Tuesday, January 25, 2011

CPOP & Balance? What's That?

Well, one thing I am clearly not very good at is balancing my life thee days. I must be the most horrific excuse for a blogger out there! At any rate, I won't bore you to death with the details of all this minutia that swirls around me much if the time, leaving me yearning for some time and peace to enjoy my craft, soap making.
What I would like to discuss though is my my new adventures with CPOP. Have you heard of this yet? Wonderful concept, common sense concept. Yet still there are some glitches I haven't quite figure out. CPOP for those who havent heard, is Cold Process - Oven Process. And, it is just like the name sounds. You make your batch of cold process soap just like you normally would, but instead of leaving it to rest and saponafy for the next day if two, you pour it into molds at trace and transfer immediately to a pre-heated 170 degree (f) oven where you let it sit for 3 hours, turn the oven off and leave it be to rest over night. By the next morning, you should be able to unmold, slice, and use immediately. The dry heat of the oven is supposed to accelerate curing time. While many soap makers are zapping their tongues with their finished bars to see if they are truly cured, I have resorted to using atual ph test strips. I figure since soap (any soap) will undoubtedly taste like a freshly scrubbed a$$ hole, this method really does nothing more than confuse me. Did that soap taste like a 9 volt battery? Or did it just taste like shi*? So here is the problem with CPOP as I see it. My ph test strips are not revealing cured bars after the oven method, not only that but they are not showing a cured bar even after another week passes. Is this method really speeding anything up?
A few months prior to learning if the CPOP method I had stumbled upon a similar technique on my own. I'll be danged I know what caused me to put my soap in the oven in the first place. Ah yes, the soap had traced quite quickly and was not pouring into the molds so much as chunks of it were diving in. I decided that heating it while in the mold would allow it to loosen up and settle into the mold. However, I used a 220 degree (f) oven and left it in there at that temperature for a good 5-6 hours before turning it off and letting it cool down. But I wasnt trying to cure it, just loosen it up. I fully intended to go ahead as usual and slice the next day, let cure for 4-6 weeks and test it then for readiness, as I usually do. But when the oven cooled down and I removed my loaves Of soap, I immediately noticed that they had settled and hardened quite nicely. They felt ready for use. Ph test showed 7-8 so not far off from where I wanted it. A week later it was ready for use.
The techniques out there I am questioning for both temperature and baking time.
I will continue to experiment with this process and figure out what truly works. With any luck I will be able to post a video and some pictures of the process and results.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, so please feel free to post them, especially if you have tried this method and have found it successful.
Until next time,
Over and out, soapers!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Update Soapisms Blog

Please hang in there with me as I am coming out of a very interesting March Break.  Just when I thought it was over, and time for the kids to return to school, we had an unexpected visitor immediately after and all I can say is "wow!"  I am thoroughly overwhelmed, but absolutely dying to get back into my soaps, websites, discussions, and blog!  I tried a wonderfully smelling Chocolate / Vanilla soap a few days ago.  It was going to be a great tutorial, but the soap never hardened.  It looks a lot like pudding, and smells really good, but something went wrong.  As promised, I will be posting all of my mistakes as well as my successes.  I do think that time will free up for me very soon, and I hope you hang around and watch for it.  I promise not to disappoint.  The promises that I can't seem to keep these days have more to do with timing, than the actual delivery.
Thank you for your patience,

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Things of Spring

These are the Things of Spring
Part I - Colorful Embeddables
Spring is just around the corner.  The sun is peeking out, our days are lasting longer, and we day dream of all of the things of Spring; colors and scents of roses, lilacs, Jasmine, grass, violets.......
This is a Spring inspired soaping tutorial.  Great for beginners of melt and pour, and can be incorporated into cold process as well. This tutorial will show you how to make beautiful embeddable glycerin spirals, chunks, and other shapes in all of the colors and aromas of Spring. These embeddable pieces can be used inside of your next loaf of clear, or opaque melt & pour soap, and / or your next batch of cold process soap.

What you need:

  • Clear Melt & Pour soap base
  • FD & C Color
  • Essential & / or Fragrance Oils
  • Mica Powder (gold, silver, pearl)
  • Flat molds that will allow you to pout sheets of soap (1/4" thick and at least 12 or more inches long)  Any of the following can be used for a mold: Tupperware, other plastic containers, empty. clean milk or juice cartons, plastic food trays. If you do not have something suitable for a mold, don't fret.  You can pour your soap slowly over any flat surface such as your counter or table.  As long as your soap hardens in a thin, long slab and can be peeled off of the surface it is poured on, you're fine.  Pouring on a sheet of wax paper works fine as well.  
  • Spray bottle with rubbing alcohol for spritzing your poured soap to remove surface bubbles.
  • Optional: liquid glycerin
Step One:
The first thing we do of course is cut our clear glycerin soap base into small chunks to speed up the melting process. After you have chopped up your base, (I used about 4 loose cups), place it into a microwavable cup.  The amount you choose to cut will depend on how many slabs of soap you are pouring, and how many different colors you will be using.  For the purpose of this tutorial, I am using 3 colors: Violet, Pink & Green.  Therefore, I have chopped up enough soap base to loosely fill about 4 cups.  For Spring colors, you may wish to use: Yellows, Greens, Blues, Violets, Pink & Aqua. Because you will be doing more colors, than I am, you will likely want to melt more soap, say 6-8 cups, or approximately 1.5lbs of soap base.

