You know by now I am having a blast learning how to make soap. Before I even started making anything, I got The Everything Soapmaking Book, which I totally recommend for beginners. It goes through all the different types of soaping, from melt & pour to cold process to hot process, and has lovely chapters on organic soaping and business.
But, if you want full blown, in color, eye candy, with fabulous recipes and gorgeous photos, you have got to grab yourself a copy of Soap Crafting by Anne-Marie Faiola (The Soap Queen and owner of Bramble Berry).
There are 31 Cold Process soap recipes in the book. Everything from the first one I want to try, Pumpkin in the Pot Swirl (because as my long time readers know, I am obsessed with Pumpkin. Yummy!) to Color Blocking Embeds to Avocado Moisturizing Bars. All the recipes have gorgeous, crisp, color photos with step by step instruction on how to make each soap.
What I find the most handy though are the sections on Understanding Oils and Choosing Colorants. You can totally make gorgeous soap with the 3 main oils, what Anna refers to in the book as the Holy Trinity of Oils, Coconut/Palm/Olive. But, the chapter on understanding the different oils gives you enough info on each oil or butter used to make soap so you can see what can be used in the recipe, in what percentage, to achieve what type of soap. For example, coconut oil is super cleansing, but can also be drying, so it is recommended that it is kept at 35% or less. As someone who is just beginning to learn the oils and their usage, this info all in one easy to see spot, is invaluable.
Same with the chapter on color, which I think will end up being the most challenging part of learning soap. With so many ways to color soap, having an understanding of why I would choose an oxide over a LabColor is imperative.
Coolest thing? It's spiral bound so it lays flat while working with it. I so wish more crafty book publishers would realize how perfect this is for how-to books!
I will admit that I won this book from a giveaway over at Oil & Butter. But it was already in my Bramble Berry cart before I won, and I am not receiving anything for writing this post. I know I personally like to read a book review on crafty books by the people who are actually using them, and I am using this book every time I want to think up a new recipe, when I am planning my next order of supplies, and when I just want to look at pretty pictures. I think anyone who is interested in cold process soap making would LOVE this book. I do.