Archive for the ‘crafts as a hobby’ Category

Best Candle Scents

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

best candle scentsBest Candle Scents

Recently a great question was posted on Natures Garden’s Facebook Page.  We thought that this was such a good question that we wanted to make a blog post about it.

The question was, “What scents work best in candles?”  Looking for the best candle scents can be quite a task.  You want to ensure that the candle has both a great cold throw (the smell of the candle when it is not lit) and hot throw (the smell of the candle when it it lit and has a wet pool.)  As always, testing is key.  However, to help in the quest for best candle scents, we turned to the pros.  We asked our candle making friends on Facebook to give us their suggestions and input on what they thought were the best candle scents.  The responses we received were plentiful and very helpful.  To all of the candle makers that shared your input, thank you very much.

After reviewing, researching, and calculating the information, we complied a list of the top 20 best candle scents.  These scents are listed in no particular order.  Complimenting each candle scent suggestion is a customer review on their personal experience with the fragrance oil in a candle.

1.  7 UP Pound Cake Scent- “This FO is soooo good. We use it in soy wax, and it is beautiful and strong. It is very popular with our customers. We are so in love with this fragrance!!”

2.  Apple Orchard Scent-  “Fantastic cold/hot throw in soy. Clean, crisp, classic red apple scent without the spice. I’m sure this one will be a favorite year-round.  Used 1 oz per lb of 100% soy.”

3.  Black Cherry Bomb Scent-  “This black cherry is definitely the bomb. I made a soy candle and was very pleased with the cold and hot throw of this fragrance.”

4.  Blueberry Cobbler Scent-  “I went out on a limb and bought a sample of this one. I didn’t like it right out of the bottle. Tried it in Natures Garden Soy Wax and it was LOVELY! Amazing scent throw with this one. Will buy again.”

5. Blueberry Muffin Scent-  “This fragrance is AMAZING. Really fills the room in a soy candle. Please do not ever stop making this fragrance.”

6.  Bite Me Scent-  “Wonderful cold and hot throw in soy. Cured for only 24 hours and it had an awesome throw. Love it!”

7.  Cashmere Type Scent-  “This Cashmere is awesome! I just love the floral and sweet notes in it. It’s very sensual. I used in soy wax. It has a great cold and hot throw. Love it!”

8.  Coco Mango Scent-“ This is a great summer scent! The coconut & mango in it have a strong throw in my soy candles. This fragrance has a stronger throw than most. I have many requests for it. This fragrance is a must have!”

9.  Country Bumpkin Scent-  “Really a great fall fragrance. Strong! Threw hot and cold. I swear you could smell all the wonderful layers to this fragrance. Used in a paraffin soy blend 1.5 oz.”

10.  Eucalyptus Spearmint Scent-  “I used this scent in candles. The scent is wonderful. Spearmint is a natural mood up lifter, burning this candle makes life easier.”

11.  Fresh Linen Scent-  “This is a best seller for me. If you are looking for a crisp, clean scent, then this is for you. Excellent cold and hot throw in 100% soy.”

12.  (NG) Island Fresh (Gain) Type Scent-  “The first day I debuted this fragrance my customers absolutely loved it! Smells just like the real thing and has a strong wonderfully fresh scent. I would highly recommend to all other candle makers.”

13.  Lick Me All Over Scent-  “It’s another “sleeper” It’s okay in the bottle, but once its in 100% soy its AWESOME! I used hot pink dye and its perfect. I’ve already had customers wanting this in everything from candles to bath and body products.”

14.  Lilac Scent-  “My customers can’t get enough of this. It is a true lilac scent. Excellent scent throw both hot and cold.”

15.  (NG) Loving Spell Scent-  “This is my number one seller of all. I purchase multiples of this scent each time. Scent throw is amazing and it smells just like V.S. Lovespell. If you don’t have this one you’re missing out!”

16.  Monkey Farts Scent-  “Monkey Farts fragrance is outstanding! Banana scent POPS! I used in Ecosoya CB Advanced Pure Soy, 1 Pound & 1 oz. Monkey Farts. 48 Hours cure time the cold throw was good. In 4 Days cure time, the Cold and Hot throw was AWESOME!!! Very Strong.”

17.  Peppermint Patty Scent-  “I was surprised on how this smelled the real thing. Love it. This is going into my collection. Used in 100% Soy wax. Great hot and cold scent throw.”

18.  Pink Sugar Type Scent-  “Amazing FO! Warm & sweet, but romantic and slightly feminine. Does smell of cotton candy, but so much more complex. Great throw in soy, both hot and cold. Love it, love it, love it!”

19.  Red Hot Cinnamon Scent-  “This is a must have. This is just like the candy. Used in soy wax. Excellent scent  throw.”

20.  Sweet Orange Chili Pepper Scent-  “This FO is really fantastic. Powerful orange citrus scent with a spicy kick. Very unique. I used this in soy 464 and a parasoy blend and both had outstanding cold and hot throws.”

How to Make Scented Markers

Friday, August 16th, 2013
markers

Making scented markers is easy and fun. This is a great project for your little ones to let their creative drawings soar in color and scent.

It is time to celebrate!  The start of a new school year is quickly approaching and with that, it is also time to purchase your children’s school supplies.  So, why not add that little extra creative care to make your kids feel special!

Here is what you need: 
Crayola Markers TM (not the washable kind)
Disposable Pippettes
Fragrance Oil  (Choose any of Natures Garden’s Fragrance Oils to Coordinate with the colored markers you have.)

Although any of Natures Garden Fragrance Oils will work, here are a few of the favorites from the childhood scents category:
Best Friends Fragrance Oil- color suggestion Teal
Black Licorice Fragrance Oil- color suggestion Black
Blue Cotton Candy Fragrance Oil- color suggestion Blue
Bubblegum Fragrance Oil- color suggestion Pink
Chocolate Chip Cookies Fragrance Oil- color suggestion Brown
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy Fragrance Oil- color suggestion Purple
Dreamsickle Fragrance Oil- color suggestion Orange
Easter Bunny Burps Fragrance Oil- color suggestion Gray
Green Apple Candy Fragrance Oil- color suggestion Green
Jammin Rock Candy Fragrance Oil- color suggestion Red
Sugar Cookies Fragrance Oil- color suggestion Yellow

Here are the Steps:

Step 1: One marker at a time, remove the bottom of the plastic marker encasement.

