The Rebellious Soap Maker

Example of a soap gone wrong because of rebellion. So pretty on the outside, turned hard as a rock because I doubled my lye water. Had to scrap the whole batch.
You know those unspoken obligations people have to one another when conversing? For example, everyone knows you don't interrupt your hysterical friend when they are telling you about how their beloved cat died for any reason, especially if you just need a glass of water. You can wait. Or how about when Downton Abbey finally premieres and you saw the first episode and your bestie didn't? Is the first thing you say to them when you get on the phone next "You'll NEVER GUESS WHAT HAPPENED..." and promptly relay the entire 1 and 1/2 hour episode? No. Not friendly.

These rules are set in place to keep relationships strong. Well, anyone that participates in art knows that, like all relationships, you have to do your part to keep this project in tact. The materials, ingredients, etc. can only pull so much weight, you have to be the big person and ya know, not leave that cake in the oven past the timer, tie the knot on that friendship bracelet crooked, or put that color in the corner of that painting. For me, I have to treat soap like it's a living, breathing thing with a mind of its own or else it will undoubtedly flop. I mean it. Respect the intricacy of variables lest you become prey to stupid mistakes. What the heck does that mean? I'll lay out a scenario.

Let's say that you have a brand new fragrance oil. It smells like a goddess and you can't wait to try it out. You put together a recipe with 60% hard oils, a major water discount, and 6 different colors. You also decide to work at 120 degrees because you have things to do. Oh yeah. And the FO is a floral. Now, you COULD make this soap perfectly, but look at all the factors that could lead to failure. You've been selfish and put your soap in a compromised situation. "But I'm on a time crunch!" Well, wait to work on your project then. "But, I don't want to test the FO for ricing, seizing, separation, heat surge, or discoloration." Well, fine. But don't be too shocked it it goes wonky on you.

Good soap makers are methodical. They are patient, they have uniformity with their batches, they know how to implement designs correctly, and can easily pick up on abnormalities and adjust accordingly. That doesn't mean they don't occasionally plop some soap on the floor, get a little hasty with the mixing process, or mis-measure. This isn't about never making a mistake, it's about the attitude and the head space. Good soap makers don't stress their relationship with their soap.

By my own standards, I'm a rebel a good bit of the time. It's not something I'm proud of, but I feel like I owe you some honesty here. I wish I was the type of soap maker who does test batches of their colorants and fragrance oils to see how each of them react with their recipe before dumping 8 oz into a 120 oz batch and praying it works. I wish I was the type of soap maker that never forgets to make batch notes so you don't repeat mistakes. I wish I was the type of soap maker who was patient with their lye water and never soaped too hot.......or cold. I wish I was the type of soap maker who consistently had their temperatures within a 20 degree range of each other. But I'm not, and while I'm working to fix this, to grow my patience, and just become more consistent, I've still got a long way to go.

Just thought I would admit that to you this morning. What makes you a soapy rebel or good girl?


  1. A lot of this sounds like me and the way I do things - not just when it comes to soap making either. ������

    1. Hahaha!! That's kinda awesome, I won't lie. XD

  2. Man, I would love to get to be more disciplined with soap making. I usually am with everything else creative. (I'm more science and math than music and painting.) I think the hardest thing (caused by impatience) is not writing things down. We just put our first soaps on Etsy and I realized that we didn't write anything down about one of them, and we had to backtrack and try to remember what we put in it. (Not to mention, it was quite a flop as I added three new fruity FOs together that turned my bright rainbow into burnt cobbler quite quickly. Hope people will still buy it.)

    Katie, I love your YouTube channel, you're adorable. Congrats on the wedding!

  3. Sounds like the last soap I made, which was the 4th time I made soap. It was one of the hottest days of the year, so some of my hard oils were already almost liquid due to the temperature. I used the so-called 'room temperature method' where you use the hotness of the lye-water to melt the oils and eventually I soaped too hot (± 100F). Everything went well until I added my EO/FO mixture in the base, when it started to rice, aaaarrrhhhhg!

    Oh well, a few days later I cut the soap and I have to say that the ricing makes a nice texture to the soap. I tagged you on instagram because I used your piping kit, so you can see how it turned out.

    Still a rookie on the soaping area, but you really inspire me to make soap every once in a while and hey... maybe start selling some bars!

    Warmest regards,
    Anne (aka annebyebye)


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