Friday, February 6, 2015

Your Questions Answered - Ricing in Soap

Q – What is ricing and what do I do when it happens?

A – Ricing is when your soap separates to look like rice floating in a pot of oil. It is almost always caused by fragrance oils, but some other additives can do this as well. You can often save the batch by continuing to blend it until it traces again, which may take a good amount of time. Make sure you give the mixture a little resting time between long spurts of blending. If that doesn’t work, the batch simply can’t be salvaged.

To avoid ricing try one or more of the following tips:

· Test fragrances in small batches. If a fragrance presents a problem, you may choose not to use it.

· Add your fragrance with a whisk instead of a stick blender.

· Warm your fragrance to that of your oils before adding it to your soap mixture.

· Place a little soap in a separate container. Add your fragrance and blend, then add the fragranced soap to the rest of the batch.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Your Questions Answered - Master Batching Soap Oils and Lye

Q – What is master batching and how do I do it?

A - Master batching is simply making up a large batch of soapmaking oils and/or lye water ahead of time and using it as needed. In a large scale facility, making large batches and using the entire batch for each run is commonplace and is typically not referred to as a master batch. However, in an effort for the small soapmaker to save time to increase profit and to work more efficiently, soapmakers began mixing up their batches ahead of time.

Master batching is very simple to do. Most soapmakers prepare their batches in large buckets that will hold around 35lbs of oils. You can purchase this or reuse one that is now empty. Let’s say you have a recipe for a 5lb batch of soap and you want to create a master batch of 35lbs. You will multiply each oil by 7, since 5 will go into 35 seven times.

Let’s take a look at a recipe:

22 oz Olive oil x 7 = 154 oz
13.75 oz Coconut oil 76° x 7 = 96.25 oz
13.75 oz Palm oil x 7 = 96.25 oz
5.5 oz Sweet Almond oil x 7 = 38.5 oz

Melt the solid fats and combine them with the other oils in a large bucket. Each time you want to make a 5lb batch of soap, you will measure 55 oz from your master batch. Always stir the oils well before measuring, as the fats tend to settle at the bottom of the bucket. To make things easier, wrap your bucket in a bucket warmer. Each time you want to use the oils, plug the warmer in a few hours ahead of time. A warmer will bring your oil temperature to about 100°F while remelting any residual free floating fat. If you or someone you know is handy with a drill, you can fashion a spigot to bottom of the side of the bucket to easily measure your oils. This saves the time of measuring and melting oils for each individual 5lb batch.

You can do the same thing with your lye water. I only recommend this if you have a safe place to store it with no children or pets. If you want things ready to go with no calculations when making the soap, follow the same procedure for making the master batch of oils. Multiply everything by 7.

20 oz Distilled water x 7 = 140 oz
7.7 oz Sodium hydroxide x 7 = 53.9 oz

Mix your lye and water. Allow to cool to room temperature and store in large bucket or jugs made of HPDE plastic. Each time you make your soap using this recipe, you will measure 27.7 oz of lye water.

Or if you are cramped for space, you can make the lye water more concentrated. Reduce your water to half when premixing, and then add that back in when making the soap.

20 oz Distilled water x 7 = 140 oz ÷ 2 = 70 oz
7.7 oz Sodium hydroxide x 7 = 53.9 oz

Mix your lye and water. Allow to cool to room temperature and store in large bucket or jugs made of HPDE plastic. Each time you make your soap using this recipe, you will measure 17.7 oz of lye water mixture plus 10 oz of water.

There is no need to heat your lye water. Use it at room temperature. You can use this same method for mixing up large batches of other products you make, such as lotions and lip balms.

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Voodoo Doll Soap for Anti-Valentine’s Day

Have a broken heart?  Hate the sappy Valentine’s Day sentiments?  Want the holiday over as quickly as possible?  Perhaps you’d like to make soap that is for those that can’t stand Valentine’s Day.  Here is a fun soap for those that have exes they want to get even with for breaking their heart.  A voodoo doll does the trick.  This soap is very easy to make and will surely get a laugh when given to a jaded friend.

While this soap is of the melt and pour variety, you can easily make it as cold process soap.  Since everyone will have different tools, we’ll focus on instructions rather than set recipes.

Voodoo MP Soap Recipe
White MP soap base
Clear MP soap base
Red mica
Beige mica
Pink mica
Fragrance of choice

You will need the following molds and cutters:
Gingerbread man cookie cutter
Mini heart cookie cutter
Square or rectangular silicone mold which can hold the gingerbread

First melt enough white soap to make a layer of soap about 1 inch thick.  Add enough beige mica to tint the soap a flesh color.  It should look more like a voodoo doll and less like a gingerbread man.  Scent the soap as desired and pour into a slab mold or single cavity mold.  Spritz with rubbing alcohol to remove bubbles.  Allow to cool.  Release from mold.

