Am I a dork for making my own soap?

This admittedly funny Onion article makes fun of suburban housewives who enjoy once-grueling household tasks such as churning butter and making soap. Okay, okay, like I said, it’s funny.

But yet – hey, I make soap! The boyfriend and I have been making our own soap for a couple of years now. We like it because we can decide exactly what goes into it, thus avoiding many skin irritation problems we have had with commercial soaps. It’s also fun because we can make soaps of various colors or scents or whatever, and our friends and family seem to enjoy getting handmade soap for Christmas as well.

But now this Onion article has me worried, goshdarnit. Am I secretly just a big old dork for making soap at home? Should I just throw in the towel and start buying Zest like everybody else?

[I’m just kidding about throwing in the towel; I would never give up a hobby I truly enjoy just because the Onion ran an article making fun of it. My self-esteem isn’t THAT bad. I guess I’m just curious as to what other people think of home soapmaking. Am I the only person who does this?]

That URL is:

I made some soaps at Christmas. I just got the starter kits, with the glycerine blocks that you cut up, melt, and mold. Know what? I had a blast. Talk about easy. I didn’t think there was anything eaasier than Jell-O, until I tried my hand at this.

No, you are NOT a dork. And if you’re making soaps from something other than glycerine (like the way they used to in the REAL olden days) you’re definitely not a dork. You’re downright gifted! :smiley:

As long as you don’t get the fat from the morgue, and bring people home to beat up each other, there’s nothing wrong with it:)

Persephone: Actually we do the whole mixing lye with fats thing to make cold-process soap. It’s a lot of fun, imho. I just really like knowing that nothing in the soaps I make is going to make me break out or give me dry skin. (If it was the real olden days though, I’d have to make my lye from leaching wood ashes, rather than buying it in handy dandy Red Devil containers… no thanks! :eek: )

TurboDog: That is actually the #1 response that I get from people these days when I tell them I make soap. “Um… so do you use any… HUMAN fat for that?” I tell them that the voice in my head said to start with olive oil at first. :smiley:

I think it’s cool. I wish I knew how to make soap, because I’m one of those sensitive skinned people. Do you have any good sites that might help me get started?

You’re making your own soap? How can that even be dorkish? The real dorks are the ones afraid to touch soap, the dirty people with grease-streaked faces. Homemade soap is probably cheaper too, I assume, so it’s a sign of smart thriftiness.

…but I like homemade soaps too, especially custom-colored ones.

Hey, MsWhatsit.

Don’t be worried even if the Onion calls you a big ol’ dork. After all, there’s not many cooler publications out there to make fun of you. :wink:

Go forth and continue to saponify!

I make my own candles and I’ve been looking into making my own soaps. For Lsura and whoever else, here’s some soap-making links:

[ul][li]’s soap-making section[/li][li]Soap supplies from the Craft Cave[/li][li]SoapCrafters: the name says it all[/li][li]A chat board[/ul][/li]


Lsura, there aren’t any really good comprehensive sites that will tell you how to make soap. There are several that give you tips or ideas for recipes, but most of them assume you already have the basics down. However, I can point you in the direction of a book that will tell you all you need to know: Susan Miller Cavitch’s “Soapmaker’s Companion.” It gives step by step directions, saponification tables, and goes into detail about the various qualities that different oils impart to soap. It’s a really great book.

I think I was just overreacting to the Onion article now that I think about it. Maybe it’s because the person who sent me the link to it is a person who I am not terribly fond of and who has made disparaging comments about me in the past… hmm. :rolleyes:

MsWhatsit dear-

No, you have nothing to worry about. You are sane, you have common sense, you like crafts.

HEY! You sound like me! (I think…perhaps there are a few other opinions floating around here, but I prefer not to hear about them…)

Anyway, it is always SO much more satisfying to me when I can MAKE something to use rather buying it. Of course, I am also somewhat rabid about recycling, but that is another story. What can I say, I was a child of the sixties.

However, making your own soap sounds like a good idea. (Also, it is one of the FEW crafts I haven’t tried. I always thought stained glass was gonna be the one I missed, but now I am thinking…hard)

Besides, Persephone likes the idea…add glycerine blocks to the list of THINGS TO BUY into the budget, Cristi my love…


Eventually, everyone gets made fun of in The Onion. Consider it a compliment.

Heck, as a D&D-playing computer geek, I have an archetype appear in there every other week.

I think it helps me to laugh at myself. Not that I need much help, I’m hysterical.

