• RSS

Friday, 28 December 2012

Bonsai &Citrus Swirl Cut

I kind of like how my first swirl turned out. It wasn't exactly what I had planned, but pretty decent. There is kind of a crackle effect going on with the soap which I believe is from the Titanium Dioxide. From reading what others that have used it have posted, it does not happen in an ungelled soap, so I may try to prevent gel the next time that I use it.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Bonsai & Citrus Ginger Swirl

Yay, first post Christmas soap!

I was suffering soap making withdrawals. I decided I wanted to try swirling again one more time. I brought it to a thin trace, added my FO, split off a portion to mix with a blue mica, and my trace quite quickly changed from light to thick, so in the pot swirling was out. I ended up altering pouring one, then the other into the mold, then swirling with a chopstick. I am excited to see it cut. I am beginning to suspect I soap a little too warm, and think I will try a cooler temp next time.

I also did two other "firsts" for me today. I had purchased some Titanium Dioxide to whiten my soap. I got the water soluble type, so that was added to my lye mixture. I also added a pinch of raw tussah silk fibres to my lye mixture, which is supposed to add a very silky feel to soap. I found the vendor on Ebay, but she had her website printed on her invoice, . I bought 2 oz of the Tussah Silk Noil. 2oz is enough to tightly pack a ziplock baggie, and most soapers who use it recommend about a cotton ball sized pinch for 5lbs of soap, so this is going to last me awhile, considering my average batch is about 2lbs. I found it to be a really great value for something that could add a lot extra to my soap, considering I paid about $5 including the shipping.

For my fragrance today, I used Bonsai & Citrus Ginger which was highly reviewed by other soapers on the vendor's site. I was expecting a bit more of a sharp citrus note, but it's not what I expected. I love it, but it was really unexpected. The sandalwood and evergreen really tone down the femininity of the sweet citrus tones. This one is definitely going back into the rotation.

And finally, first my pic, and then the recipe:

Total oil weight1.5
Water as percent of oil weight38 %
Super Fat/Discount7 %
Lye Concentration26.494 %
Water : Lye Ratio2.774:1
Sat : Unsat Ratio39 : 61
Iodine 60
INS 150
Fragrance Ratio0
Fragrance Weight 0 Oz
Lye - NaOH0.2053.28793.188
1Olive Oil pomace400.69.6272.155
2Palm Oil200.34.8136.078
3Coconut Oil, 76 deg250.3756170.097
4Avocado Oil50.0751.234.019
5Castor Oil100.152.468.039
Soap Bar Quality Suggested Range Your Recipe
Hardness 29 - 54 38
Cleansing 12 - 22 17
Conditioning 44 - 69 59
Bubbly 14 - 46 26
Creamy 16 - 48 30
Iodine 41 - 70 60
INS 136 - 165 150
Lauric 12
Myristic 5
Palmitic 18
Stearic 3
Ricinoleic 9
Oleic 41
Linoleic 8
Linolenic 1

This soap should feel amazing! I can't wait to try it.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Coffee Soap Cut

I unmolded and cut my coffee soap today. I like the look of it so far. When I took the picture the edges were darker than the center, but that has now evened out since all the surfaces have been exposed to air.

On it's own, I think the coffee scent is a little stark. I expected to love it more, because I love the smell of brewing coffee. It's not bad, it's just missing....something. I can't even define what it is. I do think at some point in the future, I will combine it with the Creamy Cinnamon Chai scent that I used in this soap as I think they will pair beautifully together.

As a side note, this is only my 6th batch of soap, and I can already see the difference in looks between this and my first two attempts. Part of that is using the wooden molds I think, but the majority is just simply that I have gotten better. And if I have gotten this much better after just a few batches, how much more fabulous will the soap I make in year's time be? Many of the experienced soapers at advocate waiting at least a year for those people wanting to sell, so that you can work out the kinks, and see how your soap holds up over time. I can absolutely see why that is.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Coffee Soap

I couldn't resist any longer. I had to make a soap that used coffee for the liquid.

Nothing too unusual to report, procedure-wise. I did lift my stick blender a bit to much at one point, and some raw soap splashed out of my container. It splashed away from me, but it could easily have splashed at me. It just really reminded me why the safety precautions are so highly stressed to us new soapers.

