Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Solo Soaping

Solo cold process soapmaking attempt #1.  All in all, not bad.  Not bad at all.

Here's how it went down.

Almost immediately after I got home from Atlanta and fun soap class, I started gathering materials. I was in good shape on the ingredients but needed a few basic supplies and safety equipment.

A trip to the grocery store and I was all set.

The next day, deep breath.  Let's do this.

Measured and melted my oils. Easy peasy.

I took the water and lye outside to mix it since the combination can produce serious fumes.  After an even bigger deep breath (behind face mask),  I poured the lye into the water and stirred.  I think I held my breath which I suppose made the face mask rather redundant, but safety first.

The water is a brownish green color because I had steeped chopped rosemary prior to lye addition. Except for my pounding heart, adding lye was extremely uneventful.  No volcano of chemicals spewed and while it was rather impressive that my room temperature water shot up to 160 degrees, that was the extent of the change.  As it should be.  Phew!

Then I had to wait for the oils and lye water to cool down.  So I paced around the kitchen and obsessively checked the thermometer fourteen thousand times.

When everything finally had cooled enough, lye was poured into the oils and the immersion blender took over.

A little surprisingly, everything mixed up as it should.  Trace was achieved.  Rosemary and grapefruit essential oils were added, and the whole thing was poured into a little cardboard mold lined with freezer paper.

I wrapped the box in a towel and let it sit for 24 hours for the soap to "gel" (still don't know what that really means) and harden.

The next day, I popped a block of soap out of the mold.  It appeared okay.

So I sliced.

Consistency seemed good.  So what next?  Run to the shower and use my new soap?  Sadly, no. Cold process soaping is not an instant gratification kind of craft, and the soap needs to cure 4-6 weeks to fully harden.  My lovely rosemary soap joined the lavender soap from class on a dresser.  And there it remains.

I trimmed these bars to have straight edges, hence the pile of scraps to the left.  The nice thing about scraps is that after a week, I tried to use a few of the bigger pieces.  Scraps held together perfectly, and lathered, and did all the stuff soap is supposed to do.  Good sign!

Not bad for my first batch and for really not know what the hell I'm doing.

Soap victory!

That first batch has already been joined by a second, a lavender mint batch that smells lovely and was a total color fail since I tried to make it lilac and ended up with a pale green.  I have a lot to learn! Loving my new hobby, and I can't wait to experiment with more colors and swirls and different fragrances, and seriously, I'm going to have SO MUCH SOAP.

Friends and family, just know, you will all be getting soap for the holidays!


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