Archive for June, 2009

Liquid Soap by shelikesspring

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
Shannan has been kind enough to write a blog post for us. It is wonderful she is so willing to share her ideas, concerns, and difficulties so the rest of us have a better chance at making a successful batch of liquid soap. Thank you Shannan! I sincerely hope everyone enjoys Shannan’s post as much as I have and you find it helpful. Happy Liquid Soapmaking!

taylor

Here is my experience making liquid soap in the crock pot.

I choose the crock pot for the liquid soap for two reasons: 1) time; 2) I don’t have an older stove and I’ve heard that flat- top stoves don’t provide consistent heat – so I don’t want to take a chance.

Finding a recipe can be challenging and I just don’t know enough about the science behind liquid soap making to create my own. I decided to take the recipe from MMS (recipe section – liquid soaps – there’s only one) and try it in the crock pot rather than let it rest for a few days. Not having the shortening, I used Soybean Oil and double-checked the Lye. If I remember correctly, it was nearly identical.

After mixing the lye mixture in with the oils and putting the crock pot on high temperature, it didn’t take long to look like this.

It almost went over! (Yes, I’ve had that happen.)

I kept my eyes on it and stirred it every 30 minutes. After 3 hours, it looked like this.

Here is when I test it – I check at 3 hours with phenolphthalein. If it doesn’t turn pink, the lye has been neutralized. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but it is clear.

Next, I weighed about half of the neutralized soap and put it in a stainless steel pot on the stove with the same water weight. I brought it to a low simmer. The other half I let cool down, sealed it, and then put it in the refrigerator for future use.

The hard part for me was trying to determine the correct amount water to add to the paste. The goal is to get the soap paste to dissolve. I ended up going over double the weight of water and it was still a little thick. Then I added a mix of Lemon Sugar and Cotton Candy fragrances and stirred to incorporate the foam.

Here is what it looks like before I get ready to pour it into the soap containers (after I’ve spritzed it with rubbing alcohol to remove the remaining bubbles).

And the final finished product is.

It didn’t get all poured that night. The next day I added a little more fragrance and it looked very nice. It’s still pretty thick and I may need to add water to it periodically, but it still works and lathers well.

I’ll use the remainder of the batch with when we get low on liquid soap. I can use a different fragrance combination as well. This half batch has resulted in about 4 – 10 oz. containers.

Other than creating the recipe, the hardest part for me is getting the consistency correct. The last time I made it (from a different recipe), it was too thin. Still, I haven’t had to throw any away and I think it is much nicer than what you buy in the store. My hands aren’t all dried out. It will take a little more practice before the soap can be given to others.

The next time, I’ll try it the way the recipe is stated on the MMS site. It certainly seems a lot simpler. :-)

Has anyone else made liquid soap and had success? If so, I’d really like to hear your words of wisdom.

shelikesspring

Update:

This last weekend, I worked with the batch I had placed in the refrigerator. Here’s what it looked like.

This time I added 3 times the water. Here is what it looked like with the paste nearly dissolved.

Here it is with Purple Raspberry colorant and scented with Rooibos Tea and Red Currant. Sad to say, it’s still a little thicker than I would like.

My initial set up.

My initial set up.

Oils and Lye mixture in the crockpot.

Oils and Lye mixture in the crockpot.

My soap after 3 hours.

My soap after 3 hours.

The results of my phenolphthalein test.

The results of my phenolphthalein test.

Half of my soap paste in the pot.

Half of my soap paste in the pot.


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Making Soap with Becky

Monday, June 29th, 2009
Three weeks ago, I had a chance to see how Becky from The Spirit Goat makes soap. She operates her own business here in Northern Utah. We made two batches of soap while I asked her questions about her soaps and her business. Naturally, I took several great pictures of the soaps being made! Her specialty is goat’s milk soap and I do have to admit, her milk soaps are fantastic.

The first soap we made was a layered soap for the Fourth of July. Beck actually makes three batches of soap and divides each batch of soap between three molds. She told me that it was easier this way rather than trying to divide her oils into smaller batches to make one soap. These layered soaps are poured into log molds that Becky made specifically for her soaping. Each mold is lined with sheets of heat resistant Mylar before the soap is poured and this helps the soap come out of the mold smoothly. We didn’t use any goat’s milk for this soap, but it still looked great!

