Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How to Make Chocolate Milk Bath Bon Bons

If the sweet smell of chocolate relaxes you after a tough day, chocolate milk bath bon bons are just the ticket. They only take a few minutes and some basic ingredients, and the result will be a delightful bath. The chocolate milk bath bon bons will relax and sooth you while the milk and cocoa butter soften your skin.

This recipe on  How to Make Chocolate Milk Bath Bon Bons from ehow combines powdered milk, cocoa butter and baker's chocolate to create this delightful bath treat. Even adding alittle orange essential oil will make this more extravegent like a grand mariner. So if you like to make your or someone else's bath more delightful, then this is the recipe for you!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mother's Day Gifts

Mother's Day is just around the corner. If you are looking for something different to give your Mother for her special day and you live close to Palo Alto, I would recommend stopping in to Opalz Zoaps.

Opalz, located in Midtown Palo Alto at 719 Colorado Avenue, has array of bath and body products you can purchase especially for your mom or you can even create your own bar of soap at the Soap Bar. You may even find a cute basket to put your goodies in.

Opalz is open from 10 am to 4 pm Wednesday through Sunday. Monday and Tuesday by appointment. For more information, check out Opalz website at Opalz phone number is 650/322-6500.

Monday, April 28, 2008

How to Make Mango Body Butter

Apply mango butter after a warm shower or a good workout, and the warmth will help the butter to penetrate your skin, leaving it smooth and soft, with a light fragrance.

This recipe combines shea and cocoa butter, mango butter, and other luscious ingredients to make this great treat for your body. To be honest, cocoa butter has a great aroma but it may over power the natural scent mango and shea butter. If you do not want that to happen you can purchase refrined cocoa butter which eliminated the chocolate scent. Shea butter has a nutty scent to it so you can also choose to purchase refined shea butter if you want. I have never purchase mango butter before so there is a possibility of purchasing of finding it in a refined format.

So are you interested? Then check out these easy instructions from Ehow on How to Make Make Mango Butter.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Layered Soaps Techniques

I found this recipe and wanted to share it with you.

This recipe creates two bars of luxurious layered soap. Use your two favorite fragrances to make your soap. Some of Kelly's favorite combinations are mango and strawberry, violet and musk, chocolate and orange, cinnamon and rose, and raspberry and peach.

2 4oz. bars unscented glycerin soap
10 drops fragrance oil (your choice)
10 drops fragrance oil (your choice)
2 drops different coloring (ex. 1 orange, 1 blue)

In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt one bar of glycerin soap until liquefied. Remove from heat and stir in one drop food coloring and 10 drops fragrance oil. Pour half of the mixture into two soap molds, filling each mold halfway. Wait twenty minutes. Melt your second bar of glycerin soap until liquefied. Remove from heat and stir in the other drop of food coloring and fragrance oil. Pour this second layer on top of the first layer (already in molds). Let soap set for three hours or until hardened. Your finished bars should come out half one color and half another.

I also found these links that you may want to check out to create layered soaps:

Teach Soap (

Soap Crafters (

From Denise's Yadda Yadda Blog
(Part 1; Part 2; Part 3

Soap Teacher (

DIY (,2041,DIY_13721_5713671,00.html)

In research this I found out that using a fork to scrap between layers like in the demo from Teach Soap makes the next layer adhere much better.

If you are looking for other recipes, check out some of the links in the side bar or check in my archive. There are alot of recipes in both places. I am always looking for new recipes to post on my blog, so please return in the future.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Where to purchase Citric Acid in SF Bay Area

If you are looking to purchase Citric Acid in the San Francisco Bay Area, you may want to take a trip to Berkeley and visit Juniper Tree on San Pablo Avenue. For more information about Juniper Tree visit their website at

I know in Palo Alto that Crossroads World Market on 720 San Antonio Road (cross street Middlefield) sells Citric Acid. There hours are Monday - Friday 9:30 am - 7:30 pm; Saturday 10 am 7:30 pm; Sunday 10 am - 5 pm.

You may want to check health food stores or places that sell items to make jams or jellies.

If I find any other places that sell it locally, I will let you know.

Friday, April 25, 2008

How To: Quick and Easy Natural Massage Melts

Massage melts are a unique body product because they stay solid at room temperatures, but when applied directly to your skin, start to soften and melt due to body temperature. Their main purpose is to moisturize dry skin, as well as, relax and soothe tight muscles.

Essentially, massage bars are composed of natural butters and oils. Most recipes for this type of product call for the use of cocoa butter. Even though it has great moisturizing properties, I feel this butter produces too hard a product. Therefore, I recommend using such butters as shea and mango, which create a silkier, luxurious feeling to your melts.

For oils, I highly recommend using sweet almond and jojoba. Sweet almond oil is light and penetrates easily making it well-suited for dry skin conditions. Plus, it is effective on all skin types. Jojoba oil, which is not actually an oil but is a liquid wax, is similar in composition to the oil your skin secretes, which is known as sebum. Jojoba is a quickly absorbed oil that soothes the skin, as well as, extends the shelf life of other oils.

Other light oils you can substitute, for the above, are apricot kernel, grapeseed, sunflower, safflower, or soybean. Rounding out the rest of the ingredients are beeswax, vitamin E, and essential and fragrance oils.

Beeswax helps formulations keep their shape, as well as, act as a humectant. Vitamin E oil protects your product from rancidity and is also a great natural antioxidant. Essential oils are natural ingredients that are the very essence of the plant itself. Extracted from the flowers, fruit, leaves, bark, and roots of the plant, the oils are used for scent and therapeutic purposes. A word of caution, due to their volatility, research any essential oil before use. Fragrance oils, though synthetic in nature, do provide an inexpensive and easy way to achieve a scent that might not be possible with essential oils.