With that out of the way, here is the recipe I used today:

Total oil weight1.5
Water as percent of oil weight38 %
Super Fat/Discount7 %
Lye Concentration26.612 %
Water : Lye Ratio2.758:1
Sat : Unsat Ratio43 : 57
Fragrance Ratio0
Fragrance Weight0 Oz
Lye - NaOH0.2073.30793.752
1Olive Oil pomace400.69.6272.155
2Palm Kernel Oil300.457.2204.116
3Palm Oil200.34.8136.078
4Cocoa Butter50.0751.234.019
5Castor Oil50.0751.234.019
Soap Bar Quality Suggested Range Your Recipe
Hardness 29 - 54 42
Cleansing 12 - 22 20
Conditioning 44 - 69 55
Bubbly 14 - 46 24
Creamy 16 - 48 27
Iodine 41 - 70 56
INS 136 - 165 151
Lauric 15
Myristic 5
Palmitic 18
Stearic 4
Ricinoleic 5
Oleic 42
Linoleic 8
Linolenic 1
I am just copying and pasting my soapcalc view recipe page, because I am too lazy to type. I think I may do this more often, because it has a lot of extra info I usually leave out when posting.

I also used Cappuccino Frgrance oil because even though coffee was my liquid, I have read the scent usually doesn't make it through. It behaved well, no acceleration, and because the soap is already dark, I wouldn't notice any discolouration if it does. Hopefully it'll hold well.

And since a soap post is incomplete without pictures, here you go :) 

Kinda Marbly

I unmolded the soap I made the other day where I failed miserably at an in the pot swirl. It has kind of a subtle marbled look to it. I think I like it.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Soaping Day

Ok, I am going to run out of unique titles for my posts at this rate.

Time to make soap again :)

Today, my recipe was

Olive oil 50 %
Palm Oil 20 %
Coconut Oil 20 %
Castor 5%
Shea butter 5%

I used Margarita Fragrance oil, which has a lovely lime scent. I did scent it a bit stronger than I normally would, as I know citrus scents do not hold well in cp soap. Didn't notice any acceleration, and it is too soon to tell if there is any discolouration. If it holds well, this may become one of my go to scents, as I love citrus.

I also had some dried juniper berries, which I used a blender to grind up, and added at trace as an exfoliant.

And then, because this soap did not have enough going on, I decided to try an in the pot swirl. That part didn't go so well. I wasn't sure how much mica to use, so I only added a small amount of a dark red  which left me with a strawberry-ish colour, and it wasn't a striking contrast to the rest of my batter. Then went I went to add it back to my "pot"  to swirl it, I discovered that as the rubbermaid container I use  is kind of narrow, and my trace was a bit thick, that I couldn't pour it as a swirl. It just layered on top of the batter already in my pot. I'm curious what it will look like when I unmold it.

As usual, no problems achieving a full gel.

Lessons learned from todays batch:

1) Use more mica
2) If trying ITP swirl, keep at a lighter trace
3) Use a container with a wider opening as the pot when doing an ITP swirl

I think I may need to hit a dollar store to get some plastic measuring cups to use in creating swirls, so I have something with a spout to pour with.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Good Enough to Eat

Well, not really. It would still taste like soap.

I just unmolded and cut my milk soap that I made yesterday. It was a touch on the soft side, I probably could have left it a touch longer, but I was impatient.

The fragrance has made it to discolour to a delicious looking caramel shade, and the milk makes it look very very creamy. I am glad I decided not to add any colouring.

So! On to the pictures!

Here it is, sitting in the mold, just waiting for me.

I love the hinged sides on this :)

Ready to be cut.

Mmmmmmmmmm, Caramel.

I am immensely pleased at how this turned out. I tried a teeny little shaving that came off when I was slicing it, and it already feels lovely. Waiting for it to cure is going to be hard.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Cream Soap

So, my grown up soap molds arrived, and I decided that I could not wait any longer to try my hand at a milk soap. Not having any goat's milk or other fancy ones readily available, I used I a 10% Milkfat cream.

I read about a lot of different ways to do it, and decided on the split method. That is, adding the cream at trace, and subtracting the amount of cream from my total liquid. The rest of my liquid was distilled water, which is what I mixed my lye in.

