Squirrel Picnic

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Tonight, We Make Soap

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Tonight We Make Soap

The first rule of Squirrel Club is you do not talk about Squirrel Club. Yeah, who are we kidding? Squirrel Picnic is nothing like Fight Club, but we do make soap. In case you ever wondered how it’s made, here’s a quick overview.

I start by gathering the ingredients and supplies. The most important of which is my trusty guide Soap Maker’s Workshop by Dr. Robert and Katherine McDaniel. This husband and wife team really know their soap. I’ve tried a lot of different recipes and guides over the years, and I always come back to this one.

Ingredients for my favorite (and the simplest) soap include olive oil, coconut oil, shortening, lye, distilled water, and your choice of essential oil fragrance. This time we’re using lemon. Because of the use of lye, we always wear heavy-duty gloves and protective eye wear. Doesn’t Hodge look cute with her goggles on?

Soap-Making Supplies

The next step is to measure out all the ingredients very carefully by weight. Then we go outside to mix the lye into the water. I always feel a little like Mr. Wizard when I’m doing this because the solution reaches upwards of 200 degrees and steams like crazy.

Mixing Lye

Next, I melt all the oils together on the stove and cool them until they are about 120 degrees. It takes a while, so here’s a picture of Podge waiting.

Podge Is Ready

The lye solution then is poured into the oil and mixed continuously with a stick blender. Yes, those are a pair of my stockings on the lye pitcher! Sometimes particles of foreign matter remain in the bottom of the solution after the lye has dissolved. When this happens, you have to sift them out. The best way to do that is to pour the solution through a pair of pantyhose. I don’t like pantyhose much, so I was totally okay with ruining a pair.

Adding the Lye

See, I’m totally okay with it.

Mixing the Soap

Next, I mix in the fragrance.

Adding the Fragrance

And pour the soap into silicone molds.

Pouring into the Molds

I also use silicone loaf molds.

Loaf Soap Molds

Then I wrap the containers up in towels and set them aside for 24 hours while they continue to saponify. Silicone molds are so nice because when the soap hardens, it is very easy to remove it from the mold.

Podge's Soap

Finally I cut them into bars and store them for about six weeks until they are completely hardened and ready to use.

Stack o' Soap

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17 thoughts on “Tonight, We Make Soap

  1. I am impressed. I love nice soap.

  2. I’m glad your squirrel has proper protective eyewear while she works ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I love making soap!! It’s incredibly fun. ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Love the goggles! And I’m a little in awe of any post tagged “crafts, DIY, Fight Club, fragrance, Mr Wizard AND soap” : )

  5. YAY! Another soaper ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Love all the pop culture references in this post, as well as Podge’s safety goggles! I could probably use some of that soap for my filthy mouth….

  7. I had friends in Victoria (BC) who made their own soap once or twice a year (some was for giving away). It was so lovely. Thanks for this; I’m re-blogging, as some of my followers may be interested.

    When someone swears in front of my 90 yr old Mum, she asks them, “Do you want me to show you my Soapy Rag Trick?” Not too many of the younger ones get it . . . but it makes me laugh! ~ Linne

  8. Reblogged this on A Random Harvest and commented:
    For those of you who like making soap or plan to try it one day . . .
    ~ Linne

  9. Fantastic!! I love that the little squirrel has it’s own goggles!! I am actually about to make soap myself with my Farmgirl Sisters… Our recipe is a little different though. I’ll post it later this month. Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by my blog.

  10. Good article! But couldn’t you tell the measures of each ingredient? And how long is it necessary to stir the mix?

    • Hi Matheus! Thanks for your questions. I’d love to tell you the recipe, but it’s not mine. My go-to book for soap recipes is Soap Makerโ€™s Workshop by Dr. Robert and Katherine McDaniel. I can tell you that with an immersion blender (aka a stick blender), it can take as little as 10-20 minutes of stirring to get the right consistency. Before I got the stick blender, it could take up to 2 hours of constant stirring by hand! In my experience, every soap is different — the amount of time it takes to saponify can depend on the type and quality of the ingredients, the temperatures of the lye solution and the oil mixture, and the fragrance, to name just a few of the variables.