Becky made the first batch and heated her oils to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Once she had reached her starting temperatures, she used her handy immersion blender and mixed her soap until the soap hit a light trace. Once the soap was at the light trace, she added Ultramarine Blue and a little Black Onyx to color the soap a dark blue as well as her special patriotic fragrance blend. Then Becky divided the raw soap between the three molds and then let it set for about 15 minutes to allow the soap to become firm before pouring the next layer. I had to see how firm it was for myself, so I tipped the mold and the soap didn’t move. Becky told me that she could tip a mold and judge how if it was ready or not.

While the soap was setting, we quickly cleaned the immersion blender and prepared the Titanium Dioxide and fragrance blend. Becky adds a little bit of water to her Titanium Dioxide to ensure there won’t be clumps of white color in the soap. Becky quickly prepared a new batch of oils and heated the oils to 120 degrees Fahrenheit for starting temperatures and mixed this batch of soap until it hit light trace. Now this batch was ready to have the fragrance blend and Titanium Dioxide added. Once again, Becky divided the raw soap between the three molds, but this time she poured the soap into a large soup spoon to prevent the white soap she was pouring from putting dips in layers. The white soap ended being a little thicker than Becky wanted, but it still was fluid. We let the soap sit for 15 minutes to set to the firm point that is desired.

For the last batch, we repeated the same steps as the second batch only adding a red oxide and red mica for the red color. After the soap had been poured into the molds, we set the filled molds aside to make a swirled soap.

The swirled soap is beautiful and has yellow and orange feathery looking swirls. We melted the oils until we reached the starting temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Once we had reached the starting temperatures, we mixed the soap until we reached light trace. Once the soap had reached light trace, Becky added the fragrance oil and then after blending that into the soap, the soap was quickly divided into three containers and color was added.

After the color was blended in, Becky started pouring the yellow colored soap into the mold in swirling patterns. She poured about a third of the yellow soap and then started again with the orange soap. Again, she poured about a third of the orange soap into the mold in a swirling pattern. Now she poured a third of the white soap into the mold, still keeping with the swirling pattern. This was repeated three times until the soap was all in the mold. Then, Becky took a small rubber scraper that had the tip bent and told me she used it to pull colors up as well as swirling the soap. She gently pulled the scraper through the soap until she had feathered the color enough.

Becky has been making soap for about 10 years now and it has been something her family has been involved in since the beginning. Her daughters also get to make their own soaps and sell them to promote a charity of their choice every year. I do have to admit, they have some adorable soaps of their own, including snowmen, reindeer, and artwork melt and pour soaps!

I’ve enjoyed visiting Becky’s Soap Kitchen, and I would love to visit yours!

Andee

A picture for an advertisement of Becky's soaps.

A picture for an advertisement of Becky's soaps.

A sample of the patriotic layered soap.

A sample of the patriotic layered soap.

The first layer of soap.

The first layer of soap.

Pouring the white soap over the blue.

Pouring the white soap over the blue.

Waiting for the white soap to set.

Waiting for the white soap to set.


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Nylon Soaps

Friday, June 19th, 2009

My knee high with soap in it hanging from the faucet.

My knee high with soap in it hanging from the faucet.

Yesterday I showed you how to make wool wrapped soaps. As nice as the wool wrapped soaps are some days, I need something outside that allows for a quick scrub and for my soap to dry quickly. One thing I started to do in order to make sure I wasn’t losing my soaps outside was put them in nylons. I would then tie them around the outside faucet and use them as I need them. They are so handy. I don’t lose the soap in the dirt when they get smaller and the best part is I always know where to find a bar of garden soap. I love this because they allow for a preliminary washing after I have been gardening and am a HUGE mess. It is also nice that I don’t have to worry because all cold process soap is bio-degradable. Yes!

What you will need:
Knee-High Nylons
Several bars of soap of your choice

Open your nylon. Drop a bar of soap in the nylon. Tie a knot in the end nylon and tie it on your outside faucet. Tada! Now you will always know where your wonderful garden soaps are!

taylor

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Wool Wrapped Soap

Thursday, June 18th, 2009
I have a family friend who showed me how to make wool wrapped soap. Lynn from Spinderellas, www.spinderellas.com, has known my mother for several years as they are both spinners. Lynn has been caring for our fleeces, by washing and carding them. She taught us how to make wool wrapped soap too, and I have to say I love them. Wool wrapping is a fun way to present your soap, and does not require the use of a washcloth to create a rich, thick lather. You do not need to worry about the wool becoming too large for your soap because it will continue to felt, shrinking with your soap.

