Thursday, December 30, 2010


I got inspired by a YouTube video where the person rebatched or handmilled their soap.  I thought I'd try again.  I shredded up a bunch of old soaps and used my slow cooker.  I shredded up 2 lb 4 oz of soap which was all at least a couple of months old.  I think throughout the cook I added 5/8 cup of water. 

I wonder if the slow cooker dries out the soap too much.  I think it was cooking for 3 hours before most of the chunks were melted.  As soon as I started to glop into the mold it was hardening up.  I even preheated the mold so that the soap wouldn't be hitting a cold mold.  But still I had to really glop and push into the mold.  This batch I kept to fruity smelling soaps and I added satsuma FO to it. 

I still have more soaps that I could rebatch, I have some more with bakery type scents that I could melt together.  Maybe I'll try using more water next time.  I just don't want to add too much water, then it will take longer to dry out.  Got to find that balance. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pondering on the soap cake...

So upon thinking about what might have gone wrong with the soap cake and what to change for next time I make a soap cake...

1. The soap cake patties popped out of the silicone mold and were smooth as glass.  Actually really pretty, but probably too slick for this purpose.  The surface was too slick for the frosting to stick well.
1a. Next time, rough up the surface: scratch it up with a fork or something.  Like in pottery, scoring the edges before sticking them together. 

2. Gelling, I didn't make any particular effort to gel the soap cake. 
2a.  Warm the oven up to do CPOP.  Gelling will allow the old soap patties to heat up and hopefully meld better to the new soap. 

3. The soap cake is really HUGE, well at least to me.  5lb of oils/butters or 7lbs total weight.  I had a hard time deciding on color and fragrance for such a large amount of soap.
3a. Maybe next time I'll just use a log mold that holds one or two pounds, cut the soap log down the center laterally to make two thinner rectangular patties and make, not a round cake, but a rectangular cake.  I could still frost it, but it would be a smaller cake and the slices would be rectangular/square rather than wedges which seems more of a challenge to use in the shower. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Soap cake slices

So in the end I had put the cake in the oven mostly unsliced.  The next day I pulled it out and sliced it all up.  The layers were still separating, probably because the cake as a whole didn't heat up enough. 

I then put the cut up slices back into the oven at 170 for 2-3 hours again.  This time the layers seem to be better stuck.

I think that the cake layers will darken more.  But we shall see. 

These are really large slices! They are each over 6 oz.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sweating MP soap

OK, so I went to check on my Tunnel of Love soap with the MP soap embedded into CP soap. 

As expected, sweating on the MP embed.

I'm just going to continue to watch it, and see what happens.

Oh, my soap cake is still in the oven.  It's such a large soap that it's taking a while to get to gel phase.  It's been almost two hours.  Sigh...  I'm crossing my fingers.


As soon as I started to cut the slices smaller like into 1/16ths (approx 6.5 oz), the cake layers started to slide apart!!!!  Nooooooooooooooooooo...........  I'm shaking my fists towards the heavens!!! 

I didn't make any particular effort to make this soap cake go into gel phase.  I just frosted, then placed it into a room temp oven over night.  I'm guessing the cake did not go through gel phase and therefore the layers of cake and frosting did not quite adhere.   Nooooooooooooooooooooooo.............

So I kinda placed the slices back into the cake and heated my oven to 170 F and put it in.  I'm hoping I can force gel and get the layers to stick together.   pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease

I'm hoping this will work.  Now I'm afraid that when the cake goes into gel it will goo out.  I want to keep the shape of the cake as well as the piping and frosting work I did.  Oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please work work work work!!

Holy smiholy! I love my soap cake!!

Ok, I cut into my soap cake!!

Oh my friggen god, it's so cute!!  It's like when I made my first soap cupcakes.  I love it when something goes so right!

The inside "cake" will darken more.  Maybe to a chocolate brown, we'll see.  The lavender "frosting" should stay the same. 

Oh, I was wrong, this soap cake is 7 lbs.  With the water weight it all added up to 7 lbs.  I did use 5 lbs of oils/butters.  I think I'm going to slice the cake into 16 slices... 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tunnel of Love Soap and Soap Cake!

So this past weekend I did two experiments. 
1. Embedding MP soap into a CP loaf. 
2. Making a full soap cake

1. I made a heart shaped soap tube using clear MP soap.  Then I embedded it into my CP soap loaf.  I used Falling in Love FO.  I mixed the base batter with TD and then pulled off some to color with raspberry pop mica to do a swirl.  The swirls weren't quite what I wanted, but it's OK.

