Over the years I’ve had countless requests from people wanting to learn how to make their own handmade soap. It’s a craft that’s creative, useful, beautiful, and more than a little mystifying to some. I’ve tried explaining the soap making process from behind my market stall and have even shared a series on natural soap making here on Lovely Greens. Though sometimes it’s just easier to show you how to do something rather than give instructions. So as of last weekend I’m now offering courses on how to make your own handmade natural soap.
My first workshop was held in an airy and warm polytunnel here on the Isle of Man. Six students who found out about my course through Facebook and my newsletter joined me on Saturday morning to learn the basics of cold-process soaping and to make two batches of their own personalised natural soap. I brought various essential oils for them to choose from, as well as two basic soap recipes, dried flowers, and I was even able to show them how to infuse herbs, such as peppermint and alkanet root, for use in creating natural colour in their creations.
Taking four hours, with a 45-minute catered vegetarian lunch in between batches, the six ladies who signed up to the course all had a fantastic time. Though some of them were a bit nervous at first, by the second batch they were all feeling more confident and I’m sure that they could all go home with the booklets I gave them and make their own batches of soap on their own.
Not only did they make beautiful soapy creations to take home, but by the end of the day I could tell that new friendships were being forged. Chatting over pots of melting oil and bottles of fragrant oils and flowers was a real bonding experience and one that I enjoyed very much myself. The process of making soap is like a combination of cooking, alchemy, herbalism, and art, and one that can bring an incredible amount of joy and delight. I hadn’t realised it before but making soap as a group is way more fun than making it on your own!
With my first workshop under my belt I’m now planning on offering regular soap making courses, both as set days that anyone can sign up for as well as private parties. Booking a day at my ‘Soap School’ could be such a fun way to celebrate a friend’s birthday, a hen party (Bachelorette party), or Mother’s Day but it’s a fun day that could just be celebrated as a treat for yourself.