Step 2: Remove the long, cylinder-shaped marker ink pad from the plastic encasement.

Step 3: Using a transfer pipette, place at least 8 drops of fragrance oil onto each end of the marker ink pad, and place ink pad back into marker encasement. Place end cap back on the marker.

This will allow you to scent your markers whatever fragrance you would like them to be, and actually helps to refresh markers that are beginning to dry up. We have not tested this on washable markers since we believe that they are water soluble and won’t mix with fragrance oil; but we are not 100% sure that they would not work. If you find that washable markers also work, let us know!

Natures Garden is not responsible for the performance of any of the recipes provided on our website. Testing is your responsibility. If you plan to resell any recipes we provide, it is your responsibility to adhere to all FDA regulations if applicable. If there are ingredients listed in a recipe that Natures Garden does not sell, we cannot offer any advice on where to purchase those ingredients. We also do not offer any advice on formulating or altering recipes.

Fragrance & Fun for Everyone

Inspire, Create, and Dominate!

Sparkles!!! Nicole

(Corporate Manager of Natures Garden Candle Supplies)

www.naturesgardencandles.com

Unique Bath and Body Treats

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

fragrance oilsWhat’s your name & Your Company Name:  Misty Baker  ~ Bath Sweets and Body Treats

Why did you decide to go into business?  What was your motivation?  How long have you been in business?  I have been in business for 5 years now.  It started as a hobby, making things for family then expanded to family and friends and their friends and finally I just took the jump and decided to make a go of it and never looked back!  It is so nice to have control what goes on your skin, I use the best ingredients available and keep things as natural as possible.

What products do you make and sell?  I make all kinds of unique bath and body treats as well as candles and other gift items.  I thrive on special orders and personalizing gifts to make it a one of a kind item people will treasure.  I love a good challenge and it really keeps things interesting doing unique and very different products.

What are your business goals?  Someday I hope to be financially stable and expand the business with all my family involved.   And a beach house would be really nice also!!

What are some products you use from Natures Garden; what are your favorite products from Natures Garden?  I have used everything from Natures Garden…They actually have EVERYTHING!   I love the waxes, cosmetic bases, soap base, the packaging is wonderful but what caught my eye to Natures Garden years ago was the selection of fragrance oils not to mention the quality and prices, which helps a small business, survive in these times.

Your Website:    http://www.bathsweetsandbodytreats.com/shop/

Facebook page:   https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Bath-Sweets-Body-Treats/317166493200

 

 

Lip Balms and Candle Melts

Saturday, April 13th, 2013

fragrance-oils7

 

1. What’s your name & Your Company Name?  Nichole, Nichole’s Candle Creations

2. Why did you decide to go into business? What was your motivation? How long have you
been in business? 
Back in 2007, I got injured on the job as a patient care assistant and ended up out of work for a period of time. Since I had extra time on my hands, I wanted to learn how to make candles. It originally started as just a hobby. I then started trying to come up with unique ideas and decided to allow others to purchase my art. My motivation was to allow others to have something with a personal touch versus something you would just pick up in the store. I have been working out of my home since 2011.

3. What products do you make and sell?  I currently sell tea lights, rose shaped candle melts, heart shape candle melts, cat candles, heart candles, votives, and lip balms. My candles are made out of crème wax and soy wax depending on the product being made. I would also like to expand into more products in the near future.

4. What are your business goals?  Rather than focusing on long term goals and variables I cannot predict, I like to focus my immediate efforts on expanding my own independence day by day.  I intend to expand my catalog as well as expand my business in the online world.  Much of what I am doing is being played by ear.  I find that remaining open ended allows for more opportunities and less difficulty in handling success in unplanned venues.

5. What are some products you use from Natures Garden; what are your favorite products from Natures Garden?  The products I have tried from Natures Garden have been Frosted Gift Bags, Incense Sticks, DPG Solvent Liquid, Strawberry Cheesecake Lip Balm Kit and Rosemary Mint Type Fragrance Oil.  Natures Garden is new to me, so I haven’t had the opportunity to try many products as of yet but look forward to trying more.  As of right now, I really liked the strawberry cheesecake starter kit. It was easy to make and fun to do.

Your Website:  Nicole’s Candle Collection

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/NicholesCandleCreations

What is an Emulsifier?

Friday, January 25th, 2013

emulsifier natures gardenIf you have ever seen an unshaken bottle of Italian Salad Dressing, then you have witnessed a product that could definitely use the help of an emulsifier!

In Elementary School, we all learned that oil and water just simply will not combine on their own accord.  They are just not compatible.  It is all about polarity.  Let’s magnify down to the molecular level of things and really get down to the nitty gritty.

Simply put polarity is the nature of a molecule or a compound to either be attracted to or repelled from another molecule.  The attraction or opposition is based on the charge of the nucleus, and the formation of the atoms that have bonded.  Based on this makeup, compounds are either polar or non-polar.

Polar molecules are not balanced in their chemical makeup.  Usually it is because one of the elements is pulling all of the electrons to one side of the atom.  Therefore, polar elements are constantly looking to bond with other polar elements in order to be a balanced compound.  On the flip side, if an atom is completely balanced, and has an equal charge on both sides, then it is classified as non-polar.

Now, when polar and non-polar elements are present in the same mixture what you get is separation.  Whether the mixture is stirred, heated, or shaken; eventually the polar and non-polar elements will isolate themselves from one another.  This is a physical trait, which you can literally see.  What is missing from the equation is an emulsifier.

Emulsifiers are most commonly used in the food industry.  They have a great impact on the texture and composition of food.  Another benefit of using emulsifiers in food is the extension of freshness.  Some common foods that use emulsifiers are:  salad dressings, candy, frozen desserts like ice cream and yogurts, cake mixes, and icings.  There are even foods that are natural emulsifiers such as milk, mustard, and eggs.