Now before I get too far into how to make a wrapped soap, I will explain some of the terms. Roving is fiber that has been carded, and top is combed. Top and roving felt differently because of the arrangement of the fibers. Sliver is roving or top that is split length wise. In top, the fibers are parallel making it harder for them to grip each other and felt. In roving, the fibers are every which way allowing them to grip each other and felt more readily. When you are getting your wool you will want to get roving, not top. You will also want to make sure you get plain wool roving and not a wool blend. This will insure that as your bar shrinks, the wool shrinks with it.

If you don’t have wool around the house, but want to try this project, order some thrums from Spinderellas. http://www.spinderellas.com/thrums.html will show you a nice offering of colors in 4 ounce to 1 lb increments. The Spinderellas thrums make beautiful soaps.

You will need:
Wool Roving
Several bars of soap of your choice
Warm water bath

Take a long length of your roving, about 18 inches. Split it length wise. Fan out the fibers to make a wide strip, about 1.5 inches wide. The wool should have a somewhat lacey appearance, it should not be thick and dense. It is better to have more layers of fanned wool, than it is to have a big chunk of roving as the wrapping. Holding your soap in one hand, wrap your bar of soap starting from one corner and continue to the other corner. Do not twist the wool when you wrap around the bar soap, fold the fan at each 90 degree angle, and continue. This action will appear as more of rolling the soap around the wool, that twisting the wool around the soap. It is very important that the wool strip lays flat against the soap.

When you get to the opposite corner, turn your bar of soap a quarter turn counter clockwise (clockwise if you are wrapping left handed) and wrap the soap again. Make sure that the corners are well covered. Repeat until you have a thick layer of wool wrapped evenly around the bar. Wrap all of your soaps so you are ready to wash/felt them in a single session.

Now that all of your soaps are wrapped we can felt them. Fill a large sink with hot water. Take one of your wrapped soaps and submerge it. Bring it out of the water and squeeze your soap gently. Don’t rub so that your roving comes off. Squeeze the soap repeatedly, turning and re-dunking the soap until the roving feels dense and no longer like a soft fuzzball. The roving has now felted enough so it will not move freely. Now you can rub vigourously so the wool creates a firm blanket around your soap. Once the wool is completely felted, place the felted soap on a cookie rack so it is able to dry completely. Repeat the washing sequence with the rest of your soaps.

Happy felting!
taylor

Wool and soap.

Wool and soap.

Splitting the wool to create sliver.

Splitting the wool to create sliver.

Fanning the wool.

Fanning the wool.

The wool is completely fanned out. See the lacey appearance?

The wool is completely fanned out. See the lacey appearance?


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Twilight News!

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

I have wonderful news. All of you who are Twilight fans, or know Twilight fans, will love this. We have just released the fragrances Edward and Bella. Even if you are not Twilight fans, you will love these fragrances. These scents are just incredible. One staff member, who is incredibly hard to please, is jumping up and down today in the office. She absolutely adores them and can’t wait to share these incredible scents! I am so excited to share these with you because we have spent some time formulating these for you. As we continue with our Twilight collection, we will release them as soon as possible. Enjoy these amazing scents!

taylor

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Soap Transportation Challange

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
I love nothing more than going to new places and learning new things. However, the thing I miss the most, besides my own bed, is my own soap. I hate the hard, harsh hotel soap that is so small I can’t even hold onto it. I prefer my own soap because it smells and feels the way I want it to. Okay, I will admit it, I am a soap snob.

To transport my soap I wrap it in a dry wash cloth, that so it can breathe. I once used plastic bags but my soap would become wet and slimy. I keep that specific wash cloth dry during my travels so I don’t chance mildew beginning to grow.

I want to see how everyone else travels with their soap. Therefore, I have a challenge for everyone. Write a description and send some photos on how you travel with your soap. I will post them next Thursday so everyone else can see your ideas. I am so excited! I am sure I can find some gifts for those that send in ideas.

taylor

My soap and washcloth.

My soap and washcloth.

Place the soap in the center of the washcloth.

