Soap Cutting Day

     Time to cut the soap!  I know it is two days later but I was being lazy yesterday.  I did check my soap and two of the batches popped right out.  I just didn't feel like getting out the camera yesterday.  After all it wasn't going anywhere.  Things do take longer when you are trying to hold the camera with one hand and doing with the other.  

     I stuck to demonstrating with my Fireballs soap.  I am using a serrated knife but that is not necessary.  A friend gave me this knife to cut my Scrubby soap with.  I use whole loofah with that and you need the serrated knife to push right through the loofah. 

     Something I didn't tell you the other day was that I use index cards to write my recipe on.  I have learned the hard way to make a new card with every batch I make.  I keep the card with the soap till I put labels on it.  It is hard to remember which bar is what when you have a dozen or so batches to put labels on.  After a few sniffs and I have a hard time telling the difference.  Especially when you use similar essential oils.  I know this seems crazy but when I set my booth up I can smell the difference but by time the customers come I can hardly smell the soap.  People come over and tell me how good it smells.  I agree but really I can't smell anything.  

     There is a trick to getting soap out of plastic molds when it doesn't want to come out.  Stick it in the freezer for a little while.  There are times when I have forgotten it and ended up with frozen soap.  I just let it defrost and I am all set.  Like I mentioned before when you use a citrus essential oil the soap is softer and takes longer to harden up to get out of the mold.  Plastic molds are the hardest to get the soap out of.  You just have to have patience or you will loose your mind.  So save yourself the heartache and stick it in the freezer.  Of course it may be time for me to get wooden molds and make bigger batches.  I have been doing this long enough to have several popular soaps that I am making more often.  Small batches are great for testing new soaps.

                                     Well, here are the pictures.  Let's get started!

1.  Here is the soap ready to remove from the mold.  It feels firm at this time.  If it doesn't then it is not ready or something went wrong.

2.  Peel off the butcher paper.

3.  Here is the soap out of his mold and ready to cut.

4.  First step after it is out of the mold is to trim the edges.  I didn't have much to trim on these batches. 

5.  I keep a bucket just to put the trimmings in.  You can melt this down and pour into molds to make bars.  This is the an everything but the kitchen sink soap.  Good for home use. 

6.  I start cutting the in the center.  The good thing about the plastic molds is it tells you where to cut.  I love this knife because the handle is up and you can push the knife straight down without any trouble.  I also find that if your knife is longer than your soap you get a nice even cut.  You don't want to saw your soap, you want a nice even push.  The soap is firm but still soft.

7.  After the soap is cut you want to stand it up on it's edge.  This gives it maximum air exposure.  After a day or two I flip it over so that the other edge gets a chance to dry as well.  The soap needs two weeks to cure.  You want it to sit at least 4 weeks to dry well and get hard, 6 weeks is better.  If you are in a hurry you can use the first bar after two weeks, just know that it won't last as long.

8.  Here is the soap I made the other day minus the coconut soap.  I used a lot of lemon and lemongrass so it is in the freezer for half an hour.  I did want to show you my recipe cards.  Nothing special.  I list the amounts of the oils, lye, water and ingredients I put in after trace.  It is important to list the date and I always list the quality numbers for the soap.  It tells me the hardness, cleansing, conditioning, suds and etc.  It is helpful to know these numbers in case you want to tweak your recipe next time.  Good place for notes also.

9.  In this picture I just wanted to show you the color difference between soaps.  On the left is my Fungus Amungus and on the right is my Fireballs soap.  The Fungus Amungus gets this color from the Neem oil.  Neem oil is a brown color.  When I make my soap I only use natural things to get color.  Yes I know minerals are natural but I stick to clays, roots, herbs and etc.  I really enjoy the color honey gives it and you should see what cinnamon does!


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