4-Day Soap AND Body Product Boot Camp

Taught by Jen Grimes, Ruth Esteves, Alice Duvernell & Joan McCoy

This Boot Camp has passed! If you’re interested in the topics covered,
please contact us for more information.

In this special 4-Day Introductory Boot Camp, we are doing something exciting that we’ve never done before. We’ve combined our original Soap Making Boot Camp with our popular Bath & Body Boot Camp to bring you the most requested parts of each one. Perfect for anyone looking for a crash course on what it takes to make fantastic soap AND bath & body products using as many natural ingredients as possible. You’ll get in-person lessons with Jen, Ruth, Alice & Joan, all veteran Nova teachers, each with a unique teaching style we think you’ll just love.

Here’s a breakdown of what products, topics & techniques will be covered. More details of exactly what is taught, each of the four days, can be found in the tabs below.

Day 1: SATURDAY, 9/19/15
9 – 9:30 am: Orientation & Introductions
9:30 am – 12:30pm: Cold Process Soap Making 101 with Jen
12:30 – 1:30 pm: Break for Lunch
1:30 – 5 pm: Cold Process Soap 201 – “Make & Take” with Jen

Day 2: SUNDAY, 9/20/15
9 am – 12:30 pm: Creative Soap Design (Part I) with Ruth
12:30 – 1:30 pm: Break for Lunch
1:30 – 5 pm: Creative Soap Design (Part II – with Natural Colors) with Ruth

Day 3: MONDAY, 9/21/15
9 am – 12:30 pm: Lotions & Creams with Alice
12:30 – 1:30 pm: Break for Lunch
1:30 – 5 pm: 3 Types of Body Butters with Alice

Day 4: TUESDAY, 9/22/15
9 am – 12 am: Spa Facial Products with Alice
12 – 1 pm: Break for Lunch
1 – 4 pm: Packaging Your Bath & Body Products with Joan
4 – 4:15 pm: Quick Break
4:15 – 5 pm: Boot Camp Wrap Up (soap unmolding & cutting, feedback forms, certificates, etc.)

You’ll go home with detailed handouts for each class, recipes, directions, tons of inspiration, and a bunch of finished products: 2 full-sized bars of cold process soap from CP 101, a 2-pound batch of soap in a tube mold, a mini batch of soap made by students using the Embedded Soap technique, a hard copy of Ruth’s Coloring Soap Naturally eBook, 3 full-size bars of soap from Ruth’s design class, 2 oz. bottle of body lotion, a 2 oz. jar of shea hand & foot cream, 1 oz. jar of traditional body butter (custom scented by you), a 2 oz. jar of whipped body butter, and a solid massage bar, 3 oz. container of clay mask, herbal facial steam, and facial mask.. Full boot camp students will also receive special extras, including a 3-ring class binder and a personalized certificate of completion for the series. No prior experience necessary.

Our intensive boot camps are ideal for out-of-towners, or those who are “local” but prefer to take many classes in a short period of time. This workshop is limited to 15 students. To reserve your spot, pay in full now, or pay half now and the remaining half in 30 days. Don’t wait until it’s too late and this bootcamp is sold out… secure your spot today!

Please Note: A materials fee of $130 will be collected at the beginning of class.
We can accept cash or check (made out to “The Nova Studio”).

Read full class descriptions & see more below…

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.

Day 1: SATURDAY, 9/19/15

9:00 am – 9:30 am: Orientation & Introductions

9:30 am – 12:30 pm: Cold Process Soap 101 with Jen

Ah, the allure of handmade soap. A well-made bar of soap is a revelation, an experience beyond the ordinary bar of “whatever is in the shower”. And for many people, the joy of using handmade soap leads directly to the desire (yes, desire!) to make it themselves.

This class teaches the basics of the cold process method of soapmaking, probably the easiest and least labor intensive of all the methods. It relies almost exclusively on the heat generated by saponification (the chemical reaction of fatty acids and alkali to produce soap). No external heat is applied once the ingredients have been mixed. Although it may seem complicated when you are first starting out, making your own soap from scratch (the way some of our grandparents did) using all-natural ingredients can be both fun and rewarding ~ not to mention extremely addicting!

