Category Archives: Soap

Favorite Soap Dish Challenge!

Soap dispensers and barsOne of my favorite soap dishes is located in my guest bathroom. It is a creamy white bowl filled with clear, colored marbles. It is fun, simple and just a tiny bit sassy. There are tons of soap dishes out there and they are made out of a variety of materials. Glass, plastic, resin, ceramics, wood, bamboo, you name it!

For the next two weeks, I want you to share pictures of your favorite soap dish! You can email them to us or share on Facebook.

You can submit your entry either via email (blog@thesage.com), Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or on Facebook. Tag us on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter with  @mmtnsage and use the hashtags #FavSoapDish and #TheSage. (If you need help sharing your photos, let us know! We would be glad to help.) You must be an existing MMS customer to qualify. Submissions will be accepted until February 17th. The MMS team will then vote on their favorite soaps dishes.

Winners will receive hand selected items from my private stash! You won’t want to miss out. Happy photoing and I can’t wait to see what everyone shares!

Taylor

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Clary’s Show & Tell Soap Molds

Clary sent an e-mail a little while back with pictures of soap molds that her husband had made for her and I asked if I could share these pictures with our readers. She happily agreed and even sent information about the molds and more pictures. I hope you find her perspective on an easy soap mold helpful! We’ve had our own wood soap molds that were made in 2010 and they work well! Find your local handyman(woman) and bribe him(her) with some soap.

Clary's finish soap molds.
Clary’s finish soap molds.
Just wanted to brag on my new soap molds that my husband just made for me. They are fully collapsible! I’m proud of how functional and practical these molds are.

Molds collapsed for storage.
Molds collapsed for storage.
Here’s the story: I had showed my husband photos of some wood molds that collapsed using lots of hinges and pins. He thought he could come up with something a bit less cumbersome to both make and store when not in use.

Assembled mold for a smaller batch.
Assembled mold for a smaller batch.
These are what he came up with for me and they work like a charm. The molds are fully collapsible AND adjustable. Just position the little end pieces and straps with turnbuckles wherever you want them between the bottom and side boards.

Close up of the turnbuckle and webbing holding the mold together.
Close up of the turnbuckle and webbing holding the mold together.
The molds are a bit fiddly to put together the first time or two, but really, it’s not a big deal, esp. in light of the fact that it all collapses down for easy storage. We live in small quarters and I only make soap about one to four times a year, so breaking the molds down to keep in a minimum of space is a big deal for me.

Lining the mold with paper.
Lining the mold with paper.
The lumber is 3.5” wide and came from some old crates or something. All that he had to do was to cut them to the lengths I needed. We got the turnbuckles at Menard’s (A home improvement store) and ordered the skinny webbing online.

Finished turnbuckles and webbing.
Finished turnbuckles and webbing.
Make sure the turnbuckles are not quite all the way closed when you slip the webbing through each end. Adjust the straps around the molds and sew the loose ends down. I was able to do the sewing on my regular domestic sewing machine, but it could easily be done by hand with a needle and thread. Loosen the turnbuckles to put the straps around the mold and then when everything is lined up just right, tighten the turnbuckles to hold it all together.

Clary's soap made in her fabulous molds!
Clary’s soap made in her fabulous molds!
This brought out the teacher in me, so I’ve probably overwhelmed you with more pictures and information than you had in mind, but I tend to figure more is better than not enough! 😉

Thank you Clary! We loved hearing about your fabulous molds! A free gift is heading your way as our appreciate for sharing!

Do you have something you would love to share with our readers? Send us a message with your idea! We would love to share your tutorials and inspiration! We’ll send you a free gift for sharing with us and our readers!

Andee

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We Have Dirty Dogs and Other Soap Molds!

Dirty DogWe have dirty dogs! We released the cutest mold yesterday and I am in love. Our newest mold lets you clean your canine friend while telling them in no uncertain terms that they are a dirty dog. I think it is the funniest thing and I can’t wait to have my own dirty dog soap!

SlipperyWhenWetThe other soap mold that we released reminds the user that soap is slippery when wet. When I first saw this mold, I couldn’t stop laughing. This is the cutest safety warning I have seen in a long time.

What kind of soaps do you envision in these molds? I want to know!

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Lye Calculator News for Liquid & Cream Soap Makers!

Are you one of the many soap makers who makes or wants to make Liquid and/or Cream soaps? Has one of the things that has scared you away been the horrible four letter word – math? Breathe easy!

