Making Spuds

You can really see the resemblance to potatoes in the top and lefthand bars. But they sure don’t smell like potatoes! Mokolata Fragrance is delicious!

I can’t help but call this soap Spuds. It probably has more to do with the shape of the soap, but don’t these look just like potatoes? I used our Soap Stone silicone mold, which makes a rounded stone-like shape. It’s a comfortable shape to hold in the hand. And when you make a bar of soap this color, it looks like potatoes. I can’t stop giggling about it.

Anyway, the point of this soap was to salvage the oils and waxes that I used to make a batch of lotion bars that didn’t harden. I tried using different waxes than beeswax, and it did not work out for me. However, I was loathe to throw away the results, so I stuck them in a jar until I decided what to do.

Inspiration struck – I can use those oils and waxes to make soap! And this combination will probably make a luxurious bar. So I did what any smart soaper would do and ran the idea past our technical support staff. I knew I needed more soap making oils for this to work: palm kernel oil, coconut oil, soybean oil, olive oil. I already have coconut oil, though not very much. Here is the content of the failed lotion bars. There was 11 oz by weight of this blend:

The shape and size of these bars is great. You can see that my in-the-pot swirl really didn’t come out.

20% Castor Wax
30% Shea or Sal Butter
30% Coconut Oil
5% Lanolin
14% Rice Bran Wax

The first thing to do was figure out how many ounces of each ingredient was in the 11 ounces. A bit of simple math gave me the amounts.

11 (ounces) x 20% (castor wax percentage) = 2.2 ounces

I ran through all the percentages, so I knew what numbers to plug into the lye calculator.

Then I needed to add some stable oils to turn this into a successful batch of soap. The important thing is to tame the really temperature-sensitive waxes and lanolin. So I added hydrogenated soy oil, olive oil, and palm kernel flakes. These three oils will give the soap lather, hardness, and increase stability in the soap making process. I thought I’d need to go with lower percentages of the additional oils to match the ratios of the oil/wax blend, but technical support advised using more to dilute the sensitive oils and waxes in my original blend.

I ended up with this recipe, and I used the amount of lye to give me 6% superfat. I stuck with distilled water as my liquid. And, as advised by the technical support team, I had boiling water ready to add in case the soap seized as soon as I added lye water.


Recipe in Ounces

2.2 oz Castor Wax
3.3 oz Shea Butter
3.3 oz Coconut Oil
1 oz Lanolin
1.54 oz Rice Bran Wax
12 oz Palm Kernel Oil
15 oz Soybean Oil
6 oz Olive Oil

5.98 oz lye
17 oz distilled water

Mokalata FO, strong at 1 oz

Recipe in Percentages

11% Castor Wax
16.5% Shea Butter
16.5% Coconut Oil
1% Lanolin
.07% Rice Bran Wax
20% Palm Kernel Oil
25% Soybean Oil
9.3% Olive Oil

Three little spuds nestled in a towel.

I knew there would not be time to play around with this soap batter, but I could not resist the thought of using a fragrance oil that discolors to make an in-the-pot swirl before I poured the soap into the mold. I chose Mokolata Fragrance OIl. It has a strong, delicious coffee and chocolaty scent that I love, and it discolors soap to a beautiful dark brown. I used 1 oz of Mokolata for a strong scent.

For this soap, I was careful about temperature. I made sure both the lye water and the oils were no more than 110 degrees. Then I mixed them together. Thankfully, the batter did not immediately seize. I divided the batter, pouring 1/3 into a separate container to leave unscented. I added the Mokolata fragrance to the larger part of the batch and gave it a good stir. Then I poured the unscented batter in four spots and used the handle of my soap spoon to swirl a bit. At this point, the batter was nearly pudding-like, and that made my swirl attempt most unsatisfactory.

When the soap started to overheat and volcano right after being poured into the molds, I put it outside at -48º F. That stopped the volcano attempt.

I began pouring the soap, which was thicker than optimal. I considered adding water, but as the batter was still pourable, I continued. By the time I had poured the soap into the 12 cavities of the two molds I was using, it was already gelling in the first mold. That batter was getting hot in a hurry, and I knew it would volcano if I didn’t do something. Living in Alaska has its advantages, namely that it’s darn cold sometimes! On this particular evening, the outside temperature was -48 (yes, 48 degrees below zero). I popped the soap out onto the front porch and said, “Take THAT, you soap trying to volcano!” as I snapped a photo.

I left the soap out on the porch a good hour or more, then I allowed it back into the warm house. By this time, it has completely calmed down and was frozen solid. I let it sit for 24 hours, then I unmolded. The excessive heat made some parts of some of the bars of the soap look grainy. Most of it looks fine, and I think it will be some nice soap once it’s cured. Right now it’s just sitting there, looking like potatoes and making me chuckle to myself. As it cures, the brown will deepen, and it probably will stop looking like Yukon Golds. 

This is what the soap looked like when I allowed it back inside the house.

I love that I could salvage the oils and waxes. Don’t hesitate to ask our technical support team about any issues you’re having. They are also fabulous at helping customers create products using the ingredients they have on hand. I don’t know how many years of combined experience they have, but it’s a lot!

You can call the office at (435) 755-0863 during regular business hours (Monday-Friday 8 am-4pm Mountain Time) or send an email using this form – choose “Technical Support” on the top drop-down menu, and give them as much detail as you can in the comment section.

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About Denise

I'm a crazy goat lady who got into making my own soap with goat milk, found MMS to order supplies, and now I get to combine my love of creating skin care products with a job to pay the feed bill. I live in Alaska and greatly enjoy the unique aspects of my northern home - summer days when it never gets dark and the Northern Lights dancing above in winter. Favorite scents include Wild Mint and Ivy, Rhubarb & Sugar Cane, and Eucalyptus Spearmint.

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