Soaping Tips and Tricks
- Begin soaping with a clear intention and then let it go.
Soap has a mind of its own and moving with the intention and creativity will give a better result than holding tight to the original idea. This works unless its necessary to have a soap turn out a certain way. And if thats the case, then working with a repeatable tried-and-true recipe is the best idea.
- Mentally walk through the recipe before beginning.
For some complex recipes and designs I generally allow the idea to bump around in my mind for a day or two… Or even a week or longer. I think about it before I fall asleep or right before meditation. I visualize myself doing the recipe, and watch myself do the design. I’ve read that olympians do the same thing. I figure if they can do it with success, then it should work for soaping.
- Start with a clear area and clean equipment.
Doing dishes well, meaning throughly cleaning everything, is critical. I’ve noticed, which is a huge disappointment, if my stick blender hasn’t been truly cleaned it will release a piece of old soap and this generally happens after I’ve made black soap while I’m making white soap.
- Lay out all the tools and equipment in order of use.
I’ve seen this be the most inconvenient behavior, after I’m in the middle of doing what I want, I have an idea and can’t find the tool I need to do whatever new idea I have. If my soaping area is cluttered I can’t move through the process clearly, I get muddled and distracted. I have at least one area that is just for making soap. If I want to know how my mind is working I just look at my work areas. Its not literal, but how I feel about my chaos. Some great ideas come from chaos, and some great ideas come from a blank slate, or a clean working area.
- Set your area of lye, oils, mixing and designing.
I set all that I’ll need for each section, in that area. For example, I don’t reach for anything, but have lye, water, oils at hand. I can put another person in any of these areas and explain what is happening. If I can explain it to another person, that means I truly understand what I’m doing. Being clear for gives me a creative advantage for myself. I’ve laid down my foundation so I can move into a creative space freely, knowing all the important areas are taken care of.
- Be aware of what is happening. Plan ahead.
I watch what I’m doing. I watched a video on how to make soaping marshmallows. When the extra soap happened, I knew exactly what to do with it. Now I plan ahead a little bit. When I make a large amount of soap, depending on how fluid it is, I’ll make a bit extra and pour my embeds for a design I have planned in the back of my head. One that I’m allowing to bubble to the surface of my mind. I am designing soaps I don’t have the ability, ingredients or molds to do now, but I’m always looking out for more ideas.
There is a zen quality, a mindlessness and an acute awareness happening simultaneously for me while I soap. Its on par with being in the zone when I run. Its being in the flow. In a divine creative space, when I’ve done my homework and all things come together. And even when I’ve asked more from soaping than I am bringing I still learn something.
There have been days where I’ve felt down and had a thought, “I always feel better when I make soap” so I make soap. The soap does not preform, something unexpected happens and its a failure. It accelerates so fast I cannot carry out the design I had in mind, or the color morphed or the scent discolored, I forgot an ingredient… And I get something unexpected. How I respond to this occurrence is all about me and my mental state.
My biggest tip is that this is, after all is said and done, a creative endeavor. Being open to the unexpected, moving with my own creativity, verses my expectations always produces a better outcome than holding tight to my expectation. And the same came be said for any endeavor.
My Favorite Trick
No matter what, I make it anyway. I don’t stop. I just keep moving forward. That is THE trick to any endeavor, just keep moving forward. By moving, I trick my ego, all my complaining falls away and I will produce something.
Backward is NOT an option. I will learn, grow and understand… Eventually, if I keep moving.