Also, our apartment is usually on the warm side (My coconut oil is always liquid), due to the way the heating system in our building works. I know milk soaps can easily overheat, so I decided to try and prevent gel. After lining my mold, I put it in the fridge to chill the wood somewhat, as it will give the soap a lot of insulation, and I wanted it to start cool. And of course, after soaping, I put it in the fridge to keep it as cool as possible as it saponifies.

So far, I love my mold. It feels very sturdy, and it is going to be a dream to get the soap out with the collapsible sides. What I didn't do, was the calculation to measure how much oil in weight I should use to fill my mold, so I ended up with more batter than would fit. I put the extra in a small silicone tray of heart molds I have used for making bath bombs. I may do that on purpose in future batches, as after my initial reaction of "Eeeek! What I am going to do with the extra?" I am now kind of excited that I will have small soap to test with at different stages of the cure, and it would be a great way to make embeds for future batches.

The recipe I used was:
40 % Olive oil pomace
30% Coconut Oil 76 deg
10% Castor
10% Shea Butter
10% Sweet Almond Oil

I also added Creamy Cinnamon Chai FO  at trace, after mixing in the cream. I have to say, I really, really love this fragrance. It's definitely one I will buy again. It is supposed to discolour to tan, but I am embracing the brown, as they say.

The FO did not accelerate my trace at all, but I found that the cream really did. I am going to have a hard time waiting for it to set so I can cut, and an even harder time waiting to try it. It looked so much creamier that any of my previous batches.

You can see a small jar of Mica in the background, originally I was going to colour this one, but decided against it. The scent really seemed to demand a natural colour.


It's a good thing I put it in the fridge to prevent gel. It's achieved full gel while in there, so it is likely it would have overheated for sure if I left it out.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Lessons learned

Well, it looks like my soap from yesterday should be ok. I unmolded it, and while it is not exactly pretty, it is tongue neutral. It also looks like the fragrance separated, but none of the soaping oils did. Should be usable after a nice cure.

I did learn a few things from this batch:

1) It's been a good plan to make small batches as I learn, and hen using a new FO that has not been reviewed by other soap makers, I will stick to small ones, even as I gain more experience. When things started going wrong, I didn't panic much. Partly due to the research I have done in preparing for this craft. I did know that rebatching is not only possible, but not too much of a hassle. But even if it had not turned out, or been unsalvageable, I wasn't going to stress about that small amount of oils.

2) Cranberry seeds will discolour from red to brown in CP soap, and end up looking like flax seeds. They still look kinda cool in the soap, but not as pretty as in my head.

Even with the problems, I am still having quite a lot of fun with this. I need to start clearing some more space for curing, though, lol.

Sunday, 25 November 2012


So, I think I may have experienced accelerated trace tonight.

My recipe was

water 172g
NaOH 63 g

Olive oil pomace 182g
Coconut oil 72deg 136g
Palm oil 113g
Castor 23g

and I tossed in about 3/4 tablespoon of cranberry seeds as an exfoliant. Things were going very well until I added my FO, a scent called White Sage. I love the scent, but my soap went from a light to medium trace to almost like mashed potatoes. I blended a bit more to try and smooth it out, but am worried I will end up with separation and have to rebatch.

Here is what it looks like now

I will post more pics if  I get separation, or if I am able to cut and cure it as is. I am kinda relieved it happened,  I've been worrying about how to deal with things if they go wrong. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Colour woes

So I unmolded the soap I coloured with Paprika and Tumeric. I expected the tumeric portion to be more distinct, but I still think it looks quite pretty. Tongue neutral, no funny discolouring or texture, so all in all, I say it's a success!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Batch 2

I made my second batch tonight, and I am very excited to see it unmolded.

First, my recipe:

 Almond Oil, sweet  68 g
 Coconut Oil, 76 deg 136 g
 Cocoa Butter  22g
 Castor Oil  45g
 Olive Oil pomace  181 g

Water 172g
Lye - NaOH  62 g

I split the soap batter in half at trace, and added Sugar Plum FO from Voyageur Soap & Candle Company to both halves, 1/4 tsp tumeric to one half, and 1/4 tsp paprika to the other for colour. I didn't notice any acceleration of trace, and it's a bit too early to tell if it will discolour.

