Soapmaking on a Budget: What do I NEED to buy?
Regardless of the method of soapmaking you chose, you’ll need some equipment, materials, and supplies. I strongly suggest that you do your due diligence by researching and comparing the quality and prices of every item. I warn you my Lovely; it can get expensive very quickly. So, let’s jump right in and look at the essential elements required.
THE TOP 5
1. Digital Scale – oils, butter, pre-made bases, fragrance/essential oils, all need to be measured out for each recipe. Too much or too little of an item can derail a well-planned project. There are pricey ones and cost friendly ones also.
2. Digital Thermometer – temperature is vital when making soap. You can burn pre-made bases, or kill a scent (flashpoint) before it's in the mold. Oils, butter, even fragrances are sensitive to temperature. If you're using the cold or hot process method, lye temp is vital, especially when mixing with soap batter.
3. Soap Cutter – now, you don’t need a fancy one (although they’re beautiful) to start with, but you do need one that’s reliable and makes even-consistent cuts. A great soaper’s tip: use a cheese slicer. However, if you have a steady hand, a sharp knife and flat surface will do just fine.
4. Soap Mold – after you’ve created your masterpiece you’ll need a mold to put it in. Loaf molds are always a significant investment since they are compatible with all methods of soaping. These can be made out of milk cartons and other DIY hacks. Stand-alone-Silicone molds can get tricky as sometimes the soap gets stuck or the sides bow because of the soaps weight. I recommend using silicone liners with wood base molds. They’re sturdy.
5. Curing Rack/ Storage – okay, so this isn’t an item per se. However, if you think about it, where will you keep your soap? Closet? Bin? Storage and lack thereof is always a concern for soapers; especially after the addiction sets in.
The TOP 5 are the major equipment items for soapmaking. If you choose to make melt & pour (M&P) – aside of a few supplies; you’re pretty much good-to-go. However, if you decide to make Cold Process or Hot Process, you’ll need a couple more pieces of equipment.
· Cold Process / Hot Process– a stick blender is a must-have!
· Hot Process – a crock pot is an essential component of this soapmaking method.
Supplies / Materials
Many of the items you’ll need can be purchased at your local dollar store. All other things can be easily found online. As tempting as it is to buy everything in sight, STOP! It’s a trap. You will end up purchasing every mixing bowl, spatula, mold, organza bag, fragrance oil, and mica in sight. Every soaper has been there, so we understand. That’s why those who soap become addicted, too many cool things to do!
I purchased Pyrex mixing bowls because of their famed heat-resistance. The truth is they can crack because they can overheat. Glass mixed with oil all over the place is a disaster to avoid at all costs. I’ve read about the horror stories and only use my glass bowls to measure, mix colors, fragrances, and that sort of thing. Instead, I melt and oils and butter’ in BPA-free plastic, microwave safe food bowls. The kind that comes 3-in-a-pack. They are way cheaper than the Pyrex and are flexible, come with lids, easy to wash and store, and have proven to be sturdy.
If you choose to Cold or Hot Process, protective gear is a must! Eye goggles, long-sleeves, apron, elbow-length rubber/latex gloves. You do NOT want lye-water on you, ever, IT BURNS! Safety is imperative. Never take chances, that’s no lye. Sorry, a cheesy joke. I couldn’t help myself. One last tip, NEVER USE ALUMINUM tools or equipment.
Okay, let’s give a recap. The dollar store venture should include:
-mixing bowls (of differing sizes) Only stainless steel or BPA-free plastic
-spatula(s) (plastic, rubber or stainless steel only)
-goggles (look in tool/home repair section)
-rubber/latex gloves (sometimes sold in boxes or packs of 2 or 3)
-measuring spoons (stainless steel or plastic only)
That seems to be it. We’ve covered the TOP 5 items and supplies/materials. The next step is for you to decide how much you have to spend, what method you're going to use, and lastly, where are you going to source your materials. Good luck and happy soaping!
Sources & Links:
Digital Scales 2019 Reviews