Why are people drawn to making their own soap from scratch?

Many of us start making soap to have inexpensive, homemade, natural gifts for all the holidays and birthdays throughout the year. Also, more and more people today are looking for a second source of income that involves doing something creative that they love (isn’t that the true key to success?). Or, some of us begin soaping because we have friends or family with problematic or sensitive skin that is easily irritated.

Many commercial soap companies use cheap petroleum-based ingredients (like mineral oil), animal fats (like sodium tallowate, lard, or lanolin) and synthetic detergents (like sodium laureth sulfate) that can be harsh on delicate skin. By making soap in your own kitchen, you can tailor it to suit any skin type as well as insure that only the most beneficial ingredients go into your finished soap.

The class will cover the following as we demonstrate how to make a 4-pound
batch of soap (about 18-20 bars) using the cold process method:

  • Brief history and basic chemistry of soap making
  • Necessary materials, supplies and equipment
  • Safety considerations when working with sodium hydroxide
  • Taking accurate measurements & proper mixing temperatures
  • Coloring soap naturally with herbs, spices & clays
  • Using pure essential oils to scent your soap naturally
  • Preparing your molds and molding options
  • Insulating, cutting, curing and storing your finished soap
  • Decorating and packaging to impress

[NOTE: This CP 101 class does not cover advanced techniques like swirling or layering.]

Due to the nature of making soap from scratch, this class is mainly demonstration style. You’ll leave with very thorough handouts and enough information to make awesome vegetable-based natural herbal soap from scratch on your own (at home) as well as 2 full-sized bars of soap to enjoy. This class uses only vegan / vegetarian ingredients.

NOTE: This is an age 18+ class since making soap from scratch involves working with lye (aka sodium hydroxide). Also, cold process soap needs about a month to cure before using (hot process can be used within a few days and melt & pour soap can be used within a few hours). To take part in stirring the soap, please wear or bring a long-sleeved shirt. You’ll also need rubber gloves and safety goggles. There will be several pairs of goggles and gloves to share, but if you prefer your own please bring them to class.

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm: Break for Lunch

1:30 pm – 5:00 pm: Cold Process 201: Make & Take with Jen

We hear it a lot right after one of our CP Soapmaking 101 classes: “I can’t wait to go home and make my own soap!” Well, now you don’t have to wait! Come to our afternoon session of Cold Process Soap “Make & Take” and you can customize your own batch of soap that you get to take home.

In this group soapmaking session, Nova Studio teacher Jen Grimes will make a big batch of plain soap & portion out a 2-pound batch to each student. Then YOU get to scent it and color it, pour it into your mold and take it home. Once it’s hardened at home, you just slice it into about 9-10 bars and let them cure for 4-6 weeks until they’re ready to use!

This is an intermediate level class. See Prerequisite Requirements below.
We will provide everything necessary to customize your own batch of soap:

  • A container and spoon to mix your soap
  • Your choice of essential oils for scenting (a 1 oz. bottle)
  • Your choice of colorants (cosmetic grade pigments or clays)
  • Additives, like dried herbs or exfoliants
  • A cylinder/tube soap mold for you to keep & reuse at home
  • The soap recipe and written instructions so that you can make this soap again by yourself
  • And all the help you need to make your first batch of soap a success!

NOTE: This is an age 18+ class since making soap from scratch involves working with lye (aka sodium hydroxide).

What You Need to Bring: One bath sized old towel to insulate your soap on the way home. The mold is a tube-style cylinder, so you’ll need a box or something to prop it upright on your way home. Please wear or bring a long-sleeved shirt and closed-toe shoes. You’ll also need rubber gloves and safety goggles. There will be several pairs of goggles and gloves to share, but if you prefer your own please bring them to class.

Optional: If you prefer to use a scent combination other than what is provided, you are welcome to bring your own essential oils and/or colors to further customize your soap. However, there will be no discount off the materials fee if you choose to bring your own additions.


