New to soap making? Wondering what tools and equipment you need to start with? Trying something new can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Not only are new soap makers learning the basics, but we must also grasp the unfamiliar elements too. What oils are best? Hot process soap or cold process soap? Is the mold big enough? How do I cut my soaps? What colors should I add? And the ultimate question, what tools and equipment are needed for soap making?
If this sounds like you, you’re in the right place! This post is meant for any individual who is new to soap making and in the process of purchasing or gaining tools and equipment for the first time.
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In this post we will cover all the tools and equipment needed for soap making. Whether you are making hot process or cold process, the tools are similar with only a few minor changes. The one question you must decide on is which method you will start with. Although hot and cold processing are very common soap making methods, there is no right or wrong starting point. However, the method chosen will determine which unique tools you will need to complete a batch of soap.
To assist you in answering which method to choose, consider the following:
- Am I limited to a minimal budget?
- Is time a factor? Am I willing to wait a minimum of 30 days before using the soap?
If you answered yes to both questions, start with cold process soap.
Starting with the basics
Below is a list of equipment and tools for each soap making method. This eliminates the need for confusing research and allows you to make a choice in direction and investment. Whether you are making soaps for your family or simply want to try for the first time, the investment in tools doesn’t need to break the bank. Of course, if you like the process and want to expand on additional tools or upgrading the equipment you have, there is always the option.
Starting small is best for beginner soap making. I started with the minimal amount of tools and equipment necessary and started mixing soap on my dining room table. If space is a factor, a little planning will go along way. Ultimately, when making your first batch of homemade soap, we really only need use of a stove or microwave and a table. We can adjust the space in the future if you choose to pursue soap making further.
When I first started with soap making, the soaps I experimented with were in tiny batches every 3 months. As I experimented with different recipes, the soap making equipment expanded with the ingredients. Ultimately, the final soap products were for our family only. A basic loaf of soap can yield around 8-10 bars depending on the size of each cut. Or if using individual molds with pre-measured cavities, this number can go down or up.
Now for the good stuff. The list below will guide you in the right direction of proper tools and equipment to consider without an enormous investment up front.
Equipment for Cold Process Soap Making
Cold process soap does what it sounds like. There is zero cooking. Once the oil is mixed with the lye, the resulting pudding texture is placed into a mold for curing. The estimated cost of the equipment and tools below is around $60-$100. This depends on the quality, quantity, and brand of equipment and tools.
- Mixing Bowls: A set of plastic or glass mixing bowls in multiple sizes for measuring liquids and mixing. You will need and appreciate more than one.
- Stick Blender or Whisk: An inexpensive stick blender is a great investment. Mixing the lye with oil can be tedious by hand and you don’t want trace amounts of unmixed lye!
- Mold: A silicone mold is best for starting out. Silicone is great for soap un-molding. Leaving beautiful soap without the mess afterward or stick factor.
- Glass Measuring Cups: A couple of glass measuring cups will do. Use these for mixing the lye and water or heating up your oils in the microwave if you don’t use the stove.
- Scale: Nothing fancy here. A simple table top food scale will do. You won’t need a scale that goes beyond 16 ounces for small batches or one that reaches beyond 0.00 decimals.
- Cutting Board and Knife: Basics! Your new soap will only need a surface for cutting and a sharp knife. Step it up if you wish with a basic cheese cutter.
- Mixing Spoon: A silicone or plastic spoon will work wonders when you pour your batch into the mold. You will want to reach every last drop!
- Personal Protective Equipment: Safety is a priority. A mask to protect your lungs from the lye, goggles for your eyes, an apron for your clothes, and disposable gloves. Soap making is messy 🙂
- Curing/Drying Rack: A standard table top cookie cooling rack works great. Otherwise, a table top, shelf, shoe rack, or any other surface away from direct sun with plenty of air circulation.
Equipment for Hot Process Soap Making
Hot process soap making involves cooking the soap at a warm temperature for a short amount of time to cut the curing requirements to zero. Besides the list above, hot process requires a couple more tools for consideration. Although many soapers have preferred methods that may come with experience, I find using a simple crock pot to be the easiest cooking method for beginners. The estimated additional cost of the equipment below is around $20-$40.
- Small Crockpot: A crockpot will aid in an even, medium heat distribution and make for easy clean up. Cook on low!
- PH Testing strips: Testing the PH of soap when making hot process is essential! The PH should be at a range of 6-8 for best results (7 is the lucky number). Some soapers have used the tongue test or zap method without strips. Although possible, this is not recommended and is less accurate. PH strips are inexpensive and will last a very long time.
So that’s it! You’re now ready to collect the required equipment and tools for beginner soap making and get to the fun stuff, making the soap! Most of the supplies needed can be found at a local supermarket or big box store. If you haven’t checked out Bramble Berry, now is a good time as they have many soap making supplies available. Happy Soaping 🙂
Are you eco-friendly and looking for ideas for healthier living? Check out this post, Eco-Friendly Ideas for Healthier Living. You may find something unique and new.
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