3 oz. of shea butter
3 oz. of beeswax
2 oz. of jojoba oil
2 oz. of sweet almond oil
tsp. of Vitamin E


Mold(s) of your choice
(1) digital cooking thermometer
(2) Pyrex glass measuring cups
(1) small digital postal scale
(1) set of measuring aluminum spoons
Wax paper for measuring on the scale
Plastic wrap to cover Pyrex cups


Step 1: Gather all equipment onto a clean, sterile surface. Place a sheet of wax paper over the small digital postal scale to measure out the shea butter and beeswax base. Place base in a Pyrex cup and cover with plastic wrap. Melt ingredients, completely, in the microwave.

Step 2: While the base is melting, use the second Pyrex cup for your jojoba, sweet almond, vitamin E, and essential/fragrance oils (if used). Mix, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.

Step 3: Once the base has melted, mix thoroughly. Pour the Pyrex cup from step 2 into the base Pyrex cup, mix together, and pour into your mold(s). Set aside for a couple of hours to cool and set. When soft, transfer the melts to the fridge until they are really hard. They should just pop out of the molds easily. Massage into skin and let product become absorbed. Due to melting properties, keep unused portions out of direct sunlight and store in a cool place.

Note: If you plan on using essential and/or fragrance oils in your recipe, place a digital thermometer in the melted shea butter and beeswax base. Wait for the temperature to drop down to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything higher will burn off the fragrant oils. After the temperature has reached this point immediately dump your Pyrex cup from step 2 into the Pyrex cup with the base, mix quickly, and pour into your mold(s). Follow the rest of step 3 instructions.

Muscle Relief Essential Oil Blend

tsp. of Eucalyptus
tsp. of Peppermint (do not use if pregnant)
30 drops of Rosemary
Tropical Fragrance Oil Blend (Substitute shea butter with mango butter)
tsp of Heliotrope fragrance oil
tsp of Coconut Milk fragrance oil
30-50 drops of Tahitian Vanilla fragrance oil

All recipe ingredients, listed above, can be found by searching


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild

Did you know that there is an association group for soapmakers? Yes! It is the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild (

They have annual conferences, a variety of membership levels, a journal and more! I highly recommend asking for the free journal. It is very informative. If would like to receive a free copy of their journal go to

And I am planning to sign up for the membership because next year the conference is on the west coast and I would really would like to go!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Felt Scenters

Let the kids help you make these fun and easy air fresheners. Use them for scenting cars (hang from your rearview mirror) or hang one anywhere you need a great scent!


Stiffened felt* (we used Easy Felt brand) - various colors
Green felt for leaves
Craft Glue
Puffy Fabric Paints
Essential Oils


Cut out shape from stiffened felt in desired pattern. Attach leaves or other felt decorations (if using) with craft glue. Use Puffy Fabric Paints to write messages or draw designs onto your Freshener. Scent by applying a few drops of Essential Oil such as Lemon, Orange, Lavender, Pine Needle or Peppermint. Use a hole punch to make a hole and attach a piece of yarn or string to make a hanger. Reapply oil as needed.

*Note: If stiffened felt is not available, regular felt attached to cardboard can be used instead. Directions: Cut desired shape out of cardboard, then use this as a template to cut two more of the same shape out of the felt. Glue one of the felt shapes to the front of the cardboard, and one to the back. Follow above instructions to complete project.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bath Melt Recipe from Try Beauty Tips

Bath melts are made of butters and oils that, when added to the bath, melt and moisturize your skin.


one part cocoa butter
one part shea butter
one part sweet almond oil


Melt the cocoa butter and shea butter in the microwave or in the top of a double boiler. Mix in the sweet almond oil. Pour into small (approximately one ounce) molds. Wait until it solidifies. You can put it in the freezer if you want it to solidify faster.

When you start your bath, put one bath melt in the tub. The hot water will melt it.

If you do not want to use the little molds, pour the entire amount into a larger container like a bowl, the bottom of a milk carton, or a coffee can. When you want some for your bath, scoop out the desired amount with your fingers.

If you have dry skin, you can use this mixture as a night lotion. It melts when you rub it on your hands or face. And the cocoa butter makes it smell like chocolate!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Looking for Silicone Molds?

If you are looking for silicone molds to make your soaps or soap inserts for your melt and pour soaps, here is a source for you:

Silicone Zone USA ( They do carry some shapes for soap inserts.

Also, you may want to check out Wholesale Supplies Plus ( because they started carrying the Wilton line of silicone bakeware including the muffins trays.

Of course there is the stand by and check out Ebay ( That is where I found alot of my flexible ice cube trays to make some of my soap inserts.

Some of the retail outlets that sells flexible ice cube trays are IKEA, Linens-n-Things and Bed, Bath and Beyond. But just to warn you that these items are seasonal so they might not be offerred all year round. Most of the time they will be sold around the time they are putting out their merchandise for summer.

If I find any other sources, I will let you know.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Creating Superstar Loaf Soaps

Here is another fun melt and pour soap making technique from Crafty U you may want to try:

Stained Glass Soap

If you have taken a Melt and Pour Soap Making class from me or someone else, I found a fun and easy technique from Craft U Making Stained Glass Soap. It would be a great addition to your melt and pour projects!

Have Fun!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

How to Create Your Own Lip Balm Recipe

By Ansley of Bleu Arts Blog

A couple of years ago I saw a great lip balm tutorial at Not Martha. I was very inspired by it and decided to create my own recipe. It was a little difficult finding information about what works best. After a lot of research, I compiled a list of what to do.

The Basics:
For a firm lip balm that can be used in a tube or tub, you will need a ratio of about 2:4 solids to liquids. Solids meaning wax & butters, liquids meaning oils. If you find your final product too thick, add more oils. If it is too thin, add more solids.

For solids, I use bee’s wax & mango butter. Other solids are also available.

For liquids, I use sweet almond oil, olive oil, castor oil, and avocado oil. Other types of liquids are available.

