Updated: Jan 8, 2020
Discovering the joy of creation at a basic soap making workshop
I have been wanting to make my own soaps since I completed my course in herbalism some months ago. I started using soaps this year because I wanted to cut down on the unnecessary consumption of plastic bottles that came with the shower gels. Making my own soaps means I can control the ingredients and use the most natural and best quality ones, in addition to deciding on the design, scent and colour.
I am creative by nature and always love craft work. Soap making has been on my to-do list for the longest time but I have been too busy to seek out the courses. It was by chance that I stumbled upon Soap Ministry last week in Orchard Gateway while passing my time between appointments. That led to me signing up for the Melt & Pour Basic Workshop.
I booked for the 10.30am class on a Sunday and was pleasantly surprised that it became a private session for my own party of 3 persons. I guessed the early timing and the rain may have deterred others from signing up for a morning weekend time slot. I like that the class is kept small and we could get the undivided attention of our instructor.
The first step was to choose the soap base and we had the options of goat's milk, baobab and centella asiatica. I'm trying to be as vegan as possible, so goat's milk is out of the equation. I have been using baobab oil as part of my skincare so I decided to pick it. Another reason for this is solely aesthetic because I like my soap to look creamy instead of transparent. Though I later found out that the baobab soap base contains honey extracts, which then made it non-vegan. However, I would still choose honey over goat's milk.
I was given my own little station with the tools set up. Not to worry, it ain't rocket science. Using the cutter, I cut the 250g of soap base into smaller pieces resembling crinkly fries.
The pieces of soap base were then transferred to a bain-marie to be melted into a creamy liquid. The process takes about 15 minutes and we took the waiting time to choose our soap moulds, choice of one essential oil, and herb powder for added benefit and natural colour. Glycerine and vitamin e oil were added to the final base, with the former for moisturising effect and the latter as a natural preservative.
There are over 100 moulds to choose from and I finally shortlisted 8. I had to reduce it down to 7 because I didn't have enough melted soap base to make them all. I used lavender essential oil as my fragrance of choice and a mix of red and blue colouring to achieve the light purple hue.
After pouring the melted and blended soap based into the moulds, the setting and cooling process will take about 20 minutes. After popping the soaps out of the moulds, I can't help but gasp with glee on how beautiful they turned out to be. The joy of being able to create something so cute and useful overwhelmed me.
I took the opportunity to sign up for the usage of the facility at $10 per hour, bought another 1kg of soap base and the key ingredients, and proceeded to make more soaps. It was a really addictive creative experience that allows me to practise what I just learnt.
I got to experiment with more colours, scents and designs. I really like the paw print, Hello Kitty, Miffy and pistol. I will be back to make more soaps as they make great gifts as much as for my own use.
The basic workshop is great for everyone, even kids. So the next time you are looking for something fun to do or to learn a useful skill, you can sign up for this. The cost is S$48 but the satisfaction of making your own soap is priceless.