Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lye Safety and New Soaps!

My former set up for soap making was in a room with a cement floor using a relatively flimsy wooden base with a door on top laid flat for the working surface.  It was mostly level and mostly sturdy, and it was nice and wide so I had room for all of the dishes needed for my soap.  I knew I needed a better set up, but I had been dragging my feet on building something different.

I say that in the past tense, because recently I had a pretty scary lye spill that forced me to be more proactive on building a sturdy soap work bench for myself.  I set the container with my lye solution on the part of the table where the hinge of the door was on accident, and it spilled EVERYWHERE!  What's worse is that Hobbes was also with me, and when I yelled at him to get out of the room, he got so scared and curled up into a little ball.  So, I took gloves off and brought him out of the room, and went back to control the damage. As everyone hopefully knows by now, lye solution is very dangerous - the lye solution completely ate the paint on the floor where it spilled!  For anyone who has been feeling lax about lye safety - let this accident be a warning to everyone to continue to exercise good caution around lye and raw soap.

So, luckily I (and Hobbes) were unharmed, and the only real damage was to the floor paint.  I researched and found this work bench plan, and bought the hardware to make it.  I enlisted the help of my husband and dad to build this "two hour" bench.  Probably an experienced carpenter could make this bench in two hours, but not me.  I cannot tell you how many trips I had to make to the hardware stores nearby.  I kept going to different ones so that the employees would't recognize me :)  I powered through, though, and got it done!  I feel so good about myself now that this is built and level!

Here is the final product - I can't wait to start creating again!!  This bench is great - it has a 6" long work surface with 2 shelves, it's really sturdy and can hold a significant amount of weight, and I have a cool hanging light that I was able to attach right to the bench for plenty of light as I'm creating.  Best of all, the design created nearly no waste of wood!

My favorite part is the counter top I found for the workbench surface.  It raises the bench up another inch, which makes it more comfortable for me.  The bench is 30" deep and has 4" wide ledge in the back, but the counter top is only 24" deep and has a ridge in the back.  This makes it a perfect place for me to put the containers with lye or fragrances out of the way so they don't get bumped and spill everywhere.  Love it!

Before The Spill, I was playing around with some more design ideas for the Pinkberry Mimosa FO that I've really loved lately, and here is a Tiger Stripe version with heart embeds:

I'm glad the Tiger Stripe came out well - I want to make a signature soap for Hannah and for Hobbes, and I thought it'd be fun to have something tiger-related (either color or pattern) for him.

Happy Thursday, everyone!



  1. I LOVE your workbench! I cannot build anything close to that for the life of me. I can't even make a plain soap mold, so I am so admiring your bench right now. I am sorry to hear about the accident with the lye. That sounds pretty scary. I did have a good chuckle about you going to the different hardware stores because I can picture myself doing the same thing :)

  2. Thanks, Roxana! I'm going to take some more close-up pics of some of the features of the bench because I love it, and it took me a lot of work to build :) I can't build my own soap molds yet either, but I may try one day - just need the callouses and blisters on my hands to heal first!

  3. Sorry to hear about the lye spill..glad noone was hurt! That work bench is amazing, I want one, lol. Your tiger stripe soap is beautiful too..just gorgeous! :)

  4. Sorry to hear about the lye spill, but so glad that you and Hobbes were not hurt! I LOVE your work bench, love the light at the top and how everything plugs in at the top, very clever! The soap is so pretty too!

  5. Thank God all came out fine. I can easily picture myself spilling liquids, it has happened before-fragrances, oils, but never lye. So far....(knock,knock on the wood)!
    Your new work space looks so pro, you can be proud of yourself. I really need something similar, but have no spare room for such a thing.
    Your soap is so cute and the heart is so perfectly shaped!

  6. I love you new workbench and I'm glad neither of you were hurt (lye spills can be so scary!). By the way, I love the little hearts in your soap, they are so cute. :)

  7. Oh, my goodness, I'm so glad that both you and Hobbes are okay! Your new bench looks great, and I love your tiger stripe soap with the heart embeds!


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