In the department of bath and body, or any product that is made to be put on the skin, emulsifiers will become your new best friend.  Since, in our industry, most of our scenting is accomplished with oils, it poses a problem when the product that we are creating is water based.  The reasoning- just like the Italian dressing, water and oil will not mix.  The chemistry concept to remember is like dissolves like.  This means that polar will always bind and dissolve in polar, and vice versa with non-polar.

When a mixture is water based; it is termed Aqueous.  This means that in order to mix other elements to this recipe, the additional ingredients need to be hydrophilic, or water loving (polar).  Fragrance and Essential oils are not water loving, therefore they are termed lipophilic (non-polar).

No matter how much you shake, mix, blend, or beat a mixture, if it contains both water and oils, there will be separation that occurs.  The only way to solve this is by adding an emulsifier to your recipe.  An emulsifier is quite an amazing little thing.  Let’s look at the molecular level again.  An emulsifier consists of a hydrophilic (water-loving) head, and a lipophilic (oil-loving) tail.  This is the perfect peace maker between water and oil.  This is because the emulsion allows for the lesser mass element to be “insulated” by the emulsifier to prevent it from joining the other elements with the same polarity.  What this allows for a dispersion of water and oil together and this referred to as a stable emulsion.

When an emulsifier is added to a recipe, it is drawn to the layer where binding is needed.  It is then able to position itself, by lessening the surface tension, between the oil and water.  Emulsifiers, besides being wonderful binders between polar and non-polar elements, also act as aerating agents, starch complexing agents, and even crystallization inhibitors.

Emulsifiers create emulsions.  There are two types of emulsions.  The first is an oil in water emulsion.  This is where the greater mass is water, and there are oil droplets which are dispersed into the water.  This is created by the emulsifier covering the oil particles and allowing the hydrophilic end to bind with the hydrophilic water.  Now, since both are water-loving elements, they will bind together.  The second emulsion is a water in oil emulsion.  This is where the greater mass is oil, and there are water droplets which are dispersed into the oil by the emulsifier covering the water particles.  This then allows for the lipophoic end to bind with the lipophilic oil.  With the addition of an emulsifier, both emulsions are now stable and evenly dispersed without separation.

These two different emulsions are important to know if for example you are trying to make a specific kind of cream or lotion.

In the case of water dispersed in oil, oil will encase the water so therefore the oils in the recipe will touch the skin first.  There will of course be some greasiness in the feel of the lotion when it is applied to the skin.  This is because of the oils, and will be absorbed into the skin.  These recipes are great for adding beneficial aspects of the oils directly to the skin.

In the case of oil dispersed in water, water will encase the oil so therefore the water in this recipe will touch the skin first.  These recipes have a less greasy feel to them.  These are also great emulsion recipes in situations where you are looking for moisture to be one of the benefits of the lotion or cream.

For bath and body crafters, common emulsifiers that are used are:  Borax with Beeswax, Beeswax, BTMS 25%, Carbomer, Cetaryl Alcohol, Emulsifying Wax-NF, Lecithin, PEG-20 Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Silky Emulsifying Wax, Stearyl Alcohol NF, and Polysorbate 80.

Natures Garden Fragrance Oils

How to Make Your Own Scented Christmas Cards

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

 

Sending holiday cards to family and loved ones is a seasonal tradition for many people this time of year.  Whether the holiday cards are store purchased or handmade, receiving one in the mail certainly brings a smile to anyone’s face.   So, when you are sending out your own holiday cards this year, why not include an extra special element; that of fragrance!  At Natures Garden, we figure with scents this good, you can’t go wrong!

Scrapbooking cards and memory albums are great ways to really make a project your own.  With a clean canvas and an ingenious mind, the world can be your oyster.  The whole essence of scrapbooking could be summed up in just one word: preservation.  Usually, there are three fundamentals that contrive a great scrapbooking design.  They are photos (of course), memorabilia, and the stories behind the memory that is being encapsulated.  But, did you know that one of the most powerful keys to recall memories is through the sense of smell.  So, we figured this is right up our alley.

In the true spirit of scrapbooking, we wanted to add our own special touch to our design.  Hence, the scented scrapbook card was created.  Although, you can replicate our recipe verbatim, also feel free to make it your own as well.  You can of course use any of Natures Garden’s fragrance oils to scent what ever theme your scrapbooking project may be.  However, if you are looking for a great holiday fragrance oil for your Season’s Greetings cards, please check out Natures Garden Holiday selection.  You will have no problems finding the perfect scent to truly embrace the feel that you are looking for.

One of the reasons why this holiday recipe is so amazing is because it truly allows for your imagination to thrive.  So, let’s get put our crafty caps on, and get the creative juices flowing.

Here is what you will need:

Hansel & Gretel’s House Fragrance Oil
Elmer’s Glue
Unscented Hairspray
Colored Paper
Candy Balls
Various Soap Paints
Paint Brushes
Glitter or Mica Pigment

 

Instructions:

1.  Scent 2 oz. of Elmer’s Glue with 30 drops of Hansel & Gretel’s House Fragrance Oil.

2.  Scent 2 oz. of unscented hairspray with 30 drops of Hansel & Gretel’s House fragrance oil.

3.  Add a few drops of Hansel & Gretel’s House fragrance oil to your desired soap paints.

4.  Apply scented glue to the areas of the card that you plan to adhere glitter, candy balls, and other décor.

5.  Paint the portions of your Christmas card with your scented soap paints.

6.  Spray your Christmas card with your scented hairspray.

7.  For an extra bonus, make recipe cards with some of your favorite family recipes and place inside card.

But remember, the fun does not have to stop there.  By scenting the Elmer’s glue and hairspray, you can fragrance any of your scrapbooking projects.  Just simply replace any adhesive steps out with your scented glue and you are good to go.  This project idea brings a whole new meaning to scrapbooking memories!

Fragrance & Fun for Everyone

Inspire, Create, and Dominate!