Put all of your ingredients in a double boiler and let them melt. Make sure to stir the mixture. Add essential oils just before you are ready to fill your tubes or tubs. This way they will not have a chance to evaporate.

When creating a recipe, be sure to write down the ingredients you have added to each batch including the measurement. I add ingredients a half teaspoon at a time until I get it right. Once you get it right, you will know just how much of each item you used. There will be no need to figure it all out again.

Equipment Needed:
• Stovetop
• Double boiler to melt ingredients in
• Measuring spoons
• Plastic pipettes (droppers) to help you pour melted ingredients into your tubes or tubs without spilling.
• Tubes or tubs to hold lip balm. I prefer to use metal tins instead of plastic because they have less of an environmental impact.
• Labels, if you plan to sell or give as gifts.

Where to shop:
There is a big selection of recipe’s at the
Ponte Vedra Soap Shoppe. I shop at Majestic Mountain Sage. They have many exotic oils and good prices. Be sure to check the net because there may be a new company that has popped up that worthy of attention too. If you can’t wait to get started, and good health food store or Whole Foods Market will carry most of the ingredients you need.

About ingredients:
Castor Oil will make your balm glossy.

Shea butter can be stinky and needs to be melted at a certain temperature. If you do not pay attention to this it will become grainy. Use mango or another type of butter instead.

Stay away from hydrogenated oils because they are unhealthy.

Vitamin E Acetate is an antioxidant and extends the shelf life of your product. Make sure to use it in every recipe. I use vitamin E oil that comes in gelatin capsules. They are easy to puncture and squeeze into the mixture.

If you prefer a sweet lip balm, add some honey.

If you like tinted lip balm, add some of your favorite lipstick to the mixture. If you want to experiment with making your own colors you can purchase Iron Oxide, Mica Powder, or D&C colors to add to the mixture. Mica Powders will add a shimmer to you final product.

Avoid artificial flavors. There are many natural essential oils that can be used which will increase your lip balm's healing potential.

About Essential Oils:

Use essential oils such as tea tree oil, rosemary, sage, peppermint, spearmint, anise, vanilla, cinnamon oil, camphor oil, lavender or ginger. A combination of any of these can be nice as well.

Tea tree oil is known for its antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic qualities.

Camphor, and mints are cooling.

Cinnamon and ginger are warming.

Do not use any essential oils that are from the citrus family because they make the skin photosensitive.

About Labels:
If you want to make up your own labels,
Dover Publications has a great selection of clip art available. You can sign up for free design samples that they e-mail to you about every other week.

Other uses for ‘lip balm’:
These balms are good for cuticles and hands, if you create one without color or sweetener. Balms are great if you work with
PMC too, just as long as you do not use any petroleum products in your recipe.


How to Make Orange Delight Body Lotion

Sweet orange is the perfect, light scent for adding to your body lotion as it not only energizes the mind and body, but also balances skin tone and promotes collagen production to maintain youthful skin. Additionally, orange improve lymphatic circulation and can help to clear the skin of blemishes. In just a few simple steps, you can create your own healing orange delight body lotion.

Just one caveat:  Any citrus essential oils is photosensitive which means that if you put this lotion on and go out in to the sun it may cause a rash or other skin problems. So you should wait before going out with this product on or cover your exposed areas with an article of clothing.  An alternative would use an orange fragrance oil instead.

So if you really love the scent of oranges, then this recipe will be perfect for you. How to Make Orange Delight Body Lotion

Friday, April 18, 2008

How to make a 3 D Bath Bomb Fizzy's

If you have ever taken my Handmade Bath Products or you were wondering how they make those ball shaped fizzy bombs, I found a couple of clips that you may want to watch. One is from You Tube and the other is from

You Tube Clip: Clip features David Fisher:

You have to check this out and try it. Let me know how it turns out. Remember you alter the fragrance or coloring to your liking. Also, consider adding dried herbs or flowers to make your bath bombs more luxurious.

If you would like to see the recipe for the step by step instructions of the Coastal Scent 3D bath bomb in the You Tube:

**Update: The above link has been fixed. So try again.

If you are looking for other recipes, check out some of the links in the side bar or check in my archive. There are alot of recipes in both places. I am always looking for new recipes to post on my blog, so please return in the future.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fizzy Bath Balls From Katie Brown Workshop

I happened to catch an episode of the Katie Brown Workshop on Sunday April 14 on KCSM-TV (Comcast Channel 17 or Channel 60 on regular broadcast line-up).  She had a segment on Fizzy Bath Balls that I would like to share with you.

Fizzy Bath Balls Materials
1 cups baking soda
½ cup citric acid powder
½ cup Epsom salts
¾ tablespoon liquid glycerin
¾ teaspoons lavender essential oil
Food coloring
Dried lavender
Ivy leaves
Non-stick spray

measuring spoons
large bowl & small bowls
wax paper
cookie sheet

Getting Started
1. In large bowl sift together dry ingredients.

2. In small bowl mix together the essential oil, 6 drops of food coloring, and glycerin.

3. Pour the oil mixture (1/2 teaspoon at a time) into the dry ingredients (1/2 cup at a time) and mix quickly before it starts to fizz.

4. Spray non-stick spray into moulds to prevent sticking. Fill the moulds with the mixture, packing it in firmly to create a smooth ball shape. Let the mixture harden in the molds for 24 hours, then remove.

5. Wrap the leaf around the ball and secure with twine.

Hints & Clues
Tip: These are recommended measurements, but humidity and temperature can affect the results, so it is best to gauge the ingredients as you go. The mixture should be course and not fizz. If it fizzes, add less liquid glycerin and pour the wet mix into the dry mix at a slower rate.

Where'd you get that?...You can find citric acid powder at and clear plastic ornaments to use as molds can be found at Michael's Arts & Crafts.

