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Finding gifts for the soap maker

Looking for a gift for your soap maker bestie, partner, secret Santa? Finding gifts can be quite challenging for some people, and let’s be honest, no one wants to be that person who keeps getting it wrong, and boy, finding gifts for soap makers is really, really hard. So here are some suggestions that will help you find something that won’t end up on the ‘bad presents’ pile!

The prettiest gloves for making soap


Who said soap makers need to look boring? Let them own their style with these pretty gloves and some Dame Edna onion goggles (seen at Spotlight). Gloves available from Farmers for only $19.99.

The little mica sieve


Working with mica can get pretty messy, especially if you’re silly enough like me to try and blow on it. If your soap maker in your life is struggling to keep their kitchen and their face(!) clean, this little sieve will be their saving grace. Found at Stevens for $9.99.

The summer read


The hand cream


Making soap is a caustic affair and really dries out your hands, despite the gloves. Finding the right hand cream that rehydrates and conditions without leaving your hands greasy hasn’t been easy, but I’m a huge advocate for this one. Not only because it works immediately leaving my hands soft and moisturised, but it also has a lovely subtle fragrance. $24 for 4oz or $40 for 8oz available here.

Wire hangers aka hanger swirl tools


Wire hangers are not quite you had in mind for a Secret Santa or as a stocking filler? I promise you, you’ll hit the jackpot with these wire hangers, also known as hanger swirl tools by soap makers. You see, in New Zealand, we have struggled for years to get some decent swirling tools, and often had to get them shipped from the USA at outrageous shipping costs. But now The Warehouse is stocking them and for only three dollars it will get you ten of these cool tools. So what are you waiting for? Go get them!

The perfect protection


Do they need a little protection from the caustic fumes and splashes? How about a whole lot of protection? Let them go full Breaking Bad mode with this professional top quality $289 protective mask. Add overalls, gloves and solid shoe wear, and they’ll be all set for soap making! Available from Mitre 10.

The not-soap recipe book

Has your kitchen been taken over by a soap maker? (gasp!) Are you sick of seeing, smelling and even tasting soap everywhere? Having to have takeaways for dinner every night? And are all the subtle and maybe not-so-subtle hints not working? How about steering them towards some baking. Not just any baking, mind you, pretzel baking! Pretzels are dipped in lye, which is what gives them their yummy distinctive flavour. So it’s win-win for all! They get to play with some more lye (yippee!), and you get to enjoy the taste of freshly baked pretzels with a German Weiss beer or a cider. Cue relaxing sigh.

Please note, In My Soap Pot and the author of this blog are not affiliated to any of the companies suggested or mentioned in this article or website, and no money is earned by clicking on the links or purchasing the items.

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School holidays are coming up!


Next week it’s school holidays again, and although we’re all hoping for awesome sunny weather, it’s the middle of winter here in the Southern Hemisphere, and there’s nothing worse than having bored kids during rainy holidays!

Some easy crafts for kids of all ages is making their own soaps and bath bombs. It’s such a creative and fun thing to do and kids just love it! I should know, because the kids holiday programs always book out so quickly!

Check out the following tutorials, which will keep your kids busy for while:


Using the ever popular jelly soap base (available here), you can create your own awesome Lush-like jelly soaps and use your creativity to make them even more fun, like these fish soaps. And for more tips on using jelly soap click here.



You can buy some great (and cheap) silicon moulds from places like K-mart. These only cost me $2 each, and they make for great little soaps with an easy-to-use melt and pour soap base (available here).


You can make some cool soaps with these soap bases, using food colouring to colour them and essential oils to scent them. Here are the detailed instructions on how to use soap bases, and here are some more great soap ideas:

Bath bombs are another popular craft to keep the kids busy and you don’t need special ingredients for it either. The 2 key ingredients in bath bombs are citric acid and baking soda, both which you can buy from your local supermarket. Like the melt and pour soaps, you can use food colouring to colour them, and essential oils to scent them. Mix 2 parts baking soda with 1 part citric acid, and spray lightly with water to wet the mixture (only a little bit, otherwise it will start to fizz prematurely). Fill your moulds (muffin tins, empty yoghurt pots, or other little moulds), pack it tightly and then carefully  remove the bath bomb. Dry out overnight and it’s ready for use! The detailed instructions on how to make bath bombs you can find here.

To help you put together a little ‘professional kit’ to get the kids started, here’s a list of things to get:

  • 2 kg baking soda
  • 1 kg citric acid
  • 1 kg clear melt and pour soap
  • 1 kg white melt and pour soap
  • 1 kg bubble bath base
  • 1 kg glycerin
  • optional: jelly soap
  • 2 sets of small bath bomb moulds
  • 8 clamshell soap moulds (these are re-usable)
  • 3-4 micas to use as colourants
  • 2-3 skin safe fragrances or essential oils (more expensive)
  • little plastic figure toys from 2dollar shop
  • cute silicon ice cube trays (pineapple, unicorn, cactus) from Kmart
  • anything else you will probably have in your pantry

You can get all these ingredients (except where mentioned) from Pure Nature, and the total cost is roughly around $100, which should be enough to keep 2 kids busy for a while and make lots and lots of soaps, bath bombs, bubble baths and more!


And last, but not least, this is probably the most popular tutorial for kids on the blog! The play dough will keep for a while sealed in a ziplock bag, and will make for hours of entertainment in the bath! To make this you will need corn starch, vegetable oil, glycerin and liquid soap, fragrance and colourants. Here are the instructions on how to make play dough soap.

