Workshop: Botanical Soapmaking for Beginners

Where: Feed & Seed (at the Organic Farm School) 6312 Maxwelton Rd, Clinton, WA 98236
Cost: $40 per participant paid via Eventbrite (click the link for your chosen session below)
When: Choose ONE of the following sessions and pay online:
Saturday, Sept. 4, 1-3 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 9, 6-8 p.m.
-One more date in September, TBD
Tickets: To enable more time for one-on-one instruction, there is a limit of 5 participants per workshop. Please note participants should be 18+ years old because we will be handling lye.

About the soapmaker & the workshop

Learn to make soap with a future farmer!

My name is Carly Matthew. I find inspiration for my soaps in the abundant botanical ingredients all around us. Together, we’ll make natural, plant-based soaps that honor our bodies and the planet!

I will accept up to 5 participants per workshop to ensure plenty of opportunities to ask questions! All participants must be over 18 years old and agree to safe lye-handling procedures.

This workshop is suitable for complete beginners who want to learn how to:

  • Read and follow a soapmaking recipe built from common grocery store oils (olive oil, coconut oil, and sunflower oil)
  • Mix lye safely and combine it with oils to make soap
  • Incorporate botanicals from the garden and essential oils to create personalized soaps at home
  • Cut and cure soap at home

You will go home with:

  • One pound (about 4 bars) of personalized botanical soap to cut and cure at home
  • A printed handout including the recipe, step-by-step instructions, recommended ingredient suppliers, and tips/tricks

What kind of soap can I make?:

Choose one of the following soaps to make:

  • Calendula Soap with lavender and lemongrass essential oils plus dried calendula petals.
  • Rosemary-Mint Soap with rosemary, juniper, and mint essential oils as well as ground, dried peppermint.
  • Unscented Soap without essential oils or colors for those with very sensitive skin and/or allergies (you may choose to add botanicals without adding essential oils if you wish).

What to bring

Soapmaking can be messy. Please wear a long-sleeves and make sure it’s not your favorite shirt or bring along an apron to protect your clothes from oil stains.

Nitrile gloves will be provided but please feel free to bring your own if you wish.

A note on lye safety:

Before I talk about lye, want to note the following.

I have handled lye safely in order to make hundreds of bars of soap and I know that with some basic precautions, you will have no problem using lye at home! Please do not let fear of lye be a barrier to making the soaps of your dreams!

Lye safety will be a priority in this workshop. We will use long sleeves, gloves, and eye protection to ensure we all have a safe experience! All participants must be 18+ years old.

All soapmaking requires the use of lye (sodium hydroxide).

Lye is absolutely necessary for the saponification process, where the lye combines with oil to create soap molecules. By measuring our ingredients carefully, we ensure there is no lye leftover in the finished product. If a soap does not contain lye it is either a) a melt-and-pour soap kit where the lye was already saponified in a factory or b) a synthetic detergent like shower gel.

In the past, people used wood ash and water to create sodium hydroxide. Results were inconsistent and not always safe. Today, for these reasons, we use lab-created lye instead. For more information, visit the following link.