For the most part it looks like it was a good marriage.  The clear MP wasn't as clear as I was hoping it would turn out.  The edges of the heart got a little fuzzy so some of it melted in the heat produced by the saponification process that the CP soap went through.  I think if the soap slices were thinner (these were 1inch thick cuts) then the clarity of the MP soap would be better.   So now the test is how the MP soap will fare as the CP soap cures.  The soap will cure in the garage and it's been rainy and therefore the air has a high moisture content.  Usually MP soap has to be wrapped up right away to prevent "sweating" as the humectant qualities of the MP soap pulls moisture from the air.  But the CP soap has to remain unwrapped during it's curing process so...  Also the CP soap will shrink as it's moisture content evaporates so what will happen to the MP soap inside?

2. I made a full soap cake!  Yesterday I used two 9 inch silicone cake pans and made two soap patties, or the "cake" rounds.

I mixed up a bunch of fragrances: Sparkling Grapefruit, Vanilla Pear, Strawberry Jam, White Grape Juice.  The vanilla in the Vanilla Pear and Strawberry Jam will make these cake patties turn much more brown.  I think sort of a chocolate color.  I did color some of the batter with TD to produce this swirly marbley effect.  Really pretty actually.  Hopefully, they'll look just as nice or better when the cake is cut into slices.

Here's perspective on the soap patties against my hand.  That's what the top of the cake patties look like, not as pretty as the bottom that was in the pan.

Today, I layered the cakes put "frosting" in between and frosted the outside.  I used sparkling grapefruit and summer melon spritzer as fragrance and used grape pop mica for color.  (I love TKB Trading's Pop mica collection!) I did leave a bit of the soap uncolored so I could pipe on an accent.  This whole cake is 5 pounds of soap!

I sprinkled some glitter on top as well.  I think it turned out fabulous, at least on the outside.  So cute!!

I'll cut this soap either tomorrow or the next day.  I don't want to wait too long or it will be difficult to cut, and I think it's going to be challenging enough to cut into cake slice wedges.

I hope this turns out well.  It took me a long time to decide on fragrance and color for this cake.  I really didn't want to make any errors or wrong choices.  Otherwise I'm going to be stuck with 5 pounds of soap!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Teeth Soap

I forgot, I never did post photos of the teeth soap I made.  I got a mold of teeth.  They are supposed to be used to make ice shaped like teeth to put into your drink, but they work great for MP soap!  I fragranced with Spearmint EO.
They are pretty funny.  I sold a few pairs at the fair.  I think they were going to be gifts for their dentists.  In fact I gave some to a friend of mine who just opened his own dental practice recently.  Smile!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Other interesting things from the show…

Another interesting thing that popped up at the show over the weekend, people were really attracted to the names of some of the soaps.  People were really amused by the Butt Naked soap.  The soap was named that because the FO was called Butt Naked.  There were a lot of good natured comments about how it doesn't smell like butt and so forth.  It's really a fruity bananay smell.  Why the FO is called Butt Naked?  Don't know.  I just went with it.  Most of my soap names actually described the fragrance.
Maybe I should sell more soaps with odd ball names like Monkey Farts or Lick Me All Over or Liquid Crack.  They don't describe what the scent is at all, but they are funny names. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

My first Art and Craft Fair!

I did my very first art and craft fair this past weekend.  It was part of a fundraiser for a local Taiko drumming group.  I paid for a booth space and 15% of my earnings went to the drumming group.  It was a small group of 15 artists/crafters. 
Here's what my table looked like
I sold Handmade soap (both MP and traditional soap) and Lip and Body Butters.  The right side was CP/HP soap, the middle was lip/body butter, and the right was MP soap.
The show was attended by mostly family and friends of the artists and the drumming group, but people were Christmas shopping!  Adjusting for the booth fee and the 15% that went toward the Taiko group, I made just under $500!  Pretty darn good!  I had fun. 
The CP soap cupcakes (upper right), MP teeth soap and MP soap shots (upper left) got a lot of attention.  A few got sold.  By far, people bought the bar soaps, then the lip butters.  I think people were just unfamiliar with body butters/solid lotions, so less of those were sold. 
Now I have some space to make more soap!!

Latest soaps

So, I had to post photos of a couple of my last soaps.  I love the colors and the swirls!

On the left, Acai Berries and Satin was layered with three colors.  A seafoam green mica , white using titanium dioxide, and grape mica.
On the right, Celestial Waters, was an In-the-Pot (ITP) swirl using a blue and green micas.  I love the wispy swirls.  It's so satisfying when something works out.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Soap fairies, gremlins at my house today!

