Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Slippery Subject

OK, so how to use our cute, tiny mold for our soaps.  Well I thought that I could use a clay form out of the mold and make a soap mold with the shape in the bottom of the mold.  Well, the results were sadly far below my hopes.

On the right is the one out of my homemade mold on the left
is the one from the muffin tin.
So I used supplement bottles wrapped in plastic wrap as a form.  Then I wrapped them in oven-bake clay and stuck seven together in a circular group.  Then I had to take my "forms" out.  Well, that didn't work as well as I hoped.  When I pulled the mold out of the toaster-oven, they weren't as smooth as I had hoped as you can see.  For one thing I don't think I baked it quite long enough.  It was very brittle.  As you can see from the picture it didn't hold up intact for long. 

Soap mixed to medium trace
So I took a step back and refigured.  I decided to use my silicone muffin pan to form the soap and then use a stamp made from the mold.  Of course, before I could use the stamp, I had to make one.  So I took the left over clay from making the mold and filled the mold with clay and formed it with a handle.  I think it will work much better than the mold that I made. 

soap cooking - almost completely gelled
For those of you in my situation, i.e. want to try something new and either don't have the time or patience with the math (yes those both apply to me), I am posting the links here for lye calculators and an awesome soap calculator.  The soap calculator will give you your lye as well.  To be honest, since math has not been one of my better subjects for a great many years, I probably would never have attempted soap without these tools.  ;)  The soap calculator let me input how much of each oil I was planning to use and figured the water and the lye for me.  It even gave me the input on where in the range of standard measurements my recipe landed.

Soap Curing
I had to find a recipe that would only use locally available since the party is so soon.  So I started out with olive oil, coconut oil and sunflower oil.  I also used a little cocoa butter and lavender essential oil.  I started by measuring and mixing the oils.  Then I measured out the water and lye.  I waited to add the cocoa butter and lavender until it was done cooking. 

soap curing and labeled
I don't have pictures of my first batch of soap, but I made pictures of the next one.  The first batch took FOREVER to go together.  For one thing we stirred for 2 hours before my friend got back with the immersion blender.  After that I was at trace in about a minute.  Then I started to cook it in the crock pot.  Now I started cooking it at about 9:30 PM.  It was still not quite neutralized at 5AM.  I made a 2lb batch to start with and scented it lightly with lavender essential oils.

The second batch I made I left unscented, but added 2 spoons of black cocoa.  I used a little different formula this time.  I used the soap calculator with this one as well.  This time I mixed the cocoa into about a cup of nutralized soap.  Then I lightly mixed it into the rest of the soap and molded in recycled cracker boxes that I cut the fronts off of and taped the end together.  When I unmolded it the next morning, I cut it with a paring knife into squares, leaving the top textured.  The top isn't very swirled, but you can see from the pictures that the sides look really cool.  I think if I do this again I will use Hershey's cocoa.

I think in the future I will use cold process more frequently, but this gave me the option of getting it done right now and be able to hand them out in a short period of time.

A note of thanks goes out to all of those who are so very generous with the information that they have gathered through experience.  I am very grateful, because while I am trying to stretch my "wings" in new areas craft wise, I do still have to be very mindful of expenses.  So to all of you that have so generously shared information and experience with those of us in need of guidance, I send you a very heartfelt thank you and God bless.


  1. I've never made soap. Thanks for the info and for sharing on the HomeAcre Hop. Come back and see us this week:

  2. Your soaps look amazing! Thanks for sharing on The HomeAcre Hop!


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