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Posted

So a couple months ago I started making lye soap at home.  I just produced my 3rd batch of soap and I've pretty well got the process down.  I'm working on making myself a mold so I can make perfect, uniformly sized bars, but for the time being I'm just selling the bars that weigh between 2.3 and 3 ounces, and using the smaller bars to chop into flakes for use in laundry detergent, floor cleaning, dishes, etc.

 

After my 2nd batch did alright I decided to open up an Etsy shop so people could order my products if they wanted, so I thought I would share with you guys.

 

You can check out my shop at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/EastKYCrafts

 

Lye soap can be used to wash your hands with, and in stronger concentrations is also suitable for cleaning floors if you mix it with a little borax.  It has historically been used to help cure bug bites, poison ivy, etc.  It can irritate your skin if you have extremely sensitive skin.  None of the soaps I have in my etsy shop have any scents added to them, they're just lye, animal fat and water.

 

I'm a computer nerd, but I also love the outdoors and doing things with my hands.  I love hunting, fishing, hiking, working on cars, and making things with my hands.  Lye soap was just something I thought of that not a lot of people make any more, but a lot of people around here love it if they can find it, especially the older folks, so I decided to try my hand at making it.

 

If anybody is curious I'd be more than happy to give you the recipe I use for making it.  I order my lye off the internet.  I know how to make it, but it's easier to calculate an exact strength of soap if you have lye crystals as opposed to filtering water through hardwood ashes for a couple days.  The only problem with using crystal form lye is that nobody really sells it in stores any more, at least around here.  I went to two stores and called 4 others and they all stopped selling Red Devil lye because apparently people use it to make meth.

 

Does anybody else on here make any hand-made crafts or have a shop on etsy?

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Posted

Not Soap, but we used to make Burfi products

ironically that pic reminds me of some of the sweets we used to make

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Posted

Just got done cutting my 3rd batch into whole bars, since the size of the pan I've been using makes them about twice as thick as I want.  Half always breaks off into chunks though, so I'll have to melt all those back down to reform into regular size bars.

 

You can definitely tell I made this batch stronger (0%-1% excess fat) and it hasn't had a chance to cure yet, my eyes burned a little when I got some in my eye.

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Posted

thats pretty cool.  it looks kinda nasty but people like home made natural stuff.

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Posted

thats pretty cool.  it looks kinda nasty but people like home made natural stuff.

It turns kind of an off white/yellow color once it has cured.  It's really bright white at first, but you gotta let it sit for a week or two so it doesn't burn you when you use it.  I've started lining my mold with some linen so I can just pick it straight up without it sticking to the pan.

 

It works pretty good, dries your skin out though, but if there's a germ on you, this stuff will kill it.  It even kills fleas on my dogs.

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Posted

make a wooden frame and put some nails through the top, then stretch wires across it evenly, you got yourself a soap cutter.

 

rather than just waste the offcuts, sell them as 'hand made soap off cuts' or in a sample pack.

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Posted

make a wooden frame and put some nails through the top, then stretch wires across it evenly, you got yourself a soap cutter.

 

rather than just waste the offcuts, sell them as 'hand made soap off cuts' or in a sample pack.

Do you know if it's OK to use pressure treated wood to make soap molds?  I have a piece of 3/4" pressure treated plywood I've considered using to make a mold but I'm not sure if pressure treating involves any chemicals that might react with the lye.

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Posted

I make super fatted which contain a lot more fat / oil so it is kinder to your hands and has less lye. I made my own moulds just large rectangular moulds and then line it with grease proof paper once your soap has set invert it and then you can remove one end of the mould and use that to give a clean sharp edge to cut blocks of soap of.

I need to make some more soap but this time I am going to make liquid soap.

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Posted

plywood is hard to work and get a good tight fit, your better off getting some 1 inch thick planks, cutting them up equally (better to make small moulds) and screwing them together tightly with a plywood base. not an expert on it though.

 

there are lots of video's on youtube and some good guides online on how to make all the stuff. 

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Posted

Just finished my 3rd batch.  Made some larger bars that look better and updated the cover photo on my Etsy listing accordingly.  People can now order a "small" bar, or a "large" bar.

 

Here's what some of the batch from Monday look like now that I've got them cut out and wrapped.  They still need to cure for a few more days before I'd try using them, but they look much better.

 

If any of you want to buy some, my Etsy store is at: https://www.etsy.com/listing/173369596/lye-soap

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Posted

This is really cool :) I'll have to pick up some!

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Posted

My biggest challenge to doing this stuff on Etsy is shipping.  The cheapest way I've found to ship it is priority mail, which still runs $6 for a small flat rate box.  If I ship it by weight it costs more because I have to account for the fact that people may order several bars, which increases weight.  3 bars and you've got just about a pound, which would run $12 for standard shipping, so I just decided to charge a flat rate of $6 for shipping to cover the cost of using the small flat rate boxes.  The down-side to that though is that if somebody only buys one bar, they end up spending more on shipping than they did on the actual product.  Maybe if I can get established I can work out some kind of special rates with the post office.

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Posted

How about only selling in packs of 3, adjust your price?

edit

or whatever would be the best suited price per pack of whatever is best economy?

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Posted

It is great and very cool. i am interested to get these.

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Posted

sounds great and amazing!

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Posted

Do you know if it's OK to use pressure treated wood to make soap molds? I have a piece of 3/4" pressure treated plywood I've considered using to make a mold but I'm not sure if pressure treating involves any chemicals that might react with the lye.

Not a good idea. Pressure treated boards contain toxic chemicals to mitigate mold and insect damage. Those could leach out.

Pine, poplar, fir or other softwood species are easy to work and more than good enough for soap molds. The tighter the grain, the better.

This guy's mold prices are kinda high, but an enterprising woodworker should be able to make plans from his pics,

http://www.brambleberry.com/mobile/Wood-Molds-C145.aspx

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