Soap fairies and gremlins visit soap makers and make a nuisance of themselves.  They make things so wrong, they distract you and throw monkey wrenches into the process.  They don't do anything serious, but they sure do make a nuisance!
Well, the soap fairies and gremlins were in full force at my house today.  I made 4 one pound batches today.  All the same recipe, but different fragrances.    I was trying out 4 new fragrances from a different supplier. 
1. Kai – a nice refreshing tropical floral
2. Toffee Sugar Crunch – a dupe of Lush's Honey I Washed the Kids – a light sweet honey floral
3. Invigorating – a refreshing Lemongrass, citrus floral
4. Kazi Kazi – a dupe of Lush's Karma – spicy patchouli citrus
Toffee Sugar Crush and Kazi Kazi worked out just fine.  No weird discoloration to acceleration.  Well, actually, a purple colorant that I used for Toffee Sugar Crush turned pink instead, but that was minor.
Kai and Invigorating had issues.  As soon as I put Kai fragrance oil into the batch the batter SEIZED!  Everything just hardened up and I had soap on a stick (it hardened around the spatula).  No time to color, I had to grab the slow cooker and throw the batch in and do Hot Process (HP).  Invigorating fo discolored to a honey color as soon as it hit the batter.  I had added Titanium Dioxide a white colorant in my hopes of getting a whiter bar, I was going to use a snowflake mold.  Anyway the batch turned a peachy tan color despite the white colorant.  Then the batter started to seize.  I debated, should I just try and push the seized batter into the molds?  I did at first, then later once I had cleaned the slow cooker to just throw it in and HP it.  I'm not the biggest fan of HP.  You get really rustic looking soap, which is fine, but I like the smooth pour of Cold Process. 
Then to make matters worse, the plastic handle to my spatula snapped apart, right in the middle of making the 2nd batch.  So I had to make the remaining batches using a spatula with a short stubby broken handle.  Then when I was cleaning the slow cooker (which is a really old one I got handed down from mom) one of the three feet on the bottom broke off!!  So it's all wonkey.  I guess I could glue it back on with silicone or something, but man, why does it all happen all at once?!
I guess it could have been worse.  I didn't dump an entire batch onto the floor or onto myself.  I didn't have any lye burns or anything like that.  But still not what I expected to happen at all today.  I still have Invigorating cooking in the slow cooker, and the other batches are put away, to be unmolded and cut tomorrow. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Discoloration update

Yeah, so my most recent cupcakes are now a light to medium brown on the bottom and the tops are kind of a dusty brown orange color.  They used to be a sunny yellow on the bottom and pink on top.  I looked at my fragrance oils a little closer.  Sparkling Grapefruit FO has no vanillin content so shouldn't discolor.  Litsea cubeba EO shouldn't discolor.  Strawberry Jam FO…  Ah hah!  There's the vanillin content.  I added a little bit of Strawberry Jam to “sweeten” the overall fragrance because the grapefruit and litsea cubeba are so tart.  Should have looked a little closer.  The cupcakes are still super cute, but they aren't what I was expecting.  Anway… next time I have to pay more attention.
The Peppermint Cocoa base confetti soap has darkened even more to a dark chocolate color. 
A couple of weekends ago I went to Oakland's TKB Trading Big Pour Warehouse sale.  That was great!  They had their micas on sale, Melt & Pour soap base from SFIC, and many base oils and butters.  I'm small time so I didn't buy too much, but what a great sale. Their sampler micas are usually $1.50, they were $1, I got several. Their micas are good for soaps, makeup, etc. I got more glow-in-the-dark powder.  The glow in the dark M&P soaps are so much fun! I got some M&P soap base.  It's great because I would never be able to purchase directly from SFIC because their minimums are so large.  I also got some base oils/butters. There was no shipping to pay for.  I had a good time!

Friday, October 8, 2010

More soapies

I took a bunch of my soap trimmings and scraps and made confetti soap.  This time I used Peppermint Cocoa fragrance oil.  It discolored the soap into a dark chocolate color.  It made an interestingly dark background for all of the embeds.

I also made some soap cupcakes.  I was able to pipe the topping.  The sparkling grapefruit/strawberry jam/litsea cubeba cupcake on the left was a lemon yellow bottom and a pink on top, but it has discolored so that the bottom is tan and the top is orangey.  The spearming eucalyptus cupcake stayed true to color.  Pale white-green on the bottom and light mint top.  Both cupcakes have jojoba bead 'sprinkles' and cosmetic glitter.  The stars are other soaps from before that I had molded and cut up.

I loved piping the tops.  I'll definitely need to make soap cupcakes again.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Making my d20 soap-on-a-rope!

So, some of you may know I have been lured into the world of D&D RPG Gaming.  In my web browsing what do I come upon but a D20 soap-on-a-rope!!  Well, being a soap maker I was fascinated.  How could I make such a thing? 
Well, I purchased a HUGE d20.  2.5 inches (55cm) in diameter d20! 

Oh, for those of you who aren't gamers, this is a count down die.   See how the numbers dial down right next to each other.  So, it's not a legal die to use in RPGA.
Then I went to Tap Plastics and purchased their Platinum silicone molding material (not cheap, by the way).  I chose the Platinum silicone because I really didn't want to make a two part mold and it's the most flexible and tear resistant mold that I could make.  I'm really hoping that it will won't tear too much with use.  But I still have enough the silicone molding material to make another mold if need be.  Here's the mold.

