Saturday, November 20, 2010

I broke my HP cherry... well, my berry really

I had it in my mind to make a cold process soap today.  I worked out a nice recipe with Sweet Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter, Palm Oil, Coconut Oil and Castor Oil (for the bubble factor!).  It was a lovely blend, nicely balanced between hardness, conditioning, bubbles etc etc.  I worked it all out on Soap Calc (for those who read this but don't make soap, Soap Calc is a calculator that helps you work out the correct amounts of oils/butters to use with the correct amount of lye so that you get full saponification - the chemical reaction between the fats and the lye that makes soap ... end of chemistry lesson!). 

Then I thought, I wanted to do something maybe pink or purple and maybe a berry fragrance but it's nearly Christmas so maybe something with a bit of spice too? So I raided my cupboard and found some Forest Fruits fragrance oil and blended this with a Ginger Spice fragrance oil - hubs, as usual, smelt it and agreed it was lovely and thought it rather a masculine blend (I suspect that was more the "out of bottle" fragrance rather than the "in use" fragrance, however). 

So, I got to work .. weighed out my hard oils and melted them, added to my fluid oils.  I decided to use some Titanium Dioxide to make the base soap whiter so mixed a little with some of the oils and added the mix back into my oils.  I weighed out my fragrance blend and added that to the oils too.  I'd made up my lye with my added silk and it was cooling in the sink, coming to the right temperature for me.  I put some Raspberry and Grape POP micas into two seperate cups and put them in front of me so they'd be close at hand when I was ready to go.

I put everything together on the work top and checked my stick blender was working ... and then got to work, pouring the lye water into the oils and stick blending to a light trace.  I mixed a third of this base batter into the pink, and another third into the purple and mixed them both carefully.  Then I did a nice in the pot swirl and poured everything into my new silicone mould.  All jolly fine, I was happy (wish I'd used more colour but I'll know better next time). 

I carried the mould carefully upstairs to the spare bedroom aka the soapy studio and thought, as I was walking downstairs "oh, this'll be really nice with the cocoa butter in it".  And then thought, "hang on, what cocoa butter??".  ARGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, I forget the cocoa butter!!! I never even weighed it out, I just totally forget it!!! Damn!

So what now? Well, as ever, after complaining a lot and feeling very rubbish and moaning at myself, I jumped on the net and asked on my favourite soaping forum "what do I do now?".  The answer was, if it's not fully set, melt the cocoa butter and stick blend it in.  Ugh, I'll lose my swirls.  If it was too hard, I could hot process it.  Now, seeing as I bought a crockpot (or slow cooker, which is the same thing) last weekend I thought, why not.  It's like the God of Soap was telling me to do it, go and try hot process. 

So I went and got the soap, turned the crockpot on and scooped all the soap into the bowl.  Yes I lost the swirls but I was doing something new so that'd make up for them.  So I let the soap cook as I went to melt the cocoa butter.  I also mixed a little extra grape POP mica in a cup with a little extra Sweet Almond Oil and a tinch extra of the Ginger Spice fragrance oil because, when I had mixed everything in the crockpot, it was a rather grey sludge and I wanted to try and keep at least some of the berry effect going. 

So it cooked; I left it for about an hour, stirring a little in between.  I tested the soap for zap about half way through - it's a very good way of learning what zap feels it! Boy, it did zap on me.  I cooked it a while longer and tested again - about 50 minutes in, it was pretty well cooked through, but I left it for another 5 minutes, just in case.  I then took it off the heat and added my purple fragrant oil mix and mixed it fully through the grey sludge of hot soap.  It was a really nice purple colour now and smelt fabulous - like hot spicy jam or something!  With the help of hubs, I glopped it in the mould (there's not much else you can do with HP soap, it's not as fluid as CP, glopping in the only choice really). 

So, here is my first hot process soap sitting in my new Crafters Choice silicone mould (yay no lining!!) .. I'll post cut pictures tomorrow to show you how it worked out.  Oh and I believe you're supposed to put a lid on and weigh it down which helps to compress any air bubbles out and makes for a smoother soap but I didn't have a lid and couldn't find anything to put on top that fit the aperture exactly ... so I didn't!

Hope you like it - more pics tomorrow.


  1. Hi Celine, I love the look of this one... I haven't tried HP yet. Can't wait to see it cut. Wow you got those moulds. I had seen then before and couldn't find where to get them in Europe. Where did you get them? Can you tell me the dimensions? xo Jen

  2. I got it from ebay, give me a bit and I'll try and find the link for you. It was something like £10 I think which, for avoiding the hassle of lining, I thought worth it! Plus I thought it was a really nice size. I am definitely thinking of getting some more. From what I scooped out of the mould to put back into the crockpot, it had nice straight sharp corners on it which I really liked. Dimensions? Hmmm can never remember them but if I get you the link, you'll be able to see yourself. I did 800g of oils/butters which seemed to fit it just fine, if that helps any? Definitely do try the HP, God it was SO easy! Not too crazy about the top to be honest but I think that's an issue with HP that you can't really avoid - once it's off the heat, it does set up pretty quickly. One thing that I wasn't so keen on was the taste testing, I could taste soap in my mouth for an age afterwards.. I had to have chocolate even!!!!!! Definitely do try it though, easy peasy lemon squeezy and I'm guessing it holds far more of the fragrance than the HP does.

  3. I love the HP save. It helps for so much in my soaping life. you just never know when you're going to need it. =) I taught a CP class at the local science class for a high school and after I poured the PERFECT swirl, I realized there was ZERO olive oil in it. I literally had forgotten all the Olive Oil.

    So, I dumped it out of the birchwood mold and added the Olive Oil. It was reallllly embarrassing.


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