Math and The Adventurous Maker

Today is World Maths Day, so I am going to write a bit about math and the role it plays in an adventurous maker’s life.

I have to be totally honest with you up front: I am not a math person. My husband has the innate ability to do complex math in his head, and it makes me so jealous! Math for me usually brings on sweats, shaking, and brain fog. Fortunately, I have been blessed with wonderful folks who’ve taught me some simple ways to do things, and repetition truly does make it easier.

Soapy Math

When it comes to soap, we make things super easy with our Lye Calculator. Just plug in your measurements, and the calculator spits out the proper amount of lye and liquid to use. You can also change your batch size to scale your recipe to fit different molds. Check it out and see if it makes calculating so much simpler!

Another soapy math tip is our favorite formula: 6-5-4-1. This blog post tells you all the details. Basically, this is a formula for a one pound batch with each number corresponding to ounces of a type of oil.

The first number, 6 ounces, is for your base oil, such as Soybean Oil, lard, tallow, or even Palm Oil.

The second number, 5 ounces, is for large, bubbly lather. The best oils for lots of bubbles are Coconut Oil or Palm Kernel Oil.

Four ounces is for small, dense lather. You get this from Olive Oil or other oils that contain high oleic fatty acids such as Rice Bran Oil, Sunflower Oil, Peanut Oil, and even Safflower Oil.

Finally, 1 ounce is for a luxury oil. This can be almost anything: Shea Butter, Lanolin, Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, Mango Butter, Cocoa Butter, Emu Oil.


What about percentages? We use percentages when creating formulas so they can easily be scaled to make a lot or a little. To take a percentage and turn it into a number of ounces is not as intimidating as I make it out to be in my brain. Simply decide how many ounces you want to make (let’s say 16 ounces), then multiply each percentage by the end amount.

A formula calls for 15% Avocado Oil and you want to make 16 ounces of that formula. Here’s the equation:

16 ounces x 15% = 2.4 ounces

It’s important that the percentages in a formula add up to 100% to ensure accuracy with equations.

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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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