I melted some melt and pour soap added color and fragrance and I made some soap-on-a-rope!

Cool huh.
I suppose I could use cold process soap, but I only have one mold and I couldn't make a batch so small to only make one d20 soap; and CP soap takes 24 hours to unmold.  So, M&P soap it is for this.  I used goat's milk M&P soap base for this one.  I got some thin nylon strapping for the rope.  I really wanted nylon braiding, but I couldn't find any at the fabric store.  And next time I would make the rope longer.  I ran out of soap the first time and had to pour out and melt some more and re-pour into the mold.  It was still not quite enough so it's not quite clean at the top and I had some bubbles in the liquid soap so there are tiny little bubbles near the top and it's not smooth. 
Oh, was this process worth it?  Not in $$.  Sheesh I could have purchased several of these soaps on a rope for the time, effort, and cost that went into making one d20 soap of my own. 
But was I satisfied and did I have fun… heck yeah!
Making my own silicone mold was so cool, and so easy!  I can make more d20 soaps any time I want. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fading fragrances and room fragrance

So, some of my soaps have been in use for months and some of the fragrances have started to fade on some of the soaps.  It's really good to note these changes over time.  Some fragrances do tend to fade with time.  In particular the anise and peppermint essential oils have faded.  I only used 0.5 oz per pound of oil for each because I read that they are pretty potent fragrances.  Now I'm thinking I'll just use a full 1 oz per pound of oil the next time I use them. 
Other things I've found with my soaps.  The ones with higher pomace olive oil content at 60-70% to be too soft for my taste.  Although it may be worth it to experiment with the higher pomace olive oil and adding sodium lactate which adds hardness.  Or else don't use pomace olive oil and instead use regular olive oil.   The castile/bastile soaps I made with regular light olive oil made a much firmer bar while the pomace oo soaps were kinda squishy. 
I might take a little break from bar soap making for a little while so I can make a dent in my soap bar collection.  Might…
Although I still want to make some more liquid soap.   
I'm also experimenting with some room fragrances.  I purchased some sachet beads which absorb fragrance oil which I then parcel out into organza bags and hang around the house.  So far they seem to be doing well.  I've also purchased those glass bottles with the sticks.  I haven't actually used those yet, but I have them!  I just have to think of a way to place them out of the reach of the cats.  I don't want spilled fragrance oil somewhere because the cats wanted to play with the sticks.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bunch o' photos

OK, I haven't posted photos lately, so here goes.
Here's what my liquid soap looks like:
So 1.5 lbs of oil made about 3/4 of a gallon of liquid soap.  It's a really liquidy soap.  I didn't use anything to thicken it up so it's pretty runny.  But look how clear it is!  Yay!

And in case you ever wondered where I put all this soap:
Most of it is in the garage.  All the fragrances combined can be quite heady so they live mostly in the garage.  I have a small metal mesh drawer unit which holds most of the soap that have cured and many are packaged.  The green baskets on top which are re-purposed flower baskets used at flower markets I use to cure the soaps.  I do have a smaller stash in the house which are unfragranced or naturally fragranced with oatmeal milk and honey.

Bottom, middle, and top drawers

Here's a peek into the curing baskets.  The soaps are all cut up and resting.  Before I use the soaps I give them at least 4 weeks of curing time to evaporate moisture and get harder and longer lasting.

The plastic baggies contain trimmings from various soaps.  I can reuse these trimmings and shreds for confetti soaps. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oh yeah… milk soaps…

I forgot or ignored the fact that milk soaps, when allowed to gel, turn the soaps medium brown/tan color.  Duh!  The milk sugars carmelize in the heat and darken the soaps.  So it doesn't really matter what colorants I put into the soaps.  Oh well, next time I try to prevent gel by putting them into the freezer after I pour. 
The sodium lactate is WONDERFUL!  I unmolded and cut the soaps at about 11 hours.  That's really quick (I couldn't wait until tomorrow)!  They all came out of their molds lickety split and the fondant texture mat made clean, beautiful impressions on the soaps.  All the fragrances came out really nice.  Champagne, cherry blossom, coffee bean, and white tea and ginger. 