Day 2: SUNDAY, 9/20/15

9:00 am – 5:00 pm: Creative Soap Design with Ruth

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm: Break for Lunch

So you make your own cold process soap and you love the way it smells and feels. But are you thrilled with the way it looks? Even before it’s smelled or used, the appearance of a bar of soap can set the tone for the whole experience. If you’re looking to jazz up the look of your cold process soap, this class offers inspiration and step-by-step demonstrations of design techniques that can get your creative juices flowing.

Concentrating exclusively on log- or loaf-shaped molds, we will explore techniques for:

  • Color layering, including a demonstration of vertical layers
  • Color swirling, including a demonstration of “funnel swirls” and “in-the-pot” swirls
  • Embedding soap shapes, including shapes that students will make & use in their own mini batch
  • Adding textural interest to the tops of bars, including a demonstration of adding “waves” to soap tops
  • Coloring cold process soap, including an in-depth discussion of natural colorants

Ruth will be making soap from scratch, demonstrating techniques, and showing lots of finished examples of all the different techniques. There will also be opportunities for students to get “hands-on” with designing and making their own mini batches.

Plus, Ruth will speak in depth about the options available to color soap with natural ingredients. She’ll present her research testing 34 different colorants using three methods: in the lye, infused in oil, and added at trace. Learn which natural colors look the best, how to incorporate them into the soap and what effect “gel phase” has on the finished product.

Included in the class fee, each student will receive a full color, printed copy of Ruth’s ebook, “Coloring Soap Naturally”, a $29 value.

By the end of the day, you will have a thorough handout outlining all of the techniques covered, “Coloring Soap Naturally”, a list of resources and, hopefully, a whole lot of enthusiasm about exploring your own soap design!

The demonstration soap that we make during our time together will be cut at the end of the bootcamp (on Tuesday) and each student will receive a full-size bar from those batches. This class uses only vegan/vegetarian ingredients.

BONUS: Ruth will be discussing and demonstrating soapmaking with lye solution at room temperature. This is a very efficient method that can save you lots of time and make soapmaking more enjoyable again! No more waiting around for lye to cool before you can make soap!


Day 3: MONDAY, 9/21/15

9:00 am – 12:30 pm: Lotions & Creams with Alice

In this class you’ll learn how to make (from scratch!) wonderful lotions & creams for the body.

We’ll discuss all necessary ingredients like emulsifiers, humectants, emollients, as well as the inexpensive equipment and supplies needed to get started. You’ll learn about the properties and shelf-life of vegetable/nut carrier oils and butters (like shea butter and mango butter), and how and when to use antioxidants and preservatives; a necessary part of making lotions and creams as they always contain water-based ingredients. NOTE: Since there are no proven truly “all-natural” preservatives on the market, we do use a synthetic preservative (but it is paraben-free).

We’ll demonstrate two fantastic recipes, a nice light body lotion and a wonderful shea butter hand/foot cream. The batches we make in class will be unscented and uncolored and you’ll get to add your choice of essential oils, and color (optional). Popular scent combinations include lavender & mint, lemon & rosemary, and geranium, ylang ylang & sweet orange. Once finished scenting and coloring, you will package and label your custom product.

You will leave with a 2 oz. bottle of body lotion, a 2 oz. jar of shea hand & foot cream, and handouts complete with both of these tested recipes, detailed instructions, information on each of the ingredients, and a list of our recommended suppliers. Due to the necessity of making emulsion products in batches, this class is primarily demonstration / lecture style, with hands-on elements.

Once you take this class, you will never buy commercial lotions or creams again!

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm: Break for Lunch

1:30 pm – 5 pm: 3 Types of Body Butters with Alice

Body butters are the answer to even the driest of skin. They are perfect for rough elbows, cracked heels and those hard-working hands. Body butters help to seal in moisture and protect tender skin from the elements. And when you make it yourself, you know exactly what you’re putting on your skin.

In this class, you’ll learn how to make three completely different types of wonderful body butters using all-natural ingredients like Shea Butter, Mango Butter, Cocoa Butter, Virgin Coconut Oil, Beeswax, and proven antioxidants like Vitamin E and Rosemary Oleoresin Extract. We’ll use pure essential oils for their amazing scent, aromatherapy value, and to keep our products 100% natural. We will also discuss options for obtaining colors in your butters naturally. In class, together we’ll make 3 different recipes that are made to smooth and soften rough, dry skin.