Sparkles!!! Nicole

(Corporate Manager of Natures Garden Candle Supplies)

www.naturesgardencandles.com

How to Make a Santa Candle

Friday, December 7th, 2012

With the holidays quickly approaching, these festive Santa Candles are sure to impress even the big guy himself!

Everyone knows that Santa loves his milk and cookies, I mean that is the whole reason why he has his belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly.  The man just has a thing for sweet treats.  So, in homage to good ole Saint Nick and his fascination with holiday cookies, we at Natures Garden really wanted to creatively embrace and share a fantastic, decorative, and oh so cute candle idea that you can use as a gift or decoration for the season.

Here is what you will need:

Joy Wax
Pillar of Bliss Wax
Red Spectrum Liquid Candle Dye
Yellow Spectrum Liquid Candle Dye
Brown Spectrum Liquid Candle Dye
Santa’s Whiskers Fragrance Oil
16 oz. Glass Apothecary Jar
(2) 51-32-18z Zinc Core Wicks
Small Sugar Cookie Rubber Mold from FlexibleMolds.com
Pouring Pot
Black felt piece for belt
Gold Foam piece for belt buckle
Hot Glue Gun
Wire whisk

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Measure out 1/2 cup of Pillar of Bliss Wax.

Step 2: Place the wax into a pouring pot. Using the double boiler method as described in one
of our classes, melt wax on low on the stove until the wax is completely melted. Get small
sugar cookie mold from flexible molds ready.

Step 3: Using a toothpick, get a very small amount of brown liquid candle dye and yellow
liquid candle dye and add to the melted wax until it is the color of baked sugar cookies.

Step 4: Add 1/8 oz. of Santa’s Whiskers fragrance oil to melted wax and stir.

Step 5: Pour prepared, melted wax into sugar cookie molds. Allow to set up completely,
and pop out of the molds.

Step 6: Weigh out approximately 22 oz. of Joy Wax. (this is how much wax you will need for
the entire candle).

Step 7: Place 4 oz. of the joy wax into a pouring pot. Using the double boiler method as
described in one of our classes, melt wax on low on the stove until the wax is completely
melted.

Step 8: Add ¼ oz. of Santa’s Whiskers fragrance oil to melted wax and stir.

Step 9: Adhere (2) 51-32-18z zinc wicks to the bottom of your apothecary jar equally spaced
(using a hot glue gun).

Step 10: Pour melted wax carefully into the bottom of the jar (making sure that you do not
splash any wax on the sides of your jar). This layer of wax should be about 1” high. Allow
this layer of wax to completely set up at room temperature.

Step 11: Place 10 oz. of joy wax into a pouring pot. Using the double boiler method as
described in one of our classes, melt wax on low on the stove until the wax is completely
melted.

Step 12: Add 5 drops of red spectrum liquid candle dye to melted wax and stir.

Step 13: Add ½ oz. Santa’s Whiskers fragrance oil to melted wax and stir.

Step 14: Slowly pour melted, red candle wax into jar. Straighten your wicks. Allow to set
up.

Step 15: Melt the remaining joy wax, and add ½ oz. Santa’s Whiskers fragrance oil. Stir.

Step 16: Allow the wax to become slushy in appearance. Then, using a wire whisk or an
electric mixer, beat the wax until it is like thick, fluffy frosting.

Step 17: Spoon the frosting on top of the red layer of your candle, and using your spoon,
make the frosting look like spiked whiskers.

Step 18: Quickly adhere 2 of the sugar cookies you made to the top of the whiskers. Allow
to set up at room temperature.

Step 19: Cut a 1” wide x 12” long black piece of felt.

Step 20: Create a belt buckle with the gold foam piece, and attach to the belt.

Step 21: Attach Santa’s belt to the outside of the jar.

**Note: Remove belt when burning candle.

Fragrance & Fun for Everyone

Inspire, Create, and Dominate!

Sparkles!!! Nicole

(Corporate Manager of Natures Garden Candle Supplies)

www.naturesgardencandles.com

Finding the Perfect Soap Recipe

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Soaping with knowledge, experience, and confidence.

With such a variety of soaping bases, fats, and oils available in the market, one can easily see where the excitement can collide with frustration, especially if you are new to soaping.  We strive for a perfect recipe, but where to begin, the possibilities are endless.  From this soap making blog series, we have already gone over the different types of soaping processes, soap safety, and soaping terminology.  Now, we seek out creating the perfect soaping recipe.

Soap is made by the chemical reaction that occurs when mixing fatty acids, lye, and water.  The lye component actually works as an emulsifier, bonding the fatty oils and water together.  Without the lye, this bond would never form.  These 3 elements, fatty acids, lye, and water are all essential components to the saponification process.

Each soaping oil/butter has a fatty acid composition, and since every oil/butter is different, so is their fatty acid composition.  It is through the variance of each fatty acid composition that important soaping characteristics and qualities are found.   Let’s briefly look at some of the most common fatty acids, as well as, the qualities that are provided by them in a cured bar of soap.

Lauric Acid:  Provides hardness, cleansing, and bubbly lather.

Linoleic Acid:  Provides conditioning

Myristic Acid:  Provides hardness, cleansing, and bubbly lather.

Oleic Acid:  Provides conditioning

Palmitic Acid:  Provides hardness and a creamy lather

Ricinoleic Acid:  Provides conditioning, bubbly lather, and a creamy lather.

Stearic Acid:  Provides hardness and a creamy lather.

As you can see, each and every element that is put into your soaping recipe has distinct benefits or uses, and some ingredients can also inhibit certain soap bar qualities.  Please also notice, that none of the fatty acids allow for all five of the soaping qualities that you are looking for in a bar of soap.  This is why; in order to find a good symmetry among these qualities, a soaping recipe usually contains several different oils (fatty acids).

In order to create a quality bar of soap, it is necessary to find a balance between hardness, cleansing, conditioning, bubbly lather, and creamy lather. This usually involves using a combination of oils/butters in your soap recipe. A typical bar soap recipe calls for 38% water content, and a 5% superfat (the percentage of oils that do not saponifiy).