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Lemon juice soap

One of the soap groups on Facebook that I belong to does monthly soap challenges and this month they challenged people to make a soap using lemon juice. I thought that was such a fun idea, and something I’d never done either, that I wanted to give it a try myself and show you the process and results, so you can have a go at it yourself.


One of the problems with using acids, like lemon juice, is that it will neutralise some of the lye in your recipe. The acid in lemons is citric acid, but the amount of citric acid varies between types of lemons as well as between the individual fruits themselves. So unless you’re a chemist with the right equipment, you can’t really know how much of the lye will be neutralised. If it’s too much, you’ll end up with a soft gloopy mixture because of the excess oils that didn’t get saponified (turned to soap). To make sure that doesn’t happen, you need to reduce your superfat or lye discount to a minimum. I reduced my superfat to 2%, and if I replace all the water in the lye solution with lemon juice I will get a soap with a superfat somewhere between 5% and 8%. Here’s the recipe I used:

Lemon juice soap recipe

  • 375 g olive oil
  • 25 g castor oil
  • 55 g caustic soda
  • 100 g lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sodium lactate
  • 15 ml lemon essential oil
  • annatto seed colourant

I pressed out three lemons to get 100 g of juice and placed it in the fridge to cool. Lemons not only contain citric acid, but also sugar, and I wanted to prevent the sugars from burning in the lye.

Once the lemon juice was cold, I carefully stirred in the caustic soda one teaspoon at a time, and check out the cool colour display I got! First it turned a bright yellow before going orange. To be on the safe side, I placed the jug in the sink with cold water to keep the lye from going too hot, and luckily it didn’t get any darker than that orange.

I continued normally using the cold process method: oils in one pot, and once the lye had cooled down, adding the lye to the oils and stirring. Because I knew from other soapers that the lemon fragrance from the juice would not come through in the soap, I added lemon essential oil to the soap,

I also decided to have a little fun with colour using annatto seed colourant, which I added to about 1/4 of the soap mixture. I then poured the colours into a bowl, alternating between the yellow and uncoloured soap, like you do in the ‘in-the-pot-swirl’ method. I gave the soap in the pot an extra swirl with my spatula and then poured it into the mold.


I had no idea what the lemon juice would do to the colour of the soap and to the soap itself. I didn’t insulate it and despite it being in a cavity mold, the soap did go through a gelling phase. So a word of caution: don’t insulate and keep the soap cool! And despite the soap looking rather dark here in the mold and the next day when I unmolded them, they did turn a lovely white and yellow marble effect after a couple of days. And testing it after nearly a week already felt that it was going to be really pleasant mild soap!

For more information and ideas, check out this blog post about adding fresh ingredients to soap!


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2018 Christchurch workshop!

NEW! Christchurch Weekend Workshop

It’s finally going ahead on Saturday and Sunday 28 & 29 July 2018 in CHRISTCHURCH! I am so excited to offer a soap workshop to you wonderful soap makers on the South Island!

Two full on days with demonstrations, theory and practical sessions covering everything from cold process soap making to advanced swirling techniques. Learn how to make milk soaps, how to add honey to your soap, what (natural) additives you can add to increase lather or hardness of your soaps and learn how to create and formulate your own recipes! Course costs includes all material and equipment and you will have ample opportunity to try out the new techniques you have learned in the practical sessions.

Meet up with other like minded and passionate soap makers and share your soap tips and tricks! This workshop is aimed at soap makers who understand the basic cold process method and want to improve their skills and learn new techniques.

The course takes place on a beautiful private property only 30 minutes from Christchurch, thanks to our wonderful host, Saskia Berkhout-Findley.



  • Chemistry of soap making
  • Cold process soap making technique
  • How to control and manipulate the soaping process
  • Formulating your own recipes
  • Calculating lye, how to discount and superfat
  • Using fragrances and essential oils in soap
  • Micas, dyes and natural colourants in soap
  • Colouring techniques including swirling, ombre technique and more!
  • Adding clays, fresh ingredients and other additives
  • Making milk soaps
  • Natural soap making
  • Troubleshooting and how to avoid and fix problems in soaps

DATES: Sat 28 and Sun 29 July (2 days)
TIMES: 10 am – 4 pm
LOCATION: 2428 S Eyre Rd, Eyrewell Forest
COST: $220 pp (includes all material)

Limited to 8 spaces only! Registration closes 24 June 2018


Once you have registered, you will receive an email from me within the 24 hours.

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New updated SAP chart!

Just a quick post to let you know that there’s a new updated SAP chart with the saponification value, properties, usage rate and shelf life of many more oils, fats, butters and waxes than previously.

Here’s a list of oils that are included in this chart: Apricot kernel oil, argan oil, avocado butter, avocado oil, babassu oil, baobab oil, beef tallow, beeswax, canola oil, castor oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil, evening primrose oil, flax seed oil, grapeseed oil, hazelnut oil, hempseed oil, jojoba oil, kukui nut oil, lanolin, lard, macadamia oil, mango butter, meadowfoam oil, neem oil, olive oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, peanut oil, rice bran oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, shea butter, soybean oil, sunflower oil, sweet almond oil, tallow (mutton), walnut oil, wheatgerm oil.

You can view the chart here: SAP Chart V2.2

Or download it HERE

You can always find such charts and other helpful information under Resources at the bottom of the page.