I just did a simple layer, no swirl for me this time. Maybe next time I have two colours.

Looks like it is getting a nice gel on already. I am very excited to cut this one and see what the layers look like.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

My soaping wishlist

I have been reading a lot on different techniques and types of soap. Here are the ones that I really really want to try.

In no particular order:

1) coffee soap
2) Beer soap
3) Wine soap
4) Salt bar
5) Milk Soap
6) Coloured soap
7) Castille soap
8) Two Coloured soap
9) Column swirl
10) Mantra swirl
11) ITP swirl
12) Whipped soap

We are going to be one dang clean household.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Unmolding a Mystery

Ok, I was so excited for the unmolding of my first CP soap made on my own! I couldn't wait to come here and post about it.

Overall, I am pleased with the result. It looks very consistent for texture and colour throughout, and I believe I saw it go to full gel, although it's kind of hard to tell from the view you get from the top of a Pringles can.

Speaking of Pringles cans, they are not for me for use as a mold. The heat from the process caused the plastic lining of the can to bubble, and gave the outside of my soap an odd look.

I was a little worried about the appearance at first, but it passed the zap test, and the inside looks great, so I am pretty sure that is just from the lining bubbling out.

Now I just have to wait 4 to 6 weeks to try it. I was joking to my other half we would have to clear out the storage closet for me to store my supplies and dry my soaps. I was only half kidding.


I wasn't going to spend the money on a "real" mold right away, until I got a feel for the craft. But I am having so much fun even as a beginner, that I decided to take the plunge.

After doing a fair bit of searching, I found some molds on Candles & Woodcrafts that look great and fit my budget. I emailed them with a question, and their response was very fast, which I always see as a good sign in an online transaction.

I went ahead and ordered a 1 lb and a 2 lb hinged mold.  Of course, pictures will be posted when I recieve and use them :)

At this rate, the other half and I are going to have to move to a bigger place, just to accommodate my hobbies.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Jumping in

After doing some searching, and getting some supplies and equipment ready, I was ready to try one on my own. Using, I created the following recipe:

1 Olive Oil pomace   158 g
2 Cherry Kern1 Oil, p.avium  22 g
3 Castor Oil  45g
4 Palm Kernel Oil 158g
5 Shea Butter 68g
Sodium Hydroxide 62g
Water 172 g

According to the numbers, this should yield me a nice handsoap. After a few false starts, ( and here I would like to thank my amazing other half for gamely running out to find a kitchen scale at the last minute when I discovered mine would not turn on) I was ready to go! I made this as a cold process soap a few hours ago, and I can barely wait to remove it from the mold.

Originally, I was going to use the storage container I had used for my class, but then read on a forum empty Pringles cans make good molds, and I just had to try it. If you are planning the same, I would not make the batch much bigger than mine, as the total weight of my oils  is just under 500g (approx 1 lb), and I filled the can up by two thirds.

I didn't take any pictures while I was making it, as I did not want to distract myself on my first attempt. I will take some and post them when I take it from the mold and cut it.

*** Update, Dec 8**

So we are at the 4  week mark, and I couldn't resist. I had to try using this soap. The scent has held quite well, and lather feels quite creamy.

Getting started

I have had a curiosity about making hand made soap for a long time. Every once in awhile, I would search the internet, look at some tutorials, get intimidated and then forget about it again.

The last time I got curious, I decided to search for classes in my city. Which is where I found Soap & More, a local supply store that offered all kinds of classes. I have a bit of an odd work schedule, so when I saw they had their soap basics workshop available on a night I had off, I decided it was fate and took the plunge.

I am so glad I did, I had a great time, learned a lot, and got over the feeling of intimidation. The staff are all amazing and helpful. If any of you are in the Calgary area, I really cannot say enough about how awesome this place is. They do sell through their web store as well, so even if you are not local, please o check them out.

This obviously triggered my desire to dive head first into this hobby. I have no plans to make soap for sale at this time. I am making for myself, and to maybe give as gifts. I have to admit though, I am not entirely opposed to the idea. I can see myself quickly amassing quantities of soap I could never use myself.

And so the adventure begins....