Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another Fun Class!

Check out these vibrant bars made in the September 26 cold process class at Otion! These were their favorites from the 16 or so that were made. I love the playful colors and swirls! Participants that were new to soap-making found that cold process wasn't as intimidating as some books made it seem. Some even got over their sodium hydroxide anxieties!

It's a great idea to read up on cold process soap-making before you give it a try so you know what is involved. For an added confidence booster, take a hands-on instructional class with a group of people-- some of the questions that come up from other students will definitely add to the learning experience. I don't know about you, but I'm a big time visual learner and by seeing things done by example, it takes some of the pressure off of trying it myself for the first time. Looking forward to our next class on October 17th. Sign up online or visit us at the store!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Geometric Layered Soap

Ah, the wonderful world of melt-and-pour soap making! For those of you who thrive on instant gratification, there's no better outlet for your creativity than customizing your own soap. Here's a little project that you really can't mess up. Start with a pre-made soap base, melt it in the microwave, add color and fragrance and pour a thin layer into our flexible brownie pan tray. Let that layer harden, remove it from the mold (this is where the flexible mold is most helpful), and repeat with any color or combination of colors you desire. Keep in mind that your fragrance should be consistent with each layer because they will be mixed together in the embedding process.

After you've made a few different hardened layers, cut them up in squares and rectangles. Melt down some more soap and leave it clear or lightly tinted so you can see the layers. This freshly melted soap is going to work as the glue to hold your chopped pieces together. Fragrance is optional. Using the same tray mold, pour a thin layer of fresh soap and spray with rubbing alcohol. Don't forget to generously spray the cut pieces with rubbing alcohol, too, before embedding them into the melted soap. Now, place your squares and rectangles into the wet layer, and alternate between pouring melted soap and embedding the cut pieces.

Keep adding until you fill the mold, spray the top one last time to get rid of those pesky bubbles, and let it harden. Release the soap from the mold and cut into bars with a kitchen knife, cutter/scraper, or crinkle cutter. There you go! A beautiful, vibrant and original work of art, er... soap. Give it a try!

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Fragrance at Otion!

Yes it's true, summer is coming to an end, but some of us don't want to admit that!
Summer Melon Spritzer is sure to make your mouth water. Cantaloupes, Watermelons and Canary Melons come together in this fragrance for a sweet, summery delight. Supporting top notes of Japanese Grapefruit, Crisp Apple and Pomelo bring a bright and cheery melding to the bottom note of Tonka Bean. The secret ingredient to this fragrance is Tonic Water (thus the 'spritzer'). It works beautifully in CP soap, stays a creamy tan and is ideal in all manner of other toiletries.
I love using coral mica and yellow oxide pigment to make a vibrant cold process batch!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Soapy Success

Our private cold process class last week was a blast! I was super impressed by the advanced swirling techniques that everyone jumped right into and ended up with some gorgeous bars to take home. Check out these swirls!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Learn How to Make Cold Process Soap!

Join us at Otion one Saturday a month to learn cold process soap making. We will cover the basics of making soap from scratch using oils and sodium hydroxide (or lye). Learn what soap is and how it works, what ingredients and materials are used, safety precautions when using lye, SAP values, the difference between fragrance and essential oil, and options for colorants and additives. We keep an optimum learning environment with modestly sized classes of up to 7 people, and hands-on instruction is a great way to expand your soaping skills. Students leave with two bars of custom soaps made in class, as well as confidence and experience using the cold process method. Remember, cold process soap takes a month to cure before it may be safe for use!

Much of the fun of making soap is the experimental and creative journey. Be your own soap chemist and try different oils, color and fragrance combinations to create your own unique body products for personal use, gifts, or start your own small business. Best of all, you know exactly what is going into your recipe and skin. Treat yourself, have fun, and get creative!

For a list of classes, visit our website here or sign up in the store.

Got Scraps?

For all you melt-and-pour enthusiasts with piles of left-over soap clippings, grab one of our 2.5# loaf molds, pour in some freshly melted soap (you can melt down some of your old scraps for this part, too!), spray the layer and the scraps generously with rubbing alcohol and alternate between pouring and placing the melted and hardened soap. By coloring each cup of melted soap differently, you can end up with some really fun swirls and layers in between the embedded scraps! We recommend leaving a little space in the mold (about 1/4" from the top) for easy soap removal. This is a fun, spontaneous way to create something unique, not to mention clearing off some counter space. No two cut pieces are the same!

This is also a great activity at birthday parties. Everyone takes turns pouring soap into the loaf and dropping in scraps. When the group soap has hardened, it can be cut up and shared as take-home party favors. And hey, there's plenty of time to eat cake while waiting for the soap to set up. Have fun!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Make Pinwheel Soap

This is a new display we just put up at Otion. If you want to learn how to make these Pinwheel soaps, the video is below: