Monday, November 15, 2010

Soapy results

The lavender soap that I added the blue dye to is in the back. It was peachy when we poured it into the molds, but has become a lovely purple color. I think it's close to the perfect color for lavender soap.

In the front is the Crisco soap. It didn't harden as much as the others, in fact it's still roughly the consistency of fudge. My online resources say that Crisco soap is a hard soap, so I may have screwed this one up somehow. My alternate plan for this soap is to redissolve it in hot water and make it into a liquid soap (like for soap dispensers and dish soap). I'm sure it'll be good for either that or as laundry detergent.

Here's a closeup of the weirdly fudgelike Crisco soap. It might dry out still.. maybe..

This is the Tahitian Vanilla scented soap that's supposed to turn dark brown as it cures.

The shea butter soap looks lovely. It's a nice golden brown color with little flecks in it. I'm not sure about the pink spots, but they sort of generally blend in. This mold was somewhat poorly shaped for a soap mold, so we have blocks of soap that sort of look like brownies.

The white soap in the back is the peppermint castille soap. It looks pretty much like generic soap. TD cut these two soaps (and the lavender one). He did a much better job than I did - these actually look like bars of soap.

The bright pink one is the jasmine soap. I'm concerned that the color may transfer to skin when the soap is used. We'll find out in another couple weeks when the soap can be used. It has to cure for several weeks to complete the saponification process. If you use it too early, there's still lye left in it and it's really harsh (to the point of burning you if it's way too early).

I spent the morning designing a label to put on the bars so that they look a little more like gifts. If anyone has any idea on how to package soap so it looks nice as Christmas presents, let me know.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Crisco soap

So I'd bought a 6 pound can of Crisco to make soap with. I'm not sure what I was thinking - I only had one soap recipe that called for Crisco and we never eat the stuff. This morning, I decided to make up one last batch of soap using Crisco.

Turns out that you can make soap using only Crisco and lye. Turns out that multiplying the recipe by 1.67 exactly used up my remaining Crisco and lye.

The Crisco soap is destined to become laundry detergent. Since I put 5 pounds of Crisco into the recipe, I should get out roughly enough laundry soap to last me until I die.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Soap Making

TD and I decided to make soap to give as Christmas gifts this year. I didn't can enough this past summer to go around.

I took a soap making class through PCC a few months ago. Then, one day a few weeks ago, I abruptly decided that we should try it. I bought the supplies and today we're off and running.

The one problem with the calculations below is that some of the measurements are in fl oz, while all of the ingredients are added by weight. Total cost of all ingredients purchased: $141.33

From Costco:
$8.99 for 160 fl oz Canola oil = $0.056 / fl oz
$17.89 for 170 oz olive oil = $0.105 / fl oz
$6.99 for 96 oz Crisco = $0.073 / oz

$11.00 for 16 oz Shea Butter = $0.687 / oz
$21.00 for 128 fl oz Coconut oil = $0.164 / fl oz
$23 for 128 fl oz Palm kernel oil = $0.179 / fl oz

From the True Value Hardware across the street:
$3.99 for 16 oz 100% lye drain cleaner = $0.25 / oz

From Sweetcakes soapmaking supplies:
$7.99 for 2 oz peppermint = $4.00 / oz
$12.50 for 2 oz lavender = $6.25 / oz
$6.00 for 2 oz jasmine fragrance = $3.00 / oz
$7.00 for 2 oz Tahitian vanilla = $3.50 / oz
$7.00 for 2 oz Vanilla lace = $3.50 / oz

The basic idea of soap is pretty simple. You mix melted fats and/or oils with a strong base (lye) and it chemically modifies the triglycerides into soap molecules. As the chemical reaction proceeds and the mixture cools down, it gets opaque and thick like pudding. This condition is called "trace" (you can see traces of your stir marks).

Roughly 95-100 degree F lye being poured into warm oil of same temp.
Using a stick blender to mix the lye into the fats.
After some mixing, but before trace.
I don't have a trace picture, but if you look on the surface of this poured soap, you'll see bumps because it was solid enough to partially hold its shape.

We have a 1/4 batch of Rachel's "tried and true" soap from the Miller Soap website. We scented it with 1 oz of Tahitian Vanilla fragrance oil, which smells very floral. The Sweetcakes website that I ordered the fragrance oil from says that this particular one turns dark brown, so we didn't try to color it. It's been poured into a black plastic Thai restaurant take-out box. This batch cost $6.41 to make.

The second batch we made up was a full batch of Sudsy All-Vegetable soap. I tried mixing it with a hand blender and it gets to trace lots faster than stirring by hand (which we did with the first batch. This batch is colored a horrible pink (we were trying for purple, but the dye we have doesn't seem to work well) and is scented with 1 oz Jasmine Fragrance. Overall, it kind of reminds me of hotels. Total cost: $16.44.

Third, we have a recipe that I got in a handout from the class I took. I tried to color it blue and ended up with a weird gray right after I added the dye, which slowly changed to a peach color as the mixture cooled. I give up on these dyes. It's originally from Rainbow Meadow, but I can't find the exact recipe on their website. Total cost: $21.65. I'm reproducing the recipe below for my own reference:
28 oz coconut oil
18 oz palm oil
42 oz olive oil
12.7 oz lye dissolved in 33 oz water
Let fat and lye cool to 92 deg F, then mix until at trace.

Next, I found a recipe containing Shea Butter, which costs $15.03. This one's scented with Vanilla Lace.

Last is a batch of Favorite Castille II (which it turns out is soap made from mostly olive oil; who knew?) scented with 0.75 oz peppermint essential oil. It costs $18.26.