Saturday, December 3, 2011

Simple Soy Candles

If you are putting together handmade gift baskets for Christmas presents this year, consider adding handmade soy candles. They are beautiful in our glass candle containers, colored or left neutral, and soy wax burns cleaner than most other wax products. Plus, they are easy enough for absolute beginners to make!

What you need:

4 Glass Candle Containers
24 oz Advanced Eco Soya Wax
8 cup Pyrex dish
Candle Dye, color by preference
Candle Scent, by preference (I used Milk and Honey)
4 wicks WU 250
Plastic Dropper for liquid color

First, weigh out 16 ounces of soy wax in your Pyrex measuring cup and melt down in the microwave at 1 minute intervals until melted. We will melt down the rest later.

Next, add 1 full ounce of candle fragrance and stir in completely. Then add 8 drops of candle colorant (or shave off a small amount off dye block and stir in).

Tip! The color will appear much darker in the melted wax than when dried. Put a knife in the freezer when you get started and dip it into the colored wax to immediately see the final color. Add more color if desired.

To place the wicks, dip them in the melted wax and center them in each cup. When you pour the wax, make sure to balance the wick with pens or chopsticks so that they don't tip over.

Finally, melt down 8 more ounces of wax and top off each candle. You don't need to scent this small amount. This uncolored wax will dry white and makes a neat foggy swirl through the purple. Plus, it helps clean out any color left in your bowl. Wipe your Pyrex dish clean with a paper towel while it is still warm.

Let the candle harden and snip off the excess wick. You can print off cute labels to stick on the side or gift them with a ribbon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Free Holiday Parking Downtown!

To encourage shoppers to visit downtown during the holidays, the City of Bellingham is launching the Holiday Parking Program, December 12-26. Downtown shoppers can enjoy free parking in metered spaces all day every day.
“We offered free two-hour lunch parking between Thanksgiving and Christmas in past years,” said Clark Williams, Transportation Superintendent with Public Works. “It was confusing for shoppers,” he added. The Downtown Bellingham Partnership proposed longer hours on fewer days.

Although parking is free all day, drivers are asked to park responsibly by observing the time limits posted on the meters.
Shoppers wishing to stay longer are encouraged to park on the ground floor of the Parkade.
For more information, contact the Transportation Superintendent at 778-7700, or click here.

Otion is downtown on the corner of Bay Street and Holly Street. Come see us!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Jelly Roll

Learn how to make these sweet Christmas Jelly Roll bars by following the Soap Queen video below and just change the colors and scent! For my red, I blended red labcolor, merlot mica and red glitter, used liquid white for the white, and green chrome oxide for the background, all with our bulk clear base. The fragrance blend is Christmas Tree Cybilla and Peppermint 2nd Distillation. Make sure to add liquid glycerin to the roll so it bends and spray rubbing alcohol so everything sticks together.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Soapy Celebration

Birthday parties are one of our favorite things we offer at Otion, and we had the pleasure of hosting a party for a great group of nine year-old girls last weekend. Most of them were already experienced soaperstars from using our walk-in Soap Bar before. Everyone made two bars of personalized soap!

There was plenty of time for cake and presents while the soap hardened in the freezer.

In addition to fun shapes, we made what's called a "party loaf." Everyone pours different colors and scents into one big soap and then it's cut up and shared at the end.

Thanks for a great time and enjoy the beautiful soap you made!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Craftiness at Otion

We love this time of year! Lot's of people had snow in Washington and Oregon today except for us in Bellingham, so we made our own. Melissa is our new fabulous staff member at Otion (far left) and she is a paper snowflake-maker extraordinaire. Selena is in the middle with her perfect snowflake and that's me (Kat) on the far right with my square-ish one.

Below is Melissa hanging them on our front window. Yay! Up next, more Christmas displays!

Another Fun Class

Today was a basic cold process class at Otion and it was such a pleasure to teach these fast learners. Everyone made four bars of soap from scratch with colors, fragrances and additives of their choice. Take a look at our day in pictures:

Thanks for coming everyone! Your soap turned out great and I hope you have a fun holiday season sharing your new craft. ~Kat

Friday, November 11, 2011

Super Easy Christmas Swirl Soap

This project took about ten minutes to make ten bars of peppermint swirl soap. Talk about quick and easy Christmas gifts! Of course, there is a little wait time for the loaf to harden in the freezer (45 minutes to an hour), but that gives you time to work on labels or start another body product project (lip balm is also really fun and easy).

