Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rebatch Project Ideas

Rebatch soap is a fantastic way to make rustic, artisan soaps by hand without using lye. It gives you the freedom to incorporate whatever additives you'd like because the saponification process has already been completed. Certain ingredients that would otherwise react to the lye in cold process soapmaking, such as dried florals and herbs, can be used without fear that their colour or characteristics might be compromised. Any fragrance or essential oil can be used without potentially speeding up trace or your soap seizing, as well as any colourant! The additions of nourishing nutrients can also be incorporated such as vitamins, proteins, and specialty skincare oils for extra benefit.

Above are pictures of 3 beautiful rebatch soaps we've made: Lavender, featuring Lavender Flowers, Lavender Essential Oil, and Ultramarine Purple as a colourant; Lemongrass soap with Lemongrass Essential Oil, Calendula Petals, and Annato powder; and Green Tea soap containing Green Tea Fragrance and Green Tea Leaves.

To make these amazing soaps yourself click here for the full project sheets.

The instructions for rebatch soap are easy:

1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Place desired amount of rebatch soap in a large, heavy zip lock bag, then place inside a second zip lock bag, ensuring that both are sealed.

2. Place the grated soap bag in the water, reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and gently boil for 1 hour. During this time, prepare your molds and any other additives you may be using.

3. After an hour, using oven mitts take the bag out of the water and place on a towel on the counter. Gently knead or mush the soap around until an even consistency is reached. If you can still see grated soap chunks, place the bag back in the pot and boil for another 20-30 minutes. Carefully remove from water and repeat kneading.

4. If desired consistency cannot still be reached, add 2-4 tbsp of water per pound of soap base and put back in the hot water for another 20-30 mins.

5. Once the soap has reached the smooth consistency of thin mashed potatoes, add any essential or fragrance oil, floral, colour, or other additive and knead well to distribute.

6. Snip off the corner of the bag and pipe the soap into your mold, making sure you fill the sides and corners. Cover your mold with plastic wrap or freezer paper and let sit until hard, then remove from the mold. Depending on how much water and other liquid has been added, the soap may need to cure for up to a couple weeks to create a hard bar with great longevity.

Keep in mind that rebatch soap produces a more rustic-looking bar than cold process with lots of character. The possibilities are virtually limitless!

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