Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Liquid Soap Tutorial Using The Glycerine Method

Thank you to Emma of Spiral Soaps, for sharing this wonderful tutorial on How To Make Liquid Soap.  We had a heck of a time getting this to you.  Enjoy it!  And do let us all know how YOURS comes out.


This tutorial demonstrates making liquid soap paste prior to dilution, using glycerine in place of water. To calculate your recipe, I suggest doing it here.  Also, hints and tips and makers experiences can be found here on The Dish Forum

Here is how I made it, have fun experimenting! (I used olive and castor oils)

step1. Melt your oils of choice in a crock pot

step 2. Heat up the glycerine (use in place of water amount) in a pan and keep hot on a very low flame. Very carefully add your potassium hydroxide a little at a time, stirring all the time, whilst still on the heat.

You must add the lye carefully and slowly as it tends to volcano if you add too much at a time. Keep stirring it down.

step 4. Once the lye has dissolved completely, carefully pour it into the hot oils in the crock pot and stir with a whisk.

step 5. Keep stirring as it goes through several changes quite quickly, after it forms an emulsion, it starts to thicken and darken.

step 6. Little bubbles start to form as you whisk and fly away into the air (this is my favorite bit!).

step 7.  The next stage is thickens more and gets paler, like liquid caramel.

step 8. Thicker still, keep stirring.
step 9. It is super thick now, and beautifully glossy.

step 10. Too thick to whisk now, time to leave it to cool down.

step 11. Leave overnight, and it hardens to a toffee consistency.

step 12. The next day, heat the crock pot again, until the mix turns clear and golden. Weigh some into a jar ready for diluting.

Finally, add the correct amount of boiling water for your desired dilution. This will take trial and error for your particular recipe.

The soap mixture is left to dissolve in the hot water, stir very gently and slowly, to avoid bubbles forming. It will eventually dissolve and as it cools it will thicken. If it sets too thick, add more hot water and repeat the above, until you have the consistency you desire. make lots of notes about your dilution process, so that you can get the same results each time.  Hopefully, you'll be able to add the correct amount of hot water in one go, once you have figured out how much is right for your recipe.

Good luck and happy soaping!

Emma (spiral soaps)


Again, Emma, thank you.  You are a trooper!   hugs, Jo

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Hanger Swirl Technique - Tutorial

 Celine has graciously offered this hanger swirl tutorial for those of you who are interested.  Celine makes amazing soaps (I know firsthand) and they are stunning, too!  Please go visit her site to peruse her art:  www.iamhandmade.com


The Hanger Swirl Technique by Celine Blacow (Ireland):

This technique allows you to incorporate an advanced design in your cold process soaps very simply and easily, with equipment easily found in most houses. 

What do you need? Firstly make up your usual cold process soap formula to the soap batter stage.  Divide it into at least two colours, in the example shown, Adam + Eve, we’ve used a very classic combination of black and white.  Contrasting colours work best with this technique, however, you could get a very interesting combination from colours within the same range (consider using this technique as an add on to the gradient layers technique shown earlier on this blog from Emily Shieh). 

There are 9 basic steps in working with the Hanger Swirl Technique:

1                    Prepare your soap as you normally would but choose a fragrance or essential oil and a formulation that allows you time to play around with your soap – possibly not the best time to try that new fragrance oil or your extra spicy essential oils!

2                    Choose your colours - you’ll need a minimum of two colours and highly contrasting colours work really well together.  You can, however, choose as many colours as you wish … in this example of my Adam + Eve soap, I choose a classic combination of black and white.

3                    Have your jugs of coloured soaps ready and pour in equal sized layers.  The more layers, the more definition you should achieve.  Five or six layers are probably best, with two being the minimum.

4                    Once you have each layer poured, take your hanger.  The hanger you’ll use is a regular wire hanger, the kind you get with your dry cleaning.  A plastic coated wire hanger would be even better.  Bend and shape this so that it fits your mould perfectly, length and height wise. 

5                    Bang your mould to allow any bubbles to rise to the top and then you’re ready to use your hanger.  Place it at the longest side of the mould furthest away from you.  Push the hanger down into the mould, pushing lightly against the side of the mould.  When you reach the bottom of your mould, move the hanger fractionally towards you, keeping it at the bottom of the mould. Then pull the hanger up, keeping it nice and straight and slowly drag it up through the layers of your soap. 

6                    When you reach the top, move it fractionally towards you again and then push it down slowly back into the soap, keeping it nice and straight and moving slowly. 

7                    Move it fractionally closer towards you when it’s at the bottom of the mould, and then pull it up again, slowly dragging it up towards the top. 

8                    Repeat until you have reached the other side of the mould.  Depending on the width of your mould, you might have to do the push/pull technique four or five times.  You can repeat it going back in the other direction, if you like. 

9                    Once you’ve finished, knock off any excess soap off the hanger and place it carefully in your sink for washing up later.  Then work on the top of the soap as you’d normally do. 

The images below show both the layers and how the hanger has broken through the layers to create this swirl.