Here are the values for a typical bar of soap; they are presented in a range:

Hardness 29 to 54
Cleansing 12 to 22
Conditioning 44 to 69
Bubbly lather 14 to 46
Creamy lather 16 to 48

There is however, one example of a soap recipe that can be done with just one oil.  For people who are allergic to nuts, olive oil soap can be made with just that…olive oil.  No allergen worries.  Once this bar has cured though, you have a nice conditioning soap bar that will not leave your hands dry, but, that same soap bar also will not produce a nice lather, and will be very limited in cleansing ability.  This is why being aware of all of the capabilities of your oils, fats, butters, and additives will give you a distinct advantage over other soap bars in the market.

Remember, since all oils have their own fatty acid makeup, they also have specific saponification or SAP values.  This is why it is extremely important that once the ingredients of your soaping recipe are calculated, you MUST use those oils.  They cannot be exchanged out for other soaping oils without recalculating your recipe.

Feeling overwhelmed yet?  Don’t!  We know that this is a lot of information to grasp.  This is why if you are new to soaping, it is our suggestion that you try a recipe that has already been tried and tested.  Doing this will allow you to initiate yourself with the soaping instruction and procedure.  Performing the steps from beginning to end will also give you a firsthand experience of the soaping method and key properties of the saponification process like trace or gel phase.

Congratulations Newbies!  Now is the time where we are actually going to make our first batch together.

If you have not read our blog on soap making safety, please do so now

http://blog.naturesgardencandles.com/soap-making-safety/

Working with lye can be very dangerous!

We have already went slightly ahead, and provided you below a recipe for your 1st time soaping.

Here is what you will need for a 2 pound batch:

6 ounces of Coconut Oil, 76 degree

8.4 ounces of Olive Oil Pomace

8.4 ounces Palm Oil

1.2 ounces of Castor Oil

1.5 ounces of a body safe fragrance oil ie Oatmeal Milk & Honey

9.12 ounces of Distilled Water

3.393 ounces of lye (NaOH)

This recipe range for soap bar quality is:

Hardness 43
Cleansing 17
Conditioning 54
Bubbly lather 22
Creamy lather 31

As you will notice all of the qualities fall within the suggested range nicely.  This soap recipe will give you a balanced overall bar of soap.

When selecting your body safe fragrance oil, please take the time to review the CP soap results.  We have a link with all of our fragrance oils listed alphabetically with the CP results:

http://www.naturesgardencandles.com/mas_assets/pdf/fragrtest.pdf

Good Luck and remember, once you feel confident with your testing recipe, it is time to break the mold and explore the realm of crafting your own soap recipe.  Soap that is completely made by scratch, every ingredient controlled by you!

A very informative class has been created to help you find exactly which ingredients you may want to consider using in your recipe.  Here is the link:

http://www.naturesgardencandles.com/mas_assets/pdf/soapoils.pdf

As you looking at all of the various fats/oils/butters that are capable for soaping recipes, jot down or note any of interest.

In the next class, we will review how to use the soap calculator!

Soap Making Safety

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Natures Garden takes safety seriously.  When it comes to crafting soap, protective gear is mandatory.  It is also just as important to have a safe and clean work environment. 

Before even getting started making soap, ensure that you have all of your ingredients in your work area.  Being prepared is one key factor in successful crafting.   Once you get started, it is vital that you stay in your work area.  Leaving certain ingredients such as lye out in the open can lead to very serious and dangerous situations.  While you are prepping your area, it is also important to make sure that you have the proper soaping equipment, and it is in working order.  Be sure to check the batteries on your scales to be certain they do not need changed before beginning the soap making process.

During the soap making process it is very important that you do not rush.  Since soap making is a science, and you will want to ensure that everything is measured out exactly.  Soap recipes are measured by weight units, not volume units.  In other words, if a recipe calls for 8 oz. of coconut oil, you will need to weigh out 8 oz. of coconut oil on your scales.  Take your time and move methodically.  The best way to work is in an organized fashion.  It is also very important that while you are making soap you are able to concentrate and work uninterrupted.

Safety gear for you from head to toe:

  • Hair should be tied back and away from your face.
  • Protective eye gear or safety goggles should be worn at all times to prevent anything from getting into your eyes.
  • Shirts should be long sleeve.
  • Rubber Gloves should be worn during the whole soaping process.
  • Pants should also be worn.
  • Shoes must be worn.  Nothing that is open toed or leaves any portion of your feet exposed.
  • A facial mask is suggested for the mixing of the water and lye.
  • Always wear an apron.

Safety gear for your work environment:

  • Cover your work area with a protective layer ( like several layers of newspaper, or old towels/blankets)
  • Prepare a Spray bottle filled with vinegar

Equipment:

Once these tools have been designated as your soaping materials and used, they can never be used for anything but soap making.  We advise that you clearly mark everything and keep it separated from your other kitchen utensils.  As a suggestion:  If your work area is in your home, large storage containers with lids work wonderfully for storage.  Using a large storage tote provides you the benefit of having all of your items and equipment in one place, as well as, the capability of removing the storage tote and placing it in a lesser traveled area of your home such as the basement.

  • Proper containers for weighing out recipe (heavy duty plastic or stainless).  Fragrance oils can eat right through certain plastics.  PET and HDPE are the best plastics when working with fragrance and essential oils. NEVER use anything composed of aluminum!
  • Thermometer
  • Towels
  • Stick Blender
  • Mixing utensils (rubber or stainless steel). Wood will break down over time and can eventually leave splinters in your soap batter.
  • Scale
  • Notebook & pen
  • Paper Towels or old rags
  • Mold for soap
  • Freezer paper
  • Spatulas (rubber, silicone works the best)
  • Old blanket or towel for insulation purposes
  • Large containers for the blending of the oils and lye solution (heavy duty plastic or stainless steel).  Never use glass to mix your lye solution; it can crack and break.
  • A permanent black sharpie marker to mark every piece of equipment you use “CAUTION-LYE”.  After you use this equipment to make soap, you will never be able to use them for food-contact again.

