Discover the Best Soap Making Classes in Chicago
You’ve probably seen artful baskets of handmade soap at markets and boutiques, so pretty they look like edible confections. There is magic in the chemical reaction that produces soap, but it’s simple enough for anyone to make at home.
The earliest use of soap was likely an accidental discovery when people noticed that natural substances like ashes had a cleansing effect as they came into contact with fats or oils during cooking or fire-making. A clay tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon described using fats and ashes for cleaning, and similar discoveries in Egypt describe soap-like material for personal hygiene. The ancient Greeks and Romans used a mixture of tallow and ashes to create soap bars.
This formula is the basis of making soap even today. By combining oils or fats with an alkali, such as sodium hydroxide, a chemical reaction called saponification occurs and transforms these ingredients into a luxurious cleansing product.
Why You Should Learn Soap Making in Chicago
Unlike commercial soaps which may contain synthetic ingredients and harsh chemicals, handmade soap is usually made in small batches using natural, skin-loving products. When you create handmade soap you have full control over the formula – select skin-nourishing oils and butters, choose your favorite scent, and express your creativity with colors and textures. Mold your soap into unique shapes or make rustic bars that tell the world they are one of a kind.
Soap making in Chicago is a thriving cottage industry with a vibrant community of soap makers and artisans. Chicago hosts various craft fairs and festivals and over 70 farmer’s markets where soap makers can showcase and sell their products. Making soap is fun and relaxing, and you can luxuriate in the sudsy results of your labors.
Many soap hobbyists have become business owners. Soapmaking is a growing industry globally, valued at $147 million in 2021 and expected to reach $228 million by 2028. The average annual income for handmade soap makers is $28k.
When you begin your soap-making journey, seek out suppliers and organizations to support your endeavor. Soaper’s Choice sells a comprehensive supply of soap-making fats, oils, and ingredients in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, saving you the wait and cost of shipping. The Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild is the largest handcrafter association in the world. They promote the handcrafted soap, cosmetic, and candle industry with how-to videos, supplier discounts, affordable insurance, and time-saving tools.
In-Person Soap Making Classes & Schools in Chicago
In Soap Making Quick Starter at TLD Design Center and Gallery in Westmont, Illinois, you’ll learn the art and craft of cold process soap making from scratch. Class members work together in this two hour class to create a full batch, and you’ll go home with three hefty bars of custom soap. Select from a collection of essential oils, fragrances, and color ingredients, and learn to work safely with lye.
TLD Design Center and Gallery offers creative art classes and supplies for fiber, yarn, weaving & weaving looms, hand and machine knitting, glass fusing and lampwork glass bead making, jewelry arts, painting, soap and candle making, millinery art, beading, spinning fibers and wheels, and wet felting wool.
Soap Making 101: Cold Process Goat Milk Soap at The Resiliency Institute in Naperville, Illinois covers the history of soap making, how modern soap making is different, and how to create your own soap recipes. You’ll learn every step of cold-process soap making using goat milk, which makes the most luxurious and moisturizing soap. Each participant will receive handouts, including a list of references for future use, and a slice of freshly made soap.
The Resiliency Institute is a non-profit educational organization that aims to transform the suburbs into resilient permaculture communities. They focus on permaculture education and design to grow food security, build the local economy, increase biodiversity, and foster community.
Learn How to Make Goat Milk Soap at Chicago Botanic Garden in Chicago, Illinois teaches you how to make small-batch artisan goat milk soap. Learn the old-fashioned cold-process method of soap making using farm-fresh goat milk and organic, sustainable vegetable oil and essential oils. You’ll complete the class with a bar of this mild, moisturizing, chemical-free soap.
The Chicago Botanic Garden is a living museum and conservation science center. People of all ages, interests, and abilities participate in programs, take classes, and stroll the grounds year-round. Scientists and graduate students conduct a wide array of plant research in its nine laboratories, and its library contains 110,000 volumes, including one of the nation's best collections of rare botanical books.
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Virtual Soap Making Classes & Schools
If you can’t find a soap-making class in Chicago, try taking online soap making classes. You’ll be able to attend classes from home, without the time or stress of a commute. You’ll need to have a web-enabled device with a microphone and a space where you can attend class undisturbed.
Virtual Bath Bomb Making from Love & Make is a live, virtual workshop that covers the sometimes-tricky process of making your own bath bombs. This workshop uses the Love & Make Bath Bomb DIY kit, which is available to order in their online shop. If you want to use your own materials, have your recipe and tools ready before the workshop begins.
Enroll in Virtual Melt & Pour Soap-Making Workshop to learn the basics of melt and pour soap making, general techniques, and even a little history. You’ll learn the uses and benefits of the various ingredients, and explore different recipes that you can use at home or give as gifts. This workshop is designed for the Love & Make DIY Soap-Making Kit, which you’ll need to purchase prior to the class along with a funnel pitcher melting pot, stir sticks, soap molds of your choice, and an alcohol spray bottle.
In Soap Making from El Camino College, you’ll have fun making luxurious bath products you’ll love. Learn to make bar soaps, cleansing gels, and bubble baths using various techniques and recipes. Plus, learn to create specialized products for people with sensitive skin. Create soaps for the ultimate home spa experience or for gift-giving.
Private Group Soap Making Classes in Chicago
Do you want to plan a fun soap-making class or another crafty project as a team-building event for your organization or business? Coursehorse offers private group soap making classes for Chicago. Classes are planned and delivered directly to your group.
In Virtual Soap Making Workshop you’ll discover the art of handmade melt-and-pour soap making. Your instructor will go over materials, basic techniques, the benefits of making your own soap, and different recipes. You’ll also learn how to use botanicals and other additives to make your soaps even more special and personalized. You’ll make your very own soaps by hand in this class.
Virtual Candle Making is a beginner-friendly soy candle-making class. An expert instructor will guide you through making beautiful, environmentally friendly soy and beeswax candles in the comfort of your home. You’ll create beautiful candles so that you can proudly say, "I made it myself!"
The class includes a candle-making kit shipped to your participants which has everything you'll need in it, including a small melting/pouring pitcher, stir stick, wax chips for two candles, two candle tins, two wicks, two clothespins for centering wicks, wick adhesive and candle labels, and fragrance oil.
In Virtual Macramé Workshop you’ll learn how to create plant hangers using knot patterns.
The art of tying knots to create beautifully patterned textiles is believed to have originated with 13th-century Arab weavers. These simple knots quickly turn into beautiful designs that can be endlessly customized. You will walk away with a beautiful hanging planter, the perfect display for your favorite plants. All needed materials are shipped to participants, including cord to make three plant hangers.
If you don’t see the class you’re looking for, Coursehorse can provide a customized class for your group. Use the “Contact Us” button on the website to learn about the options available. It’s easy to book with Coursehorse – just estimate your group size, pay the minimum deposit, and reserve your date. You’ll receive a confirmation within 24 hours. They recommend using the Zoom platform but can accommodate Google Meets, Microsoft Teams, and WebEx if you provide the meeting details.