What You Need:
1 pound Honey melt-and-pour soap base
1 pound Goat Milk melt-and-pour base
Red LabColor
Red glitter
Green Chrome Oxide
Loaf Mold
Peppermint 2nd Distillation
Rubbing alcohol in spritzer bottle

Cut your soap into cubes and divide the Honey base into two parts (one part will be green, one part will be red with glitter). Melt down the bases and scent with 2 ml Peppermint oil to one pound of base. Add two mini scoops of green chrome oxide to one part of the honey base, and a couple drops of red LabColor and two mini scoops of glitter to the other part of the honey base. Stir well and then alternate pouring the colors and white until the mold is full. Spray rubbing alcohol to get rid of surface bubbles and in between pours so everything sticks together.

Let it harden in the freezer for about 45 minutes to an hour and then cut with a sharp knife or crinkle cutter. You can repeat this method with different types of soap base and different colors and fragrance. The possibilities are endless and each bar is unique.

* Hint * Come in and do this at our walk-in Soap Bar. We have all the supplies, the mess isn't in your kitchen, and it saves you $$

New! Pinot Grigio Fragrance Oil

I love this new fall scent! Pinot Grigio is a perfect blend of floral and fruit. Plus, it isn't overpowering like most wine scents I've smelled. I paired it with our new(ish) Bubble Tray Mold to create these fun party soap bars using the melt-and-pour Shaving base for extra rich lather. The front is detailed by using a dropper and the back is swirled. Add liquid white to make the soap appear more opaque.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fun Class Soap

Kat taught a private melt-and-pour and cold process class about a week ago and made lots of fun projects. First up is a five-pound Oatmeal, Milk and Honey cold process swirl loaf with scrubby oats on top.

Then our new 2.5 pound silicone loaf mold was used for another cold process batch, this time split into three colorful layers with a swirl on top. I can't say enough great things about this mold! The walls are reinforced so it doesn't bow out when filled, the sides are perfectly smooth, the soap comes right out because it's flexible, you don't have to line it, and it's affordable. Love it!

After making soap from scratch using lye, they jumped into the pre-made base projects using melt-and-pour soap. You can easily create detailed, themed bars like the Halloween soap or a luxurious massage bar. Embeds, layering, and swirling were all covered and the soap came out great!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Advanced Swirling Class

On Saturday, Kat taught advanced swirling to a great group of experienced cold process soapmakers. We even had a little doughnut party while the lye cooled! Both in-the-pot and linear swirling techniques were demonstrated after Kat went over everything from colorants and fragrance choice to supplies and tips.

We made a five pound in-the-pot loaf with Energy fragrance oil and five colors including neutral. Students helped out with preparing the batch and breaking down colorants.

Since it's about that time to start cold process Christmas soap, we made a four-pound linear swirl using Christmas Tree Cybilla fragrance oil. This scent is amazing in cold process. It doesn't accelerate or discolor and the scent stays very strong.

Thank you to everyone who came to class and made it an extra fun soaping session! The next advanced cold process class with Kat is on Saturday November 12. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Spoooky Soap!

Halloween is quickly approaching and we're having a blast making lots of scary soap. Need some ideas for your product line or party? Check out my favorite molds here, and some of Anne-Marie's past Halloween projects here. I love the realistic eyeball soap! You can make your own detailed silicone soap mold using Flexy Fast Molding Putty to create incredible pumpkin soap like these:

Definitely make use of our Toxic Waste Yellow colorant. It practically glows and makes a killer background for black cats and bats.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ask and You Shall Receive!

I'm SO excited to reveal our brand new "Self-Serve Pump Station" at Otion!
With six different items to choose from, including Liquid Concentrate Soap, Goatsmilk Liquid Soap, Castile Liquid Soap, Lotion Base, Beeswax Lotion Base, and Shampoo Base. Pay for the product by the ounce and fill your choice of 2 oz, 4 oz or 8 oz plastic bottles. Bring your own bottle to avoid paying for packaging. Personalize each product by adding scent and your gift giving tasks just got a whole lot easier this year!

