Wednesday, August 8, 2012

As Requested!

I hate to add to the already huge info-stream on cold process soapmaking, but you asked, and I like sharing.  So here is a little tutorial on how to make soap, Jocelyn-style.

Last year, I took a class to learn to make soap.  The ladies who taught the class were very nice, but they were really "by the book" and afraid to experiment.  Though I admit to a healthy dose of worry in my experimenting (the ingredients are not cheap, and I hate to ruin them), I have gotten a little brave and have learned how far I can push things.  So some of the things you see are not "by the book".  It's just how I do it.

1.  Get your stuff together.  Most of my stuff is from the dollar store.  I have spatulas, a thermometer, an old pot, and a whole bunch of dollar store pouring containers.

2.  With the recipe I make, the soap behaves better (ie; lets me play with it more) if I put everything together at a low temperature.  So, I do my lye solution first.

3.  For this, I need two pouring containers, lye, water, and the lye spatula.

The purple container will hold the lye, in solid form.  The clear container will hold the water.

4.  I pour out the correct amount of both lye and water into their respective containers, using my scale.

 5.  Then I put on my gloves, and pour the lye INTO the water.  Not the other way around.  I use my lye spatula to mix.

Ok, this stuff gets hot and is caustic and stinks a little.  Do I need to say don't breathe it in?  Or get it on you?  I didn't think so.  You are smart enough to know that. 

After it's mixed, I put this aside.  Lye, in this recipe with this ratio, tends to jump up to about 170 degrees.  I want it at 110 degrees.  So I put it away and ignore it and do whatever else needs to be done.

6.  In this case, the next thing I want to do is get my colors together.
Today I am doing a tropical lime/pineappple mix, with a turquoise squiggle down the middle.  Down the middle, you say?  Yes, that's because I'm going to divide my mold in two, so one half is pineapple, and one half is lime.  Never! you say.  That's impossible!  You're a crazy talker!

Well maybe.  I know it seems that way.  But I'm magical, so just go with me on this.  It works.

7.  After I get my colors together, I mix the powdered ones with a little oil.  The green is pre-mixed, so I do nothing.

This is the yellow/s mixed with oil, wisked with my dollar store mini-wisk.

And this is the blue, mixed in a fancy high-tech old dishwashing liquid bottle.  Why?  Because I need it to make a beautiful, straight line, and this bottle has the right tip.  You'll see...

8.  Then I've done that, so I prep my mold.

This mold is top-notch.  Made from a piece of discarded trim and a couple of slats from a pallet, I went all out on it's construction.  Woowee!  Only the best.

Seriously, though, pre-made molds are expensive.  And this one I made to make bars with, specifically with this recipe.  Works like a charm.

To prep it, I line it with waxed paper.  All the molds I use (even the brownie pan, the highest tech one of all) get lined with wax paper.  Works just fine and is inexpensive.

Here it is, all lined.  But didn't I say it would be a half and half soap?  I did!  So I need this:
OOHHH!  Fancy!  A piece of cardboard.  Wait and see...

9.  Ok, now it's time for the oils.  I take my solid and semi-solid oils, put them in the old pot and put them on the stove to melt over med-low.

10.  When they've melted, I put the liquid oils in with them and stir it all together.  Then I take its temperature

And here I see that it's around 100 degrees, which is good, but the lye is still too hot.  So I give it an icewater bath.
It sits in this bath until it reaches about 110 degrees, which makes me happy.

Could I just wait for the temperature to go down?  Yep.  The ladies who taught the class I took said we should just wait.  But that's SO boring, and I'm SO impatient.  So I don't.  It's made no difference to the soap.

11.  Once everyone's temp is where I like it, I put the lye INTO the oils slowly so it doesn't splash and I don't get too many air bubbles.

Sideways, as you can see.  Stupid blogger.

12.  Then I mix it with my spatula for a minute.

13.  Then I give up on that, because it's too slow, and go right for the stick blender, which is much more fun.
And I stick-blenderize it until it's in a very light trace.

14.  Then I pour half of it into the green, and the other half of it into the yellow.  And a tiny bit into the blue in the dish detergent bottle.

 And yes, I stick-blenderize that too, just to mix the color in.  I also now add the fragrance.  The lime to the green and the pineapple to the yellow.  Nothing is added to the blue, because it is so little soap it doesn't matter.  Plus, I don't want anything to speed up trace and make it gloppy.  It needs to be smooth as silk.

15.  Now time for the magic! 

This is a two handed pour.  After I righted the cardboard divider, I poured the yellow with my right hand and the green with my left at the same time, at the same rate.

16.  Magic!  Obviously, I could take a picture during pouring, but here it is with the divider,

Note the sloppy left hand pour.

And here it is after I carefully, but quickly ease the divider out.


17.  Now I squeeze out the blue line from the detergent bottle.

18.  Stick a chopstick in it,

and swirl!

And voila!!

19.  Then, when it's solidified a bit, I put a piece of cardboard on top of it, and wrap it up to insulate it.

It should be ready to cut tomorrow or the day after that. 


So that's how I do it.  I am very careful with my measurments of ingredients, but I do fly by the seat of my pants a little when it comes to other things, like temps and colorants.  It's that right side of the brain thing, you know!  And safety is important!  Gloves all the time, and goggles when you play with lye.  You only have one pair of eyes.  And if you do get anything on you, rinse in cold water for a long time.  White vinegar also can help neutralize the lye solution and the raw soap.  But be careful! 

If you need more information, I would recommend or watching anything to do with cp soap on YouTube.  Or just google it.  There is a ridiculous amount of information out there.  There are some good books, too, if you need them.  When I think of what they are, I'll be sure to mention them.

I hope that helped a bit!  Have fun soaping!

Edited to add:  The results of this soap can be found here

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  1. Wahoo! That looks easy. I've got a bunch of soap stuff, and will be trying my hand at it soon. I love to see what other people are doing. It sort of gives me inspiration along with a little nudge. Thanks for the info, and taking the time to let us all know what you did. I'm sure this one will turn out so pretty.

  2. You are AWESOME! I feel some soapmaking coming on.....


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