Lesson 01 : Beginner Basics » 1.2: Gather the Supplies You Need

Lesson 1.2 : Utensils & Tools

You will need to have your soap making utensils ready and available before you begin. You can collect things for little cost, but remember soap making is a chemical process, so there are a few details you need to know about the supplies you use.

Difficulty: Beginner Video   Time: 10 Minutes

Video Details

Let's talk about what you need & where to get utensils, and appliances that are required to start a soap making hobby.

Printable Checklist

Open the file and print this check list as you are collecting the supplies and utensils you need for soap making.

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Lesson 1.2

You'll need to gather some supplies specifically for soap making. These are mostly normal kitchen utensils and these will stay separate from all the supplies you use in your kitchen to prepare food. There are some practical safety reasons for this, which Ill explain, but the most obvious reason is that these things will make everything taste like soap if you try to cook with them, and for whatever reason there no getting that taste out of your dishes once you've been making soap with them. This is especially true for the crock pot. So don't even think about putting a pork loin in after you've been slow cooking three pounds of soap. You need to have separate appliances for cooking and soap making.

One of the most practical tips you'll ever get in the beginning tutorial stages is to know what utensils you'll be using ahead of time, and have them in front of you and ready. This actually goes for all your supplies like wax paper, lids, cold water … along with the utensils that you'll be using.

The reason for this is because making soap can be a time sensitive process, and depending on the recipe you are using and possibly other conditions the pace of your recipe can start to set up faster than you expect, and if you turn your back on a project to go fishing through a drawer looking for a stick blender or a spoon, your soap can turn from a pudding texture to a block of cheese in a few minutes, and you wont be able to get your ingredients mixed into your recipe. This type of thing can happen quickly and sometimes unexpectedly, and the best way to control your recipe is to have everything you need laid out in arms reach before you start mixing the oils. So if the recipe starts to move faster than you do, you've got your eyes in front of you on your project and not in the cupboard above the fridge.

The first items you need to gather is your safety wear. There is no soap making without safety glasses, gloves, and a mask. We'll discuss chemical burns in a few videos, but for now you need to collect basic safety protection glasses, and kitchen gloves. They can be heavy duty gloves, but thin silicone gloves work fine. You'll want long sleeves, and your legs and feet covered with clothing to protect you from splashing or spills

You'll be pouring and setting up your soap in silicone molds. You can use baking molds or specialty craft molds specifically for soap making, and there are a variety of sizes in specialty loaf shaped soap molds. Most of the recipes written in my collection are measured to a 3 lb. loaf, and you'll discover its easy to find 3 lb. loaf molds just about anywhere. I like to use this shape that allows me to cut my bars into these square shapes. Now, just a tip before you start getting into the modules where we practice different recipes. This isn't the most practical size if you're thinking about selling, because this isn't the standard size for a box when you start branding and packaging.

If you go to step up your product line and want to package with boxes, (and you don't have to use boxes. That's just one of a few ways to package.) the easiest way to buy boxes for beginners is to cut bars to be about 2 ½ inches wide. These are about 3 ¼, but this is what I make because I just like them. They can come from Walmart, or the internet, just about any silicone mold works. If do you want a bar that is shaped like most of the ones you see in the store, you'll want to cut them about 2 ½ inches and you'll want to keep your eye out for one that's a tall/skinny mold – compared to these fat ones I have here.

At the bottom of this page I will have some links for places online where you can buy molds. I just want to mention, that none of the links or suggestions I make in this course are affiliate links, and I am not sponsored by any of these companies. They are just places that I have bought from and know where to get supplies. There is a more comprehensive list of supplies in the Resources section in Module 10.2. So if you are not located in America and you are in another country I do put links that I find for you guys who are over seas in that section, but when you find links to suppliers at the bottom of any page in this entire course, it is because I have bought from that company before and own the product I'm suggesting. I am not being paid to sell their items.