Lye:

The most dangerous aspect in the soap making process is Lye; Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) is the lye used for bar soaps, and Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) is the lye used to make liquid soaps.  NaOH is also referred to as caustic soda; while KOH is referred to as Caustic potash. Essential to the saponification process, lye is used with distilled water to make your lye water solution.  It is extremely important that you are in a well ventilated area while working with lye.  If you have small children or pets, you may want to consider doing this portion outside or in a garage.  Regardless of where you choose to mix your lye water solution, it is advisable to remove all pets and children from the area where you will be working with lye.  It is estimated that 5,000 accidental lye ingestions occur each year by children under 5 years of age.

Lye can lead to death if ingested, so it is best not to take any chances.  In fact, ingestion of bases such as NaOH (lye) produce the most significant injuries to our bodies.

If ingested, seek medical help immediately.  Do not induce vomiting unless directed by medical personnel or poison control.  Milk or water may be given to the person unless informed otherwise by medical personnel.  Do not give the person milk or water if they are unconscious, vomiting, having convulsions, or if the person is showing a decreased level of alertness.  Loosen any restricting clothing such as ties, collars, belts, buckles.

The phone number for the National Poison Control Center is 1-800-222-1222 (US only).  The National Poison Control Center can also be contacted in non-emergency situations such as Poison Prevention.  The center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The lye solution is made up of lye and distilled water.  Because the solution is a chemical reaction, it has an exothermal reaction.  This means that heat is given off as the chemical breakdown occurs.  One tip that we learned is to divide the amount of grams of water you need for your recipe between water and ice cubes.  This will help reduce the lye solution temperature so that you are able to begin making soap faster.  The solution, even with ice water, will still be very hot.  Be cautious.

Before you begin the soap making process, be certain that you are wearing protective gear:  Protective safety glasses, a mask, gloves, an apron, shoes, a long sleeve shirt, pants, and shoes that cover your entire feet (nothing open toed).  Have your pets and children away from your soaping area.  Now, let’s get started.

Using two separate, heavy duty plastic containers, weigh out your lye according to your recipe in one of the containers, then weigh out your water in the other container.  Slowly pour the lye into the water.  Never ever pour the water into the lye!  You do not want to pour the entire lye amount directly into the water either.  It is best if you slowly sprinkle the lye into your water and constantly mix until the lye has dissolved in the water.  Your water solution will become cloudy at first, and then you should begin to see the lye dissolving into the water as you mix.  Be extremely careful with this step.  Adding too much lye too fast will cause a volcano/boiling effect, and anything that the mixture touches can be damaged.

Do not mix your lye solution in glass.  Glass can explode leaving your hazardous lye solution everywhere.  Absolutely never use aluminum containers or aluminum tools for lye solution.  Lye reacts with aluminum to produce a highly flammable hydrogen gas.  It is best if you use a stainless steel or a heavy duty plastic container for mixing your lye solution.   Note:  Certain plastics will breakdown after repeated usage.

Mixing these two elements together is crucial to your solution.  If you do not mix it completely, the lye will crystallize at the bottom of your container, and in the next step, your solution will not complete the saponification process of the oils.  As you stir, you will notice two things; the water will become cloudy and get very hot.  You can stop mixing once the lye solution becomes clear.  Note:  Sometimes, there will be pieces of white debris that is floating on top of your lye solution.  These are simply impurities, and can be strained or sieved out before pouring your lye solution into your soaping oils.  They will not hurt your soap.

Stand as far away from the mixture as possible, while still being able to mix it.  Lye can give off fumes during this reaction that are extremely hazardous and should not be inhaled.  Lye will do quite a number on your mucus membranes, irritating your throat and lungs.  It is also mandatory that you wear safety goggles for this step.  You do not want to get any lye or lye water solution in your eyes.  This can lead to serious and permanent damage.

If while mixing your lye solution, any portion spills or splashes in your eyes: Remove any contact lenses.  Start flushing your eyes with cold water immediately.  Repeat this for 15 minutes.  Do not rub your eyes.  Seek medical help.

If while mixing your lye solution, any portion spills or splashes on your skin, start flushing with cold water immediately.  Remove any clothing that may have the lye solution on it.  Keep flushing and rinsing affected skin for 15 minutes.  Spray your skin with vinegar to help neutralize any lye solution that is left on your skin. Seek medical help.  When lye comes in contact with your skin, it literally begins making soap from the natural oils found in your skin.  This is why you will notice that hands that have been exposed to lye solution will feel greasy when washing them.

If you have a serious interaction with the lye solution on your skin:  Wash the affected area of your body immediately with disinfectant soap and water.  Cover the area with anti-bacterial cream.  Seek medical help immediately.

While waiting for your lye solution to cool down, it is important that it is set in a safe place.  Do not put it near anything that is heat sensitive, since many times the temperature of the solution is over 200 degrees.  You will also want to keep a visual on it for several reasons such as accidental ingestion, outside particles coming into contact with it, referencing the degrees, crystallization of lye at the bottom, pets knocking it over, etc.

Having several vinegar spray bottles in your work area, while making soap, is a very smart idea.  If you only have one vinegar spray bottle, you will want to keep it close to you at all times.  Vinegar is one way to neutralize the caustic lye.  If a spill should happen, spray ample amounts of vinegar on contaminated area.  With hot, soapy water, wash area well.  Rinse and repeat.  Use paper towels to dry.

Rubber gloves as well as protective eye gear should be worn through the whole soap making process.  Even after the lye solution has been added to the oils, it is still a caustic mixture.  Spilling or splashing any portion of this on your skin can leave a serious burn.

Melting your oils:

Some of the oils that are used in soap making are hard and need to be melted down into a liquid form before they can be weighed out.  This can be done in various ways such as:  microwave, double boiler, hot water bath, the sun, etc.  It is very important that if you do use heat like the stovetop, that you never leave oils unattended.  If the oils became too hot, you risk burning the oils.  Burnt oils cannot be used for soap making.  Also, another stovetop safety tip:  Always make sure the handles of the pots are pointed away from the edge of the stove.  You do not want someone accidentally knocking your pots over, or even worse, children spilling hot oils on themselves.

The Clean Up:

It is important to keep your gloves, safety goggles, and apron on.  Until the area is completely neutralized and cleaned, you do not want to take any chances.