The Lye Calculator that you have trusted since 1996 now has the ability for you to calculate Sodium Hydroxide and Potassium Hydroxide Blends! This means you make liquid soaps following the 75% Potassium Hydroxide and 25% Sodium Hydroxide that some soap makers have been using. This helps you make thicker soaps.

Making Cream Soap Booklet.
Making Cream Soap Booklet.
It also means you can make cream soaps using ingredients you have on hand. Use Catherine Failor’s Making Cream Soaps Booklet as a guidebook and find yourself on the path of easy cream soaps.

To help you get started, I’ve made a batch of cream soap that has rotted (aged) for about 4 weeks. I made this cream soap for the programmers as a “Thank you” for updating the lye calculator for us. I’m sending out samples of this cream soap for you to try.

This cream soap has been lightly scented with Peppermint Essential Oil and Menthol Crystals. I have been told the scent and menthol could be stronger next time for shaving purposes. Whoops! I don’t have to shave a beard, so I guessed!

Looking for the cream soap recipe? Follow this link for the PDF to the Lye Calculator printout. I’ve marked the PDF so you see what I did and what percentage of excess fat was left.

Please try out the updated Lye Calculator and give us your feedback! What do you think?

Andee

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Creative Fixes and Ideas – Day 1

Okay, so I have made some doozy mistakes when making  lotions, scrubs and soaps. While mistakes can be rather disheartening, the good news it that many are fixable. This week we will be covering a number of mistakes that can happen and how you can fix them! Come join us. This is one week you don’t want to miss!

So let me start at the beginning. When I make a mistake in my math, it tends to leave spectacular results. Anyone remember my conversion catastrophe? That was a mathematical disaster!

Anyway, as we have has a few days of cooler weather recently I started thinking about making soaps for fall. After all, one does need to make sure the bathrooms and showers are fully stocked with good soap. As I perused the fragrance collection, I decided on using Honey Almond.

I love the smell of Honey Almond. It reminds me of a fresh baked Almond Loaf or of a decadent Bee Sting. Both pasties are absolutely divine. These items always remind me of the days where the nights suggest impending fall yet the days still feel like summer.

I sat down and planned out my soap. I planned on making a 3 lb batch. I calculated my lye and my fragrance. I decided on a strong scent. For a 3 lb batch, our fragrance calculator recommends 2.25% fragrance. Or 1.08 oz of fragrance. I neglected to ensure I had enough Shea Butter to make my soap. (Some of you may be able to see what it coming.)

So I went to the kitchen and started to weigh my materials. I actually weighed my fragrance out first. Then I moved onto my fixed oils. I started with my Shea Butter and discovered I only had enough to make a 1 lb batch of soap. Just as I was finished redoing my calculations, the doorbell rang.

After coming back from answering the door, I got back to my soapmaking. Except I forgot to adjust my amount of fragrance oil! After all, it was already measured out.

I proceeded to make my soap. I remember picking up my container of fragrance and thinking “Gosh, that seems like a lot.”  After I added my fragrance to my soap I was assaulted with an eye-watering cloud of Honey Almond Fragrance Oil. As I stirred my soap, I thought “I wonder why this is so intense. I don’t remember it being this strong.” I poured my soap into my mold and left it for the next day.

Fast forward to when I unmold my soap. The fragrance was still overpowering! So I went to check my notes and found I had not adjusted my amount of fragrance oil. (Notes are so critical!) Whoops! Now what do I do with this overly scented soap? This is way too strong to be elevator friendly, let alone bathroom friendly.  So how do we fix this?!

Well, we can either shred the soap and make a confetti soap or we can cut it into chunks and make a mosaic style soap. I personally tend to prefer the confetti style soaps because I can quickly shred my soap and move onto my other projects. Choose whichever you prefer. Because I used almost 7% fragrance, I will need to make 2 lbs of unscented soap. (It is what I had planned originally. Sort of.)

I shredded my soap and place my shreds into my mold. I then poured my unscented soap over those shreds.  Whew! A near disaster averted. Now just to wait to cut the soap. What do you think? Pretty cool for a soap.

Taylor

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Making Soap with Castor Oil

Finished Castor Oil Soap
Finished Castor Oil Soap

As a soapmaker, when you first start looking at formulating your own recipe, it can be overwhelming with all the different types of oils out there. What do you choose? One oil that is often recommended is Castor Oil. Castor Oil is a wonderful oil that boosts lather in soap. However in areas with hard water, it can create an overwhelming amount of soap scum.

