This month’s Soap Club Challenge was almost a reprieve from the disaster that was the secret feather challenge, from The Enemy from Within from last month. I still don’t know what went wrong with that one, other than I got too cocky with all those past successes (in my opinion).
I was determined to do better this time around. I was a little surprised when I realized that we could do hot process (HP) to make our soap this month, but I already knew what I wanted to do and what soap I wanted to use. What is Hot Process you ask? Well, according to the Soap Queen, it is:
I put my oils in my crock-pot (note to self: making 1 lb of soap in a 6 qt crock-pot is laughable, don’t do it again.) and forgot to take a picture of that disappointment. I did however take a pic of the burnt coconut milk and lye mixture. I had to warm up my lye, because it had a temp. below 80⁰ and the amount of HP YouTube videos I watched all stated that like CP (cold-process) soap, lye and oils had to be within 10⁰ of each other. So into the microwave it went, and my kitchen proceeded to smell like melted crayons, not the crayola kind either, the cheap rose-art or other bargain brand crayons you get at $1 stores and places like that (I LOVE $1 stores, they are the savior of many projects, meals, and life in general).
Anyway, back to the burnt crayon smell now permeating my kitchen, I really hoped my soap wouldn’t smell like that.
The process of HP was way easier than I thought it would be and for a quick moment I did wonder what I was stressing myself over CP all this time. Yes, I’m aware that whenever I say/think something like that it comes back to bite me in the ass, no exceptions were made this time.
Step 1: mix lye liquid (coconut milk) and oils that are within 10⁰ of each other in a crock-pot set on low. Seems my pot is very warm and will have 1lb of soap ready to go quickly.
Step 2: The separation phase right on schedule 20 min later. I stirred it back together till it was smooth.
Step 4: Again, like clock work the shiny Vaseline/petroleum jelly phase was ready in another 15min. and I actually had time in between all this waiting to set up my additives and scents without crying or wanting to cry.
Step 5: Add the oatmeal, this is a mixture of a ¼ C. whole rolled oats and 2 Tbsp. oat bran for exfoliation and ‘prettiness’
Step 6: The raw honey was added next. I added 1Tbsp & 1 tsp to my batch, but I think you can add more if you want. I know I wanted to, but heard too many horror about exploding or seizing batches that I tried to stay cautious.
This is where it starts to go wrong. I read all I could about adding EO (essential oils) to HP and knew that they all had a flash point (FP) that the soap temp needed to be under in order to 1) not explode and 2) not cook off and have some kind of scent left for us lowly mortals to enjoy. Apparently, rosemary EO has a flash point somewhere between 108⁰ -127⁰, what the hell kind of range is that? Why couldn’t be like lavender which was listed at close to 140⁰ FP? So I sat and waited for my beautifully smooth(ish) HP soap to cool down enough to add my EO’s. Do you know how long it takes soap to cool from about 160⁰ all the way down to 100⁰, with no mishaps? Me either.
I got to pressing…and pressing…and pressing. So much pressing that I broke my spatula (thank god for $1 stores). I know it looks like those ones that the handle and spatula part comes apart for easy cleaning, and you would be right. So how did I break it you ask? See that tab attached to the handle that is supposed to keep the two pieces together…well that’s only half of it, the other half in still stuck inside the spatula part.
24 hrs later I popped it out of the mold (ok it fell out) and it looked really old fashioned and almost what I would think Victorian era soap would look like.
Part of the challenge was to also create a rustic or more handmade looking packaging for your soap as well. I will be the first to admit that while I can dabble in the chemistry of making soap, creating things is not my forte, so I recruited my mother (the closest thing to MacGyver I know) and my middle sister (the right & left brained one) to help me. We used parts and pieces from our collection of craft scraps and actually came up with something pretty cool, her fabric and grommets and my burlap.
We actually got along doing this project, I must admit if the soap challenges have helped with anything, it’s getting my sister’s and I to work together and not fight. A miracle in itself.
Thanks For reading