There are also plenty of slab molds out there. These can get pretty pricey. You will find plenty of recipes written in the directory that utilize slab molds, and there are usually written in 5 or 10 lbs recipes. Now, you can buy beautiful soap slab molds, or you can wrap a cardboard box in crafter's tape. Some of you guys who have been watching my videos for a few years will recognize these box slab molds from years ago. These are the same ones. They cost me no more than 5 dollars to make. The boxes were free and the tape came from the dollar store. A few rolls will cover a whole box, and I've had these for years. They still work the same way they did when I first made them. Occasionally you might want to add another layer of tape. All you need to do is line these in wax paper and pour your soap recipe.

A little tip: Recently I've been lining them in saran wrap and that works fine. Plastic can be a little fussy and you'll probably have to plane the soap, but it protects the box better than wax paper. You can even put a layer of plastic wrap down and then a layer of wax paper to keep the bottom flat. Any way you do it, you've got a mold that works for a pennies compared to the pricey stuff. Another option is to get these plastic slabs from your kitchen supply store. These are for making a 50 bar batch, and this is a fairly small slab. You can get these up to 50 lbs. And the cost is 12 – 25 dollars. SO these are some slab mold options that wont break you.

You do need a kitchen scale. It needs to be digital, and accurate. You want to make sure that it allows you to switch between oz., pounds, and grams. You'll find soap recipes written in all of these increments. Most basic scale comes with the features you need. Just make sure that you periodically put fresh batteries in. The scale will get lazy when the batteries drain and your reading will be a bit jumpy. This can go unnoticed in a digital scale and you might wonder why your recipes seem a bit off sometimes. Make sure you keep the batteries fresh.

You need a basic kitchen thermometer. One of the subtleties in soap making that creates a successful recipe is blending ingredients at similar temperatures. Until you have done the same recipe a few times and get to know it, you'll want to monitor and control the temperature.

You'll need a box full of bowls, containers, and stirring utensils. Plastic is the way to go for kitchen crafts. They're easy to get at the dollar store. They wont shred into splinters, or have a chemical reaction with your recipe. They're cheap. You wont feel guilty when you throw them away, and you can replace them easily. Just remember that lye eats away at things, so you can expect then to wear away faster than your normal use utensils.

You do have to be aware of the metals you use. If your bowls and mixing items are metal, they must be stainless steel and not aluminum. Check any metal and keep any aluminum as far away as your soaping factory as possible. Aluminum and lye create a nasty chemical reaction and your mixture may react violently. It can steam, froth, hiss. It can turn orange, brown, and even green. If this happens. The batch is ruined. The fumes and chemicals are toxic, and this has to be thrown out.

You'll need a crock pot when you begin with Lesson 3: Hot Process Soap Making. Crock pots aren't cheap, but take a moment to browse the shelves of your local good will or local thrift store. I've got 6, and I've never paid more than 12 dollars for a large crock pot. Remember we/re not cooking food in these, so you should hesitate to snap them up if you see them sold second hand.

The stick blender is your best friend. You really need this above all the other small appliances. Some say its not necessary, but when you need to control the pace of your work, you'll start to see that it really is. You will find a range in price. The cheaper ones work fine the motors burn out sooner, so if you stick to the 30 dollar and up range, your stick blender will last longer.

Once we get into chapter 6, you'll begin piping frosting textures on more creative projects. You'll want piping tips and bags to work through these recipes. Finally, a range of small plastic tubs and cups are helpful. Disposable is fine. When you want to separate out colors, you'll need plenty of containers on hand.

Keep your soaping supplies separate from your every day eating utensils. Especially if you intend to sell your items. This even becomes more important if you start to expand your product line out to other items that may need a preservative. Its best practice not to cross contaminate cooking with soaping. Now is it actually dangerous to cross use utensils? The short answer is no. As long as your utensils are washed thoroughly there's no danger in grabbing a kitchen spoon to scrape a bowl and then dropping it in the dishwasher, but should you eat from a utensil that has lye reside on it you could find yourself in a lot of trouble. No matter how unlikely this is. It really isn't worth the risk.

Now that you're ready together your things. We can move on to the next lesson.

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