Tag: how to make soap

Welcome to the Soap & Aromatherapy Blog!

Welcome to the aromagregory blog, mainly dedicated to learning about natural soap, soap making and aromatherapy. We like to call making your own soap and bath products a “bathroots movement”.  Here you will find soap making directions, soap recipes, video tutorials (coming soon), soap making recipes and everything you need to know about making soap and other handcrafted products. From how to make soap, how to cut it, cure it and package the soap – we will guide you through the entire process so that even the very basic beginner can start a soap or bath and body company. Not looking to start a business? That’s okay. All of the bath and soap recipes can be used at home for personal use or to share with friends and family.

We have been making soaps, lotions, candles and bath products since 1999.  Our soaps are found coast to coast, mainly in small boutiques – from a New York natural pharmacy to a Spa in Los Angeles.  And it all began with an investment of $50 for supplies.  Our soap company is  Aromagregory where we make and sell handmade soaps, essential oils, shea butter, aromatherapy candles, bath salts and natural liquid soap.  Our site for wholesale bulk soap is SOAP BY THE LOAF where customers may order loaves or blocks of soap for resale with their own labels.  So, as you can see, I’ve had over a decade to collect and test bath and body recipes.  More about me, our company history and how it all started can be found on the ABOUT page.

For the past few years I’ve toyed with the idea of teaching others how to make soap and bath products, ruminating over exactly how I wanted to do it.  I have even taught hands-on soapmaking classes in our retail store and recently started to offer classes on a larger scale.  While teaching is a lot of fun, it cannot reach as many people as it could by placing recipes and directions on the web. I hope you enjoy how we have opened up our aromagregory company to include bath recipes, aromatherapy education and information on soap making.  Gregory.

MAKING HANDMADE SOAP

soap making instructionsWe hope that over time our blog will become your number one source for soapmaking instructions.  We will continue to add soap recipes to our site as well as a number of soap making tutorials about a variety of soap making methods.  This website is our outlet for teaching soap making.  So, if you have been looking for someone to teach soap, we hope you will browse around our site and learn all you can.  Here you will find information on how to make cold process soap, packaging soap, selling handmade soap as well as techniques like – how to make soap swirls, how to identify trace, making liquid soap and more.

Master Batch Soap Making

HOW I MAKE SOAP – THE RTCP
MASTER BATCH METHOD

First of all, I want to say that anything you could ever think of, someone else, somewhere else, has already been doing for a very long time. I don’t claim to have invented these methods. I’ve taken bits of information that I’ve learned from others, combined them with my own experiences (sometimes mishaps that became blessings) and devised a method that worked best for me.

I made soap the same way for the first few years – melting each batch and waiting for it to cool, patiently waiting for the lye water to reach the same temperature as the cooling oils. When you have several soaps to be made, this process can take hours, even days to complete. One morning, I ran across an article in a small publication about a soap maker who had been making soap for several decades. He found the “temperature thing” totally unnecessary and a waste of time. Soon, I discovered other soap makers were discussing this method called RTCP: Room Temperature Cold Process.

To put it simply, RTCP is the act of premixing your oils and allowing them to cool to room temperature. Separately, the lye water is premixed, allowed to reach room temperature then simply mix the two batches together when its time for making soap.

The thought of having lye water lurking around unattended did not appeal to me. So, I decided to experiment with taking this method to another level. On the first day, I made what I now refer to as a “Master Batch”.

The Master Batch recipe will give you enough base to make five full loaves of soap; each loaf creating twelve, four ounce bars when fully cured.

Additional equipment for the Master Batch Recipe –

Empty, clean five gallon bucket
Large canning pot for melting (23 quarts or more)

Master Batch Recipe:

7 lbs. 8 ounces Vegetable Shortening*
3 lbs. 2 ounces Coconut Oil
3 lbs. 2 ounces Olive Oil

*Vegetable shortening varies in different parts of the United States. Some regions have a partial cottonseed blend which shouldn’t affect your soap at all. Crisco-type shortening is a good alternative. Just be sure to read the labels carefully when doing your shopping — many shortenings contain beef fat or partial beef fat. This master batch recipe calls for all-vegetable shortening.