Blogger note: Instead of using food coloring, go ahead and use soap dyes from Michaels or any other soap making vendor for this project. You can also find citric acid from many online vendors. I will buy mine from or locally from Juniper Tree ( in Berkeley, CA.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Zinc Oxide Profile

Grade- USP-2
Origin- USA
Shelf life- Indefinite
Grade- USP and FDA for food and cosmetic purposes

Notes- High quality Zinc Oxide produced to meet the requirements of the Unites States Pharmacopoeia, FDA and the Toilet Goods Association. Because of its very fine texture; which will bind to moisture, it is recommended that storage remain dry.

Color- White
Odor- None
Particle Size- 0.46/US #325 Mesh
Zinc Assay- 99.8%

Zinc Oxide Use and Formulation
Zinc oxide is a natural source pigmented mineral, quarry mined and further refined to a fluffy white powder. It is commonly found in cosmetics as a whitening agent and it is also found within sunscreens because of its impressive capability to block UV light. Zinc Oxide has an enormous refractive index (ability to bend light) and comes in right under the refractive capabilities of diamonds! This is why it is the first choice for powerful sunscreens. Below are the 2 main uses for Zinc Oxide….

1. Cosmetic Use
Zinc Oxide is one of the most powerful whitening pigments found today. It adds a bright white color to lotions, creams, and sunscreens. When using Zinc be sure not to add NO MORE then 25% to the total mixture/recipe. Adding to much will cause a spotty appearance to your cosmetics and may actually cause more harm then good. It should also be noted that if your cosmetics contain too much it will leave a very white, opaque appearance on the skin when applied, this is especially problematic for sunscreens. For best results we recommend 1-2 tablespoons for a 1-gallon batch and 2-3 tablespoons for a 2-5 gallon batch.

2. Sunscreen Use
Unfortunately we are not able to help our customers formulate an exact percentage of Zinc to be used within their sunscreen recipes to create a particular SPF. Creating SPF values is an exact and precise science and we recommend its use through your own trial and error or through the administration of laboratory assistance.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Information on Colorants for Bath & Body Products

Color is an important ingredient of any bath product. There are natural powders such as coco powder, dried herbs, ground spices and mica powders and flakes. Mica powders give a beautiful sheen and are in a variety of metallic colors. The USDA does not restrict the use of mica powders or flakes, but if you are using these powders to your products it is recommended that you where a mask when working with them.

Also there are your cosmetic grade colorants which come in solid and liquid forms. Solid colorants for soap making are easy to use with your soap base because they just melt when you are melting your soap. This product comes in a soliddisk format and are available in six color - red, blue, yellow, orange, green and black. It is easy to blend them to create more colors. Liquid cosmetic grade colorants create true clean colors and are excellent for blending and creating many different hues. This particular type of colorant works well in bath salts, bubble bath, bath oil, lotions and creams.

You many have seen recipes or demonstrations where food coloring was used as a colorant for soap makng. Food coloring is not suitable for soaps because the color quickly fades. For bath oils, food coloring is not soluble so it just sits on top of the oil as floating beads of concentrated color. If you want you can use a small amount of food coloring to tint bath salts and bubble bath. Since you are going to purchase a liquid cosmetic grade colorant for your soap, you should continue using it for your other bath and body products.

When using colorants, you may want to consider the following:

*When colorants are added to hand-milled (or rebatched) soap, the hue will lighten as the soap cures.

*Colorants in clear glycerin soap bases will appear clean and jewel toned, but in white soap bases they will appear as a softer pastel color.

Source: Melt and Pour Soapmaking by Marie Browning, Sterling Publishing Company, New York, 2001. pages 20-21.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Three Dimensional Soap

According to Kelly Ewing, author of Making Candles and Soaps for Dummies, a three-dimensional soap is actually soap that has as a shape, such as a form as a duck. The easiest way to create a 3-D soap is using a two-piece mold. What is a two-piece mold? It is a mold that comes in two pieces which is held together by plastic clamps. The mold has a hold at the top or bottom so that you can pour your melted soap into it. These molds can be tricky, which is one reason why making this type of soap is abit more advanced.

The author recommends these steps to create a 3-D bar of soap:

1. Prepare your mold by sliding the clamp into place to hold the mold together and then place the pour spout side upside on top. If the mold you are using has alot of intricate details, the author suggests spraying the mold with vegetable oil or a releasing agent so that the soap will come out easier.

2. Melt your soap base.

3. Add your color and then your scent; stir well.

4. Pour your soap into your mold through the hold provided.

5. Remove your soap from the mold after it solidifies.

6. If any excess edges exists, gently slice it away. Some potato peelers work well for this, if they don't take too big a bit when used.

7. If necessary, smooth out any rough edges remaining by using a damp finger or cloth.

8. If you're not going to use your soap right away, wrap it in plastic to store.

Tip: If you want to purchase these kinds of molds, then check out ebay. There are plenty of these types of molds and other soap making supplies being auctioned off all the time.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Soap Making For Beginners: Melt and Pour

By Susan Jan

Soap making has been around for ages. The process of making soaps can either be simple or complex, depending on what you want to make. You can make soaps as a way to make money or you can make soaps for personal use or as gifts. Keep in mind that soap making can be dangerous, as soaps become very hot when melted during the melt and pour soap making process.

Soap making should be fun and entertaining, but it is also important to practice all necessary safety precautions when making soaps. Always wear rubber gloves and eye protection. It is also a good idea to keep your safety equipment on at all times even after you have removed the soap from the mold. This is because melted soap takes a long time to cool.

To start making soaps, you have to get to know the basic ingredients in handmade soaps. Handmade soaps are generally made from glycerin. You can buy glycerin soap at your local hobby store. There are many types of glycerin soaps that you can melt and pour into your own handmade soaps. They also have different properties and benefits for your skin. Here are some examples of glycerin soap: * Hemp Glycerin Soap * Olive Oil Soap * Clear Glycerin Soap * Goat Milk Glycerin Soap.

