Monday, February 21, 2011

White Lines, Go Awayyyyyy

See the white line?

When I first cut this soap, I believed it was lye pieces, but couldn't understand what had happened (again). But this time, I had an inkling that it was because I hadn't completely melted my shea butter to liquid. I left a few tiny melting pods in there which I thought would just be melted by the lye chemical reaction when I poured it in. My guess at this point is that it may have caused some sort of fusion instead, especially now that I know that I wasn't stirring my palm oil and creating too much stearic acid in my soaps unknowingly.... WHO KNOWS what's going on in this bar!(?) I did the tongue test when I first cut them and I got a small zap and cut all of the white "wisps" away. Well, except for this one, because I needed to know what happens to the sucker once it starts curing.

Today, I get my pH strips out to test my soaps and I test the actual white wispy part assuming it would result in high pH levels. As you can see, I tested it and got a result of 8, which is not high.

According to soap books, you want your pH levels in your soap to be between 6-10.

Then, as you can also see, I dug into the line with a tad more water and waited for a different result and I found none. I then tested it with my tongue. Minimal zap, but a zap nonetheless. I truly hate the tongue zap, and I really hate the taste of soap. :P

So the soap is the same pH level on the un-white part as it is with a fresh pH strip in the white part. Does anyone have any insight? Has this happened to you and can you share your story?

My soaps always test in at pH level of 8, so I'm starting to believe that my strips are broken or . . . what, now?

Insight would be great and sharing with newbies and me... it's good to pool our knowledge.

Because I love you guys so much, I will be doing a giveaway this week. And for the future, if there is anyone who wants to sponsor a giveaway, let me know! ;)


Monday, February 7, 2011

I'm Mad At Titanium Dioxide

First, we had a nice lovely discussion about Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) like adults that we are. But it did cause a raucous didn't it? By the way, TiO2 is the chemical formula and I'll be referring to it as TiO2 throughout the post.

Then, a few days later, a puff of TiO2 blows directly in my face just at the moment I inhale. (Lungs. Seized. Help.)

And then, I make Ruby Rock Star soap and decide to create a pretty swirl with some TiO2 blended soap, and {{wham!}} 24 bars are now SALE BARS because I now have some soft crumbling sides. I am convinced it's the TiO2. Why? Because the soap is great except it's falling apart. Update: I think it IS the TiO2, but it also must have been a temperature thing even though I covered my pans of soap... see?

The compromised peach sides are my problem.

Do you remember the first time titanium dioxide ruined my other Rubies? The snow on top and what was up with the center? They were pretty AND ugly all at the same time. Just like lizards!

old rubies

I think I'm done with titanium dioxide. Hmm, let me think.... are there any soaps that would suffer design -wise? Only the Raspberry Linzer Cookie and I already went darker again with that because I wanted the cookie part to look more well done from the oven.

And why attack my Ruby Rock Stars? What have they done to the TiO2 anyway?? They are sweet, like princesses, is that why you hate, TiO2? Because you don't want them to be their pretty little sparkly little things? It's always picking on Ruby. Ruby The Rock Star.


Left me mad one too many times. I'm done wasting my time and soap on you... Here I come with my brown and creamy hues. I'll just make it interesting for Spring....another challenge (as if I need one). The 10 years off my life when I breathed in an ounce of the stuff and then my two loaves of soap... yeah.

Damn you, TiO2

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Some Amazing Feedback About Our Perfumes

Here are just a few of the most excellent little outbursts we've heard from our customers and we are proud to share.

About Lair:

Oh my goodness. I honestly didn't think another fragrance could top '
Lounge" (gor-GEOUS) as my go-to sexy scent, but then I got "Lair!" It's so creamy, sweet, but dark and smoky at the same time. I adore it, and will most definitely be wearing it this Valentine's Day. *growl* Thank you so much for creating another amazing fragrance!
Lysa Luna, Ringleader
The Morbid The Merrier

Also about Lair:

OMG Lair! I want to roll around in it forever, it needs to be in a soap, lotion, scrubs, everything. You're not allowed to discontinue it ever!
-Meghan Runyon of Dreaming Tree Soapworks

About Iniquity:

I love this fragrance too! It is warm and dark and sensual, and not too sweet. Perfect for feeling pretty on a chilly winter night.


