Friday, October 12, 2012

One Batch, Five Scents

Yesterday I made a batch of soap for the first time in a couple of months. I used two new molds that I'd bought and not used yet -- what fun!
These are peppermint mini soaps, using a mold I already had. They're adorable, and children love them.
The peppermint is a bright scent.
My second scent was jasmine, which I put in these molds. The square/rectangle soaps below are all on one sheet mold of hard, clear plastic. They popped out easily and look great. I bought that mold at Michael's. I sprinkled some turmeric in the jasmine soap to give is that warm orange, speckled color.
The leaf soap is my favorite.
The third scent I used was magnolia, which I combined with poppyseeds. I put the magnolia in my new heart mold. I'd never used this scent before.
I turned these soaps on either side so you can see the difference -- the ones on the top of the photo have their smooth side up. The two soaps on the bottom have the side up that is poured, and it looks rougher, bumpier.
This is the new heart mold from Michael's. This is a $10 mold -- pricey for me. It's made of that flexible silicone material, for baking, but it's great for soaps too, and you can pop the finished soaps out cleanly. Neither of these new molds require any lining or spraying of the molds.
My fourth scent was sandlewood, my favorite. It has a deep, rich, musty/woody aroma. I stirred in some cocoa powder to produce the marbled look. I used the trusty old juice can mold. I'll slice this into discs and keep most of it for my own use. I don't like to sell my sandlewood. I'm greedy that way :)
The used-and-removed juice can. These are so great for simple soap making. I prefer them to my PVC molds, which I would have to line with freezer paper and tape a bottom cap on. I forgot to cut out round pieces of freezer paper this time, to place in the bottom of these cans, but the soap did fine without them. I'll never bother with that again!
The fifth scent was tea tree oil. This time I left it plain, without exfoliant or colorant. It's usually bought as a facial soap, and most people prefer it as plain as possible.
I also put some of the magnolia soap in juice cans.
This batch of soap was interesting for various reasons. First, I hadn't made soap in a while and felt out of practice.  When I was measuring out my oils, I realized (too late) that I didn't have enough all-vegetable shortening; I was 77 grams short. So I decided to use 77 grams of vegetable oil instead. I had no idea if they were really interchangeable. I doubt they are. But I needed to do something.  When I added the lye mixture and brought the soap to trace, it was very slow. Clearly the substitution of oil for shortening gave me more oil in relation to lye, and the soap struggled to come to trace. At last it did, and it was a very early, light trace. I prefer this when I want to use one batch for multiple scents. (I used to make one batch into all one scent, but that doesn't work well with my market selling. I need a wide variety of scents, and I don't want to have to make 8 batches to get it.) With an early, light trace, you can pour out a smaller amount of liquid soap (I pour it out of the big pot into a 2-cup pyrex measuring cup with a spout), add the scent I want for that one, pour it into the mold I've selected for that scent, and finish it up. Then I wash the measuring cup and spoon(s), dry them, and start again with the next scent. This is time-consuming, and you don't want a soap batch that is going to harden on you in the pot, while you're busy with one of those scents.
This batch behaved perfectly. The soap is very soft, very moist, very smooth. It may take it a while to harden and cure, considering this softness, but that's okay. It was lovely to work with.


  1. I'd be greedy about the sandlewood as of my favorite scents. There's a shop I like to go to...we call it the hippie store, and they have a Chinese sandlewood soap that's wonderful, but they sell out all the time. :)

  2. I'm moving to Oriental. Tomorrow!

  3. I'd love to smell that Chinese sandlewood, Melissa. It's probably finer than the one I order online. LOVE that stuff.
    Mags, c'mon over!!!


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