DIY, Soap

Making Cold Process Soap for the First Time

About a month ago, I finally tried something I’ve been wanting to try for ages: making cold process soap! I think I’ve been drawn to soap making not only because of how beautiful artisan soaps can be, but also because they contain simple, real ingredients (and I’ve been known to have several mysterious skin allergies crop up from time-to-time).

Cold process soap making kit

So, I bought myself a beginner soap making kit from Bramble Berry. The kit came with everything you need to make your first batch of soap, including a recipe. The kit did not come with any colorants, however, so I purchased some of those separately to try (go big or go home, right?). The box the kit comes in even doubles as a soap mold, though if and when I do this again, I’ll purchase a proper silicone mold.

Other than the oils, lye, fragrance and other basic ingredients that come in the kit, you’ll have to supply a few things on your own like bowls, a stick blender or other mixing tool, gloves, eye protection, etc. Bowls and gloves I bought at the dollar store on the cheap, and they worked just fine!

Since I’ve been dying to try this and because this was my first time, I made sure to do a bit of research before diving in. I found some soap makers I like on social media and learned what I could from them. Bramble Berry’s blog is a great source for this kind of thing. Their youtube channel, Soap Queen TV, has a lot of great info and tutorials. I am also in love with just about every soap made by Tania of Soapish, and she’s got a great youtube channel and an even better instagram account.

Cold process soap

So, feeling mostly well informed, I got started (and soon learned that soap making is more about trial and error and less about feeling well informed from the get-go)… I mixed all my ingredients and then portioned things out into several bowls and mixed in my fragrance oil and mica colorants (Caribbean Blue and Aqua Pearl) – one bowl had fragrance oil but no colorant.

Cold process soap

I had to work pretty quickly because I got a little overzealous and I think over mixed my soap a bit. So, not much time for process photos here! But I did what I think is called a drop swirl, adding my base soap and then the colored soaps as well. I let the batch cure for about 24 hours and then cut up my bars with a sharp knife before letting them continue to cure for several weeks.

Cold process soap

Obviously there’s some room for improvement here, but I feel really good about the results of my first attempt. And the Cranberry Fig fragrance smells so delicious (though next time I think I’ll find some colors that “match” the fragrance a little better)! The soap lathers really nicely and has a smooth, creamy feel. I definitely see more soap making in my future.

kimberly

This post is not sponsored and there are no affiliate links here – I just wanted to share my thoughts and experience :)

DIY

DIY Monogrammed Tote Bags

DIY Monogrammed Tote Bag

I wanted to share these easy DIY tote bags because they are the perfect handmade gift-vehicle, and it’s that time of year (although I’m refusing to listen to any Christmas music yet)! I made these totes for my bridesmaids, flower girl and ring bearer and gave them out after our rehearsal dinner. I loved how they came out, and stuffed them with all kinds of stuff – toys, coloring books and candies for the flower girl and ringbearer, and lavender soap, flip-flops, personalized dress hangers, robes and all the essential bridesmaid survival kit stuff for my ‘maids.

To make your own monogrammed tote, you will need:

  • A tote bag – I purchased these from Amazon.com
  • acrylic paint in the color of your choice
  • paintbrush
  • a letter stencil – I made my own using my silhouette cameo
  • tape – painters tape or masking tape is best
  • I also used an iron to smooth any wrinkles on the tote bag before I started

N Stencil in Silhouette Studio

First, you’ll need to make or buy a large letter stencil. I used my silhouette cameo to cut  letters for my stencils (the letters were about 10 inches high). I used the font Janda Celebration Script for the letters on the girls’ bags, and a more simple/boy appropriate script for the ringbearer bag. Another way to make your own stencil would be to make a large letter in Microsoft Word or another document writing program, print it out and then cut it out.

Letter Stencil on Tote Bag

Then, I just taped the stencil onto the bag, making sure there were no wrinkles under the stencil, and painted over the stencil with acrylic paint.

Painting the Monogrammed Tote Bag

Then, I just removed the stencil, cleaned up any areas I might have missed and let the bags dry.

M Tote Bag

Finished! I really like how they turned out, and I wish I had made one for myself. I might have to now.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you make your own monogrammed tote bags, and what you put in them!

kimberly