Sunday, June 27, 2010

Soap Crayons Anyone?

Hello everyone. Harley has been using my soap for a while now. It was about a month ago though that he first learnt about soap crayons. He was fascinated with the concept of a soap that he could draw with to wash himself. Since my soap recipe makes a nice hard soap, I thought I might experiment with the concept.

Harley had a nice time going through my soap box about a week ago. He smelt all of the fragrances at least twice until he found the one he wanted. He then chose the colour and has been waiting ever so patiently for me to get time to make it for him. I thought I would share my first attempt and let you all know whether it works out or not.

I started off with my basic soap mixture. It was listed in my Mango Scented Soap blog which was the second blog I wrote for anyone who doesn't have the recipe. Harley wanted a Mad Melon scent that smelt a little like a honeydew melon. He also wanted it to be coloured green to match the scent. I decided to use an ice block tray as my mould for the soap crayons as I had plenty of them hanging around here.
This ice cube tray is designed to make ice cubes that fit in water bottles. It is the perfect length for little hands to be able to get a good grip.
This is how it looks with the mad melon soap in it. It is much greener than the picture shows and I hope it will darken as it dries out. I didn't worry about cleaning it up too much. When I un-mould it, the soap is still pliable so I should be able to roll them on a board to smooth the soap crayons out.
The mixture made more than one lot of soap crayons though so I put the remainder in my wooden soap mould. I didn't want to do too many crayons initially as I don't know if they will work or not yet.
Since this is a normal water based mixture, it needs to be insulated. This is my first chance to use the lid of my soap box to see if it works properly.
This is an updated picture of the goats milk soap I made a couple of weeks ago. It had a vanilla scent and oatbran added for it's soothing properties. As it has dried though, the areas where the vanilla is strongest are gradually going darker. This is a natural property of vanilla and I expected the soap to darken. I didn't expect the pretty patterns though so each bar is now totally unique.

Hope you enjoyed reading about my adventures and I will keep you all updated on the soap crayon experiment.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Goats milk soap un-moulded!!

I have had the goats milk soap on my dining table for 2 days now. It started firming up in my new mould within the first couple of hours but I have had a very busy weekend. I finally got around to looking at it last night. Here is how it looked after I undid the side hinges and the sides and ends fell away.
It was so easy to get the soap out of the mould this time. After the sides came down, it was a simple matter of peeling the baking paper away from the edges.
Here is an image of the soap on my cutting board. The baking paper has been totally peeled away from the sides and ends. I just need to peel it away from the base now.
The soap is now ready to cut. The baking paper peeled away from the base really easily and only took a few seconds. Much easier than trying to wrestle the soap out of a plastic mould.
I always love the first cut in a block of soap. It is very satisfying.
I got some new stacking racks on the weekend. I have put them to good use for soap drying. I have decided though, after cutting this batch of soap, that I need to make a cutting box. This will ensure that all of the cuts are even. It will make the soap bars more uniform in size and ensure that I get consistent results from my soap making.
Here is the image of the 2 levels of soap. It will take up so much less room on my table. This block of soap made 17 bars and they are all a good size. I then filled up the rack with some lime soap I made about 3 weeks ago as it hasn't finished drying properly. I was going to use these racks for biscuits and cakes but they are actually more valuable for soap. I have soap sitting on my dining table constantly so, being able to stack the racks up, leaves more room on the table for eating and cooling my cooking.

Harley has expressed an interest in soap crayons this weekend. The next update will be of a batch of soap made into the crayons. He is planning on making a batch of soap today and putting some into ice-cube moulds to make a crayon shape. Will let you all know how they turn out.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Goats milk soap

As promised (to some of my readers!!) here is my recipe for Goats Milk Soap. It is a relatively easy process but very different to the Mango Soap I posted about in my second blog. The initial recipe is similar though.

170g Rice Bran Oil
580g Vegetable Oil
250g Copha
500g Solidified Oil
218g caustic soda
570g Goats milk (I used 500g goats milk and 70g water so I could get 2 batches from a litre)
1 cup oatbran
7.5ml vanilla scented fragrance