So I did a little masterbatching today.  I mixed enough of the oils to four 1 lb batches of soap; and enough lye water for those 4 lbs of oil.  That way I can weight out enough of both to make my 1lb batches with different fragrances and/or color.  I chose a basic coconut oil/olive oil/tallow recipe.  I also added sodium lactate and used goat's milk for each of the batches.  The sodium lactate is supposed to make harder bars of soap.  I put each of the batches into different molds and used different fragrances.  I did use some of the Wilton's fondant texture sheet, so we'll see how those turn out.  The masterbatching went quite well.  I think next time I'll do batches with powdered buttermilk ad added silk powder or oatmeal and honey (this time not in a castile soap) or kaolin clay…

Oh yeah, the bastile soap I made a couple of weeks ago with colloidal oatmeal and honey smells WONDERFUL.  A real natural yummy scent.  Every time I stop by them I have to sniff them.  I can't wait to use them, months from now.  That's why I want to make the oatmeal honey soap in a recipe that doesn't require as much cure time as castile/bastile.  I also wonder what the difference will be between the half and half that I have used in past bars compared to the powdered goat's milk that I used today. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The next soap

So, planning my next soaps.  Even though my mass testing of various recipes has ended, I really like 1lb batches.  I get 4-5 bars out of each pound.  I'll pick just of few of the many recipes I have made and continue to play.   I'm still playing around with fragrances, molds, coloring.  I've also purchased some sodium lactate, which is a humectant as well as being know to harden up soaps.  I do like harder bars of soap, so maybe using sodium lactate will harden up some of the softer recipes.  I continue to purchase fragrance oils and essential oils.  I have more than I know what to do with.  It's too bad I can't smell them before purchasing.  I also purchased a fondant imprint mat.  Usually it's used to impress a pattern onto cake fondant, but wouldn't it produce a nice imprint onto soap.  Wilton Graceful Vines fondant imprint mat  Hopefully.  I've made my Half and Half soap.  I purchased some powdered goat's milk and buttermilk.  I haven't tried the powdered versions so that'll be new.  I also have some Micro Fine Silk Powder to add silkiness and slip, and Kaolin clay which also adds slip and is supposed to be good for oily skin.

I've purchased more MP soap.  I want to make more glow-in-the-dark soaps among other designs.

I think I will try to make those room fresheners, the ones with the sticks in a bottle with fragrance oil in the bottle.  I just need a place to put the bottles where the cats can't knock them over.  I am also waiting on an order of some absorbent beads that I can impregnate with fragrance and put into sachets.

I just got some Potassium Hydroxide so maybe this weekend I'll try making some liquid soap.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Oatmeal Milk Honey

Yesterday I made 2 lbs of bastile soap.  I used light flavor olive oil.  I used this type of olive oil initially with my very first castile/bastile soap which I found hardened right away. I was able to cut them up at less than 24 hours old.  Since that initial batch I purchased some pomace olive oil.  When I made bastile soap with pomace I had problems with very soft soap.   The non-gelled soap that was sweating lye water was made from this pomace oil.  Other soap recipes that included this pomace oil seemed to be OK, but when the pomace oil was at higher percentages then the soap was really soft.  I hear that's pretty common with castile/bastile soaps.  Anyway I was curious so I went back to that light olive oil that I used way back when.  Maybe light olive oil  makes for a harder bar much quicker than pomace. 

No fragrance or colorant was added.  I used frozen half and half instead of water and I added honey and colloidal oatmeal to the mix.  I did CPOP and forced gel because I like the toasted smell (not burnt smell) and I don't mind the darker colored soap.  I used some bubble wrap to simulate honey comb.  I unmolded and cut in less than 24 hours.  No problems with soft squishy soap like when I used pomace.  The color is a dark caramel color with flecks which I'm assuming is from the colloidal oatmeal.  The fragrance is wonderful.  A natural sweetness and creamy buttery smell from the honey and half and half.  I hope some of the smell stays around after the long cure that is desireable for high olive oil content soap.  The oatmeal is colloidal so it's been super fine ground and should not be scratchy.  This soap should be super mild to the skin. 

I think I need to make more Oatmeal Milk Honey soap using another recipe that doesn't require such a long cure time.   I may stick to using this light olive oil rather than going back to the pomace, at least with any recipe that requires higher percentages of olive oil. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Second try at confetti soap

So, I didn't like the look of the soaps I had made in the Nutter Butter trays.  They were just too shallow and the soap didn't pick up the ridge detail in the tray.  So I tried making confetti soap again.  So I shredded some of the blue Nutter Butter tray soap and also cubed up some of it.  I made up some more soap which I colored with Titanium Dioxide to make it white in color.  Then I tossed in all the shreds and cubes and poured into a mold.  I sprinkled some cosmetic glitter over the top.  The glitter will wash off.  I cut the soap up today and it came out pretty good. 

I used a wire cheese slicer, but it doesn't cut very smoothly.  I switched back to a knife which produces a very smooth surface. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My soap rack!

I have been testing my various recipes.  I gave each soap 2 showers before I moved on to the next.  These soaps had a variety of percentages and cominations of the following oils: coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, olive oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, mango butter, lard, canola oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, and rice bran oil.  My soap dish won't fit all of the soaps so I moved onto my shower doors railing. 