About Lounge: Mmm wonderful! Purchased for my husband, and it is great on him. Gentlemanly and dark without being too heavy, and it has excellent staying power! Joanna's tastes are spot-on yet again:)

-Sarah on Etsy

I love love love this scent. The grapefruit is a great wake-me-up scent, and underneath the primary citrus scent is a wonderful, warm, sweet fragrance that makes this much more mature and subtle perfume.

-buyer on etsy

I don't think I could love this more. It is perfect.

-Kim of Kim's Kitchen Sink blog

If you have something to say about your experience feel free to send them along so others can feel confident ordering a perfume that is adored by you!

We are glad our hand blended proprietary scents have been so well received.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

DIY Silicone Liners for Soap Moulds

I was fortunate enough to stumble upon Tortuga Soaps and find Kaseen Cook's great website. She has two tutorials along with other information about saving turtles (we love turtles!): one on how to make your own silicone liner for soap molds.

Kaseen gave me permission to share this project with you (thank you, Kaseen!!)


You can make your own silicone liners for your soap moulds; all you need is some RTV silicone (easily sourced from the internet or locally) and some simple supplies you can usually find around the house. Silicone is not a cheap material, so making your own can save you labor cost, as well as make soaping easier and more fun without having to line your moulds all the time! You can also pour your liners onto cool textures to make all sorts of uniquely textured soaps. Try pouring on engraved plaster to create a liner custom made with your logo. It takes a bit of patience, but is certainly not too hard for anyone to accomplish in a weekend. Silicone is the only material that will adhere to silicone. It does not “glue” the pieces together, it chemically welds them, which means that when joining two pieces of silicone with silicone they become chemically and physically the same object. This is like metal welding, only with silicone, so the finished product is just as strong as one that was made with one pour. There isn’t much difference to the end user having a liner made in one pour vs. one welded from pieces, although they take longer to make, but as long as the pieced one is put together with care and attention to detail, they are just as good. Welded silicone liners are strong and practical for those wanting to make liners and save some money. **For even cheaper liners, you could try Polyurethane Rubber. Polyurethane is not “self-releasing” like silicone, so will require mould release agents like food grade silicone and wax, but savings of up to 50% off the cost of silicone can be realized. The pros for this material are it’s much cheaper than silicone, firm but flexible material, and very durable and much longer lasting than silicone. The cons are that when molding soap the mould will need a release agent like food grade silicone or wax, so it’s a bit more work than silicone.


Planning the layout –

Measure the length, width and height of your liner, and then arrange into one or two flat areas as in the diagram. Remember, silicone is expensive, measure twice and pour/cut once!

Determining the amount of silicone for your mould – I would suggest a liner thickness of 3mm for the most cost effective use of your silicone as well as not taking up too much space in your mould, while retaining adequate strength. After you have determined the surface area you will need to cover with silicone (the internal surface area), ensure the measurements are in cm, and determine the total surface area in cm squared. If you want a 0.3cm thick mould (3mm), multiply the surface area by the thickness of the liner to get the volume of silicone in cm cubed, or cc’s, or ml’s. This volume is equivalent to the material in weight (as 1cc/ml of silicone is approximately 1g of silicone), so for measurement purposes convert the volume to weight.

Here is an example to illustrate:

Liner surface area (as contained in the frame) is 39x32cm = 1,248cm2 1,248cm2 x 0.3cm(thick) = 374.4ml (or cc’s) = 375g silicone. With the average cost of silicone at $0.05/g = $18.75 As you can see increasing the thickness will greatly increase the price of the liner:

1,248cm2 x 0.5cm(thick) = 624ml (or cc’s) = 624g silicone. = $31.20 1,248cm2 x 1cm(thick) = 1,248ml (or cc’s) = 1,248g silicone. = $62.40 Materials:

· Long wooden battens or strips of cardboard or any other straight objects to make frames.

· Stirring stick/spatula, plastic tub, and gloves.

