Many of you are just like me. While I enjoy making all types of soaps, I typically make cold process. I find that most of the time, this soapmaking approach is the most enjoyable for me, personally. That is until something goes wrong. Then hot process swoops in and saves the batch, becoming the hero of soapmaking methods. There are actually four ways that hot process can save cold processed soap projects that have gone awry.
Cold Process Gone Wild
It can happen to any of us, and sometimes it is completely unexpected. You plan the perfect design for your cold process soap, perhaps a beautiful swirl or layers. You use the same recipe you always do, the temperatures are spot on, and the colors are mixed to perfection. You drop a lovely smelling fragrance oil into the mixture at trace and disaster occurs. The perfect batch has gone from creamy perfection to a riced mess to a seized bigger mess.
But, if you are truly like me, you don’t panic. There will be disappointment as that swirl you envisioned goes out the door, but all is not lost. Just get your crockpot out and drop in your ruined cold process soap mixture. Put on a low heat, and let the crockpot fix your soap issue.
If you were only planning one color, it should always go in before a fragrance oil, especially if you haven’t taken the time to test the fragrance beforehand. That way, you don’t need to mix it when it is in the thicker hot process form. But if you were planning a design, you have some options. You can add one color to the melted down soap and stick with a solid color, or you can split the melted soap and color each portion separately. You can then layer or spoon layer for a beautiful finished soap.
Other things you can do to quickly dress up a cold process turned hot process soap are as follows:
• Place a single dried rosebud, anise star, dried orange slice, or other botanical on the top of the soap – one for each bar.
• If you keep scraps of previous soaps on hand, cut up some embeddable chunks or grate some coordinating colored soap to sprinkle on top, while the soap is cooking. Then add your accent pieces or gratings to your hot processed soap as it is going into the mold.
• Try layering a solid or multi-colored hot process soap with mica veining. You can mix the mica with some clay to add shimmer with less colorant. You can also add a sprinkling to the top of the soap. A duster or mini-sieve will allow you to spread the mica more uniformly.
Forgotten Cold Process
Even the most experienced soapmaker forgets to add an ingredient once in a while, such as fragrance. This is another case of hot process heroism. If your soap is a solid color or you are fine with a soap becoming a solid color, you can place the soap into a crockpot or use the stove to melt your cold process soap and add the missing ingredient.
Grate your soap first. If the soap is very fresh you may cut it into chunks. Place in the crockpot and melt down. Add your ingredient and blend well. Pour into a mold, allow to set, then cut and cure 2-3 weeks.
Cold Process Time Constraints
Perhaps, you are a cold process soapmaker that has suddenly run out of time before an event, such as a big craft festival. You need more soap, but don’t have 4-6 weeks to let it cure. Turn your cold process project into a hot process miracle.
After you have made your cold processed soap and placed it in a heat safe mold, such as wood or silicone, place the soap into the oven for an hour. After it cools and sets, you can unmold and cure for 2-3 weeks. While the soap has become completely safe to use right away due to the acceleration that the heat caused, the cure time will allow some of the water to dry from the soap creating a harder bar.
Cold Process Scraps
Many soapmakers find they have scraps of soap and don’t know what to do with them. Hot process can help you there as well. Simply grate the pieces and melt in the crockpot to make new soaps. Here are some suggestions:
Soap balls – These soaps can be melted down and reformed into balls as they cool. You can even roll them in dried botanicals, such as rose petals or lavender buds, for an elegant soap. You can sell them as favors or mini soaps, or you can give away as samples.
Redesigned soaps – There are some wonderful examples of redesigned soaps from scraps on Pinterest. One of my favorites first grated and curled some soaps in different coordinating colors. Then one color was melted down in a crockpot and poured into a mold shaped like mini cups. Finally, the curls and grated soaps of other colors were placed into each cup of soap to create a masterpiece.
While hot process is the choice method for many soapmakers, if you are a cold process man or woman, invest in a crockpot and consider using hot process as the perfect rescue for your less satisfactory projects. I recommend having some pretty botanicals on hand to use as accents for topping off hot process rescues. I also suggest having at least some gold mica and a mini duster available to add some extra bling to your newly hot processed soap, especially if you had some grand plans and are feeling frustrated that your design had to change due to a pesky fragrance. Hot process can save many of your projects and create a beautiful, finished soap.