An Introduction (What this Book is Actually About)

Making soap is a craft, an art, and it’s a science. When you add in natural colorants, you expand the possibilities of chemical reactions and become amazed at how low opacity oils can create vibrant pinks, deep and rich mauves turn blue then purple, assumptions are proven wrong, and sometimes even browns become glorious.

For the hobbyist and young soapmaker, a common dilemma is how to re-create something they discovered. As they dive into the art with the craft in mind, and not as a scientist or researcher, they often neglect to record how a particular batch was created. This includes how long infusions were left for, herb to oil ratios, and how much colorant was added (in terms more reproducible than “a bit” or “a good amount”). And yes, I know this because I did the same things!

What this book is really about is sharing my process for experimenting with colorants, how I’ve created new colors by blending existing ones, and (although not as sexy as the colors) how I take notes and keep records. Luckily, that part is short and sweet. You’ll find those details sprinkled throughout the book amongst information about making soap, infusions, soapmaking methods, and a few other tidbits of knowledge that I’ve gained over my years of soapmaking and conversing with other soapmakers.

Am I a scientist? No, not by formal education. I don’t have a degree in sciences (I hold a B.A. in graphic design and communications). But I am a strong believer in self-education. I homeschooled 3 amazing kids with my husband, and I have a deep love and understanding of color through research that stemmed from my grandmother’s art studio when I was a child.

This book is also not a one stop resource for making a full rainbow of soap colors. It’s intended to give you the tools you need to conduct your own experiments, learn how your infusions react, and how you prefer to do things. There’s no one way to make a soap pink, and your technique is what makes your soap unique.

This book is comprised of two main sections: The Wondrous World of Soap Colors and Blending Natural Colors.

I know you’ll want to jump right into the 2nd section where the colors appear, but don’t be tempted! That would have the same results of cutting your soap too early, you’re not going to get what you wanted. In the Wondrous World Of Soap Colors I’ll share my methods for infusing colors, when to use water vs. teas or slurries, explain the formula we’ll be using (which gives you everything you need to understand how much of each infused oil to use), provide a color chart, and much much more. All of this information is critical to understanding how the color blends are created, and more importantly, how you can create them.

The printed edition of the book also includes room for you to add notes about your processes, ratios, and other information you might want to make note of as you complete your experiments. I hope you fill those pages with joy and knowledge and that the process of discovery is as exciting for you as it is for me.

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