· RTV Silicone (I would suggest starting with about 1kg for cost effectiveness and for just enough volume without huge investment. If you plan to make many liners or if you have large liners, 5kg packages are the most economical and cost effective of the smaller packages, ranging from $200 to $250AUD)

Desirable properties (guide only):

Low to medium viscosity (45,000 cps or less) for smooth pouring, medium cure time (min about 6 hours to full cure and 30min pot life to allow working time, real cure time is usually half of advertised cure time), and Shore A hardness of 25 or greater – the firmer the silicone (Shore A of 35-50) the thinner the liner can be while retaining the same strength and support (as long as the other qualities are still present).

Australian Resources and Suggestions:

Online –

Adelaide Moulding and Casting


Suggestions: (made by Barnes Silicone)

Maximould, M4503, Ultrasil.

Barnes Silicone ( Suggestions: Use caution if you choose to use Pinky Silicone, as this silicone must be molded in about 6minutes, which may not be enough time to pour/spread your liner, otherwise it’s the best silicone so may be worth a try! Tufsil 25, Maximould, M4503, Ultrasil.

Solid Solutions


Suggestions (Tin Catalysed): Solid Mould 500, Polytek TinSil 70-30.

Local –

Check your local Fiberglass and Mould Making Supplies Store; many carry RTV silicone and the Barnes range of products (their website lists stores that supply their silicone). Just look up “fiberglass” or “molding and casting” in the yellow pages.


1. Layout the batons into the surface area rectangles required for your size liner, to contain/mould the silicone. Be sure to use a right angle tool or the corner of a sheet of paper to square your frame.

2. Tape around the edges of your walls to prevent any silicone leaking out.

3. Ensure the surface you are pouring onto is clean. You can pour onto any surface, including cool textures (bubble wrap, sandpaper, needle point grid, ect.. beware of fabrics or carpet, silicone can soak in and be hard to get out!).

Tips: You can use the side of the silicone that is touching the surface as the inner or outer part of your liner depending on which you prefer. Sometimes it is better to pour your liner onto a slightly textured surface like paper or MDF and use the side that contacts the MDF or paper as the outer side of your liner, because it will not grip onto your outer wooden mould when inserting.

4. Mix your silicone as per the manufactures guidelines (search for pouring silicone and the “bombs away” method on the internet for some really good videos. Tap Plastics makes great instructional videos). Pour into your frame using the “bombs away” method to reduce air bubbles. The bombs away method is essentially pouring a very thin stream from a height to stretch and pop any bubbles that were trapped in the silicone during mixing. Using a plastic spatula spread the silicone into the corners and even-out thin or thick areas.

5. Blow across the silicone with a hair drier set to cool and with an air funnel/straightening attachment to make a concentrated blast, or just blow across the top of the silicone with your mouth, to pop any remaining bubbles (just be careful not to accidentally spit on it or hyperventilate lol).

6. Cover your frame with a board or other stiff cover if you are worried about lint or pets/kids getting into it while it hardens. Allow curing for the recommended time, heat generally speeds up the cure (as the reaction is endothermic), so a blast with a hair drier, heater or keeping it in a warn room will quicken the process. Do not use a heat gun or flame on the silicone, as this is TOO hot. To clean up your mix pot and spoon, just let the silicone cure and peal off, it’s really easy to clean! Or you can put the silicone pot with the extra silicone on the sides in the freezer to prevent it from curing for about 1-2 days, and use it later to join/weld your liner sides.

7. When dry, peal off the frame and surface. Trim/slice the silicone sides to fit into your mould.

8. Mix a small batch of silicone (about 10g is enough) or get the remainder you saved from the freezer and apply to the edges of your liner sides and weld together supported inside your wooden mould (you may need blocks or other objects to hold your sides up from the inside as well). Wipe away excess, and allow curing.

You’re done!


Thank you, Kaseen!

I don't know about you, but if I could have my way, I'd love to have Upland silicone molds for all of my molds because I HATE lining molds with freezer paper. BUT! I found this fantastic do it yourself silicone molding tutorial that you could try.

If you do, please send me pictures!! :)