Need labels? We've got you covered there, too. Bramble Berry has a free Shampoo, Conditioner and Lotion Label Template (downloadable PDF)

Plus, we have a great video on how to make shampoo and conditioner (also free!)

How to Make Shampoo and Conditioner from Soap Queen on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Best Halloween Soap Molds!

October is my favorite month and I can't wait to make lots of Halloween themed projects and fun party favors. Plus, melt-and-pour soapmaking is easy enough to do in the kitchen, so if you're planning a Halloween party and need a new activity for the kids, why not make some ghoulish glycerin bars? Get ready for Halloween with these spooky soap molds.

Pirates Soap Mold

Halloween Trio Mold

Halloween Mold

Guest Mini Halloween Pumpkins

Guest Mini Ghosts Mold

Skull Flexible Mold

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Autumnal Deer Bar Soap

These handsome deer bars are great for the season, and they're scented with my favorite fall fragrance: Vanilla Oak. The scent is popular with both men and women and has notes of Light Camphor, Italian Bergamot, Cassia Root to provide flighty top notes, with strong middle and base notes of Sweet Heliotrope, Soft Amber, Warm Oak, Sandalwood, Patchouli and Creamy Vanilla.

Cappuccino Mica
Light gold mica
Green chrome oxide
Clear melt-and-pour base (1 pound yields three deer bars)
White Tailed Deer Flexible Mold
Vanilla Oak Fragrance Oil
Vanilla Color Stabilizer Use one tablespoon per pound of M&P soap.
Rubbing alcohol
Clean Up Tool

Melt 1 pound of soap base and add 4 ml Vanilla Oak fragrance oil and one tablespoon Vanilla Color Stabilizer. Separate a small amount (about 1/4 cup) and color with Cappuccino Mica. Use a dropper to squeeze brown soap into the deer section. Use the clean up tool for areas that may have spilled over, particularly around the antlers.

Color 1 cup of soap with light gold mica. Remember, the soap base already has scent and VCS in it. You will have to keep melting it down as you work. Spray the hardened deer layer with rubbing alcohol and pour a layer of light gold soap over the deer detail. Tip: Putting a white or light colored layer behind the dark deer will create contrast and pop out the color in the deer. Don't pour dark behind dark or you won't see the detail.

For the final layer, color the rest of the soap base with one scoop light gold mica and one scoop chrome green oxide. Spray the light gold layer before you pour the green so the layers stick together, and make sure the layer you are pouring onto is hard.

Let harden and you're done! You can use other types of clear bases for different benefits, like Aloe Vera, Honey, or Shaving base for example. The Vanilla Color Stabilizer will keep the soap from going brown from the Vanilla Oak fragrance oil.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Patchouli Cranberry Luxury Bars

This is my favorite cold process recipe! I found it on From Nature With Love a while back when a customer requested a mild facial bar for acne prone skin. I tried out a bar for myself and it was a real treat for my skin, and the customer had great results as well. Now, I've decided to use the recipe again but with a few twists.

Recipe: Yields 2.75 pounds

6 oz distilled water
6 oz aloe vera liquid
2 oz castor oil
4 oz cocoa butter
4 oz coconut oil
12 oz olive oil
5 oz palm oil
5 oz palm kernal flakes
4.4 oz lye
1.5 oz Patchouli E.O.
0.5 oz cranberry seeds
1 teaspoon bamboo powder
Up to 1/4 teaspoon burgundy pigment

Make your lye solution, weigh out your melted oils and combine both when temperatures are at around 100 degrees F. Add the Patchouli to the entire batch at this point.

Separate about half of the batch into a smaller container for the bottom layer. Add cranberry seeds and bamboo powder for natural scrubbing power. Pour this layer at a very thick trace.

In another small container, separate out 1/4 of the rest of the batch. Add burgundy pigment and 0.5 oz Cranberry Fig fragrance oil if you want to try a fun scent blend. Pour this layer at a medium to thick trace.

Pour the rest of the uncolored soap on last. I swirled a little bit of pink on the surface by mixing together the scrapings from my burgundy layer with the scrapings of the neutral soap. It looks great and reduced waste! As the top layer sets up, use a whisk to sculpt peaks. The cuts bars are beautiful with a stamp and the soap is mild, healing and oh so luxurious.

(Doesn't the color scheme remind you of Christmas? It's not too early to start those holiday cold process projects!)