured it worked like a dream and I was hooked ๐Ÿ˜€

My second attempt was made with coconut oil, olive oil and lard (a recipe from one of those soapmaking books that I soon started buying with indecent regularity – I now have a bookshelf full!) and Iย thinkย I fragranced it with Cherry Blossom FO. I do remember that I didn’t add anywhere near enough FO so there was barely any scent – the lessons come quick and fast when you first start out on the soapmaking journey.

Second soap
Second soap

Within no time I was experimenting with essential oils, additives and of course colours but one of the great things about soapmaking is there’s always new stuff to learn, so it NEVER gets old ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for joining me down memory lane – please tell me how you got started, I’d love to know!

9 thoughts on “The first step

  1. I started volunteering on a goat farm this spring. In exchange for an evening or two a week, I got 1/2 gallon of fresh goat milk. I don’t drink dairy or eat cheese, but I learned to make goat milk cheese for my boyfriend. I was still swimming in the stuff, so I thought I’d learn to make soap.

    An inquiry on a local Facebook group about soap making classes led to a very kind stranger offering to give me an intro lesson. It was great fun and while my first soap was kind of hideous, it lathered beautifully and I was hooked. I have had so much fun learning new techniques and experimenting with new recipes!

    1. Hahaha I can imagine an awful lot of people would love to have a local fresh source of goat’s milk, but for you to get it when you don’t even use dairy is kind of funny! But it was a great idea to start using it in soap! It’s certainly an addictive I’ve only ever once tried making goat’s milk soap and it didn’t really work out well for me. I’ll try again one day.
      As an aside, I just checked out your blog and wow, what a trip you’ve embarked on – would love to hear how it’s going if you get an opportunity to update. Good luck!!

  2. Nice to look at older pictures and remember how this lovely passion started, don’t you? I also have these pictures on my bog( good thing, as i lost all the pictures with our pc which crushed) and even the pictures aren’t great, those soaps still look great to me.
    Nice memories, Vicki!

    1. Thanks Natalia, they are lovely memories – I clearly remember the excitement I felt that I had created actual, useable soap ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Both of your first attempts look great! It is so fun to look back at my first batches and see how much my skills have progressed! I didnโ€™t use a stick blender either and it totally didnโ€™t trace (!) Thank you for sharing these pictures with us! =)

    1. Thanks for the kind comments Anne-Marie. It’s been (and still is!) a huge learning journey, and I love every minute of it!!

  4. How fun, Vicki! Wow, it must have taken quite a while to bring that batch to trace without a stickblender. I still have a bar from the very first batch I made almost five years ago. It was a simple three-oil soap, no colorant, nothing fancy – I just wanted to get the basics down. I used a Rosemary Mint fragrance, but it has since faded. I remember being scared of lye the first time I soaped – I was certain I was going to blow up the house! All went well, though, and I was so proud of that first batch. It was so cool to use a bar of soap that I had made from scratch. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    1. Thanks for sharing Jenny ๐Ÿ™‚ I made rosemary mint early on as well, a really nice combination which I love, and I’m still making it (with a little added eucalyptus and lemon these days). Yep, without a stickblender I was stirring for an absolute age, but the result was worth it. Didn’t take me long to realise that a stickblender was the way to go though lol!!

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