Bubble Bubble Bubbles
I finally got around to making my very first batch of soap! I decided to go with a very basic recipe from TheSoapQueen containing 4 oils (coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, and castor oil), lye solution, and dried marigold (calendula) flowers. I didn’t add any essential oils because I wanted to make sure that they wouldn’t interfere with trace (basically how fast saponification occurs can change the quality of the soap) and to ensure that no one would be allergic to the oils within the soap.
Calendula flowers apparently retain their color in cold process soaps and so I opted with them.
Before I started mixing any oils together, I had to melt the palm oil and coconut oil! They came in bags that I could boil or microwave which was neat. I also mixed a 50% lye solution using filtered water. Dissolving lye into water is extremely exothermic (resulting from enthalpy of solvation of sodium hydroxide in water) and pretty dangerous in a closed space without a lab fume hood. My nose can tell you what it feels like accidentally breathing in some caustic fumes, but not to worry, proper goggles and gloves were worn to protect me from any other chemical burns.
Two molds: acrylic soap loaf pan and silicone mini loaf pan
With the oils mixed and the lye solution prepared, I began mixing! I added the lye solution slowly to my oil blend and used an emulsion blender with a stainless steel shaft to stir everything together.
Stirred until the mixture reached a light trace!
I poured this batch into the silicone mini loaf pan that I lined with some calendula flowers.
To another batch, I added the dried flowers directly to the mixture when it reached a light trace and poured it into the acrylic soap pan. I sprinkled the top with more flowers.
Ta Da! I let the mini loaf sit for 24 hrs before I popped them out. The soap in the loaf pan needed an extra week to come out easily, and next time, I think I’ll line it with parchment or wax paper for easier removal.
The mini loaves took about 3 weeks to completely dry. Some soda ash (sodium carbonate) appeared on the outside as a result of sodium hydroxide reacting with carbon dioxide either in the air or dissolved in the water. As the soap dries and cures, the salt precipitates out on the surface. Since it’s just an aesthetic problem, I decided to keep it. I actually like the white coloring.
I sliced the soap loaf into small rectangles and allowed those to dry for 3 weeks. Luckily for me, only a little bit of soda ash formed on the top of the loaf which gave my soap a cute white topping. I think the sliced soap loaf soap turned out better than the mini loaves. Oh so pretty!
So I used the soap for a week with no problems and decided to give them away as homemade Christmas gifts. I hope everyone is excited for the homemade gift idea I have for next year! 😉