Monday 30 May 2011

Beehive Workshop: Soap Making with Imke

A couple weeks ago Hollie mentioned that her new friend, Imke, was visiting from Germany and was an experienced soap maker. She wondered if we'd be interested in doing a soap making workshop with her before she headed back home. Yes, please! We gathered the list of ingredients and supplies and met last week to make two kinds of soap, one for hair and the other for the body.

The first one we made was a body soap made of olive oil, hemp oil, and crushed bay leaves. Each ingredient was carefully measured on a digital scale. To each soap we added Lye, which had to be mixed outside since it will burn the skin upon contact. Note the gloves and goggles. Scary stuff.

We used stacked paper cups as our molds so we could easily divide the soaps up amongst the group, although she also recommended silicone muffin tins as molds. We put a layer of newsprint in between the cups to insulate them and keep the soap warm while it hardened overnight.

The second soap we made was beer hair soap. Yes, beer! Flat beer is good for your hair. The protein in the hops and malt help repair the hair and give it a beautiful shine. This soap was made using frozen beer, olive oil, castor oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and rosemary oil. It smelt a little funny at first but the addition of the rosemary oil made it smell so good.

We each took one bar of each soap home. Once they were hardened the following day they were removed from the molds and now have to sit for 6-8 weeks before they are ready to be used. The website she referenced for these soap recipes was in German, but she did suggest bramble berry as a good reference site if you are interested in trying your hand at soap making too.

Thank you Imke for taking the time to teach us the process of this lovely craft. And a special thank you to Keiran for letting us use his spacious kitchen for the workshop.


  1. ohh what a cool little workshop! the beer hair soap sounds so interesting!

  2. That is one hand's on experience I would've loved to be part of. I'll have to check our your link to learn more! Thanks for sharing!

  3. That color is so beautiful....... those look so awesome. Thanks for such a great post.