Friday, 6 November 2009

Soap Making: The long awaited picture essay!

400ml rain water
158g caustic soda
400g coconut oil
400g olive oil
300g rice bran oil

First Things first - I needed some moulds to put my soap in once it was made. Not wanting to spend a fortune on fancy moulds until I'd had a taster of the results I decided to construct my own out of old juice cartons. I cut one side off the carton and removed the stupid plastic pouring spout that (more often than not) sends a torrent of juice cascading down over your hand, the glass and the surface the glass is standing on. Once this was done I lined the carton with baking paper, then got to work on the rest of the cartons.Once this was done we carefully measured out all the various ingredients and added the caustic soda to the rain water in a large, plastic washing-up bowl on the table outside, so neither of us would be overcome with fumes. The cats had been shut into the living room previously, so they wouldn't stick their curious little noses into anything, not that that stopped two pathetic faces watching us out of the window occasionally punctuated by a piteous mewl.Having mixed all the oils together I put the bowl of oils into a sinkful of hot water to dissolve the hard oils and bring the temperature up to between 40 and 50 degrees - in parity with the lye water which had heated itself up and was cooling itself off on the table outside.Once the oils had all melted we poured the lye water into them and I mixed them together using a stick blender - do admire the homemade apron modelled by me in the photo showing this! The soap reached trace quickly, looking very similar to Birds' Custard, though I wasn;t tempted to try it as it was still caustic at this point!Note the thick gloopiness of the mix (and the protective rubber gloves) as I carefully direct it into my hi-tech juice carton mould!This is the soap-making paraphernalia left outside whilst we dealt with covering up the soaps upstairs in the guest room.
24 hours later: the bars of soap, now turned out of their moulds look a little rough and ready... Very Homemade...
I chopped the blocks of soap up into bars, trimmed off the rough patches and stamped the tops with a rubber stamp I'd bought for sale a few days before. This was only partially successful - perhaps I should chop the soap up a bit sooner so it's softer in the middle and the stamp 'takes' better...
Ta Dah! The results of our labours! All my beautiful bars of soap. This excludes the shampoo bottle mould full of soap which refuses to release its bounty. I'm thinking of melting it down with all the trimmings (in the carton on the left, below) and adding some scent, maybe a bit of extra coconut oil for superfatting and rebatching it into small bars for babies' or face soaps.