Friday, August 27, 2010

Personalized Incense

Can't find incense sticks with your favorite scent? Make your own! It's really easy and you can use whatever fragrance you want. Here's how:

1. Gather your supplies. You will need raw incense sticks or cones (which we sell at Otion-- 100 sticks for $6), fragrance oil, DPG (Dipropylene Glycol), container, plastic wrap or bag.

2. Start with your selected fragrance oils. In a container large enough to hold your sticks, add your fragrance oil and DPG and mix well. (We prefer a shallow baking pan or casserole dish). The amount of DPG and fragrance oil will vary, see "How Much DPG/FO?" below.

3. Insert sticks into container and roll to cover well. Place a plastic bag or plastic wrap over the container and seal. Sticks should be soaked anywhere from 1-3 days (we prefer 3), occasionally rolling the sticks in the liquid mixture to be certain all sticks are well covered.

4. Remove sticks to dry. The sticks can be dried a variety of ways. They can be placed in a vase which will hold the sticks and allow the excess liquid to drain to the bottom. Another method is to place sand in the bottom of a container and insert the bottom of the sticks into the sand.

How much DPG/FO?

It is recommended to start with 1/3 part fragrance oil to 2/3 part DPG. For 100 sticks, start with 4-6 tablespoons of liquid (total).

For those of you who would like to make your own incense from scratch using essential oils, herbs and resins, we recommend the Making Your Own Incense book by Tina Sams and Maryanne Schwartz.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Salvaged Scraps

Melt-and-pour soapers usually have a pile of scraps hanging around. Why not give that old soap a new life? Look what you can do with some clear base and a loaf mold:



Have a great weekend everyone!

Simple Lavender Salt Scrub

Lavender is known for its soothing, calming, and relaxing properties; perfect for a nighttime bath scrub. For this easy gift idea, you will need the following ingredients:

4 oz Dead Sea Salt
1 oz Liquid Glycerin
5 drops Lavender Essential Oil
1/4 teaspoon Opalescent Mica
Lavender Buds (to your liking)

Begin by portioning your salt into a bowl and separately mix the glycerin, Lavender Essential Oil, and mica together. Add the the colored and scented glycerin to the salt and mix thoroughly. Finally, stir in the lavender buds and package your scrub in a 4 oz metal tin with a clear lid. It's so simple and one of the cleanest projects because there are such few ingredients and steps. Also, you can try this with different types of salt, sugar, carrier oils such as sweet almond or jojoba oil, or experiment with different colors and scents. Have fun and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Soap Weekend Intensive 2010, Success!

Never thought soapmaking could be so intense, did you? Here's a peek at another successful year of learning everything about making your own body products. It was a blast and we are already excited about next year!

Anne-Marie is shown teaching liquid soap above, and Erin is prepping for her advanced melt-and-pour class below.

Students learned the art of making soap from scratch, with a little sparkle:

Jude Birch, this year's cold process instructor from Aussie Soap Supplies (who made her very first trip to the U.S. for this event!), is shown demonstrating her gorgeous swirl technique.

This was all only from one of the three days! Each student left with about 7 pounds of soap each, plus liquid soap, plus lotion, not to mention big smiles and lots of information. Hope to see you for our fourth annual SWI next year!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What's Your Inspiration?

Melt-and-pour soapmaking is a true art form, and just like writer's block, we will all find ourselves stuck in a creative funk at some point. Don't worry! There is always a new idea. I find that the most interesting designs come from the most basic and sometimes unnoticeable details. Look around you and focus on the little things. Do you see two colors next to each other that are surprisingly striking? Or what about that great pattern in the stonework of the building next door? Whatever sparks your creative motivation, go with it! The beauty of melt-and-pour is that if you hate it after you've made it, re-melt the lot and try again. Or better yet, chop it up and throw it in a loaf. Try not to get too attached to the design plan, because spontaneity often results in the most original creations. Not to mention, it's a lot more fun!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Soap Bar Hall of Fame

The Soap Bar at Otion has been super busy lately, which has resulted in some pretty awesome soapy masterpieces (from first-time soapers no less)! A couple of days ago, a small group came in and started with one base. Three hours later they had made 8 pounds of soap! Here are a couple dinosaurs they made:

Great job!

This afternoon we had three generations of soap makers-- grandma, mom, and two daughters. They ended up with over twenty bars of soap from 4 pounds of goats milk base. Take a look at some of their amazing Hall of Fame worthy bars.