The good thing about the melt and pour soap making method is that all the equipment you need can be found in your own house. You can use either your double broiler or your microwave oven for melting soaps. It is important to remember to keep the bowl containing the soap base covered when using the microwave. This is to prevent the melted soap base from splattering out of the bowl in the microwave oven and to keep the excess moisture from evaporating. When using the microwave, melt the soap base for one minute in high temperature, stirring in the remaining unmelted soap pieces until those have melted too.

If you prefer to use the double boiler, you should first bring the water to a boil then add your soap base of choice to the boiling water, cover the pot and set the fire on low. Keep in mind that this method will take some time. The soap base may take as long as 10 minutes to melt. Stirring occasionally will also ensure an even melt.

You can also add some optional ingredients:

*You can add fragrance to your soaps. You can buy your choice of fragrance oil in your local hobby store. Keep in mind that the fragrance oil should be completely mixed in so that the soap will not have a cloudy appearance.

*You can also add your color preference when making soaps. You can use mica or liquid coloring for it. When using liquid coloring, you should start by adding one drop at a time and mixing it thoroughly until you reach your color preference.

After the soap base has melted, pour it into individual molds, tray molds, or blocks, which can then be sliced. You can also be creative and design your own soap mold to create soaps of various shapes and sizes. Creating your own handmade soap by the melt and pour soap making process can be fun and an inexpensive process. It also makes great gifts for family and friends.

For more on Soap Making visit Susan’s sites Soap Making Supply and Soap Making Recipe, and also at Shopping and Society.


Friday, April 11, 2008

How to Line your Mold for Cold Process Soap Making

If you are having problems lining your wooden molds for your cold process soaps, you may find this clip from You Tube helpful.

I am always looking for new clips to post on my blog so check back frequently to see what is new or check out for more clips on cold process soapmaking.

Choosing a Good Wooden Soap Mold

A good wooden mold will last for years; a great wooden mold will last for decades. Over the years, wooden molds have gotten more affordable and there are more choices available. Now, instead of just a rectangular or square box, there are molds that are fitted with rigid plastic liners, with cutting lines, with pieces that come apart, and with parts that are reputed to be safe for oven applications.

My first wooden soap mold was made from ½” thick plywood purchased at a neighborhood lumberyard in Chelsea, Manhattan. At the time, I was attending a building trade school. My carpentry teacher allowed me to use the table saw and tools to make my soapbox. It was just an open rectangular box, nothing fancy, comprised of four butt joints secured with 1½” nails. Though only made of plywood it endured constant use for 6 years. Some time ago it started showing signs of wear and tear—a bit of loosening of the bond that holds the veneer layers together and loosening of the nails and joints.

Since then I have researched and found out that plywood may pose unknown health dangers to soap makers because of the phenol formaldehyde glue used to hold the pressed veneers together. Phenol formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and when used in combination with other chemicals (lye), who knows what the end result will be. To that end, I have discarded all my soap molds with pressed wood. While this may not be a choice some people would make, I felt that it was necessary to protect the integrity of my products and to assuage my conscience.

With that said--there are many fine solid wooden molds available from suppliers and woodcrafters. Here are some things to look for when buying a wooden soap mold. The most important qualities of a good soap mold are the durability of materials and the strength of the joints that hold the pieces together. The best joints are dovetail joints. They are also the most labor intensive to make and the skill level to construct dovetail joints is high! Dovetail joints predates written history. Before there was mechanical gadgetry, carpenters glue, nails and screws, dovetail joints held the world’s wooden products together. Though time consuming to make, a soap mold made with dovetail joints and solid wood will last a long time, and is destined to become a family heirloom.

However, given a second choice, I would choose a simple butt joint made of solid wood and attached with screws or nails, with wood that is knot free. Although more difficult to find, the mold that has pieces that are collapsible and held to together with hinges makes it easy to unmold especially very large soap blocks. Molds that have rigid plastic liners and pieces that interlock to make individual bars are pricey but worth their weight in gold. After unmolding the plastic separators pop out easily thus reducing the time and labor associated with manually cutting the soap bars.

For more information about wooden joints, see Wikipedia(

Here are some of the best of the best wooden soap molds. For those vendors who wish to be added to this list please email me with a description of the wooden molds you carry:

1. Bramble Berry ( has one of the best wooden molds and customer service. Their wooden mold is made from sturdy Baltic Pine that comes with rigid intersecting dividers that make substantial individual bars of soap.

2. Creekside Soaps ( molds are made from 1” thick solid wood and lids that have ample grips. They come pre-lined with freezer paper so that one will have an idea how to properly line the soap mold.

3. Candles and Wood Crafts ( have some of the best customizable molds ever. Sturdy solid wooden molds, with either hinged, pegged or butt joints and available in a variety of different stains and sizes. They will also custom make to your specifications any wooden mold you need. I love their different wooden bath and body display stands and soap crates!

Note: Blog Author also recommends adding Mission Peak Soap ( in Fremont, Ca to this list.

Source: Permission to reprint by Winsome Tapper, Soapmaking Editor,

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Want to be in the know? Attend a trade show.

A trade show is an exhibition organized so that companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their new products and services. Usually trade fairs are not open to the public and can only be attended by company representatives (members of the trade) and members of the press.

Many folks who make soaps and other body care items develop their business from the love of a craft. Oftentimes, they find it difficult to connect to what is happening in the larger market; to understand trends; to find suppliers; to source new services and products. Oftentimes it is difficult to take their business to the next level because of lack of understanding of the big picture.

One of the ways to understand the big picture, that is, how to place your business in the context of the larger market is to attend a trade show. Information gathered at trade shows helps you to take a small company, and make it seem big or to expand to other markets or get new products and services.

Trade shows provide an eye to what is happening in the industry. Attending a trade show will allow you to:

• Make valuable contacts
• Network with other business owners with similar interests
• Better understand the market
• Get ideas for new products
• Communicate directly with suppliers of goods and services
• Have a good time

Tradeshow preparation:

• Business cards – bring a stack of them with you. Give out business cards at these events. Make connections, become memorable, connect with business owners and suppliers, and make your presence known.

