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  1. Free Beginners Guide to Making Soy Wax Candles:

    With autumn just around the corner why not give making your own soy wax candles a try. Have you been toying with the idea recently, looking for a gift idea or like us starting a new business opportunity adventure? We’ve learnt a lot about soy wax candle making and we want to share our experience and tips with everyone reading this blog.

    These candles are perfect for a cosy night in by the fire, relaxing in the bath or just to fill a room with a spectacular fragrance.

    Now first of all why we chose soy wax over other waxes available on the market, soy wax has an amazing scent throw (distance the scent travels in a room), easy to work with, cost effective, eco friendly and doesn’t release that horrible black smoke whilst burning. We use the soy wax container blend whereas you can get pillar blends for candles that aren’t in a container like ours.

    Other waxes available on the market include paraffin wax, bees wax and a number of different blends, each wax have pros and cons and its well worth researching all waxes and finding the correct wax for you. In this blog we’ll be focusing on container soy wax we use.

    Equipment:

    How simple it is to start off candle making you don’t need any fancy equipment and probably have it in the kitchen already. Firstly for melting the wax we use a large stainless steel pan or you can use a microwavable jug so it gives you two options… hob or microwave. We also use a silicone spatula, small measuring spoons and a thermometer. That’s pretty much it for the equipment side of things.

    Melting the wax:

    I’m sure there are going to be a few different methods out there for melting wax but here’s the way we do it. We start off by measuring out the correct quantity of wax and placing it in a large stainless steel pan and heating gently. We found for us heating the wax to around 80oc is enough to get it all meltinto gently, you don’t want to boil the wax so do this part low and slow and just be patient. Like I mentioned before you can melt the wax in a microwave and I would do this gradually for 20 second intervals until all the wax has melted into a liquid.

    Fragrance:

    Picking what fragrance to use in a candle is a tough decision and so many to choose from, you can get fragrances for all seasons ready mixed or have a go at mixing your own when you’ve mastered the basics. It’s easy to get carried away here so I would suggest buying from somewhere that does a small sample selection package and that way you can try a few at once.

    Adding the fragrance to the wax is mega simple just measure it out and pour it in. If you want to try it how we do it we add it just after taking the wax off the heat. Some people argue that adding fragrance to a hotter temperature wax dilutes the scent more but I’m yet to find this after trialling it at different temperatures. Once added just stir in and let the wax cool. For our soy wax we use 10% of the wax weight for fragrance. So if we are making a 400g candle we would use 40 millimetre of fragrance. Different wax types will use different amount of wax so check from your supplier how much the limit is.

    Wicks:

    Make sure the wick you pick is correct wick for the wax you are using. It’s amazing how little differences in the wicks can make for getting a good burn. You want a wick that is going to burn right to the edges of your containers or a wick that is going to burn a full candle, not just a small hole down the centre. The best thing to do is look online where you are buying from for guidance most sites will have a guide for what wick burns best for wax type and size of candle.

    Preparation before pouring:

    At this point you want to start prepping your candle tins, jars or glasses. You don’t want to be messing round trying to do ten things at once when the wax is cooling and setting in the pan. We have our candles set out ready with the wicks stuck down with a glue dot and the wick held in place with a holder. You can find these online pretty much anywhere that sells candle supplies.

    Pouring:

    Pouring is a skill and an art form for us we like to fill the exact same point on every candle which means precision. The temperature we pour at is 50-60oc however every candle maker will be different and again different wax types may have different melting and pouring temperatures so it’s well worth researching your wax before beginning. When filling a container make sure you leave enough room for you lid to go on without touching the wax, a mistake we learnt the hard way unfortunately.

    Curing:

    Every candle should be left to cure and harden properly otherwise the candle won’t last as long as it should do. Our candles normally cure for anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks or until we sell them. This is again dependant on what wax type you are using but we have worked out that a 200g wax will burn for approximately 36 hours and 300g of wax will burn for approximately 52 hours. This is after at least 3 days of curing in a cool room out of direct sunlight. Room temperature can effect cure time so make sure the candles are in a cool room and not near any radiators or warm pipes.