Measure Olive Oil into your empty five-gallon bucket and set aside. Now measure your vegetable shortening and coconut oil into your large canning pot and melt on the stovetop on medium-low. When fully melted, carefully pour the contents into your waiting bucket of olive oil. (It’s best to place the bucket of olive oil on the floor to avoid any mishaps). Now, stir with your stick blender until fully mixed. I use an electric drill with a paint stirring attachment for blending the master batch. As the batch cools, repeat the stirring process whenever you get the chance and allow to cool overnight. The next day, give it a final, vigorous blending until the mixture looks fully incorporated. The final master batch will have a runny, pudding-like quality to it. You now have five full batches of soaping oils ready to be measured out individually and turned into soap.

Master Soap Recipe:

2 lbs. 12 ounces master batch
13.5 ounces water
6.2 ounces lye

Here is where the time-saving tips come into play — when making soap, I don’t wait for anything to cool, wait for a certain time to color my batch or try to figure out when to scent the batch. Using the same safety guidelines listed in the Standard Soap Making Instructions (goggles, gloves, respect for the lye, etc.) here is the way I normally make soap.

1. Measure 2 lbs. 12 ounces of master batch into a 3 gallon bucket.
2. Weigh 13.5 ounces of water into my lye pitcher then slowly add the 6.2 ounces and lye and stir until dissolved.
3. Add colorant (usually oxides) into master batch and stir with stick blender until fully colored.
4. Add any botanicals / additives the recipe calls for.
5. Weigh and measure essential oils and add to the master batch, stirring again.
6. Slowly pour the hot lye water into the 3 gallon bucket of colored and scented master batch and begin mixing with stick blender. Trace usually takes approximately five minutes before it’s ready to pour into the molds.

Basically, what I have done is streamlined every step that was time-consuming, turning the operation into a smooth day of batch-after-batch soap making. Pretty easy, huh?

IMPORTANT !!!!!
DO NOT skip over anything that is a safety precaution! Wear your goggles and gloves, remember that lye is corrosive and don’t forget to hold your face away from the pan while mixing. Remember to keep your stick blender immersed in the soap you are blending and don’t splash around. Don’t forget — you add lye to water, you do NOT add water to lye. (The snow falls on the lake, remember?) Your eyesight and the safety of your children and your pets are more important than any batch of soap. If you remain aware of what you are doing and do it with thought, you’ll be fine. Simply pay attention to what you’re doing and it will be as easy as baking a cake.

You are ready to tackle a variety of recipes using the same “base” of oils that we have called the “Master Batch”. Later on, we’ll try some recipes that require the use of different oils and luxury additives. In the meantime, the recipes that follow are some really great soaps! Each of these recipes was poured into molds with inside measurements that were 15 ½ inches long, 2 inches deep and 3.75 inches wide. This is based on the molds the I used in this process. You can use molds that are slightly larger, but keep in mind that the soap bars will be thinner. Any smaller and you’ll have leftover soap to pour.

For determining how much oil to use for the soap mold YOU have, see our article on CALCULATING SOAP BATCH AND MOLD SIZE.

The two master batch recipes below are examples. You can create a wide variety of soap by simply switching essential oils, or replacing with fragrance oils or experimenting with a variety of colors and spices.

GRAPEFRUIT ORANGE SOAP

This bar is great for anyone that loves citrus scents. This particular soap takes a little longer to trace and the addition of calendula petals make pretty yellow flecks throughout the soap. Soaps with all citrus oils have a tendency to “lock in” the fragrance when cured. Meaning, the bar doesn’t seem to smell very strong but does when you get the soap wet in the bath or shower. If you’d like to anchor the scent a little more, replace ½ ounce of the sweet orange essential oil with patchouli essential oil.

2 lbs. 12 oz. master batch
13.5 oz. water
6.2 oz. lye
1 oz. pink grapefruit essential oil
1 oz. sweet orange essential oil
1 oz. 5-fold orange essential oil
3 tablespoons calendula petals
1/16 teaspoon yellow oxide colorant
follow soap making instructions….

SUNSHINE SOAP

The reason I call this bar “sunshine” is the fact that it is a great scent to wake up with. The peppermint helps to wake you up in the morning while the citrus oils bring about a cheerful mood to start the day with.

2 lbs. 12 oz. master batch
13.5 oz. water
6.2 oz. lye
1 oz. pink grapefruit essential oil
1 ½ oz. sweet orange essential oil
½ oz. peppermint essential oil
1 teaspoon peppermint leaves
1/16 teaspoon fluorescent yellow pigment
follow soap making instructions….


For more information on soapmaking, purchase my book, MAKING SOAP FROM SCRATCH, from aromaG’s Botanica here, or from amazon.com here.

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