Sunday, April 11, 2010

Flower Cupcake Soap (Hot Process Method)

Julie Longyear has always loved playing with anything messy. Fortunately over the years, her mediums have matured from mud and play dough to ceramics and candles. The biggest challenge that she has faced is picking one medium on which to focus. It seems in her case, father really does know best, because it was when she followed her dad's advice that she found her favorite medium–making soaps. She'll deomonstrate her specialty, unique and decorative cupcake soaps.

Materials and Tools:

hand-held (stick) blender
ice cream scoop
measuring spoons
glass jar or other glass bowl
long-handled spoons
rubber or silicone spatulas
regular size muffin pan
cupcake papers
digital scale*
32-oz.olive oil
30 mL essential oil
1 tsp. turmeric
18 oz. Red Devil Lye
graduated cylinder (small mL measuring capability)
1 quart glass-measuring cup
1 quart plastic or glass-measuring cup
distilled water
spray bottle
plastic spoons
dried rosebuds
dried lavender buds
dried mint leaf
dried yarrow flowers
dried jasmine flowers
mask, goggles, and rubber gloves (preferably chemical resistant)

*A postal scale with a 5-pound maximum works fine–must measure to tenths of an ounce.


1. Turn on crock-pot to begin heating.

2. Measure 27 ounces of olive oil by weight into a plastic quart-measuring cup using the digital scale.

3. Measure nine ounces of distilled water by weight into the glass quart-measuring cup using the digital scale.

4. Put on mask, gloves and goggles.

5. Weigh out 3-1/2 ounces of lye by weight into a separate glass container.

6. Add the lye to the distilled water slowly, stirring the entire time. Caution: Work in a well-ventilated area and do not breath the fumes that come up off the lye-water as it dissolves. Stir until completely dissolved.

7. Add the olive oil to the crock-pot, scraping the measuring cup to get all the oil out.

8. Add the lye-water to the crock-pot.

9. Neutralize the measuring cup and spoon used to mix the lye-water using vinegar and soapy water.

10. Add one teaspoon of turmeric to the crock-pot.

11. Blend the oil and lye-water mixture in the crock-pot. Be careful not to splash, keeping the end of the blender under the surface of the oil at all times. It will become creamy and start to thicken after a few minutes.

12. Once it has reached a pudding-like consistency called trace (called "trace" because a line that you trace in the soap will remain there), put the lid on the pot and allow it to sit and cook at a medium temperature.

13. The soap will begin to bubble on the sides, and then the middle will begin to sink into the bubbles coming up from the sides. This may take 30 to 45 minutes until the center portion of the soap has totally been consumed under the bubbles depending on the crock-pot's temperature. It is better to cook slowly than to cook too hot and burn the soap. Continue to cook for another 20 minutes until the entire mixture resembles translucent, warm petroleum jelly (with some liquid floating on top).

14. Once the soap has finished cooking, turn the crock-pot off and allow to sit and cool with the lid on until it reaches a temperature of approximately 80 degrees centigrade.

15. While the soap is cooling prepare the muffin pan. Put a cupcake paper in each muffin slot on the pan. Double up on the cupcake papers to make sure they hold up.

16. Once the soap is cooler, set the crock-pot on a low setting to retain heat. Take the lid off and add 30 mL of desired essential oils scent. Mix thoroughly.

17. If the soap seems to be a little stiff or is forming a skin on the surface, add a little extra water to keep it moist. Water evaporates as the soap is sitting open and hot, so you may wish to keep a spray bottle handy to mist it to keep it moist.

18. Scoop the gooey, warm soap into the prepared muffin pan using an ice cream scoop. Work quickly so that the soap remains warm while you scoop it. Mist the soap mixture remaining in the crock-pot if it becomes too dry.

19. Once you have the cupcake papers filled, tap the pan against the table or floor a few times to help the soap settle fully into the shape of the cupcake papers. If it has cooled too much while you are scooping it won't fill the papers well, so if you are having trouble moving quickly enough, you can do a few at a time and then tamp.

20. If the surface of the cupcakes is not the ideal shape, reshape the surface with the back of a clean plastic spoon.

21. Allow cupcakes to cool completely.

22. Once they are completely cool, remove cupcakes from the pan.

23. For rosebud soaps–use 5 or 6 rosebuds per soap. The stems of these are usually strong enough to poke directly into the soap. Place one in the middle and the rest surrounding the center.

24. For lavender and mint "sprinkled" soaps–put some lavender buds in a dish. Moisten the top of the soap using a paintbrush and a little water. Then press the top of the soap into the lavender, being careful not to crush the top edges of the cupcake paper.

25. For yarrow and jasmine soaps–cut the yarrow bloom into small sections. Using a needle or other pointed object make a pilot hole in the soap for each bloom section, and then insert them.

26. The soap is useable right away, but will lather best if given a week or so to cure.


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