If you’re thinking about trying your hand at soap making, you may be wondering what tools you need to get started. There are countless items that can be used in the process of making soap, so it can be hard to know where to begin. I know when I first started making soap I purchased a lot of items I didn’t really need, so I’ve decided to put together a list of must-haves to point other new soap makers in the right direction.
Here are some of the essential tools you will need to make your first batch of cold process soap.
Cold process soap is made up of a combination of oils, water, and sodium hydroxide (lye) all of which has to be measured out precisely in order to make the soap safe to use. Unlike in cooking being off in your measurements by even half and ounce could make your soap caustic and harmful to those who use it. To avoid that, I recommend using a digital scale that weighs in both ounces and grams.
Also known as a stick blender, an emulsion blender is most commonly used by chefs to blend soups and sauces smooth. However, it is also used by soap makers to emulsify soap batter, and to bring the batter to trace. I’ve been told that it is possible to make soap without an emulsion blender, but I wouldn’t advise it.
Heavy duty plastic pitcher
Sodium hydroxide or lye as it’s commonly referred to as in the soaping community, is a caustic substance that must be used with caution. Lye must be dissolved in a liquid like water before being adding into a soap batter. You must add the lye to the water and never the water to the lye, and the two must be mixed in a container that can withstand temperatures over 150 degrees Fahrenheit. I prefer to mix my lye in a heave duty plastic pitcher, but many soap makers use stainless steel pitchers as well.
It is important to remember not to mix your lye in a glass or aluminum container because there is a risk of rupture.
Silicone spatulas are absolutely essential for soap making, in my option. I use them to help mix my soap batter, but more importantly they help me scrape every last scarp of soap out of my soap pot. After all, everything that doesn’t make it into the mold is wasted soap, and that’s never a good thing.
I’ve found that I use several different types of spoons to make soap. I use large, plastic mixing spoons to stir my lye mixture. I also use stainless steel tablespoons and teaspoons to help mix my soap batter and to texture the tops of my soap loaves.
Finally, you need something to hold your soap batter while it saponifies or turns into soap. Anything can be used as a soap mold as long as it is firm enough to hold its shape, and will hold the soap batter. Many new soap makers use things like a Pringles can or a pizza box lined with freezer paper to make their first batches of soap. You can also use silicone cake or cupcake pans if you have one on hand, but remember once you use it for soap it cannot be used for food again.
There you have it, six things I consider to be the essential tools of soap making. To find out more about what you need to make soap I recommend you check out Soaping101.com.