Press the gingerbread cookie cutter into the soap and remove.  Then press the heart cookie cutter into the chest area of the doll and remove.  Place the doll into a slab or single cavity mold.  Melt a color a very small piece of clear soap red.  Pour it into the heart cavity.  Spritz with rubbing alcohol to remove bubbles.

Melt enough white soap to fill the area surrounding the doll and color pink.  Pour the soap around the doll, spritz with rubbing alcohol to remove bubbles, and allow to cool and set.  Remove from mold.  Spritz with rubbing alcohol to remove fingerprints.  Break a toothpick in half to use as voodoo ‘pins’ and add a gift tag.  You can allow the recipient the satisfaction of pinning the voodoo doll. 

Be sure to wrap the soap in shrink wrap to prevent sweating.  

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Testing Fragrances in Soap

Although many suppliers have tested the fragrances and essential oils they carry in soap, each recipe plus other factors, such as temperature, humidity, etc., are different.  Therefore, you should always test the fragrances in your own recipe.  If you have a number of fragrances to test, you can make a batch of soap, and mix each fragrance in a different cup or mold section.  Both CP and MP soapmakers should test fragrances.

How does your fragrance react during soap making?

  • Trace acceleration
  • Ricing
  • Seizing
How does your fragrance react after soap making?

  • Discoloration
  • Oozing
  • Staying power
Be sure to label or mark your cups or mold compartments, especially if you are testing scents that are similar.  Record your findings in a notebook so you review any important notes for future use.

Once you have tested your fragrances, you can then decide whether or not you will use them. Just because a fragrance is problematic, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to avoid a fragrance you love. There are ways to prevent problems just as there are ways to save a batch gone awry.

The photo above shows a fragrance test of 10 new floral scents. The center soap is the control with no fragrance added. The other soaps are numbered so I could keep track of them. Some turned yellow and others turned brown. Since these are florals, I chose not to use the fragrances in my products.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

FREE Fragrance Gap Analysis Worksheet

Enjoy this handy worksheet for determining what scents your product line is missing. Fill in the sheet with FOs and EOs you currently offer. Any areas that seem to be lacking on types of scents you may want to consider adding to your line.

To get your free worksheet, click on the image above.  From our website page you can download and print the sheet.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Top 10 Fragrance Oils for Soapmakers

While there are many amazing fragrance oils to use in soapmaking, this list was comprised based on the following factors:
ü  Price
ü  Popularity with consumers
ü  Work well in soap (no issues)
ü  Can work well in a blend

These fragrances represent all of the main scent families, giving a new soapmaker a well-rounded starter fragrance ‘kit’. 
One of the most popular fragrance oils. It has a sweet, balsamic, floral aroma.  This is an excellent staple fragrance, and blends well with other fragrances or essential oils.

Sandalwood is a very expensive essential oil, but in a fragrance it is quite affordable.  It has an intoxicating warm, sweet, rich, balsamic, woody scent.

Citrus (any kind)
Citruses are refreshing and clean, and smells just like the fruit with a zesty, crisp fragrance.  Bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, orange, and lime are all popular among consumers and blend well with other scents.

Mint is refreshing, cooling, and uplifting.  Its fresh scent can be blended with a variety of fragrance oils to create a vitalizing new fragrance.

Vanilla blends well with other fragrances, such as sandalwood , mint, and lavender.  It is creamy and sweet and bring a softness to any soap.  Its only issue is that it contains vanillin, which turns brown in soap.  You can counteract the problem by using a vanilla stabilizer.  It is well worth the effort for such a popular fragrance.

Berries (any kind)
Berries are fruity and fresh and blend well with other fragrances, such as vanilla, mint and lemon. From blueberries and blackberries to strawberries and cranberries, they are refreshing fragrances, any of which are great to have on hand.

Ocean is a fresh, ozone fragrance which can encompass anything from an ocean rain to an ocean breeze.  Ocean scents are complex and include anything from a zesty hint of citrus to a floral, such as lilac.  It is calming and refreshing.

Verbena is a spreading, flowering plant that has a sweet, musky aroma that can be paired with citruses and/or coconut, such as Coconut Lime Verbena.  It is as close to unisex as you can get in a floral.

Patchouli borders on the exotic, and the aroma is earthy, rich, sweet, balsamic, woody and spicy. It is excellent blended with many scents such as orange, lavender, and sandalwood.  While consumers either love it or hate it, it is a must have fragrance.

Ginger has an exotic spicy fragrance that has become very popular in blends, such as Ginger Lime or White Tea and Ginger.  It is classified as an oriental scent and works with anything from a floral to a fruit, making it a well-rounded  fragrance.  

Other popular scents to consider are apple, almond, coconut, jasmine, and lilac.  Many of the fragrances listed are great on their own but lend themselves well to blending, both of which should be considered whenever you are deciding on a fragrance.

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