Indigo Blues

I have to tell you about my first hot process soap.  I have been thinking about this soap for ages.  Finally, it is a reality.  You may be curious as to why I am so excited about plain blue soap … well, there is a reason.  Ages ago, I made Starry Starry Night which is, without doubt, my favourite soap I have ever made but, alas, it had an issue.

Starry Starry Night was coloured with indigo powder and I have since learned that not all indigo powder is created equal.  Even though I followed instructions on how much to use, clearly it was way too much for my indigo powder.  The suds the soap produced were blue, and when I say blue, I mean really, really blue.  I was pretty shattered because I had twelve perfect bars of soap that couldn’t be sold.

As first, that didn’t deter me too much.  I told Maus we had to use it.  Because it was so blue, I took to washing my greying hair in it and I reckon it made my hair look pretty good.  But Maus has a tendency to put soap on the face washer and then clean her body with it.  When our face washers started turning blue, I knew another solution was called for.

Enter Mont Blanc. I ended up grating two Starry Starry Night bars and using them as confetti in this soap.  Even though others liked it, I was not keen.  When I cut the bars, the indigo smudged dark blue onto the pale blue soap.

What to do?

My brain has been working overtime trying to come up with a solution.  Indigo Blues is the answer … and I love them.

I have been playing around with remilling soap of late and, as is my want, I have been reading everything there is to read on the subject and have watched every YouTube video there is to watch .  And when I had exhausted that subject, I turned my thoughts to hot process soap.

My preferred technique is cold process soap because it produces a nice smooth bar and the process lends itself to being artistic with the design.  But since I had also made glycerine soap, melt and pour soap and had been remilling soap, hot process soap was the last frontier.  I started reading all there was on hot process soap and, again, watched another million YouTube videos.  And then, I read one comment in a soap makers forum and the penny dropped.  The writer mentioned that she rebatched soap by making a small batch of hot process soap and then adding about three times its weight in remilled soap.  When the new soap went through gell phase, it would melt the remilled soap and you would end up with nice, new, rebatched soap.   I also read about new techniques to make the hot process more smooth and less rustic-looking by adding sodium lactate, milk/yoghurt/coconut milk and sugar.

I was very interested.  There is no way I could use 3 x the Starry Starry Night soap to one part new soap – it would still be too blue. I would need to have three parts new soap to one part Starry Starry Night.  And I liked the idea of a smooth soap.  In this instance, I didn’t want a rustic-looking soap.  I wanted a uniform colour and smoothness.  I decided to give it a go.

For the soap makers out there who have a soap where the colour needs to be toned down and would like to know what I did, here it is.  I chose to use the same recipe as I used for Starry Starry Night but I don’t think it is important.  Use whatever recipe you like.

  • Water – 38% of new soap oil weight, ie, no water discount
  • Fragrance – approx. 5% of new soap weight and same variety as used in the remilled soap
  • Remilled soap – approx. 33% of weight of new soap
  • Extra water – 25% weight of the remilled soap
  • Add to cooked soap
  • Sodium lactate -1% of new soap oil weight
  • Sugar – 1% of new soap oil weight
  • Yoghurt – 3% of new soap oil weight

And it worked a treat.  It is lovely and smooth and the suds are white … well, maybe a little blue but certainly nothing to worry about.  The amazing thing is, it is not much lighter than the original Starry Starry Night soaps. I might try that design again but this time with much less Indigo powder.

The world of a soap maker is never dull 🙂

Slow soap

A few people have asked me how I made the celebratory “Over the Rainbow” soap featured in my previous post.

So here goes…

Firstly, I searched the web for days for ideas as to how I could make the rainbow.  I, finally, settled on a method used by a French lady to make polymer clay rainbow pendants.  Basically, she rolled out pieces of clay of each colour, layered them on top of each other then draped them over a piece of tubing.  She then sliced through the layers to get thin rainbows.

Ok, I was ready to go.

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Is Maus right?

Maus thinks I am obsessed.  I don’t know why.  She complains that I only talk about one thing.  And for some reason, she doesn’t think it is normal that I spend all my spare time watching YouTube videos.  I don’t know what her problem is.  I think I am normal 🙂

You see, I just love soap making.  It is so addictive, it is hard not to love it.  I have considered the reasons and discussed it in detail in a previous post, Pavlov’s dog and intermittent reinforcement.  The more I get obsessed with making soap, the more I think I am right. Continue reading

Soap and other things …..

Hello, everyone.  I had been holding off doing another soapy post until I made one more batch.  It is one that I have been looking forward to making for ages.  But, alas, I have run out of time to make any more soap before we head back to Perth and I go on my big holiday.  For those who don’t know, I am off to Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia with my friend, Sandra.  Maus didn’t want to come so she is staying home to do all the Spring tasks on the block.  That is my plan, anyway.

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I have been making soap, again …

I have been making soap again and am having a ball.  Now we are settled into Bridgetown on a more permanent basis, I have been trying to build up my supply of soap ready for Christmas.  Soap needs four weeks to cure and I am going away for the whole of September, therefore, I don’t have that much time to build up supplies.

Soaping is a wonderful hobby because there is so much to learn and I love learning new things.  My long term plan is to get a range of soaps that I can make consistently.  I am still at the very beginning of this stage but there are already some soaps I think will form part of this range. Continue reading