Introduction to Soapmaking - Day 2
|Yippee! Today we get to make our first batch of soap! Are you excited? I know I am! Let’s go make some soap.
For our first batch, I am going to use Shea Butter as our splurge oil. Shea Butter is very popular in soaps, particularly for soaps that are being sold. We like it because it doesn’t contribute significant amounts of color or odor. This allows soap-makers who sell their products change colors and fragrances without needing to change their formulation for each and every batch. 1 oz of Shea Butter. Check!
Next, I am going to use Olive Oil. I prefer to use Olive Oil for my number 4 of my 6-5-4-1 formula. Olive Oil is easily available and it is a great lather producer. Olive Oil makes small, dense bubbles in a soap. 4 oz of Olive Oil. Check!
I wanted to use Coconut Oil for my number 5 of my 6-5-4-1 formula. Coconut Oil is the one that contributes large bubbles, light, airy lather. I also like how easy it is to find Coconut Oil. 5 oz of Coconut Oil. Check!
My final oil for our first batch is Hydrogenated Soybean Oil. Hydrogenated Soybean Oil helps keeps costs low while creating a hard, white colored bar of soap. 6 oz of Hydrogenated Soybean Oil. Check!
Weigh the oils into a microwave safe container. Place into the microwave and heat. While the oils are heating, weigh the lye. Slowly add the lye to your container of water. DO NOT add water to your container of lye. The two chemicals reacting can cause a dangerous volcano. It is best to create good safety habits now, before you make a batch of soap that is 20 lbs in size.
For most soaps, you will want to mix your oils and lye solution when both are somewhere between 110°F to 130°F. We recommend having your oils and lye solution within 10°F of each other. In the winter when your soaping area is cooler, you will want to soap at higher temperatures. In the summer when your soaping area is warmer, you will want to soap at cooler temperatures.
When your lye solution and oils are within the ideal temperature range, slowly pour the lye solution into the oils. Using either an immersion or a soap spoon, mix until you reach trace. Trace is when the raw soap has been mixed enough that oil will no longer rise to the surface when mixing has stopped. If you aren’t sure if you have achieved trace then stop mixing, go get a glass, fill it with water, do not drink it. Come back to your soap. Is oil floating on the surface? This short distraction will allow unmixed oil to rise to the surface.
Once trace is reached you can pour the soap into a mold. Allow the soap to sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours. After the soap has been allowed to sit for up to 24 hours, you can unmold the soap and cut it. Arrange the cut bars of soap in an area where there is good air flow but where they will not be in the way. I like to put them on a sheet of cardboard. You are now ready for the curing process. The curing process is just allow the soap to dry out, giving you a nice hard bar. You can use your soap immediately after cutting but it will not last as long as a fully cured bar.
A great way to determine if your bar has cured all the way is to use our Cure Cards! Did you know you can get them free in qualifying orders? How cool!