Monday, November 03, 2014

Monday morning eye candy

I love starting my morning with my first cup of tea and watching someone like this Korean potter demonstrate his skills. Lovely.

Well, yesterday I finally got around to the soap project and my first effort was a disaster. The melt and pour soap just wouldn't work right. So after a few attempts, I high tailed it to the soap making support site that I joined a couple of days before, shared my plight, and within a couple of hours I had a lot of generous responses. Seems everything I did was correct, according to one member, but that sometimes melt and pours soaps can be a pain the arse! Who knew! Melt and Pour was supposed to the easy, no fail way to make soap.There were also several suggestions to use better quality melt and pour soaps instead of the ones I bought from Michaels. So next time I buy melt and pour soap it will be from Brambleberry, which got the most recommendations, or one of the other ones also recommended.

The problem I had was that soap was hardening, even before I got around to adding colorant, so it's possible I should have added those the minute the soap was melted. Someone suggested having a bowl of warm water to set the container of melted soap in, to keep it from solidifying so fast, so I will definitely follow that suggestion today and in the future.

I have a larger pack of Michael's melt and pour soap as well as the other pound from the first, smaller package, so I'll try again after breakfast.. Everything is set up - colors mixed with glycerin, scent mixed, soap re-cubed, etc. so I just have to see if I can get yesterday's soap re-melted. If not, I'll start with the other pound from that box. I'm glad that I was a bit timid and only used half of the soap.That was enough of a disaster to deal with. So disappointing!

After lunch I will either have a few bars of soap to enjoy, or I'll have to go back to square one. If that's the case, I'll just lick my wounds and keep at it with the Michaels soap I have on hand, until I get it, or till I have a lot of back soap to throw it in the trash.  In the future, I will definitely be buying a better quality melt and pour soap.

This melt and pour method was supposed to be the easy way to make soap which is why I started with it instead of the cold process which involves dealing with lye, and then there's a crucial timing thing related to the level of trace, which you have to learn to recognize in order to know when to safely stop mixing and get your colors and scents added and start pouring, before the soap get so firmed up that it can barely be poured.

So if this Melt and Pour works today, my next effort will be to take the plunge and try to make a batch of cold process soap when my other orders of colorants and vanilla stabilizer arrive. Seems that soap fragrances with a lot of vanilla will turn soaps brown, and after checking the vanilla percentage of some of my fragrances, I'd have a lot of brown soap on my hands in the future unless I use the stabilizer. So much to learn!


  1. Now I'm thinking that perhaps I should make some simple soaps to go with the soap dishes is am designing!
    Thanks for the video.

  2. I think cold press is a lot better process. You can choose your ingredients and design your recipes. I would suggest a workshop if you can find one, I found it to be the most helpful thing, I tried the Internet school of learning, but people left things out. With a hands on workshop you learn while you are doing with someone there to hold your hand... Lye just isn't a big deal if you use safety which you are used to doing, being a potter. Just wear gloves and goggles! And don't breathe the fumes:-)

  3. there's nothing better than hand made soap, been using it ever since our friend in California shared with us, great video, thanks, interesting use of the slip in the carvings and the wiping back, never would have suspected how the duck bowl was made

  4. Linda, the duck bowl impressed me as well. Pretty ingenious. Finally got a few little pieces of soap made yesterday. I'll post the photo later. Can't wait to make more!