• Be prepared to talk about your business. Prepare a short summary of your business, where it is headed and the services and products you are looking for.

• Have an understanding of the general market and specifically your market. Be prepared to discuss this. Remember suppliers also want to understand their customer’s needs too.

• Appear professional and take people with you to the trade show who have a good understanding of your business and customers needs. Businesses are not obligated to sell or provide you with service. Some suppliers only supply legitimate businesses or companies that seem to be headed somewhere. If your business appears too crafty, some businesses will not take you seriously.

• Get listed with some professional organizations.

• Have a website? Get it in order before going to the trade show, or if that cannot happen, take it offline for a while. This is especially important if your website is listed on your business card.

• Dress comfortably

• Things they don’t need to know:

1. That you are operating on a shoe string budget
2. That your employees are your relatives and friends
3. That you operate out of your spare room or garage

Find a Tradeshow: - International tradeshow search engine.

GLM (George Little Management LLC) trade show organizer. They organize many different trade shows, from table top shows to gift, stationary and luxury gift shows. Some of their popular trade shows for bodycare manufactuers and retailers are Extracts and the New York International Gift Fair.

Jacob Javitts Convention Center, NYC - premier trade event host. Listing of trade shows with links to their websites. Click Here for Website.

Spa Trends - Spa and wellness tradeshow directory.

Eastpack is the largest packaging trade event in the easten United States. Underwritten by Canon Communications LLC, organizer of medical device and packaging tradeshows.

Source: Reprinted with permission from Winsome Tapper, Soapmaking Editor,

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bath Melts Recipe

Soaking in a nice hot bath with fragrant bath melts is a wonderful way to end the day and relax for a good nights' sleep. Here is a lovely bath melts recipe you can mix up at home.

This 100% natural Bath Melts recipe can be adjusted to be naturally fragranced with pure essential oils of your choice, or simply unscented for sensitive skins.

In a small saucepan on the stove, melt:

· 5 Tablespoons Cocoa butter
· 3 Tablespoons Shea butter
· 3 oz carrier oil

When just melted, remove from heat and set aside to cool further. In a separate dish, combine:

· 3 ½ oz Citric Acid
· 8 oz Baking Soda
· 1 oz Milk Powder (Whole, Skim, Goat, or Soy)

Optional additions:

· up to 10 drops essential oil of your choice
· dried lavender or rose petals

Use a fork to get all of the lumps out, and mix powders thoroughly. When Cocoa butter mixture is cool, but still liquefied, add Baking Soda mixture and stir. If combination begins to fizz, then the oil mixture is still too hot. It is a good idea to test a teaspoonful of Baking Soda mixture into the oil mixture before you add the full amount. Once you mix the powders into the butters, the consistency should be similar to thick cookie dough.

Once stirred, pour the mixture into ice cube trays, or small, decorative candy molds, and cool in the freezer until solid. Remove trays from freezer before cubes are actually frozen, approximately 15 minutes. Remove cubes from trays and store your Bath Melts in a glass canister with a lid, at room temperature, and away from moisture or they may begin fizzing! You may also want to wrap each melt in decorative candy foil and a pretty ribbon to give as a gift.

When ready to use, unwrap a melt, drop into a warm bath and watch those moisturizing butters fizz away! Enjoy!

Just a warning: mom, and the bathtub, will be very slippery after a bath with a melt!

This recipe yields approximately 1 ice cube tray full.

Copyright 2006, Jennifer A. Casey

Jennifer resides in Vancouver, BC with her husband and 2 children. She is the President of Canada’s 100% natural baby care line, MUNCHSKINS SKIN CARE, and is about to launch an easy-to-follow recipe book of baby’s daily essentials.

An excerpt recipe from her book, ‘Homemade Baby *the guide to making your own baby care essentials. The Natural Way! 2006, Munchskins Skin Care. Inc.

If you are looking for other recipes, check out some of the links in the side bar or check in my archive. There are alot of recipes in both places. I am always looking for new recipes to post on my blog, so please return in the future.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Swirling Suggestions for CP Soap Making

(Source: Millers Soap)

Swirling is not for the faint of heart, especially if you are using fragrance oils to scent your soap! I'm not an expert on this technique, but thought I'd pass on a few ideas for you. There are different types of swirls you can obtain...often by accident, but hopefully by design. The thinner your soap is when swirled, the finer the feathering of the swirl will be. Part of this has to do with starting at a thin trace, but also some recipes lend themselves to it better than others. I found that recipes using a fair amount of soybean oil didn't get as thick at trace as the ones heavy on olive. Don't know why. They made a nice feather swirl for me. If the soap gets too thick when you are swirling (sometimes because of a fragrance accelerating trace) you may end up with more of a two-toned soap that doesn't have a swirl throughout. Anyway... there are three basic ways you can swirl (and probably more):

*Pour most of base soap into mold, color remaining portion for swirling and dribble it over the base color. Take a spatula or chopstick... whatever, and pull it through the soap back and forth (all the way to the edges and bottom) from one end of the mold to the other. Do this again either on a diagonal or opposite direction.

*Good for a deeper mold - take out about 1/4 of the soap at light trace and color with contrasting swirl color. Pour half the base color into the mold, dribble half the swirl color over it, pour the rest of the base color and finish off with more swirl color. Then swirl it. Hope you have time for all this! (Using essential oils would be good!)

*Take out the swirling portion and color in a separate small measuring cup. Pour this back over the base soap while still in the pot... mix it slightly to the bottom of the pan and pour into the mold. This is a great idea if you think your soap is going to quickly thicken. This is called "swirling in the pot".