There are a few more soaps in the shower caddy off to the right as
well.  All of them except for 3 on the rail and 2 on the caddie were made by me.  All of them are cold process/hot process except for 3, the stripy one 4th from the left and 2 on the caddie, are melt and pour.  I used different fragrances and colors techniques for each of them.  I also experimented with different molds.  So, that's why some of the soaps are different shapes.  These are all the test recipes except for the 3 tallow recipes which are not ready to use yet.  I've pretty much decided that all the recipes pretty much feel the same to me.  So, for the future I'll just pick a couple of them and stick with them. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Glow in the dark skulls and cross bones

I made glow in the dark skull and cross bones soaps using an ice cube
silicone mold.  I used some glow in the dark powder to mix in with some
translucent melt and pour soap, some black oxide into the same translucent M&P soap, and white M&P soap.  They are so cute!!  I fragranced them with star anise fragrance oil.  Ever since I started eating fennel I have really started to like the anise/fennel fragrance.  I was never a real fan of black licorice, but I find I really like the scent now.

And they actually glow in the dark!!

Oh what fun!!  Great for Halloween or anytime you want some spooky fun!

Monday, June 14, 2010

“Is there lye in your soap?”

Here is a great blog article on lye in soaps from the Sirona Springs Blog.  It's a really good read!
“Is there lye in your soap?”

Friday, June 11, 2010

Soap and lip balm

So, I tried melt and pour soap into a travel tube.  It really looks like a little deoderant.  I think it's a little tricky as a soap because it's so small.  I can rub it onto my palm, but I can't get it to lather very well.  Too small of a surface area I think; it would probably work better in a larger tube, more surface area to work with.  But if I need some emergency hand soap I'll have it!

I made some lip balm using extra virgin coconut oil.  Extra virgin coconut oil is good/tasty to cook with, so I hear.  It still smells like coconut.  In soaping I use coconut oil that has been processed so it doesn't smell like coconut anymore. The lip balm has a coconutty beeswaxy smell.  Kinda interesting.  I also got some oval shaped lip balm tubes to try out.  Interesting.  I'm used to the round one so the oval feels a little weird in the hand, but it's an interesting change. 

I've made some solid lotion in larger twist up tubes that I got.  I've been playing around with the percentage of oils and beeswax.  Oh, I also just got some candellila and carnauba waxes.  That way if I wanted to make vegan lip balm or solid lotion/massage bars I can use them instead of the beeswax.  I was also thinking that they may have less of a smell that will interfere with the extra virgin coconut oil in lip balms and other fragrances.

I also got some rendered tallow.  So last weekend I made some soap using it.  Batches at 70%, 50%, and 25% just like with my lard soap batches.  The lard soaps are in the queue to be tested.  I'm getting to the end of my tester batches, well, I've just added the tallow soaps to that list haven't I.  I am using my shower door railing as my soap rack.  It's quite an impressive railing of soap.  I'll have to post a photo when I get around to taking one. 

Now that summer is coming I'm going to have to think about how to store my oils and butters.  They are in plastic bags in cardboard boxes in the garage.  They will melt in the heat.  Not that it gets all that hot around here, but the coconut oil will melt at 76 degrees.  Some of the other solid oils will probably get runny as well.  Wouldn't want that mess even in the garage.  I'd store them in the fridge, but I don't have that much room in there.  The very lest I'll probably need to move them out of the cardboard box to plastic box, in case there is a melt down!  The oils and butters will be perfectly find and still be usable for soaping, but I don't want a mess.  Once I put them into plastic bins I might put them in the basement, it might be cooler there, and hopefully the plastic would keep away any bugs and critters.  It's all dirt in the basement so that's why I haven't put anything there. 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Travel soap in a tube

I have read about people using MP soap and putting them into tubes like large lip balm tubes or deoderant type tube.  You don't need a soap dish.  Just use and put the cap back on when you're done, no mess of a liquid soap and you can fly with it no problem.  Good for camping and situations when you need soap and there isn't any, or you just want your own soap.  I think it would work better not as a bathing soap, but as an emergency hand soap.  Only yesterday I was at a restaurant and their bathroom was out of soap.  Hmmmm… what a great time for a small travel soap in a tube.  I just received an order of solid lotion tubes and small deoderant tubes.  I think I might try this. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Testing the recipes so far

So, I've been testing out my different soaps.  Hmmm…  you know I don't feel too much difference in any of them.  So far they all seem to lather pretty well and I don't feel too much difference in their conditioning properties.  But then I don't have particularly dry skin.  I don't know what I was really expecting, I mean soap is a wash off product.  But I was hoping that I would feel more of a difference between the soap recipes.  I'm still in the very beginning of the soap testing so I have many more to test out.  If I don't feel too much difference then I suppose that I can go with the most simple of recipes.  I'm kind of feeling bound right now.  I know I shouldn't make any more soap until I've determined the best recipes, but I have all these colorants and fragrances just waiting to be used.  It's kind of hard to ignore them.  I have been dabbling with some melt and pour to satisfy the soaper in me, but it's not the same.  Melt and pour is a different animal, I can still use colorants and fragrances and do things I can't do with cold process soapmaking, but the outcomes are totally different.  Not better or worse, just different.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rebatched bastile