Because we are pouring thin slabs of soap that we will want to remain flexible, we are going to add a little bit of water to the soap chunks before microwaving. In this four cup glass, I added approximately 3-5 oz of water.  A small amount of water should not hurt the integrity of your finished soap.  If you have liquid glycerin, add about a tablespoon of this (per pound) before microwaving as well.  Both the water and the glycerin will help the hardened soap remain flexible enough to roll, twist, etc., without cracking and breaking.  If you don't have glycerin, you can add a touch of olive oil.

 I will be pouring my soap into these plastic TV trays.  They can be purchased at most dollar stores and are great for projects like these.  Directly below this picture, take note of the three small plastic containers. You will need one small container for each color you decide to make.  I have added my chosen essential oils to each of my containers as well as some pearl, silver and gold mica.  For my scents, I am using florals, such as Jasmine, Lavender, rose, geranium and lilac.  My colors will be pink, violet and green.  As a side note, gold mica looks great in green coloring.  Silver and pearl mica look great in any coloring.  The way you choose to use your micas are totally up to you. If you do not have any micas at this time, no worries.  You can still make these embeds and they will look great either way.
By now you have begun to melt your glycerin soap base in the microwave, and you have gathered small containers which contain the scents you have chosen to use, the micas you are using, and a few drops of FD & C coloring.  The coloring will separate from the fragrance or essential oils in the containers, but this will be mixed in just fine once you add the melted glycerin soap and mix it.

*Do not heat your soap base any more than needed.  If you heat it to steaming, you will have lost some of the moisture in the soap, making it dry.
Once your melt and pour base has melted, pour some into each of your small containers, and mix gently.  
As you can see (left), I have used a silver mica with violet color (mixed blue and red), a pearl mica with the pink (red FD&C color), and a gold mica with the green FD&C color (yellow and blue mixed to green).

Just to recap before proceeding:
Each small container should contain:
~Color of choosing,
~Fragrance or Essential Oil of choosing,
~Micas (if using)
~Your melted glycerin soap base.
Mix these gently, and if they are super hot, let them cool down before pouring.  Why? Because we want the mica to stay somewhat suspended within the color, so pouring the base a little cooler than usual is a good idea.

When you are ready to pour, proceed to do so.  Each color is poured into a long thin slab of soap, approximately 1/4 of an inch thick.  Spritz the poured soap with rubbing alcohol to displace any foam or bubbles on the surface of the soap.  

As you can see, I had some green left over, as well as some violet and pink, so I have poured the remainder into the smaller squares on my tray. You don't need small slabs.  If you have soap left over, pour it into a mold and let it harden, then wrap it up for future use.  You can even pout your left over soap base into glad baggies and let it harden in the bag.  Make sure you label it with the scent you have used.  It can be peeled right out of the bag when you are ready to use it in the future.

The Fun Begins:
Watch your poured soap carefully and check it often.  You will want to peel it from it's mold as soon as it becomes hard enough to do so.  It won't take long to harden at this thickness.  Within 10-15 minutes or so it should be ready.  If you can peel your soap off of it's mold while it is still warm, it will be even easier to manipulate it without it cracking or breaking.  Pick a corner and lift your soap out of it's mold.  It is best to remove all colors of soap from all molds at the same time.  You can stack them in piles while you are working with the first color. You will now manipulate your slabs of soap into spirals.  Start with one slab, and wrap it tightly just like the picture below:

Now you can do the same thing again, but this time keep two slabs together so that when you roll it, you have something like the picture below:

Get Creative:
Carefully slice your colored rolls into a variety of thicknesses.  You can make large rolls, small rolls, very thickly sliced roles, and very thinly sliced rolls.
The smaller rolls in the picture to the left were made by shaving some thin slices off of the edges if the soap slabs with a vegetable peeler.  They were then simply rolled by hand both by themselves and with other colors.

