Layered Soap from Scratch October 25, 2016 16:57
The time of the rainy days has begun, and with it the challenge of finding fun stuff to do indoors. But don’t worry; we’ve got ideas for loads of fun DIY projects here at Homestead Junction.
My friend is a big fan of soap bars but has never made soap herself. We decided to team up and make some two-coloured soap together.
Here’s what was on our shopping list (for approx 500g of soap):
- 190g distilled water
- 70.31g Lye - NaOH
- 500g oils cosisting of:
- 125g Coconut oil
- 125g Olive oil
- 150g Beef tallow
- 75g Shea butter
- 25g Castor oil
- 12g Essential oils
- 10 Tbsp of bentonite clay
- 10g of Activated charcoal
- 10g of Spirulina powder
We calculated our recipe with soapcalc.net/ which might seem a bit overwhelming at first but is actually really easy to use. All ingredients except for olive oil are available at our store.
1. Melt Oils
Weigh all of your oils, add them together in a pan (stainless steel!) and put it on medium heat on your stove. I recommend using old kitchen tools or utensils and pots you only use for diy projects as it can be difficult to get some of the residue off.
As you can see in the picture below, I’ve already put in my thermometer out of habit but you’ll only need it later on.
2. Mix Lye
Working with lye requires some safety measures. You will want to wear gloves to prevent any contact with your skin. Seek out a well ventilated area. If you have them, wear safety glasses (or your regular glasses). Use a container that has a number 5 on it (see image below). NEVER use a aluminum container. Stainless steel containers also work.
After you weigh your lye, add the right amount of distilled water - never the other way around! As you mix the two ingredients (preferably with a stainless steel spoon or fork), the liquid will start to heat up. Make sure not to hold your head directly over the container as you don’t want to breathe in the fumes that escape from the mixture. If you get lye on your skin use lots of water to wash it off. If you spill dry lye, sweep it thoroughly, mop it really well, spray vinegar on it and preferably mop it again. Sound like a lot of work? It is. Better to be careful in the first place.
3. Mix Everything Together
Once your oils and the lye liquid have both cooled down to 100°-110° Fahrenheit you can add your lye to the oils. They do not have to be the exact same temperature but should be within 3-4 degrees. Remember to use a non-aluminum thermometer to measure the temperature. I used this one right here.
Grab your blender and start mixing the two ingredients together with short bursts.
Once you have reached trace (oils & lye have emulsified), you can add your essential oils. Make sure your soap batter is quite thick. It will get thicker with more blending. This is important because this soap will be layered and has to be thick enough not to just blend together.
Once you have that thick batter, go ahead and add the clay. We have used a LOT of clay which makes the soap really nice and creamy. It also causes the darker colour. So if you want a lighter result, reduce the amount of clay used. After mixing in all the clay remove about a third of the batter and mix the activated charcoal into the removed part.
Lastly, add the spirulina powder to the ⅔ remaining in the pot and mix it well.
4. Fill Soap in Mould
Pretty much anything can be used as a soap mould that is properly sealed. I recommend using some kind of plastic or parchment paper to line your moild. This will protect the container used and make it much easier for you to get the end product out.
Next go ahead and fill in about half of the green soap batter into the mould. We didn’t fill it in completely flat since we wanted to create a layer that is a little bit more interesting than just a straight line right in the middle. Then layer your secondary colour on top and finish with the remainder of the first colour. We made sure the top layer ends in a flat plane but you can leave it pretty uneven, too. This will get you a soap with some structure on one end.
5. Curing & Cutting
The soap needs to be left alone for about 24 hours. Go ahead and wrap your mould in a way that insulates it a little bit. As you can see below, we put some parchment paper around it and then covered it with towels.
After waiting for a full day, you can unwrap your soap and take it out of the mould. Grab a large kitchen knife and cut it up the pieces. We cut it right on the parchment paper and on a cutting board since we didn’t want to have lots of soap trapped in little cuts in the cutting board.
Lastly, you’ll need to let your soap age for 4-6 weeks. Leave them spread out in a place with air flow but not in direct sunlight. This will ensure that your soap lasts longer. If you use it right away, it will still do the job but it will also literally be washed down the drain in no time. The longer you wait the longer your soap lasts, however, the smells of the essential oils will also decrease.
By Reni Diggelmann