We Tried Making Hand Crafted Soap With Craftiviti
Like a kid in a candy store, that’s how we felt the moment we stepped foot inside Craftiviti, a Malaysian one-stop DIY personal care and therapeutic crafts material store. As the name suggests, Craftiviti is a combination of craft and activity.
The store isn’t extravagantly huge, but best believe you can find just about anything under the sun to feed your crafty needs.
Maneuvering inside Craftiviti will lead you to displays of various craft products in every corner from soap making and formulation materials, clay, candle making materials, essential oils, fragrance oils, molds, paint, packaging for your DIY products, and the list goes on and on (check out www.craftiviti.com and see for yourself the vast range of products they offer).
Wei Yein Leong, the founder of Craftiviti treated SalamToday to a quick beginner’s soapmaking session at the store.
There are two methods of making handcrafted soap, the melt and pour or the cold process, we were taught how to make soap using the melt and pour method.
At a table set up especially for us, all the items to make two soaps were neatly placed. We have the solid soap base, two molds, a soap cutter, water boiling on standby, two stainless steel cups, colourants, and a stirrer as well as a silicone spatula and a selection of essential and fragrance oils.
The first step would be to chop up the soap base into tiny cubes or whatever shape you desire, but the key is to cut it as small as you can to easily melt it later. After chopping up the soap base, we stuffed it into a stainless steel cup.
Once the soap is all cut up, we melted it using the double boiler method. Leong said a faster option would be to use the microwave but with boiling it manually, it allows you to be in control of the heat so you can monitor the soap as it gradually melts into liquid form.
Once the soap is all melted, we put in about 2 drops each of rose, lavender and frankincense essential oil each and added the colouring of our choice. We went with a few drops of purple. It’s imperative to be quick when performing this step as the soap can harden quite fast.
Once the melted soap is all stirred (tip: don’t stir too quickly otherwise you will create air bubbles), we quickly poured the soap in a mold and let it sit for about 20 minutes to harden. We repeated the same steps for the second soap but included fragrance oils instead and added pink colouring. Voila! Just like that, we made our first soaps that could be used head to toe.
This soap making session had us discover how incredibly easy it is to make your own soap. Most of us generally purchase commercial body care products off the shelves as it’s always the easier and faster option, however the downside to that is we’re not entirely aware of the chemicals and ingredients included to formulate the products. By making your own soap, you are able to control what you wish to include.
The final product:
How did Craftiviti come about?
Leong: Initially, Eugene (Leong’s husband and business partner) and I started out with an event management company called Caesar Paper Stone about 10 years ago which we still run today. But about 4 years ago, I decided to venture into arts and crafts. I have always loved arts and crafts. Way back then about 13 years ago, I sold jewelry and accessories made from clay. There was definitely no e-commerce platforms then so I sold them through Blogspot.
In the beginning of Craftiviti, we offered everything under the sun. We catered to scultpors, people who make ceramic, people who made jewelry, it was all kinds of arts and crafts. But then our candle and soap making section started to get more popular, so the business just gravitated towards personal care.
Where do you source your supplies?
Leong: All of our products are imported from various countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Thailand, China and even locally sourced in Malaysia.
What are some of the benefits of making your own products?
Leong: For one, you get to control what you put in the product. It’s like cooking – why do people choose to cook at home and not eat outside? When you cook at home, you know what goes in, so it’s the same thing with making your own personal care products.
Secondly, it’s environmentally friendly as you are able to upcycle more. With candles for example, you can reuse your jars and turn it into candles. Plus, it’s cheaper. When you buy and make things by bulk, you can make a lot so that it will last you throughout many months.
(Photo: Eugene Tham and Wei Yein Leong)
What are your thoughts on the DIY personal care products competing with commercial products off the shelves?
Leong: Some people don’t have time to make or they are not particular or don’t have sensitive skin, or it’s okay for them not to make their own products, – they would never want to come here and make their own stuff. It’s a different market.
A lot of people don’t know that they can make their own stuff. I talked to a lot of people who have never touched craft before. But soap making is just like making agar-agar (jelly). You don’t need much knowledge, just good ingredients. Once people discover that they can make their own products, they will realise that it’s much cheaper and easier.
How can we educate more people to make their own products?
Leong: We can educate people more by spreading the word. A lot of our customers come in after hearing about us through word of mouth. We had customers who came in already knowing what they want, but gradually more and more people started to come in asking us “I heard I can make stuff here, what can I make?”.
So we had to come up with recipe cards and brochures as well as content development online to teach people how to make things on their own. Our vision for this company is helping create happiness because when you make your own things you create a lot of joy. When people make their own things, they are happy and they go home and share it with their family and friends. The happiness also comes in a way when they start to sell their homemade products, creating more income for their family. It’s a chain reaction.
On weekends, Craftiviti hosts DIY natural skincare workshops and teach people how to make natural skincare formulation, masks, and soaps. They also host workshops every other Wednesdays too.
On its website, you can check out several other workshops that the company offers such as jewelry making and even how to make your own lipstick. Find out more about their workshops on www.craftiviti.com.
(Photos by Craftiviti and Syahirah Mokhtazar)