by the peak soap team
Making your own soap can be a great hobby especially if you are already conversant with the kitchen. There are a lot of great kits around like the sets from Hobbycraft. Hobbycraft in the UK sell melt and pour soap kits that can be heated up and poured into any type of mould. They sell a range of glycerine based soap that is fun for kids and non-toxic. There are now a myriad of fun moulds available online and in the hobby and food shops that can make soap making a constructive past time.
If you want to make more traditional soap you will need a few more things. A question we get asked a lot is do I really need to work with lye (sodium hydroxide) or other chemicals such as potassium hydroxide to make soap? Well, the short answer is yes. The definition of 'real' soap is a product made strictly from animal/vegetable oils and an alkali salt. This is why as you may already know supermarket soap is generally not real soap. It's a synthetic called a syndet or synthetic detergent.
You can pour soap into a wide range of moulds. I have used Tupperware, shoes, flower pots, cups, glasses, boxes, silicone, a hat, a bag, cigar boxes, a pencil case, decorative storage from TK MAX, cake moulds, a drawer, a modified table, a beer can, discarded packaging, a Christmas sock, an eggshell, a gourd and an orange. The list is endless if you are resourceful and creative! Thus it isn't necessary to shell out money on moulds if you only intend to make soap for fun or for yourself.
Anything can function as a satisfactory soap mould but you will need to line your mould. Grease proof paper is by far the most common liner for beginners. It is very cheap and does a sterling job because it can be cut to fit virtually any sized mould. It is also easy to remove the resultant soap from the liner, it peels away nicely. The next best thing in our experience for a beginner is a silicone mould. Silicone moulds are widely available online and often come with nice wooden boxes which help keep the soap uniform and help it set.