I was in the craft store this weekend. I was looking at some kits for various crafts, and as I considered which one I wanted to buy, I kept hearing this voice in my head from when someone told me that kits are more expensive than simply buying the materials you need. That got me thinking…is it really more expensive? I think it depends on the situation, and on the kit.
Look at what materials, and how much of each, come in the kit.
I was looking at soap making kits, most of which were in the $20 range. I looked at what came in the kit I wanted—16 oz clear soap base, 16 oz white soap base, fragrance, 3 colors of dye, a plastic mold with 4 shapes, 4 metal cutters (different shapes), and an instruction sheet. The box tells me that I have enough material for 10 bars of soap. As someone who does not make a lot of soap (and has yet to experiment with this type of soap making), that sounds pretty reasonable. I suppose if you were going to be making lots of soaps, maybe to sell at a flea market or on Etsy or something, this would be an impractical way to buy supplies. But, if you’re like me and you just want to try something new, I think that kits are the way to go! Especially if there’s a reusability factor, like being able to reuse molds.
Want more proof that kits aren’t always more expensive?
The kit I chose comes with a package of clear and a package of white soap base. You can buy this independent of a kit, with the smallest package costing around $10. Granted, that $10 package is double the size of what you would find in the kit, but you would have to buy two of them (clear and white) in order to create the same soaps that you would with the kit.
Also in the kit are 3 bottles of dye—red, blue, and yellow. The same amount of dye would cost around $5 if purchased separately. The same goes for the fragrance—about $5 or $6 for what you would find the kit.
Most of the molds, like the one in the kit, were about $2.50 in the craft store where I was shopping. I didn’t see the metal cutters, but they’re basically the same thing as small cookie cutters, which aren’t usually expensive.
Being a soap making novice, I knew I would need instructions of some sort. The kit I chose includes some basic instructions. The instruction books in this store were $15.
It’s starting to sound cheaper to just buy a kit…isn’t it?
Aren’t craft kits too specific to allow creativity?
Some people don’t like kits because they feel locked in on a certain project and think they have to do everything a certain way. Don’t be afraid to customize! The box might show pink soaps with darker pink hearts inside, but don’t let that limit you. Green hearts could become a nice shamrock!
I found a really great resource that I will probably make good use of as I try my hand at soap making. A woman named Cathy has a blog where she posts soap recipes and answers questions that people have as they make soap.