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils

Does this mean those of us with hard water have to forgo the luxurious lather from Castor Oil? No, we just have to treat Castor Oil as one of our luxury oils.

Ingredients
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Castor Oil
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Water
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes
Thermometer
Immersion Blender

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
156 grams Coconut Oil
113 grams Olive Oil
170 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
14 grams Castor Oil
65 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
177 mL Water
Recipe in Ounces
5.5 oz Coconut Oil
4 oz Olive Oil
6 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
0.5 oz Castor Oil
2.28 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
6 fl oz Water
Recipe in Percentages
34% Coconut Oil
25% Olive Oil
38% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
3% Castor Oil
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Water

 

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils

Now to make soap. Weigh your oils into a microwave safe container. While the oils are heating in the microwave, weigh out your lye and mix with your water. Remember to add your lye to your water, not the other way around. Safety first!

Waiting for mixtures to cool
Waiting for mixtures to cool

Allow your two mixtures to cool. I like to put away my oils and set up my mold during this period. This helps keep my counters clean and my distractions to a minimum. When your oils are around 100°F-110°F, add your lye solution to your oils. (Using these lower temperatures results in a smoother textured soap.) Using your immersion blender, mix your soap until you reach a light trace.

Ready to Mix
Ready to Mix

Remember, trace doesn’t denote a viscosity, it just means that we aren’t seeing the oils float to the top and separate out. Often we pour our soap into the mold when it is the viscosity of whole milk not cooked custard or pudding. That is pretty fluid!

Mixing Oils and Lye Solution
Mixing Oils and Lye Solution

Allow your soap to sit in the mold undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then cut into bars and place out on a shelf where they can dry. I like to use cardboard boxes under my soap so I don’t damage my shelves. You can use your soap immediately but it will last longer if you allow it to dry completely. A great aid in determining if your soap has fully dried are our Cure Cards. The best part is you can have them included in qualifying order for free! Let our order desk know if you want a pack.

Pouring Soap into Mold. See how fluid it is?
Pouring Soap into Mold. See how fluid it is?

Taylor

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Wool Wash Bar

I love wool clothing. I don’t have much patience when it comes to knitting or crocheting sweaters, socks, hats, mittens and scarves. However, each wool article in my closet is a treasured item. There is just something about wool that is so soft and warm. I love that. There is just one problem. Taking care of your wool garments can take a little work.

Weighing Coconut Oil
Weighing Coconut Oil

Many modern detergents and laundry softeners are great with cotton, rayon, spandex and even bamboo but they turn wool into one of the most itchy items you own in a heartbeat. Talk about absolutely aggravating. Today I wanted to make a wool wash bar that gently cleans and softens the fiber while keeping its life and integrity. Tomorrow we will make a wool conditioner and Friday I will show you how to wash and care for your wool items. Continue reading Wool Wash Bar

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Tomato Paste Soap

Finished Tomato Soap
Finished Tomato Soap

I get asked on a regular basis what kind of soap I tend to make the most. That is the hardest question to answer because I am always trying something new. One of my most recent experiments has been with using tomato paste in soap.

It makes such a beautiful color. I recommend no more the 0.75 oz of tomato paste per pound of fats. Just remember, the color of the soap is not UV stable so if you store your soap in an area that gets lots of light, don’t be surprised if the color fades.

Continue reading Tomato Paste Soap

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Starting with Soap – Day 12

Finished Soap with Jojoba Oil
Finished Soap with Jojoba Oil

You know how when you stumble on something that just makes you super excited? That is how I feel about soapmaking. I can’t wait to try a new fixed oil, fragrance oil or new color. There is this thrill I get when I cut out the  first bar of soap in a batch. It is just so exciting. Andee finds it hilarious when I will slice a sliver of soap off, rush to the sink and proceed to wash until the sliver has disappeared. Often I find her joining me at the sink to try my latest experiment. What can I say? Excitement is infectious!

