God knows why he wanted to learn how to make soap. Don't ask.
Anyways, he had booked us into a class at City East Community College in Bondi. They actually have heaps of classes such as cake decorating, cooking, various languages and so on. But book fast if you see an open spot because the classes are small and may not always be offered! So on a rainy Sunday morning we made the trek to Bondi.
The class was really small, about 10-12 people which was perfect. Our instructor (The beautiful and oh-so-French Marlene) started off by explaining the chemical side of things (I'm not gonna bore you with all that...and plus I've sorta forgotten it all =P) - does the word Saponification ring any bells? Unfortunately for us, soap making is supposed to be done in dry conditions with the humidity really low. But with all the rain it was really damp in the air, but we soldiered on.
|Soapconscious is Marlene's Soap Making Business! ANd of course the rest is just all the science behind soap making....|
It was actually really interesting the way she explained it all. She also went through common problems with soap making and troubleshooting so to speak. For instance, if your soap is covered in a sort of white powdery substance (which i see too often in a certain soap shop!), it means too much Lye has been used to make the soap. This makes it very corrosive and very harsh on the skin. Scarily, she went on to explain how very thin, sensitive skin (commonly on the elderly) can easily be damaged with continued use of these corrosive soaps, resulting in skin ACTUALLY TEARING. I freaked out with the mental image *shudder*.
On to the fun part!! Making soap!! We made 3 types of soaps - Bar, Liquid and Glycerin. The bar and liquid soaps actually take a couple of days to make and need a month or more to actually mature. So she had some mixtures pre-prepared and we just finished off the process. The glycerin soaps are those fancy little transparent soaps, which are the easiest to make - they are simply melt and pour. You melt the soap, add whatever scents and decorative items to the liquid form, then pour the soap into moulds. EASY! And they smell and look gorgeous.
The bar soaps turned out great!! They are really luxurious and rich, however Marlene explained that soap is pretty much a transient thing. Most of the effects from soap don't last very long, however they are a delightful indulgence =). She had awesome ideas for speciality soaps (she owns a soap making business and has been doing it for many many years!), like pouring the soap mixture into a loofah so you can lather and exfoliate at the same time! And using powdered clays that are supposed to be really good for the skin, as well as adding gorgeous colours to the soaps.
The liquid soap was a bit disappointing. Even though we made it the proper way it is actually sorta hard to get soap to the same consistency as commercial soaps, which have things added to it to get that texture. It still works, but i wish you could get that same feel without having to add so much unnecessary artificial stuff...
I loved the glycerin soaps! They are so adorable! We each got to make our own soap concoction with various scents, clays, colourings and other "add-in" items such as glitter and tine flowers. Marlene also demonstrated how to suspend one soap into another! Everyone chose a mould and poured there soap mixture into it, left it in the fridge to set. We all swapped or miniature soaps so we could take different ones home.
|My little purple glitter sandalwood hearts!!|
|Mine is the purple heart! It has glitter in it but it's sorta hard to see with the intense purple colour I made it...smells divine! Sandalwood mmmmm....|
Some people made some gorgeous soaps, while others (like daddy dearest) made some weird lookin things =P. All the clay he added actually made the soap solidify before he could pour it hahaha. So we had to re-melt it and pour it again. However, all that clay feels gorgeous on the skin!
|Hahah dad's failed soap making attempt. But it's a really good shape,|
makes it easier to use in the shower with the rounded side
All in all it was a fun day! I didn't expect soap making to be so much fun but I really did enjoy my self. The class was pretty much a full day (about 10:30am-3pm) with break in the middle) and it was really easy to get to with parking right out the front. There are HEAPS of community colleges like City East that have classes just like this, just look up your local community notice board or just get on the net and get searching. And if soap making isn't your thing then I'm sure you'll find something in their extensive course listings =). And, like me, try something new!! You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it =D.