One thing to keep in mind after you have wound up your rolls and sliced them is that you need to loosen the   slices up some.  If the slices are wound too tightly, they may not adhere properly to the soap batch you're going to pour over them. The larger rolls pictured above are an example of rolls that are too tightly wound.  This is fine when you are rolling them up initially, but they must be loosed as pictures below, after you have finished slicing them. Continue on to the next few pictures.  The pictures have notes beneath them and are there to show you  examples:

 Properly loosened, sliced rolls
Too tightly wound
Properly loosened, sliced rolls

Imagination & Creativity:  
After you have mastered the rolling, slicing and loosening, you can try many different things.  Your imagination is your only limit here.  As picture left for example, try taking a tightly wound, sliced roll and pull each end of it outward to form a spring shape.  You can curl your soap pieces around your finger, a pencil, pull it, twist it  do whatever you want to it! Make squiggly lines, small cubes, rectangles, shavings and on and on it goes.   I have taken a few pictures, (below), to give you an idea on all of the different shapes and sizes you can create here.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Hang Outs!

I really appreciate the friends who have come to read my blog.  I wanted to let you all know where I am at on the internet.

  • You can find me at twitter as: soapismsdotcom.
  • You can also find me at Facebook under the name: Sappy Sally.  
I would love it if all of us Facebook, blogger and twitter friends could be networked together at each site. This would provide all of us even more opportunities to hook up with other soapers and crafters in each others' friend lists.
Hope to see you soon!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Project for Today

Here is what I am working on today... Tell me what you think.
Raspberry Explosion (Melt & Pour)

You might be wondering what on earth this is.  Here's how I did it:
1) I melted clear glycerin M&P as usual and added color (blue oxides)  and Fragrance Oil (Raspberry & Vanilla) and some Essential Oil Anise Seed (just a very small amount).
2) Filled an empty (clean) milk carton with ice cubes.
3) Poured hot M&P soap over the ice into the carton and gave it a couple of taps and whacks to make sure all of the air bubbles were out.  It doesn't take long for this to set on ice, but you have to leave it alone until the ice cubes finish melting inside of the brink.  Once melted, release the brick from the milk carton (mold), and let the water drain out of the brick.  Make sure you don't leave any water behind.  After it drained, I took a paper towel and gently wiped the brick down, getting rid of any left over water.
I chopped up enough white M&P soap base to fit loosely into  a clean milk carton.  This is a great way to estimate the amount of soap base you'll need to cut up.
I returned my white soap base to a microwavable dish and melted it, adding more Raspberry & Vanilla fragrance oils, as well as a tbsp of Shea Butter.
I poured approximately 3/4 of an inch of the white melted soap base into my empty milk carton, then placed the blue soap brick into the mold.  (I sprayed each side of the brick with rubbing alcohol to ensure that the white soap would adhere to the brick.  

With the melted white base I had left, I set aside about 1/4 of it and mixed my color into that small portion.   I chose a raspberry red. I used an oxide colorant instead of FD&C or liquid soaping colors to make sure that the color would be vibrant and strong. My oxides are water soluble, so I mixed it onto a couple of teaspoon of water, which should not hurt the integrity of your melt and pour soap.

Leaving the colored melt and pour aside, I moved on to pouring the remaining white melt and pour soap base over the blue brick in the milk carton (mold).  I poured slowly, making sure to tap the sides and let any air pockets out, also making sure to fill as many of the holes caused by the ice cubes as possible.
I left approximately 3/4 to 1 inch at the top of the milk carton.

Now I warn you......This is where things get to looking a little on the ugly wuggly side.  Don't say I didn't warn you, ok? 

 I then poured my the layer of red, and I thought "Man is this ugly looking", but continued on, pouring the red until 1/4 to 1/2 inch of room was left on top for one final layer of white.  You may want your layers clean, so you would have to wait for the red to form a thick skin before you pour.  If you do this, you may want to spray the layer with alcohol before pouring again to ensure that your layers adhere. I wanted my colors to run into one another, so I poured immediately.  Again, tapping to release any air pockets.
I really had a hard time with it's ugliness while it set, but I knew that its the seemingly ugly ones that often give you a pleasant surprise, so I kept my fingers crossed.  After the soap loaf set (about an hour), I peeled away the milk carton and this is what I saw:   

So I began slicing and was pleasantly surprised at how pretty it was inside.  The following pictures are the bars sliced, though not trimmed up perfectly.  This was a fun experiment, and as ice goes, you can be sure that no two soap loaves made with this technique will ever be alike.  

I always take great care to keep the soap shavings in good condition for  my next project.  These little shavings will be great for using as embedded raspberry soap chunks in your cold process soap!  Mixing the two techniques can provide your CP soap with an extra boost of smell since the M&P tends to hold the fragrances much better.
And of course, I always try to make a few sample sized bars from the two ends of the loaf.  

Thanks for viewing!  If you are a beginner, please feel free to ask me anything you would like to know. Send me a  message through Facebook.  

Free Soap Labels & Candle Labels Biz Starter Kit | Worldlabel Blog

Free Soap Labels & Candle Labels Biz Starter Kit | Worldlabel Blog
I saw this great link at facebook, and wanted to share with everyone, knowing how much difficulty people sometimes have with their bath and beauty product labels. These are really nice and they are being offered up for free by the owenrs of this website. Haven't found any strings attached to mine. Everything seems to be in order, and the download was simple.