*Another idea works well if your soap is going to be thick... like with fragrance oils, or heavy trace. You can mix your prepared colors into sections of the pot gently with the stick blender (on a low setting if you have one). Only mix in a small area of the soap... not pulling in the rest in the pan. You can mix several colors in different quadrants of the pan and then pour it all into the mold with no more mixing. It will swirl itself. My first attempt at this technique can be seen below (the Summer Sorbet batch). This is risky and only for those who have done soapmaking for awhile and can predict the behavior of the scents they are using! Or... it's for the adventurous! :-)

If you want to take a look at samples of swirled soaps from Miller Soap, go to

For more information on swirling soaps, I found this link on Soapmaking Forum:

If you are fortunate to live in California, Lori Nova of The Nova Studio teaches a class on thos method. Here is a link to an updated class For more information on the Nova Studio, check out Lori's website at

Monday, April 7, 2008

How To Effectively Use Aromatherapy Essential Oils

The use of aromatherapy essential oils is becoming an increasingly popular method of enhancing the mental and health benefits that come from choosing the natural approach towards relaxation and treatment. Today, aromatherapy is offered at clinics, health spas, and private institutions, as part of their selection of services. The use of aromatherapy essential oil therapy is also a practice that can take place within the comforts of your own home.

An aromatherapy essential oil utilizes the parts of a plant that generates a scent that can be used to treat disease and/or achieve a higher level of mental stimulation. An aromatherapy essential oil is extracted from a variety of different plant parts, including the flowers, leaves, rind, stalks, bark, or roots.

For example, an aromatherapy essential oil may come from the flowering tops of lavender and chamomile, the leaves of cinnamon and peppermint, the peel of an orange or lemon, cardamom seeds, tea tree twigs, or a handful of lemongrass. Woods, such as rosewood or cedarwood, also produce beneficial essential oils.

When the oils are mixed with another substance, such as lotion, alcohol, or other oils, an assortment of uses are created. The essential oils make great skin applications and inhalations. The oils also produce sprays to mist the air. Some people also use an aromatherapy essential oil to massage into the skin or transform common bath water. Essential oils also make convenient compresses and vaporizers

The popularity of the aromatherapy practice has elevated since more and more are looking for healthier ways of achieving health benefits. When used in the proper manner, essential oils have the power to deliver an array of helpful changes to both the body and the mind. Essential oils do not need to pass through the digestive system and are often used as massage oils applied to the skin. Depending on how you use an aromatherapy essential oil, the substances interact with the body in a variety of different ways.

Essential oils may undergo a chemical change through the blood stream; affect various systems in the body in a physiological way; or create a psychological response when inhaled. The process that goes into creating an essential oil includes many pounds of plant parts to develop the high concentration associated with the oils. For example, about 220 pounds of rose petals are typically used to produce only 4 to 5 teaspoons of essential oil. Once the oil is used in the aromatherapy process, a stimulation of the nerves takes place, which is responsible for sending impulses to the part of the brain that controls memory and emotion. Depending on the type of chosen oil, a user may experience a calming or stimulating journey.

An aromatherapy essential oil also works with various hormones and enzymes in the body, which can generate changes in blood pressure and other bodily functions. Certain oils may also create substances that combats pain, and relieves stress. There are also certain essential oils that treat infections, burns, depression, and insomnia. A few examples of popular aromatherapy essential oils includes lavender to ease menstrual cramps, eucalyptus to treat the common cold and coughs, rosemary to improve circulation, and peppermint for a relaxed massage.

About the Author

For more information about the use of Aromatherapy Essential Oil please visit our web site at

Source: href="">

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Handmilled Soap Making

Lightening Skin at Home with an Easy to Make Organic Soap
By Naweko San-Joyz January 24, 2008

There was a time in history when almost everyone crafted their own soap. The Earth is coming full circle and once again soap making has made itself a welcomed and rewarding past-time. But a few things have changed in the past 200 years of soap making.

For one, you can custom tailor soaps to your specific beauty needs while adding herbal elements to make the end-product more therapeutic. Moreover, milling soaps does not take all day or even months as it did with our predecessors. Now you can combine the healing and beautifying powers of soap into an organic skin lightener with just a few hours of work. Here’s how:

Short-cut soap milling

A major time saver in the world of soap making is using premade, all natural soap bars. Soap making from scratch can get messy and greasy. You can spare yourself, and your kitchen, such untidiness by buying an organic, creamy soap bar from your local health or drug store.

1 bar of organic soap (3.5 to 4 ounce bar)
1 navel orange
2 tablespoons of safflower or almond oil
4 tablespoons of filtered water
2 drops of lemongrass essential oil
1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
½ teaspoon of cinnamon

Large, microwave-safe bowl
Plastic wrap
Freezer-safe and flexible plastic cup
Cheese grater
Paper towels

Creating a Skin Lightening Soap

Prep work

Shred the bar of soap into a bowl, using the cheese grater. Next, into the same bowl, with the cheese grater, shred the orange peel. Grate the orange until you reach the white-yellowish area of its peel.

Soap molds

To prepare the molds, dip a paper towel into the vegetable oil and coat the cup with the oiled towel.

Melting the soap

In the bowl used above, to the shredded soap and orange peels, add the water and safflower (or almond) oil.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the microwave on high for 30-45 seconds.

Note: Watch the soap as it melts because it could bubble over into the microwave. If the soap has not completely melting after 45 seconds, place it in the microwave for another 30 seconds.
Mixing the soap
Once the soap has melted, remove it from the microwave and take off the plastic wrap.

Add the cinnamon and lemongrass essential oil to the melted soap and stir the mixture with a spoon for one to two minutes.

Molding the soap

Option 1: Cup moldAfter you have mixed the soap, pour it into the cup. Use the spoon to pack the soap in and remove large air bubbles.

Option 2: Hand-moldedAlternately, you can just scoop the soap with your hands and mold the soap into balls or patties.

Hardening the soap

Now, top the cup of soap with plastic wrap to save it from possible freezer odors. If you made soap patties, just wrap them in plastic wrap.

Place the soap in the freezer for 1-2 hours to let it harden, then remove the bars.