This recipe is slightly different from my previous recipe as I had almost finished my tin of vegetable oil. As such, I reduced the amount of rice bran oil so I didn't need to store the remaining 80g of vegetable oil. You could, of course, still use the original 250g of rice bran oil and 500g of vegetable oil in the original recipe. The first step in this process is to measure out your goats milk and place it in the freezer overnight.
The next step is to measure out your liquid oils and cut up the solid oils.
Melt the oils together slowly on the stove top. This can be done in advance as they need to cool down to room temperature before adding the milk mixture. The pot should be cool to touch before combining.
This is the first time I am using my brand new wooden soap mould. Once the oils have melted together, I commenced lining my mould. I used baking paper to line the mould and folded the paper so that I had a general guide. I then made a 'box' with the baking paper and folded the excess from the long sides behind the short sides. This was then folded over the top of the mould and stuck down with sticky tape.
It was then time to work with the goats milk. As you can see, the goats milk is still frozen. I got it directly from the freezer and placed it into the bowl I use for mixing the caustic soda. The bowl is sitting in my kitchen sink, which I have partly filled with cold water.
I then measured out the caustic soda. The bowl has a spoon in it this time as you need to add the caustic soda to the goats milk at the rate of a spoonful at a time.
This is showing the first spoonful of caustic soda being added to the goats milk.
I have now added about a quarter of the caustic soda. As you can see, the goats milk has started to melt.
The caustic soda has now been completely added to the goats milk. As you can see, the goats milk is almost completely melted. The sugars in the goats milk react with the caustic soda and cause a chemical reaction that is much hotter than the normal chemical reaction between water and caustic soda. This reaction can cause the goats milk to discolour and turn an orange colour if the milk isn't cold enough to start with. It is also the reason that we add the caustic soda slowly.
Once the goats milk has completely melted and the caustic soda has dissolved, it is time to mix it with the oil.
The goats milk has been poured into the oil. As with a normal soap, the caustic soda mix settled to the bottom and the oil floated to the top.
This is a photo of the initial mixing to combine the goats milk mixture with the oil. It is blended with a stick mixer until trace is reached. I don't have any photos in this blog of the trace stage as it is the same process as the Mango Soap in one of my previous blogs. Once the soap has reached light trace and ripples stay in the surface, I added 1 cup of oatbran and the vanilla scented oil. The mixture was then ready to be put into the wooden mould.
I have spread the soap into the mould. I left it on the newspaper as I wasn't sure whether the mould would leak. I am pleased to report though that the mould was liquid tight and performed perfectly.
Here is an overhead shot of the soap mould. Please note, due to the increase in temperatures when working with goats milk, this soap is not to be covered and insulated. If you cover goats milk soap while it is curing, the temperature will get too hot and it won't gel together. As such, the lid I made for this soap box was not needed at this time.

The soap has now been in the mould for about 7 hours and it is forming a firm top. It is setting nicely and I will provide another update on Sunday when I take it out of the mould. A goats milk soap needs between 24 to 48 hours in the mould before removing.

Wooden soap mould

I have been thinking of how I make my soap recently. I was getting frustrated with the plastic moulds. They make a really nice soap but they can be really hard to get the soap out. I had a search around on the internet and decided that what I really wanted was a mould where I could remove the sides and just slide my soap out easily. This is what I came up with.
These are the materials I started with. I went to my local timber supply shop and got 2 pieces of pine that were 140mm wide, 19mm thick and 450mm long. These pieces will form the base and top of my wooden soap mould. I then got 2 pieces that were 90mm wide, 19mm thick and 412mm long. These formed the long sides of my box. The last 2 pieces were 90mm wide, 19mm thick and 140mm long. These short sides formed the ends of my box. I had all the pieces cut separately as I wanted all of the sides to fold down.
This is a view of the box spread out but upside down. You can see the hinges have been attached to let the sides fold down. I got decorative hinges but would not do so again as they hang down past the edge of the wood. Next time, I would just use standard rectangle hinges.
This is the same view as above but the box is the right way up. My next challenge was trying to find something to attach to each side so the box would stay up when filled with soap. I trawled every hardware shop I could find for inspiration. I ended up getting 2 hasp and staples from a hardware shop but they only had 2. I attached these at opposite corners of the box and opposite sides. I then had to get a bolt for the other 2 corners which worked well. I also decided that the long sides were a bit too wobbly. I think that the longer sides really need 2 hinges each for stability. I got another 2 hinges for each side and also just left the middle ones in. Might be a bit of overkill but the box is now very study.
This is the finished product. I drilled a hole into the top piece of wood to attach the handle. The lid just sits on top and is designed to insulate the soap so I don't have to use towels anymore. It is a bit of this and that but has its own character.
Here is an internal shot. I will need to line the inside with baking paper when using it.I'm very pleased with how it turned out though. It is very functional and I have learnt a lot during this process. I am planning on making another one down the track and will know exactly how to do it next time.