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Yes, I DO Make This!

21 July, 2019

            Katie making soap

A common question I hear when I sell at in-person events is, "Do you make this?" (People often think that I'm selling for an MLM company). But yes! I do make all of the bath and body products I sell. Here are some details about my process.

Making soap is the ultimate left brain meets right brain project. It is, first and foremost, a science project. There is a chemical reaction that takes place between the oils and the lye, and it's important to understand how it works before diving in. Safety gear is a must - breathing lye fumes is really bad for you, and if you get raw soap in your eye, you're gonna have a bad time.

But once you get past the sciency stuff, it's also a really fun creative project. Soap starts out in liquid form, so if you move quick, you can add mica to different portions of it and then layer them together as you pour to make pretty swirls. Soon the soap starts to thicken up and once this happens, texture can be added to the top of the loaves. In these ways, every bar of soap turns out as unique as a fingerprint (or, uh...Thumbprint)!

adding lye to oils coloring soap base texturing soap tops

Here is some soap during the production phase. The first photo is right after the soaps have been poured and the tops textured. The second photo is of the solid loaves after saponification. They have just been removed from the mold and are the firmness of a block of cheese at this point, so they can be cut with a guitar string. The third photo is after cutting them into bars.

 just poured soaps loaves of soap cut bars of soap

rendered lardFor awhile I was rendering my own lard to use in the soaps. I did NOT enjoy it. It made my house smell terrible and made a big, greasy mess. It saved me some money, but I don't do it anymore because I'm working toward making mostly vegan bars. This is strictly a time saving measure, as I'm not vegan myself. But my vegan recipe has more liquid ingredients, so there is less to scoop and less to melt. It will also eliminate some of the ingredients I have to keep on hand. This photo is of some rendered lard. Too bad you can't smell it!

Making lotions is always a three step process for me. 1) Make the base and then let it cool. 2) Split the base into batches, scent them and squeeze into the bottles. 3) Print labels and stick them onto the bottles.

large batch of lotion squeezing lotion into tubes

Scrubs and lip balms involve a lot of melting, mixing and waiting for things to cool. Then there is more mixing and putting the batch into their respective containers. And of course, labeling. 

I make everything at home in my basement workspace, so boxing soaps and labeling products usually happens in front of the television or while streaming a podcast. It's a mindless task that leaves my mind free for media consumption...it feels less like work if you're sitting on the couch!

boxing and labeling soaps labeling lotion bottles

I hope this helps people to see that Thumbprint Soap is indeed a handmade business. If you have any questions about my process or products, please feel free to get in touch!

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