Once the soap is hard, slide it out of the cup. You can slice the cup-molded soap bar into smaller pieces using a knife.

You can store the soap in wax paper or plastic wrap.

The results

Let the soaps set at room temperature for one day before using. Then, enjoy cleansing your skin with a unique, organic skin lightening soap. The elements in the orange peel and safflower oil help promote the skin brightening effects of this soap.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

How to Create Cigar Bands to Wrap Your Soaps


Cigarbands come in many sophisticated colors and designs that are intricately worked, emblazoned with long dead business logos and famous personalities. Starting in the early 1800’s, cigar bands were used by manufacturers as a way to differentiate their brand of cigar from another and to tell the buying public that the authenticity of the product was guaranteed.

Manufacturers poured much work and talent into showing that the quality of the design translated into the quality of the cigar, hoping that this combination would spell massive sales, because surely, a cigar wrapped so intricately and fabulously styled must be indicative of a product of the highest quality.

On a commercial level, with the advent of cigar band designing we see the early genius of marketing via a branded design that spoke visually to a population that oftentimes could not read, yet were able to remember these stunning and remarkable designs and thus became loyal customers of one brand versus another. It is unclear how and at what time the cigar band became synonymous with the band of labeling used for handmade soaps. Regardless of the time this practice started, it has sustained its momentum and modern day soap makers all know that the term cigar band refers not to the labeling for cigars but refers to the band of labeling used on soaps.

The remarkable thing about soap cigarbands is that there are limitless design possibilities, that as a cost to soap makers it is negligible, and that even without fancy equipment one has the ability with simple desktop publishing and graphics tools to produce a finishing to a product that is both professional and cost effective to make.

Practically speaking though, a cigar band does more than hold a bar of soap in a decorative wrap--cigar bands are labels, which can have as much information as one wants. Oftentimes though, cigar bands highlight the wonderful ingredients the soap bar contains, and is not limited to actual ingredients but can be sublime, telling a story and creating an aura around the humble soap product.

Below are instructions to make soap cigarbands in Microsoft Publisher. The sample bar to the left is the actual label made using that template. See below for links to graphic and paper sources.

Materials and software programs:
Microsoft Publisher
cardstock paper sized 8.5” X 11” – color wheat or kraft
graphics, logo


1. Open Microsoft Publisher and create a new file


2. Change view to landscape


3. Set layout guides


4. Set grid guides – Setting grid guides will help you to center the elements on the page correctly, e.g. logo/graphics, ingredient list, and other additional information.

COLUMN_5 (OR 4 depending on the width of the cigarbands)
SPACING_0.2” (This allows 0.2 inches of space between each cigar band)

5. View boundaries and guides


6. Insert pictures and text. Once picture is inserted in file, you may resize it and reposition it. If you are not certain where the picture should go, then insert it anyway and print out a test page to see the layout of the cigar band elements and how those elements may be altered to suit your needs.


7. Once picture is inserted and positioned correctly, copy picture and paste it in the other four boxes. Edit font size, type and color and enter text into text box.

8. View print view to make sure all the graphics and text are lined up properly.


9. Save file and print out a test copy. Edit if needed.

Source information

For a fascinating view of cigar band history visit:

Up in Smoke - Cigar Band Museum

Click Here to download sample cigarband template. Graphic used in template should be replaced with your own graphics. Logo in sample is created from digital brush "Remember Seals" purchased from Scrap Girls. It was purchased for commercial use and then altered.

Cardstock paper can be found at your local crafts and scrapbooking store or online at The papermill. They have one of largest inventories of cardstock and have great deals on bulk orders.
If you are on the west coast in Orange County, California The Red Bee in Tustin has wonderful papers of all varieties, classes on beading and decorative paperwork and a fabulous, friendly staff willing to help you to find anything you need.

Also, check out these links for other cigar band ideas:

Source: Reprinted with permission from Winsome Tapper, Soapmaking Editor,

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Peppermint Foot/ Body Creme

This recipe will fill two 4 oz. cosmetics jars (8 oz.)


20 grams Shea Butter
21 grams hemp seed Oil
9 grams Cocoa Butter
10 grams stearic acid
7 grams glycerin
14 grams emulsifying wax
0.6 grams citric acid
150 grams distilled water
2.5 grams germaben II
1.3 grams peppermint essential oil (EO)


Follow your basic lotion making instructions.

For more recipes check out

If you are looking for other recipes, check out some of the links in the side bar or check in my archive. There are alot of recipes in both places. I am always looking for new recipes to post on my blog, so please return in the future.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lotion Bar Recipe from Creative Juice

I found this recipe for lotion bars on a show called Creative Juice which aired on the DIY Network. This episode titled Nature's Gifts (episode # DCRJ-709)is a simple recipe for a single lotion bar. I really liked the packaging of this particular bar and it looks like they used a soap mold from the Life of the Party brand carried at Michaels or Joann's. Have fun!

Gardener Lotion Bar

Smooth out skin's rough edges with a homemade lotion bar complete with personalized packaging.


3 tbsp. beeswax pellets
2 tbsp. regular cocoa butter
3 tbsp. shea butter
2 tbsp. sweet almond oil
2 tbsp. calendula oil
¼ tsp. vitamin E acetate
soap bar mold
glass measuring cup
small saucepan
popsicle stick for stirring
optional – essential oils

1. Mix ingredients together in a very clean glass measuring cup. To create a double-boiler, place the cup in a large pot filled with enough water to come half-way up the height of the cup.

2. Heat the mixture on medium heat, stirring until all ingredients (except essential oils) are blended together.

3. Remove from heat and add, if desired, several drops of essential oil for fragrance.

4. Pour into a mold and let cool for approximately 30 minutes before popping the bar out of the mold (figure D).

5. To package as a gift, wrap in a cello bag and tie or staple a handmade gift tag, silk flower or decorative ribbon to the package.