Since soap making is caustic you will want to ensure that your work area is properly cleaned when you are finished making your soaps.  We recommend that the first step in cleaning is to neutralize the area first with vinegar.  The next step will be to wipe the area down with hot soapy water, then rinse.

When washing your soaping utensils/equipment, you will also want to use hot soapy water.  Since the lye solution will still be caustic you will also want to add vinegar to your soapy water to neutralize this.  Rinse and dry your utensils and equipment.  Store all soaping supplies together and out of the reach of children and pets.

If you have designated rags specifically for soaping, you will want to wash them by hand.  Once you are finished with your soaping rags, place them in a vinegar and water solution to soak.  This will neutralize any active lye.  Once they have soaked for awhile, place the rags in hot soapy water and give them a good jostle, making sure that the soapy water is thoroughly getting all over the rag.  Then let the rags soak a little while longer.  Then, get rid of the soapy water, and rinse the rags out.  You know all of the soap is off once the bubbles stop forming and the water rinsing through the rag is clear.  Wring out any excess water, and hang dry.  Place with other soaping materials when finished.

Disposal of lye solution:

If your work area has a septic tank, you do not want to pour it down the drain or flush it down the toilet.  The best suggestion that we have is to use your lye solution in a “false batter”.  Mix your lye solution with vegetable oil.  You are looking for just the right amount to get trace when you stick blend it.  Once trace is established, simply take your spatula, and dump it right into a garbage bag.  Allow the soap batter to set up, then take it to your trash container and dispose of it.   Do not attempt to dispose of the soap batter while it is still fluid; the bag could break and spill the soap batter all over your garbage container.

Checking your soap for pH safety:

There are various ways to check your cured or curing bars for their safety of use.  You never want to use or sell a bar of soap that has not cured completely.  An uncured bar means that there is still active lye solution in your soap.  Washing with this soap could result in very serious skin irritation and even burns.

The first and best way to check whether your cp bars are cured is to pH strip them.  Using this method is concrete.  If the number that you get from the pH strip does not fall between the correct range, then, the soap still needs a little more cure time.

The pH scale ranges from 0-14.  The pH scale measures the amount of acidity or alkalinity a substance has.  If the number falls between 0-6, then your substance is an acid.  If the number falls between 8-14, then your substance is a base.  If the number is 7, then it is a neutralized substance.

Soap is a base, because of the lye solution used.  The range that you are seeking to see if your cp bars have cured is 8.5-10.5.  Please note that the 10.5 pH level is for that of industrial strength soap.  8.5 is the typical ph for homemade soap that is used on the body.

The second way to check your soap for active lye is to wash your hands with the soap.  We only advise this if you are sure that the majority of the cure process has already taken place.  If there is any active lye left, you will have a greasy feel on your hands that will seem to not want to wash away.  Even if you wash your hands with another bar of cured soap, the greasy feel will still be there.  Your hands will also tingle or burn.  This is because the active lye from the high pH bar is saponifying the natural oils in your skin.  This soap bar would still need more cure time.

The final way to check if your cp bars are cured is to do a “tongue test”, or a “zap test”.  This involves sticking your tongue on the bar of soap.  If it zaps your tongue (just like a 9V battery does), then your soap still has active lye and needs to complete the curing process.

Natures Garden does not advise the tongue test as a way to check a curing bar of soap.  Lye is extremely caustic and does serious damage to our bodies.   Why take the chance on active lye, when you can use a pH strip and get a safe result?

If you plan to resell your handcrafted soap (after testing for a long time), please follow the FDA guidelines on how to label your product.  We will discuss product labeling in a future class.  In the mean time…Happy Safe Soaping!

Soap Making: Where Do I Start?

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

M&P soap, CP soap, CPOP soap, HP soap, which method is right for you?

For the next few weeks, we at Natures Garden will be writing a series devoted to soap making.  We hope that you find this series informative and that it may help to answer any unresolved questions in your mind when it comes to making soap.

The first decision you need to make before you start making soap is what soap you want to make.

Just so that everyone is starting off on the same base, a general definition for soap is:  an emulsified product of an alkali treated fat yielding a cleansing agent.

There are 4 different types of soap making.  They are M&P (melt and pour), CP (cold process), HP (hot process), and CPOP (cold process oven process).  Each group has its own pros and cons.   Each process differs in varying ways, but there are two similarities that all of the groups share:  Each group’s process has already gone through, or must go through the chemical reaction of saponification.  And, each process results in finished soap.

MP soap

One of the greatest advantages of melt and pour soaps is that the actual soap making chemical process (lye process) has already be completed; technically making this a ready-made product.  When working with M&P, you are dealing with soap that essentially only needs melted, fragranced, colored, and molded.

For precautionary reasons, this is a perfect soap making process for anyone with small children or pets, since the process does not require working with lye.  Melt and pour soap is also a great place to start if you have never made soap before.  The steps are very simple.  Melt the soap, add color, add fragrance, and, place in mold to harden.  That is it!  There is no cure time.  Soap bars are able to be used once they are popped out of the mold.  Coloring M&P soap is also very predictable.  Unlike the other soap making processes, the color that your liquid soap is before you pour it in the mold, will be the same color of your finished bars.  There is no color morphing since that soap has already been saponified.

Melt and Pour soap is also known as glycerin soap.  Glycerin is a natural by-product of the chemical reaction of lye and water.  Having glycerin as a component in your M&P soap is very beneficial because glycerin is not only an emollient keeping the moisture in your skin, but it is also considered a humectant- absorbing the moisture from the air so that the skin does not dry out.  Additives such as herbs and exfoliates can also be added to M&P soap, resulting in bars that can do various things for your skin.

This is a very forgiving soap for error.  If soap hardens too quickly, it can always be re-melted in the microwave or by using a double boiler.  Since M&P is very pliable you can safely handle the soap without the worry of being burned by lye; forming swirls and other shapes.  This process is very cost effective, and allows for you to have a healthier bar of soap for your skin than any store bought brand that has had the glycerin stripped from it.