    For advice or any question you may have please feel free to ask Thelakesbathtub's team. 

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  2. Free Beginner’s Guide to Melt and Pour Soap Making

     

    Melt and pour soap making is fantastic for beginners and the method we mainly use for the majority of our products. The simplistic method consists of melting, adding fragrance, colourant and botanicals. Every product can differ and we use specific pouring temperatures ect which we will explain in this blog.

    Base:

    For melting the base we usually chop up into smaller pieces to help the melting process to speed up a little bit. We use a large stainless steel pan for the melting process as this is for large quantities. The bases we use are Goat’s milk, opaque (white plain base) and a clear base. The goat’s milk range is more moisturising and gives a great lather, where as the opaque base is used for our vegan friendly range but with added extras such as shea butter and coconut oil for the nourishment on hair and skin. Soap base tends to start melting at around 50oc and we pour once all the soap is melted and cooled to around 58oc.

    image10

    Moulds:

    There is such a wide variety of shapes and sizes for soap moulds out there on the internet that it can be hard to pick. We would suggest for a beginner to start out a simple, small moulds in rectangular bar shape or love hearts. We have custom made moulds for our soap loafs and various shaped moulds for our other products. The material they are made out of is a cooking grade silicone which is quite thick, this is because of the temperature of the soap when pouring is still very hot. Also with a silicone based mould once the soap base has set the flexibility allows for an easier release of the soap bar / soap loaf.

    IMG_5086 (2)

    Fragrance:

    Experimenting and scenting your soap bars is one of the most enjoyable parts of soap making in my opinion, however this can also be a little bit daunting at the same time. There are so many fragrances out there to choose from it can be a bit overwhelming. We suggest starting simple and choosing single fragrances or choosing a fragrance that is pre mixed. Once you get to grips with the making process you can then start experimenting with mixing fragrances yourself and making some fantastic concoctions. We suggest using around 0.3 oz per pound of soap. Or simply try a fragrance calculator online with a simple search. All of our fragrances are skin safe and it’s vital that you check that any fragrance you buy is also or it can cause rashes. Our products are sold as a business so every single one of our soaps are safety assessed, so if you’re thinking of progressing into a business you’ll have to look into this with more detail further down the line. We add our fragrance when the soap is around 65oc but off the heat.

    Colourant:

    image4Colouring soap bars is also another fun part of the making process, this is where you get to experiment with a wide range of colours to match the fragrance you have chosen. We use pigment based colourant for our goats milk and opaque bars to make them bright and bold, however when colouring clear base you will need to use a water based colourant. You have to make sure that the colourants you are using are skin safe. We don’t recommend the use of food colourants because they haven’t been approved for use in soaps unless otherwise stated. Colourant can be added at any time but we normally do it around the same time as the fragrance which is 65oc.

    Botanicals:

    Once you’ve got to grips with the making process you can start to look at adding botanicals, we add these to a lot of our products which is a nice extra touch and they work as a great exfoliants. 
    This includes things such and dried orange peel, rose petals, dried lavender, ground peach stone and much more. Take our lemon poppy seed soap bar, we make this through the method above adding fragrance and colourant, then add the poppy seeds.

    orange slies

    The clean up:

    We have separate utensils for all our soap making, rather than using the same cooking utensils you would find in the kitchen. This is simply because colourants and fragrances can effect items by leaving them stained or with a funny taste. We recommend buying extra measuring jugs, mixing bowls and utensils for soap making. Generally when it comes to the clean up soap washes off most items fairly easily just by scrubbing with hot water.

    View our range of goat's milk melt and pour range here.

    Safety tips for making:

    • We always make our products with something on top of our worktops such as a wipe able vinyl layer just encase on spillages which can stain some materials.
    • Use heat resistant gloves when moving pans off the burner.
    • Use gloves when adding colourant and fragrance so it doesn’t stain the skin.
    • Always check advice on the products you buy.

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