Ok, so I think it was wishful thinking about the lye liquid maybe reabsorbing.  I finally gave in tonight and rebatched it in the slow cooker.  It's in some square shaped silicone molds cooling.  I think I added too much water to the rebatch though.  It's a little too mushy.  That means it will take longer to come out of the mold because it has to dry out more.   I did put a small amount of the original batch into star shaped ice cube molds that did not gel.  I popped them out of their molds today and there doesn't seem to be any weird lye sweat.  I'm hoping they will stay that way.

Here's how cute the little stars are.  I'm not sure what I'll use them for, maybe an embed of some sort in another soap.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bastile is sweating lye!

So last thursday 4/22/10 I made a 2 lb batch of bastile (90% pomace
oo/10%castor). I wanted to see the difference between gel and non gel so half
of the batch I put into the oven to make sure it gelled and the other half I
put into the freezer for 12 hours then refridgerator for 12 hours then out on the counter. Both batches turned out soft I unmolded both on saturday at 48
hours.  The non-gelled I had to be really careful with since it was super soft.
Anyway, I went to cut the gelled one today (which turned out just fine) and when
I looked at the non-gelled loaf it was sweating like crazy. Touched it and
licked my finger and got zapped. The liquid is beaded up on all sides and top
and dribbling down the side. This must have happened with in the last 24
hours. I have little experience with non-gelling soaps, why would the lye start
to sweat out of the soap at 3-4 days (the gelled soap looks fine)? I don't know. 
I took a photo today and the liquid is like a little stream coming off of the loaf.  I think I'll just leave it alone for a few more days and see what happens.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mango Butter

A couple of days ago I made soap with Mango Butter.  It's supposed to be really nice for the skin.  I colored it a nice orange-yellow color and fragranced it with Mango Papaya FO and a little bit of Litsea cubeba EO (nice lemony scent).  I put them into heart shaped silicone muffin molds with a little extra going into star shaped ice cube molds.  The mixture got a little too thick so I had to glop them into the molds.  I unmolded them yesterday.  They popped out of the molds easily – yay for silicone and flexible rubber.  There are some little air pockets because I couldn't bang out all of the air as the batter glopped into the molds.  They were still a little soft, I probably should have waited longer….  Anyhoo, they smell great! Look nice.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Recipe testing

So, I have started testing my various recipes!  My first one is my original recipe.  My plan is to use each one for 3 showers then move on to the next one.  I'll see if there is any major difference in feel, lather, conditioning between the recipes.  Let the games begin!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Rebatch confetti soap – unsure of fragrance

So, I've checked my rebatched confetti soap…  Not sure if I like the fragrance.  The peppermint that I got from it seems to be fading.  Which leaves… I don't know what.  After all it was a mix of a bunch of different fragranced soap trimmings.  I definitely get 'soap' smell, but I don't know if I really like it.  So not only is it not that great looking but doesn't smell that great either.  Well, I'll let it do it's curing and see if the fragrance changes any more.  I'd hate to have to rebatch a rebatch.  But during a rebatch I can add some more fragrance.  I think also the slow cooker maybe getting the soap too hot, even on low, and the soap is overheating which is giving it an overcooked soap smell.  I might have to dump this soap in the end.  Sigh…

It's going to take me some time before I collect more soap shavings.  Maybe I'll just have to make a batch of unfragranced soap that I divide up into different colors and then make the confetti shreddings on purpose.  I'll have to remember next time that I do confetti soap to not put as much in as I did last time.  It was way too overloaded with trimmings. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I experimented with packaging today on some of the older soaps from the beginning of the year.  I included the name of the soap which is usually the fragrance name and some sort of packaging.  The newer soaps still need to cure more before packaging.
* Cigar bands of corrugated paper and another thinner band around that with the fragrance and ingredients. As the soap continues to shrink the bands will loosen, so may need to readjust later
* Sheer ivory organza bag that included a paper with info
* Clear cellophane wrapped package style with info paper.  The cello won't let the soap breath and doesn't let the fragrance out too much so it may be more difficult to really smell the soap
* Shrink wrapped with both ends open, may need to re-heat gun if soap shrinks more
* “Blanket wrapped” soap with paper
* The round soaps I used coffee filters that I pulled up around the soap and secured the ends with a round info sticker
I tried to use the filters with the oval soaps, but I'm not sure if I like the look as much as with the circular soaps. 
The odd shaped soaps like the stars or the eye shaped soaps I put them into organza bags.  That seemed to work with those, but I've heard that as the soaps move around in the bag the soap particulates gum up the inside of the bag and make it mucky looking. 
I'll have to decide what packaging I like best.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Testing my various soap recipes!

