Cold Process Method of Soap Making
These are the molds that I am using for this tutorial. They were, at one time, a 10-foot downspout. I was able to cut 10 molds out of a $4.95 piece of downspout.
These are great for test batches. They each hold a 2-1/2 pound test batch. My molds are numbered because I typically make multiple batches during a soaping day. The mold number is entered on my batch data sheet so that I can keep track of the multiple batches that I make in a day.
To prepare the mold I tape a baggie onto the bottom of the mold with packaging tape that I buy in bulk from the warehouse store. The tape is carefully pressed into the ridges in the mold. If not the raw soap will find its way out of the mold (ask me how I know). I usually prepare my molds the night before so I don’t have to spend the time during my soaping day.
For added stability I set the mold on a towel in a shallow plastic container and tuck the towel around the mold tightly. This also helps keep the soap in as much as possible. Try to keep the towel flat on the bottom of the mold because the finished soap will take the shape of any folds or ridges on the bottom. I’m still searching for something flat to use on the bottom of the mold. Some soap makers insulate their molds, however, when I did the soap became really hot and expanded. When it cooled it contracted and left an empty cavity in the top of the soap.
Since you will be weighing liquid it is a good idea to protect your scale by placing it in a large baggie. Make sure the feet of the scale are on a solid surface and level.
Measure the distilled water. I chill my water because it prevents the lye/water from reaching 210 degrees. When chilled the temperature rises to only 170 degrees. If you use ¼ distilled water ice cubes the temperature rises to just 150 degrees. This cuts down on the waiting time considerably.
Note: I typically let the lye/water and oils lower to around 120 degrees before combining. Other soapmakers use the 80 degree mark as their mixing temp. and some use a higher mark. You need to find out what is right for you. Try to use the same temp each time you make soap. This eliminates one variable and enables you to produce more consistent batches.
Carefully measure the lye into the plastic bowl. If you pour too much in just spoon out enough until the correct amount remains.
Place the distilled water in the left sink to prevent any major disaster if it should spill. Slowly add the lye to the water and continue stirring until the water becomes clear. If you don’t stir long enough the lye will crystallize on the bottom of the glass measuring cup and will be difficult to remove. So just keep stirring until it becomes clear, it takes about a minute. Be careful not to breathe too deeply at this point. Toxic steam rises during the first couple seconds after the lye is added to the water. At this time I leave the whisk in the lye/water as a reminder. Continue reading “Cold Process Method of Soap Making”