As one that does various crafts, I do notice that since my appearance on the SDMB I haven’t done much in terms of crafts, I don’t think your a dork for making your own soap.

Hell, I am probably the classic dork!

If Martha Stewart is a dork, she’s laughing all the way to the bank with “dork” tattooed on her forehead made out of homemade pigments ;). Shoot, she makes all kinds of things.

Speaking of, Persephone did you ever finish your first crochet project? If so, take a picture of it I would love to see the outcome!

When we raised 4H hogs we would get an extra one to butcher. That means lard. Great for making lye soap. The problem is the soap lasts a long time. Much longer than your store bought stuff. I’ve still got a lot of lard frozen but I also have about 40 bars of lye soap.
BTW lye soap works great to remove ground in automobile grease, oil etc.

Well, the Onion article wasn’t one of their finest, but… My take on it wasn’t “people who do crafts are dorks”. The woman in the article is being presented as a dork, not because she enjoys these crafts, but because she’s not terribly bright. For instance:

She’s a dork for not realizing that she only has the option of enjoying these tasks because she lives in the century she does, see. She ignores the differences between her life and the wives of 19th century women: the machines that make her life easier, the craft shop at the local strip mall… I mean, I love making clothes for myself and my family, but I’m smart enough to know I’d enjoy it a hell of a lot less if I had to do it, using a needle and thread instead of a sewing machine. (And if I had to raise the sheep to get the wool to spin for thread to weave into cloth to…)

Obviously, anyone

-who attempts to revive the crafts of their ancestors not because they have to but because they enjoy it;

-who refuses to purchase some of the myriad consumer products that have benevolently been made available to us;

-who enjoys practicing a skilled metier;

-and who wastes time creating something as useless as common household soap;

must be a dork and in serious need of reparative therapy.

Goodness gracious, what is the world coming to? When I was thinking of setting up my grandmother’s loom and learning to weave, everybody said, “Cool!” Nobody said, “Can’t you just buy cloth at the fabric store? What a dork!”

Heaven knows that if you know how to make soap, you’re certainly one up on me. And… that’s a good thing.

Thanks, guys.

You know, I keep telling my boyfriend that when the revolution comes, we soapmakers are going to be in high demand.

Which actually brings up a more serious point, which is that it makes me slightly nervous, how much I find myself relying on modern technology in my life. I want to be able to make my own soap, sew my own clothing, etc., if I ever really need to. Not that I expect to need to, but still, it seems like there are a lot of valuable skills in our society that are fading away simply because nobody has to do them anymore.

At the last babyshower I attended, one of the hostesses made handmode soaps for everyone to take home. Wrapped 'em in a pretty shade of mylar, tied with a bow, voila! I thought it was really cool.

You know, I actually ran across a recipe for making soap out of leftover human breastmilk. Some really successful pumpers build a stash in their freezer for emergencies, but after a few months it can’t be served to the little nipper. Or maybe the emergency never comes up. Whatever, this was supposed to be one great use for all that milk that would otherwise go to waste. I was a little weirded out by that (until I realized it’s no weirder than goat’s milk or cow’s milk–maybe even less weird?) but I still get a good laugh thinking about it. Breast Milk Soap! Heh heh heh.

techchick: Thanks for asking! My sister loved the baby blanket. Turns out, it was the same color scheme as the baby’s room. Am I good, or am I good? :smiley: However, I didn’t get any pictures. But I’m slowly working on another one. I’ll get some pics of that. :smiley:

Scotti: Yes, add glycerine to the list of Stuff For The Craft Room. Euty won’t mind. :smiley:

MsWhatsit: So you do make it the real old fashioned way! That positively rocks! My hat is way off to you!

matt: Set up the loom. Please. Man, you’ve GOT to. That is entirely too cool, and decidedly undorklike.

hee hee
This reminds me of last night’s News Radio.

Joe says, “Duct(duck) Tape? Pshaw! Screw that! I make my own Duct tape.”

IMHO, making soap is cool and neat. While I have never made it myself, if any of my friends told me they made it, I would “oooooh and ahhhh” over it.

No, MsWhatsit. you’re not a dork.

Anybody who has old fashioned craft skills gets big points in my book. For one thing, it’s more satisfying than forking over your bucks for something factory made. For another, when you give it as a gift, people appreciate it that much more.

I homebrew, myself, and when I give mead as presents, nobody ever laughs. Too busy killin brain cells, I guess. But what a nice way to kill brain cells. :wink: