For those who have newly discovered soap making the first thing one does is binge watch all the fantastic designs that brilliant people across the internet have crafted. Its easy to get lost in one video after another watching so many different methods and styles of soap making that are out there for a home based artist. However, before pulling up our sleeves and planning a design we need to know about what method of soap making we are going to attempt.

Most new soap makers are looking at any one of three types of soap making: melt & pour, cold process, and hot process, my favorite. So, let’s take a minute to explain these different soap making methods so that you can decide what you want to try.

Melt and Pour Soap Making

You’ll see this written all over the internet as MP soap making. If you are the type who wants to jump right in, get creative with colors and fragrance and have a finished project done in an hour and ready to clean up, this is for you!

Some negative Nellies on the internet will squawk that this isn’t really soap making. Buzz kill! Technically they’re right, the actual soap part is already pre-made and you are doing the fun creative part. Don’t let this discourage you if you want to try it. There is still a learning curve, and it takes some skill to get beautiful melt & pour projects done.

Cherry Blossom Tree Melt & Pour Design

If you have ever seen the soap making section in your Hobby Lobby or Michael’s Craft store, this is probably melt & pour soap. With melt & pour you will buy a white or clear base, cut into the soap, melt it, and design the shape, color, and scent. You can start a melt and pour soap design and possibly be finished in about an hour.

Because this can be an easy process, and there are no dangerous chemicals sitting out on the kitchen table with this project, people sometimes thing this is a good project activity for the kids. Take extra care when doing this around the littles. Even though the soap is already made, it melts at fairly high temperatures and liquid soap is near boiling when it is being poured and mixed. This is certainly not a craft that can go unsupervised. You would never ask an eight year old to take a whistling tea pot off the stove and fix their own tea. Its about the same idea. I have a rule in my house that all soap making is done one on one with kids over 12 years. This goes for all methods of soap making.

Cold Process Soap Making

Often referred to as CP soap making. This is probably the most common type of hand made soap you have seen, especially if you love watching at all those brightly colored swirls. Cold process soap making is much more involved compared to the previous melt & pour. Here we are making soap from scratch which includes blending all those rich oils together and processing it with a highly caustic material to render it in to soap. It takes a very careful and controlled environment to do this safely.

Cold Process Floating Unicorns

Cold process soap is blended on the counter top with a collection of hand picked ingredients that include the base oils, fancy additives, colors, fragrances, and possibly flowers. You have complete control over the entire recipe. This takes a little more preparation than working with a pre-made block of soap, and it involves combining pretty serious chemicals that need to be seriously handled with care. One the recipe is finished the soap will be set aside to become firm, then cut, and then set aside to cure for almost 2 months before it is finally finished.

Soap designs with bright popping colors, beautifully frosted, and little play dough images pressed into the bars are all types of cold process soaps.

Hot Process Soap Making

Often seen written as HP soap making, hot process or slow cooked soap is my favorite form of soap making. This is just like CP soap making except instead of leaving it on a cool surface to set up, there is a source of heat added and the chemical reaction is forced over the course of about an hour. In my recipes everything goes into a crock pot on low heat and bubble, bubble,toil, and trouble.

Lemon Grass & Goats Milk HP Soap

Hot process is also different from cold process because the actual soap making stage happens faster. A batch of soap may become firm in as little as 8 hours and is gentle enough to use in only 24 hours. This method is slightly more advanced than the cold process method because add heat to the recipe complicates the chemical change and it is a good idea to have a little experience in working with oils and lye before provoking dramatic reactions. It’s not a difficult skill to master once the basics are covered.

The look and style with HP soap is also different from the previous two soap making methods. Slow cooked soap often has a muted more natural look. This is fantastic for getting a little more variety into your style making skills. It gives you a whole new palette to develop your style and brand.

Do you want to jump into learning soap making?

Of course, it is important to become familiar with safety and first aid topics before starting any of these projects. One great way to get started is to get access to the FREE beginners Guide : A Soap Making Companion. This is a terrific resource because the digital version is absolutely free and it covers every detail needed to know before getting your first project started. This book is a full tutorial with 13 free soap making recipes included made for beginners with increasingly challenging designs in each step.

Additionally, there are full video tutorials that have been crafted to go along with each recipe that are also accessible for free. These are found in Lessons 1 – 3 in the Thermal Mermaid Soap Maker’s Course & Recipe Directory This is a part of the CottageDIY Crafter’s Community with a full community of soap makers and other crafters who are actively engaged in working with one another to learn,share,and develop their skills. For anyone interested in soap making all are invited.

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