Learn to make three different kinds of Body Butters:

  • Traditional Body Butters: A high percentage of pure vegetable/nut butters and antioxidants are carefully melted & combined to create a super rich, dense body balm great for commonly dry areas like elbows, knees, cuticles and feet. These are typically packaged in a small jar (because only a small amount is needed) and often sell for up to $10 an ounce.
  • Whipped Butters: A wonderful whipped combination of butters, oils & antioxidants that are lighter (more fluffy) than “traditional body butters.” They can be used an all over body oil or massage oil. They leave your skin feeling very soft and smooth, and are easier (than the traditional butters) to apply over a large area.
  • Solid Butter Bars: These are a fun way of creating/packaging butters, usually made using small molds and are held free-form like a bar of soap (a.k.a. “massage bars”) or in a push-up stick container for easy application on the go (a.k.a. “lotion bars”). These are applied directly to dry skin (after bathing), similar to how/when you would use a body oil.

In addition to taking home tested recipes and detailed instructions, you’ll leave with a 1 oz. jar of traditional body butter (custom scented by you), a 2 oz. jar of whipped body butter, and a solid massage bar – all packaged by you and ready to use or gift. Due to the necessity of making these products in batches, this class is primarily demonstration / lecture style, with hands-on elements.


Day 4: TUESDAY, 9/22/15

9:00 am – 12:00 pm: Spa Facial Products with Alice

CLEANSING GRAINS: A perfect replacement for soap, cleansing grains are mild, nourishing, suitable for all skin types, and can be used daily. The grains massage off dry and dead skin cells, gently cleanse, improve circulation to the facial surface, and provide a nourishing “meal” for your face. See how easy it is to create a superior cleansing product using an inexpensive mixture of biodegradable ingredients.

HERBAL FACIAL STEAMS: A facial steam is the best possible way to deep clean your pores once or twice a month. Each of the herbs we will use is rich in nutrients that nourish and tone the skin. The aromatic oils of the plants are released by the heat and are absorbed by the skin. And best of all, steaming your face over a soup pot of simmering flowers and herbs feels so good! Come and create your own personal facial steam!

CLAY FACIAL MASK: Facials are excellent for stimulating circulation to the skin by drawing blood to the surface. They promote deep pore cleansing and help heal blemishes and acne. Facials also help tone and firm the skin. We’ll make one type of facial, a clay mask, which is particularly suitable when one wants a drawing, firming type of facial. Clay is very high in minerals and draws impurities out of the skin. We’ll also discuss different types of beneficial herbs and liquids you can mix with the dry clay mixture as well as which essential oils are best suited for your skin type.

You will leave this class with a 3 oz. container of all three products to pamper yourself with. All products made in the class are 100% natural and are not only great for your skin but also environmentally responsible. They are also vegetarian / vegan and contain absolutely NO animal bi-products, perfumes, synthetic ingredients or preservatives.

12 pm – 1 pm: Break for Lunch

1 pm – 4 pm: Packaging Your Bath & Body Products with Joan

You make wonderful handmade products. But what does your current product packaging say about your products? Not only is packaging the first impression of your product, but in many cases the decision to buy or use a product is made entirely on the packaging.

Packaging will attract or repel people to or from your products, and will also influence the decision to purchase your product again (based on how the product holds up in the chosen container, how good the label looks after it’s been in the bathroom for a few months, etc.). How much time have you spent considering how to package your high-quality bath & body formulations?

This Class will cover:

  • Soap
  • Lotions
  • Creams
  • Body Butters
  • Other bath & body products as time permits such as Lip Balms, Fizzy Bath Bombs, Herbal Bath Salts, Salt & Sugar Body Scrubs, Solid Salt Scrubs, and Massage Oils.