The cons of M&P soaps are that you do not have direct control of all of the ingredients in your soap.  Melt and Pour soap can also easily burn during the heating process so you will want to watch it closely.  Because glycerin is the most prominent ingredient, your M&P bars are softer and tend to not last as long as the other processed bars of soaps.  This is because glycerin is quick dissolving in water.  Aesthetically speaking, due to its humectant tendencies, this soap is very prone to sweating (or beading).

CP soap

Cold process soap is generally accepted as the most commonly used process by soap crafters.  The term cold process is actually attributed to the fact that there is no outside heating source required for saponification; the lye mixture itself heats and saponifies the oils.

The CP process includes making a lye water mixture, melting your oils, blending the lye water and oils together- bringing it to a very light trace, adding fragrance and/or color, and molding.  For the first 24 hours, your soap molds need to be insulated with towels or blankets.  After 24 hrs, the soap can be cut and laid out to cure.

If you are not a patient person, then one downfall of CP soaping is the cure time.  This averages 4-6 weeks before the soap is safe to use.  During the cure time a lot occurs.  Any residual lye is counteracted by saponification. This cure time is needed to make soap milder on your skin.  Any excess water is evaporated out, allowing for a nice hard bar of soap.  The soap bars have to be manually rotated and flipped so that air touches all of the sides.  It is also during this time that soda ashing occurs.  This ash is not harmful, but it can be unsightly, especially if you have decorated the tops of your bars.

The biggest and most rewarding benefit of cold process soap is that you make it completely from scratch.  You control each and every aspect of the soap from beginning to end.  Because cold process soap directly relies on a chemical reaction to occur, ingredients and measurements have to be exact.  Each component of your cold process soap has a specific SAP value.  This value is the amount of lye needed to saponify each oil in your recipe.  Therefore, it is impossible to swap out anything or add anything once your lye water ratio has been figured out.  Adding a little too much lye can result in soap that is lye heavy.  This means that the ph level will be very high, and it could result in burns or irritation to your skin.  On the opposite end, adding too much oil can result in bars that are soft and greasy due to the unreacted oils.   CP recipes usually contain either palm oil or coconut oil, or both.  Their values in any recipe are generally 20-30%.  This is because these oils provide for a bar of soap that is gentle, lathers, and cleans.

With CP soaping it is very important to know how a fragrance oil will affect the mixture.  Some fragrance oils cause soap batter to accelerate trace, rice, discolor, or will seize the batch (become soap-on-a-stick).  Vice versa, there are also fragrance oils that do not adversely affect the soap batter, and allow for plenty of time to decorate.  Swirling is one decoration technique that requires soap batter that is slow to trace.  Trace can be affected by the actual soaping oils used in your recipe, the temperature of your lye solution, the temperature of your soaping oils, and by the fragrance oil you select.  This type of artistry provides an exclusive look that is almost impossible to duplicate again.  Columning and funneling can also be used with cp soap batter for a very unique look.

Since CP soap must undergo the saponification process, color morphing can become an issue.  FD&C or D&C dyes tend to morph (change color) in the presence of lye.  Oxides and ultramarines can withstand the high ph environment of the saponification process, and are much less likely to morph in CP soap.  Depending on the ingredients found in mica pigments, you will find some micas that do not morph in CP soap, and some that do.  To easily test to see if your color choice will morph in CP soap, you can always add a small amount of your color to a small amount of lye mixture and observe any changes.  This will save you the frustration of ruining an entire batch of soap that is colored a color you do not desire.

HP Soap

HP soaping is the second most popular process of crafting soap.  With this process you now have the control of what goes into the soap like CP provides with the ready-to-use-now element of M&P soaps.

Hot Process soap has steps very similar to the CP soap steps, but varies in that you are adding heat to the equation to speed up the saponification process.  The HP process includes: making your lye water mixture, adding your oils to the heat source, blending the lye water and oils together, stir, cook, stir, stir, stir, add fragrance/ additives, stir some more.  With this process, it is not until the soap batter is closer to a solid than a liquid that it is scooped and packed into a mold.  Since the saponification process has already completed from the heat, there is no need to insulate your mold.

This process is done in a crock pot or on a stove top.  Crock pots are recommended over stove tops because a crock pot allows for slow, even heating of the batter and it is less likely to scorch.  The most important key to remember when doing this method is to stir and stir often.  One of the biggest benefits of this heat addition is that it does not require a curing period.  Although, for harder, milder bars that will last longer, Natures Garden suggests that you allow these bars to cure for at least a week before using.

The finished soap bars of the hot process have a very rustic appeal.   The soap bars individually are not completely uniform in shape nor are they completely smooth.  This is due to the scoop and pack method of filling the molds.  Color morphing, like experienced in the CP method, can also be a problem.  Therefore, choosing colorants that can withstand high ph environments is a must when making HP soap. Getting uniform coloring throughout your bars of soap will be more challenging with HP than with CP.

CPOP Soap

Often dubbed as the best of both worlds, CPOP, or cold processed oven processed soap allows for cold processed soap to saponify quicker with the extra step of heat and therefore directly shortens the cure time.   This is a very good method for soap crafters who love to do CP without the long wait of cure time.

The CPOP method includes:  preheating your oven to 170 degrees F, making a lye water mixture, mixing your oils, blending the lye water and oils together- bringing it to a very light trace, adding fragrance and/or color, molding, baking for 1- 2 1/2 hrs, turn off the oven, and let it sit for 24 hours in oven.  Finally, remove, cut, and start the cure time of 4 weeks.  This cure time allows for milder, harder bars of soap that will last longer.

Visually, CPOP soap bars are very close to that of CP bars.  The only slight difference is that the tops of CPOP bars are not as smooth as CP ones.  CPOP soap can appear dry on top, but this can easily be remedied by spraying the tops of the soap with rubbing alcohol.

In summary, the first step to soap making is deciding which type of soap making process is right for you.  Natures Garden will have two different soap making kits that will further help you.  We currently carry a melt and pour soap kit, and very soon a CP soap making kit.  Each of these kits will allow you to experience soap making first hand.  How fun is that!