Friday, March 29, 2013

The Latest Batch of Soap

It's been a while since I did a post on soap-making because it's been a while since I made soap. I'm not sure I've made any since before Christmas. Well ... today was the day! My stock is getting low. I carry about a dozen different scents of soap at the market, so I really don't want to make a whole batch (7.5 lbs.!) of only one scent, like tea tree oil. What I need is about six new bars in about five or six scents. Today, my finished batch looked like this:
In the long box mold in the back (only half-filled, you see) is lavender, in layers of 4 colors (cocoa, paprika, turmeric, plain).
On the left in the tiny clear mold is lilac, and the OJ can behind it is also lilac scent.
In the red heart mold is magnolia with poppyseeds.
One of the OJ cans on the right has vanilla, colored with paprika.
Two of the OJ cans have plain tea tree oil.
The last OJ can is a mixture of all the soap I scraped from the various bowls and pots. I hate to waste it, but I can hardly blend it all and sell it, so I'll use it myself.
Speaking of pots and bowls, this is what my sink looks like afterward. I weigh my oils on my scale in the big pot, resetting to tare each time. The soap is mixed in this pot, and I pour it out into the various smaller pyrex pitchers to blend in scent and color as I like. It's messy, but it works, and I get all the various scents/colors of soap I want. It's important (for me, anyway) to set out everything ahead of time -- prepared molds, spoons, paper towels, scented oils in the order that I'll use them, with the colorants next to each one.

Here's the lavender block. I made one of these before Christmas, in layers of color, and it sold well.
Here's the tiniest mold I've ever used. These little shells probably hold only 2 teaspoons of soap each. I'm not quite sure they'll turn out. I warmed some towels in the oven beforehand, wrapped the mold in plastic wrap after filling them, and wrapped them in the warm towels to help the soaps warm as much as possible, so it would gel and go through a full, slow saponification process. I've found this is extremely important for the quality of the soaps later.
Soaps that don't get hot enough, and stay warm a long time, and cool off slowly, don't harden and dry well. Later, if I haven't sold them, they begin to get oily and sticky, and sometimes they discolor around the edges. The smaller the soaps, the less heat they hold, the more they tend to do this.
I also poured a can of lilac -- what a lovely scent! I think it might sell well in the spring, when people want floral, cool scents.
I write the names of the scents on the OJ cans, so I don't forget and lose track of what's what.
The magnolia hearts are in a baking mold, which is really useful. That means I can put this mold into a warm oven before filling it, which should help the soap gel and saponify successfully. I also wrapped it in plastic wrap, and then in towels. These hearts are not very small, but any individual mold like this tends to lose its heat faster.
The OJ can molds always gel and harden well. The box mold does particularly well, because it holds its heat a long time and gels fully.
When I get them cut, I'll show you how they turned out. Oh, I do hope the tiny shells turn out well!

1 comment:

  1. The tiny shells are very pretty. So...do you slice the OJ can and big bar soaps? How do you do that without them crumbling? Perhaps these questions will be answered in a later post after the soap has cured.

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