“Packaging” is a broad term, and Joan will cover containers, bags, labels, embellishments, and gift packaging. She also covers the “Do’s & Don’ts” of packaging, green or eco-friendly packaging, and market trends. Finally, using fellow bath & body product makers as inspirational examples, she discusses their packaging philosophies, and their trials and triumphs. You will receive: Detailed & Comprehensive Outline, Packaging Considerations Worksheet, Packaging Container Reference Spreadsheet, and a Comprehensive Supplier List.

4:00 pm- 4:15 pm: Quick Break

4:15pm – 5:00 pm: Ruth is back to unmold & distribute any soap from Days 1 & 2, then feedback forms & certificates


If you are coming from out of town, contact us BEFORE making any non-refundable travel arrangements so we can verify the class has met the minimum and is definitely a go.

All payments are non-refundable, but we do offer partial class credit depending on how much advance notice you give us. If you cannot attend a class, you can always send someone in your place. Alternatively, you can receive partial credit as described below. Note: We do not offer refunds, only future class credits.

At Least 60 Days’ Notice: If you cannot attend (for any reason) and you call us with at least 60 days’ notice, you will be able to transfer 75% of your class fee to any future class.

At Least 30 Days’ Notice: If you cannot attend (for any reason) and you call us with at least 30 days’ notice (but less than 60 days before the class) you will be able to transfer 50% of your class fee to any future class.

At Least 7 Days’ Notice: If you cannot attend (for any reason) and you call us with at least 7 days’ notice (but less than 30 days before the class) you will be able to transfer 25% of your class fee to any future class.

Less than 7 Days’ Notice: If you give us less than 7 days’ notice that you cannot attend a class, you forfeit your class fee. We are happy to send the class handouts to you. Simply email us a request.

If We Have to Cancel: With boot camps & out of town teacher’s classes, if the agreed upon minimum is not met, the teacher has the right to cancel his/her class. This is usually decided upon more than 30 days prior to the class. In the unfortunate event that a class must be cancelled, you will be contacted using the phone number and/or e-mail address that you gave when signing up. You will have a choice of a full refund or a credit for any future class.


Jen headshotJen Grimes started her descent down the make-your-own cosmetic rabbit hole after stumbling over books with vintage cosmetic recipes in her local library. After picking up and putting down books on how to make soap (all those bizarre ingredients and safety measures!), she took the plunge, promptly became addicted, and was certified as a soapmaker through the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild (HSCG). Today, Jen is a proud member of and volunteer for HSCG & owns and operates Loft Soap. She has a passion for hot-processed soap, loves funny-looking soap and can often be found communing with other soapmakers at The Nova Studio. Learn intermediate & advanced soap making topics from Jen.


Ruth headshot square versionRuth Esteves, Co-owner of The Nova Studio, started making handmade soap in 2006 as another in a long line of hobbies. Since then, she has gone from whipping up quick melt-and-pour soap gifts for her friends to designing and selling her own cold process soaps online through Sirona Springs. Trained as a laboratory research scientist, Ruth finds that soapmaking is the perfect blending of chemistry and art. Ruth is also a member of the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild (HSCG) and holds the HSCG Advanced Soapmaker certification. Learn beginning & advanced soap making topics from Ruth.


Alice headshotAlice Duvernell is an artist & gilder who moved to the Bay Area after living in the south of France for 8 years. There she started researching problematic & sensitive skin types & developed an interest in the amazing virtues of essential oils & hydrosols. Her interest in culture & her studies in anthropology led her to travel in South America where she expanded her passion & awareness in native medicinal plants. During her last journey to Brazil, she set up a laboratory where she shared with the locals her homemade techniques for making hydrosols & other cosmetics, using only native plants. Learn how to create herbal & facial products from Alice.


joan headshot croppedJoan McCoy is a crafter who began making bath and body products in 2004. It all started when she pruned the lavender bush in her backyard & noted all the beautiful stems that went into her compost bin. After the next harvest, she dried the lavender and made sachets for everyone she knew. Soap and other bath products soon followed and there’s been no turning back since! Joan currently sells her products at craft shows during the holiday season and at an artist’s cooperative boutique in San Jose. Joan is also a proud member of the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetics Guild (HSCG). Learn how to package your bath & body products from Joan.

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