At the dawn of a new millennium, we are more aware then ever of the virtue of natural ingredients, and centuries-old crafts such as candle-making and soap-making are enjoying a revival. Homemade candles and soaps make delightful gifts for family and friends who will appreciate the effort you’ve put into making them – but only you will know how easy it really is.
The creation of soaps involves a special kind of alchemy, but the simple methods shown here are within the reach of every crafter. They utilise basic equipment that you probably already own or can obtain easily and with the minimum of investment, such as electronic scales and a measuring jug for accurately measuring ingredients, a pestle and mortar of food processor for grinding dried herbs and flowers, and a microwave oven. You will, however, need to buy the specialist ingredients with which to make your soaps: goat’s milk soap base or clear soap base, essential oils, colourants and pigments.
Similarly, for making candles you’ll almost certainly already have some of the basic equipment but you’ll need to purchase items such as wax, dyes, wick pincers, and wicks. Fortunately, there are plenty of suppliers, while online shopping brings these items within the reach of everyone.
Before you embark on any of the projects, read through the project instructions carefully, make a checklist of the items you need, and be sure to follow the safety guidelines.
Gather together all your equipment and ingredients, then banish children and pets from the room. Your kitchen is now your laboratory.
Of course, once you’ve tried and perfected the basic techniques, you can go on to create your own recipes, choosing fragrances and colours to suite your own taste. Before you know it, you’ll be producing more candles and soaps than you have use for – in which case you can give away the surplus to appreciative friends and family.
Craft techniques & Projects – Dorling Kindersley Limited