Yesterday I attempted my first batch of homemade soap with the new scale my brother gave me for Christmas. I had read extensively on the subject and felt comfortable enough with the procedures, but was still a little nervous, perhaps in part due to Joe's mom's warnings: "I've treated a number of people in the ER with lye burns, don't make your own soap!"
Turns out everything went fine, I do have a great respect for chemicals and suited up with long sleeves, gloves and goggles. I went out on to the porch, where I can shut the door and keep the nosy little kittens away. I was surprised how much heat the lye and water solution produced, I had read about it, but was amazed to see the chemical reaction in real life. The water heated up within seconds to 160 degrees from a chilly 40! It cooled quickly since the porch is unheated.
I was overly anxious this morning to see how it turned out and tried to remove it from the mold. It seemed semi-solid, about the consistency of cookie dough, but apparently this is too early and the soap broke into 3 pieces. Next time I'll wait longer to remove it. Since it was so soft I was able to press it back into the mold ( a pink hospital basin!) and will wait another day or 2 before taking it out. It needs to be cut before it gets too hard but not so soft that it will break up. Another possibility for the reason of breakage could be that I didn't grease the basin well enough. It's all a learning process!
Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of my experience since I didn't want the distraction of picture taking while I was trying the procedures for the first time. I may try another batch today and get out my camera to document the process. I'm looking forward to experimenting with different oils and fragrances but for now will concentrate on making simple, basic soaps until I know what I'm doing. I hope my friends don't mind being guinea pigs home made soaps!