I counted them up, I have 28 different soap recipes!  They range from just 4 days old to over 12weeks old.  I think I am ready to start using them in the shower.  I'll use the oldest first.  I want to wait until each of the soaps are at least 4 weeks old before I use them.  I plan on using each bar of soap for 3 showers to evaluate the qualities.  I'm going to have a whole line up of soaps in my shower.  I cannot have 28 different recipes in my repertoire.  I'll have to narrow down.  If I don't notice any discernible difference between recipes then I need to evaluate which ones are worth repeating.  I want to try all the soaps before I give any away just in case something is wrong with any of them.  I don't plan on making any more soap for right now, unless I have an overwhelming urge to make some, which likely will happen anyway.  However, I think I've pretty much made the different major categories of soaps that I wanted to make.
100% coconut oil
Salt Bar
Lard Bar
Whipped Soap
Oh, the coffee soap with coffee grounds soap I made I put in WAY too much coffee grounds.  It's exfoliating to be sure, but painfully so.  I'm not sure what to do with them.  Should I leave them as is, or cut them up and rebatch them with new soap to mellow out the coffee ground ratio, or just toss them.  I'm leaning towards shredding them up and mixing them in with new soap.   But what new soap to mix them in with?  Hmmm…  I'm hoping my soap testing will narrow the choices down. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cut up 3/28 soaps – lard soaps

So today I cut up yesterdays soaps.  The unfragranced 25% and 50% lard soaps have no piggy or baconny smell; at least to me.  I really wish I had gotten a sample of the 70% lard soap before I mixed in the FO.  Too bad, but I don't think that one would have smelled any more porky than the 25% or 50% ones. 
I love cutting the soap logs.  There is something so satisfying about the feeling of cutting into the semi-hard/semi-soft logs, to see how the color swirling turned out, and to know that I made soap.  I really do think I like making soap more than I like using it.  I have only one body and I take only one shower a day, but I can make up a bunch of different batches of soap with different colors and fragrances.  It's so much fun.

3/28 soaps cut up

Lard soaps                
 non-lard Yuzu fo 

Monday, March 29, 2010


I have been playing around with melt and pour soap (also known as glycerin soap).  It's easy because I cut up chunks of already made soap base, melt it in the microwave, add fragrance and color, then pour into molds.  Once the soap is cooled and hard I can just pop them out of the mold and they are ready to use.  No need to wait weeks for curing/drying like in cold process or hot process soap making. 

I recently got some shot glass molds.  They are intended to make ice shot glasses, but I saw somewhere where they were used to make soap.  I thought I'd try.  I got 2 different kinds.  At Bed Bath and Beyond I got a 2 piece hard plastic molds, 12  molds in the pack.  These are really hard to unmold.  Because the plastic is hard it has no flexibility.  I had to bang and twist, put it in the freezer, bang and twist, bang and twist several times before I was able to pop them out of the mold.  The second mold I got is silicone.  After a couple of attempts to get it online, both times they were sold out after I made the purchase, I finally found it in a cooking supply store Santa Cruz.  This is so much easier to unmold.  It's a one piece mold with 4 cavities.  The glasses are a bigger than the hard plastic mold. 

Anyway I made shot glasses and the “shots” to go in them.  I left the soap clear for the “glasses” then colored the “liquid”.  I put fragrance in both clear and colored so the entire soap would have scent.   For the “liquid” in  the first shot in the hard plastic mold I used an opaque colorant so it's looks weird.  I don't know what kind of drink would be opaque burgundy color.  I fragranced it with Black Cherry, smells sort of like cough syrup.  The silicone shots I used Strawberry Jam fragrance and Bramble Berry's Non-Bleeding Red for the liquid.  Looked really cool.  But when I looked at the shot today, the red coloring had bled to the clear glass, so the entire soap has a red haze to it.  That's so disappointing.  If you look at the photos, the red shot used to look like the green and orange one.  Well, I went ahead and made a couple more today anyway.  I used Lime Mint fragrance with Emerald colorant and Grapefruit with Marigold colorant (it's actually meant for cold process, but I tried anyway).  The Marigold came out more orange, I probably should have used an orange fragrance instead of grapefruit.  Oh well.  

I'm sure these shots will bleed through as well.  I'm glad I got photos of them before that happens.  Colorants like oxides and micas won't bleed in melt and pour soaps, but they make the clear soap opaque, so it doesn't look like a translucent drink anymore. 

Oh, I tried the smaller shot and it lasted about 9 showers.

Pandora the cat

OK, not soaping related.  I just witnessed one of my cats, Pandora, throw up a couple of kibble bits.  When I came back with paper towels to clean up, she was eating them!  Eeeeeeeuuuuuu…  cats… at least she cleaned up after herself