I don’t know about you but I’m starting to feel festive; a nip is in the air and the scarves have come out. I don’t want to be that person, but I’m starting to get excited about Christmas. I have been thinking about some great presents so this week I have made some lump of coal gag gifts! This Charcoal soap is a simple Cold Process recipe, and a great step up from Melt & Pour soap making!
The Soap Kitchen has just started stocking activated charcoal which is great for your skin and works brilliantly for this idea! Charcoal can be especially great at targeting acne and blackheads, plus gives your soap a brilliant colour! This is a lump of coal people WILL want to find in their stockings!
You Will Need:
- Two good sized stainless steel or enamelled saucepans.
- A heat-proof glass measuring jug or plastic jug able to withstand boiling water.
- Accurate kitchen scales.
- A balloon whisk & rubber/wooden spatula, or similar.
- A mould to pour the liquid soap into whilst it sets.
- Eye and hand protection (safety glasses and rubber gloves).
- A blanket or large towel.
- 340g of Cold, Clean Water
- 125g of Sodium Hydroxide (Caustic Soda) beads or pearls
- 454g of Olive Oil (preferably pomace grade but virgin or extra virgin will do)
- 284g Coconut Oil (hard variety)
- 170g Palm Oil (hard variety)
- 1 TBSP of Activated Charcoal Powder
- OPTIONAL: 1/4 tsp Grapfruit seed extract OR Vitamin E (NOTE: Grapefruit seed extract will speed up the time it takes for your soap to ‘trace’.
- OPTIONAL: 20ml of your chosen Fragrance Oil or Essential Oil (We recommend using this Peppermint Essential Oil!)
How To Make:
Make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment listed above BEFORE you start, weigh them out into suitable containers ready to use.
Always wear safety goggles/glasses and use protective gloves when soap-making to avoid injury from spills and splashes.
First choose your mould. Traditionally, soaps are made in wooden moulds lined with waxed or siliconised paper (link the mould we have linked to), but a cardboard box lined in a similar way is fine or you can use a silicone cake-baking mould, as they are usually lye and heat-resistant. Many forms of plastic kitchenware will be suitable and may also not need lining, such as ‘tupperware’.
If choosing a traditional lined wooden mould, make sure the lining paper is not cut or holed in any way below the top of the mould. It must be folded into corners etc. to ensure there are no leaks.
Step Three- Making The Lye
Measure out 340g of cold clean water into a jug. Weigh (accurately) 125g of sodium hydroxide beads (or pearls) into a suitable container. Carefully add the sodium hydroxide to the water, and whisk, stirring all the time. Be careful not to breathe the vapour that is initially given off, so hold your breath and stir until all the sodium hydroxide has dissolved and there are no lumps stuck to the bottom of the jug.
The solution (now known as Lye) will heat up to nearly 200°F and will need to be left to cool. Place the jug in a large bowl of cold water, being careful not to ‘float’ it, so basically make sure the lug is submerged and not simply floating on top of the water!)
Step Four- The Oils
Meanwhile, measure out exactly 284g of coconut oil and 170g of palm oil into one of the saucepans (the smaller if there is one) and gently melt it on the stove. Don’t overheat it, just melt it. When there are tiny pieces of solid oil still left to melt, turn off the heat and leave until completely liquid.
Whilst the solid oils are melting, measure out 454g of olive oil (pomace grade is best) into the other saucepan (this will be the soap-making pan). If adding optional preservative, add it to the olive oil now.
Once melted, pour the combined coconut and palm oils into the olive oil and mix them all together.
Add the charcoal powder to the oils and mix in well ensuring it is all dispersed and no clumps remain.
Then slowly and carefully pour the lye into the oils, and start stirring with a balloon whisk to ensure the mixture all starts to chemically react and combine.
You should stir the mixture fairly briskly. You will notice the solution start to turn more opaque and as the minutes pass it will start to thicken.
Step Five- The Trace
The stage in the process you have to wait for is known as the ‘Trace’. This is when you can drizzle the mixture from the whisk onto the surface of the solution and it leaves a visible trace before sinking back into the rest.
If adding colour with ultramarines, oxides or food-safe water soluble powders etc., make them up in a little water and add them now (just before or at the trace).
If adding essential oil/s, add them at ‘the trace’ after any colour and stir in well.
Once everything is added and the mixture traces simply pour it into your lined mould.
Cover the mould with something like a cardboard sheet to prevent anything touching the surface of the soap whilst it’s setting.
Insulate with old towels or a blanket and leave at room temperature until the soap has solidified. With a small batch like this example, this should be no more than 24 hours. Larger batches can take longer.
Step Six- Cutting
Once set and cool, remove the soap from the mould and remove any lining paper from the soap. At this stage it should still be soft, so it’s time to cut it into your coal blocks. We simply use a metal scraper, but you could use a knife! If it appears too soft to handle however you should leave it for 2-3 days and try again.
Leave your soap ‘curing’ at room temperature for typically at least 3-4 weeks, preferably on a sheet of uncoloured absorbent paper allowing air to circulate around each bar or block. Curing will allow the soap to lose excess moisture and become harder.
Step Seven- The Label
Now you soap is cured it is time to label it and wrap it! Click the label image below to be taken to your download. We have simply printed this out on some plain white paper and then stuck it to some backing card! Using a hole punch we have then attached some string and your label is complete! Now your soap is ready to be given!
These make great gag gifts, pop some into a bag, attach your free label and give them out! Just click on the label below to download load!
If you missed our Halloween Week recipes last week, you can catch up with all of them and all of our previous #MakeItMonday recipes HERE!