I am a very creative person.  I love to do creative things.  Since I was a little girl I loved making crafts, drawing, painting, making music, anything that allowed me to be creative.

When I lived on my own, I taught myself to crochet and quilt (whew, that was a project and a half).

Then I got married and I tried all sorts of things with baking and DIY projects for my home.

A couple of years ago someone taught me how to make soap.  Like real soap, not the melt in the microwave and pour in a mold soap, hah.  I was, understandably, a little nervous about using lye, but, really, as long as you are aware of what you are doing, it’s pretty safe.  And the whole process of learning has been so much fun!

Last year I branched out a bit and started playing around with making fancy soaps.  On Instagram they call it soap art.  This opened up a whole new avenue for me to be creative.  Because I like healthier options in my home from store-based products, I’ve tried to steer clear of fragrance oils and colourants.   I have used a few, though, to achieve what I wanted to with my soap.  My biggest issue right now is finding a natural blue colour.  The only way to really achieve that is to use Indigo which is super expensive!  I can’t justify that right now since soaping is just a hobby.   I have tried some micas (colourants) but was ecstatic to find a local seller that has natural reds (another colour I hadn’t figured out yet).

One of the great things about soaping as a hobby is that it also comes in handy with my family.  It took a while for my husband to get on board with it (he loved his Irish Spring), but now he loves using my soap and I love that he’s using good ingredients on himself.

I had looked at starting a soap business over the past couple years.  But after realizing all the work that is needed to get your soap compliant with Health Canada I decided to leave that avenue and just do it for fun.  I have declared my recipe with Health Canada and it was accepted (which is great since you need that even if you want to give your soap away), but preparing labels for everything (in French AND English) is a lot of work.  So, if 90% of my soap is only for personal consumption, that’s a whole lot less labels (and a whole lot less time).  Besides everyone’s recommendations of insurance, etc.  Like whoa!  Now we’re breaking the bank. =P

So this year, to keep myself moving – and learning (an important thing for any person!) – I decided to challenge myself to making a different soap once a week.  52 soaps in a year.  I need to get this week’s done, haha.  I have an idea for a Valentine’s one – yeah, I’m a little late – but if I hot process it, it will still be ready in time.

Here are some of the ones I’ve already done this year.   And I’m not doing a full 2lb batch each time.  My embeds were 1/2lb and the hidden hearts was only 1lb of soap.  This way I won’t end up with a ton of soap sitting in my cupboard (although with my husband using it that probably won’t happen) and I won’t make us go broke buying soap supplies (hehe)

52 Soap Challenge

 

This one had some rounded embeds and seashells on top and was scented with a promegranate fragrance oil (one of the few I actually like) and Spearmint and White Fir essential oils (it cuts down on the scent of the fragrance oil.  I really have a hard time with those.  I definitely like the natural smells of the essential oils much better.  I cut this into blocks but the mold was a little weird so I have to figure out the sizes for this one.

 

 

52 Soap Challenge - Warm Cider

 

This one also has a fragrance oil.  This is Warm Cider with a hand-molded apple on top.  I love hand molding embeds.  I found a fabulous recipe from a soap blogger and she has some great tutorials on Youtube as well.

 

 


52 Soap Challenge - Fireball

 

This was my take-off of a Fireball soap that I saw on another soap blogger’s website.  It didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped but I might try again.  I put way too much red iron oxide in the bottom layer (which was supposed to be the brown) and the top circle got too thick so it didn’t quite melt in.  I used turmeric essential oil to scent the top part and it turned the soap yellow, but when it hardened it went white again, so that was an epic fail, hah.  Next time I’ll use actual turmeric to colour it and give it the natural yellow colour.

 

 

52 Soap Challenge - Forcing Gel Phase

 

These were some embeds I made for Valentine soaps.  I wanted to try a different technique that I had read about that involved forcing what’s called gel phase, which is supposed to make the colours much brighter.  My big issue was that it called for using the oven, but these were in such tiny molds that I didn’t want to do that.  So I decided to try it in my crock pot.  Problem was: I had to feed a baby before they finished gelling and I forgot about them!  I ended up with a couple of them becoming volcanoes.  It was kind of cool, hah.  But as you can see in the picture most of them went through gel phase and turned a really nice shade of red, while the owls (which are really hard to tell what they are) are almost white (I didn’t put them in the crockpot).  I’ve never even seen the difference before.  It’s crazy.


52 Soap Challenge - Hidden Hearts

And last, but not least, is my hidden heart soap.  This is one I cut in half so you can see the heart.  I coloured part of the soap with spinach powder and left part white.  I used a square mold I had and placed part of the green in the bottom, then added white, poked the heart down inside, and then placed more green on top.  I love how they turned out!  The heart is completely encased in soap so it isn’t seen until you use the soap and it magically appears, haha.

 

I’ve been sharing my creations weekly (except for the last which was last week’s and I totally forgot to post it) on Instagram.  If you don’t follow me on there yet, you can by clicking here.

Check back once a month to see each month’s creations or join me on Instagram and see them weekly. =)  I’m excited to share my learning process with you all as I work on this personal challenge of 52 soaps this year!

Amanda Cunningham

Amanda worked as a full-time school teacher for two years before getting married and having two wonderful kids.She blogs about faith, family, food, and fun.While crafting takes up a lot of her extra time, Amanda also strives to help others through ministry in her church and in the community.Amanda, also known as Mae, works as the church music director and is hoping to start tutoring and teaching music again in the days to come.

Latest posts by Amanda Cunningham (see all)