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils

Today I wanted to make a soap with Jojoba Oil. Now the name is a little confusing because Jojoba Oil is actually a wax that is liquid at room temperature. It is also higher in unsaponifiable materials. (Jojoba Oil has almost 50% unsaponifiable material.) This doesn’t help when you are looking for a lather booster but it certainly makes your finished soap feel creamy and luxurious. Because of this, I like to limit how much Jojoba Oil I use. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Ingredients
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Jojoba Oil
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Water
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes
Thermometer
Immersion Blender

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
156 grams Coconut Oil
113 grams Olive Oil
170 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
14 grams Jojoba Oil
64 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
177 mL Water
Recipe in Ounces
5.5 oz Coconut Oil
4 oz Olive Oil
6 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
0.5 oz Jojoba Oil
2.26 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
6 fl oz Water
Recipe in Percentages
31.25% Coconut Oil
28.12% Olive Oil
37.50% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
3.12% Jojoba Oil
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Water

 

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils

Now onto our soapmaking! Weigh your oils into a microwave safe container. While the oils are heating in the microwave, weigh out your lye and mix with your water. Remember to add your lye to your water, not the other way around. Safety first!

Ready to make soap
Ready to make soap

Allow your two mixtures to cool. I like to put away my oils and set up my mold during this period. This helps keep my counters clean and my distractions to a minimum. When your oils are around 100°F-110°F, add your lye solution to your oils. Using your immersion blender, mix your soap until you reach a light trace.

Mixing Soap
Mixing Soap

Remember, trace doesn’t denote a viscosity, it just means that we aren’t seeing the oils float to the top and separate out. Often we pour our soap into the mold when it is the viscosity of whole milk not cooked custard. That is pretty fluid!

Pouring Soap into Mold
Pouring Soap into Mold

Allow your soap to sit in the mold undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then cut into bars and place out on a shelf where they can dry. I like to use cardboard boxes under my soap so I don’t damage my shelves. You can use your soap immediately but it will last longer if you allow it to dry completely. A great aid in determining if your soap has fully dried are our Cure Cards. The best part is you can have them included in qualifying order for free! They are an awesome resource!

Taylor

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Starting with Soap – Day 11

Finished Neem Soap
Finished Neem Soap

One thing I have learned by cooking for others is that we each have our own tastes and preferences. Personal care products are much the same way. What I like will be different from what you like. Many factors include humidity, body chemistry, mineral content of water and so on. Ack! How does one know what to make? Unfortunately there is only one thing you can do. Test.

Weighing Fixed Oils
Weighing Fixed Oils

We can make it much easier for you by suggest oils that we consider amazing and worth the time and effort. One such oil is Neem Oil. Now, Neem does have a pungent odor that can seem a little overwhelming but the intensity of the scent diminishes once in soap. I am very fond of how it makes my skin feel. After scrubbing my hands and arms with one of these bars, one coworker commented on how baby soft my skin was. It was amazing!

Ingredients
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Neem Oil
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Water
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes
Thermometer
Immersion Blender

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
142 grams Coconut Oil
128 grams Olive Oil
170 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
14 grams Neem Oil
64 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
177 mL Water
Recipe in Ounces
5 oz Coconut Oil
4.5 oz Olive Oil
6 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
0.5 oz Neem Oil
2.27 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
6 fl oz Water
Recipe in Percentages
31.25% Coconut Oil
28.12% Olive Oil
37.50% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
3.12% Neem Oil
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Water

 

Weighing Neem Oil
Weighing Neem Oil

Now to make soap. Weigh your oils into a microwave safe container. While the oils are heating in the microwave, weigh out your lye and mix with your water. Remember to add your lye to your water, not the other way around. It is best to create good habits now than to try to break bad ones later.

Ready to make soap
Ready to make soap

Allow your two mixtures to cool. I like to put away my oils and set up my mold during this period. This helps keep my counters clean and my distractions to a minimum. When your oils are around 100°F-110°F, add your lye solution to your oils. Using your immersion blender, mix your soap until you reach a light trace. Just a fair warning, during the mixing phase, the scent of the Neem Oil seems to get more intense. Not to worry. This is only temporary.

Ready to mix soap
Ready to mix soap

Remember, trace doesn’t denote a viscosity, it just means that we aren’t seeing the oils float to the top and separate out. Often we pour our soap into the mold when it is the viscosity of whole milk not cooked custard. That is pretty fluid!

Mixing Soap
Mixing Soap

Allow your soap to sit in the mold undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then cut into bars and place out on a shelf where they can dry. I like to use cardboard boxes under my soap so I don’t damage my shelves. You can use your soap immediately but it will last longer if you allow it to dry completely. A great aid in determining if your soap has fully dried are our Cure Cards. The best part is you can have them included in qualifying order for free! Isn’t that awesome?

Taylor

Mixed Soap
Mixed Soap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soap in Mold
Soap in Mold
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