Place the soap in the center of the washcloth.

The soap in the middle of a tri-folded washcloth.

The soap in the middle of a tri-folded washcloth.

Folding the trifolded washcloth over the other side of the soap.

Folding the trifolded washcloth over the other side of the soap.

Folding the washcloth over the soap.

Folding the washcloth over the soap.

Folding the trifolded washcloth over one side of the soap.

Folding the trifolded washcloth over one side of the soap.

Finished wrapping my soap.

Finished wrapping my soap.

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Soap Bowl

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
Have you ever gone to the sink to wash your hands and picked up a wet, slimy bar of soap? It just feels disgusting! Personally, I cannot stand the feel of wet, slimy soap. Sometimes, I have wondered if there are clothes pins large enough for bars of soap. One way to prevent slimy soap is to take a small bowl and fill it with rocks or marbles. Then place the bowl by the sink and put your soap on top. This method allows the soap to dry and it is a fun way to present your soap. If you do not want to use rocks or marbles you can use dominoes, shells, or even long pine needles. I don’t even remember who gave me this idea, so I really don’t know who to credit. However, I can say it has saved me from my paranoia several times. I love it. Yippee! No more slimy soap. What kinds of things do you use in your soap bowl to allow good drainage? Send photos please. taylor

The bowl filled with glass shapes.

The bowl filled with glass shapes.

The bowl, marbles, and soap.

The bowl, glass shapes, and soap.

Soap on top of glass shapes.

Soap on top of glass shapes.

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Road Trip Photo Opportunity!

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

I’m so excited! This weekend Taylor and I will be in San Diego! We would love to showcase anyone in the area who wants to share their projects. Please contact us as soon as possible so we can arrange a photo time. We can’t wait to meet you!

Andee

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Coloring Soaps Red: The Problems with Red Color

Friday, June 12th, 2009
My patriotic soaps!

My patriotic soaps!

I’m a patriotic girl, and I’m proud of the flag that flies for our country. For me, that flag represents the freedom I have and so much more. Every time Independence Day rolls around, I want to make a layered soap with red, white and blue stripes. The only problem I have is that we don’t have a color that creates a true red without bleeding or fading! Let me show you a soap I made with Melt & Pour Soap that contains Purple Raspberry Dye. I’ll set one bar of this soap in the direct sunlight for the next couple of weeks, another bar will sit in indirect sunlight and the last bar will sit in an office with fluorescent lights. Every Friday, I will show you new pictures of the soaps as they age.

Enjoy!

Andee

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Scientific Analysis

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

My soap curls in the refrigerator.

My soap curls in the refrigerator.

When I was just beginning to make melt and pour soaps, I struggled with getting my temperature just right so I wouldn’t melt my inserts. Along the way, I also discovered that the amount of moisture my inserts had also made a difference of how quickly my inserts would melt. However, you don’t always have weeks to wait for them to dry out. Here is a process I discovered that just takes a 12 hour period or one night!

Make your inserts. Place them in a bowl or place and put them in the refrigerator. Wait over night. Pull them out the next day. The refrigerator will have pulled water out of your soap inserts. This will make them less likely to melt. It will also make things easier for you when you are arranging them in the mold. They will be less likely to stick to each other. Depending on how much soap is in each individual insert will depending how much water is lost.
During my experiments, I discovered I could lose 8% to 29% in weight from water. The smaller and thinner my inserts were, the more water I was able to lose. In my experiments, the inserts that lost the most amount of water were easier to work with and they were less likely to melt if I had soap that was a little too hot. I also discovered the larger inserts lost more water the longer I left them in the refrigerator. You can do some testing of your own to determine how long you should leave your inserts in the refrigerator based on your climate, type of soap, and style of refrigerator.

In order to determine how much water is lost during a period of time, weigh your cutouts and record that amount. Place your bowl on the scale and record how much it weighs. Place your cutouts in your bowl and put it in the refrigerator and wait at least 12 hours. Weigh the entire bowl with your cutouts. Record and subtract how much your bowl weighs from your initial total weight. Now divide your finished cutout weight by your original cut out weight. That will give you a percentage of how much weight in water was lost during the period of time you left it in your refrigerator. Now you can plan ahead so you know your cutouts are ready for your melt and pour soaps.

Happy Soapmaking!
taylor

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