Did you know that hangers are great soapmaking accessories? And no, they’re not (just) for hanging up your apron between batches! They have plenty of other uses! Not sure what these could be? Read on to discover our new homemade soap recipe: Hanger in the Soap.
Yes, we know, it’s rather surprising. We wouldn’t have imagined that you could make soap at home with this accessory… And yet, you can! A hanger allows you to perform a range of interesting techniques to create a variety of unique designs.
So get your hanger out, it’s time to make decorative handmade soap!
How to make soap with a hanger
Before you begin
In this homemade soap recipe, we will be working with a very light and light trace only.
Sodium hydroxide solution
Oil and butter mixture
- 350 g (29.41%) olive oil
- 250 g (21.01%) coconut oil
- 125 g (10.51%) grapeseed oil
- 30 g (2.52%) kokum butter
- 45 g (3.78%) castor oil
- 28 g (2.35%) hazelnut oil
Essential oil mixture
- 7 g (0.59%) coriander essential oil
- 5 g (0.42%) basil essential oil
- 10 g (0.84%) pink grapefruit essential oil
- 2 g (0.17%) palmarosa essential oil
- Scales, accurate to 1 g and 0.01 g
- 1 large Pyrex measuring cup or HDPE pot (with a minimum capacity of 500 ml) for the sodium hydroxide solution
- 1 pot for weighing the sodium hydroxide
- 4 pipettes for the essential oils
- Components to make a double boiler
- 1 small stainless steel bowl
- 1 large stainless steel bowl
- 1 thermometer
- 3 measuring funnel pitchers (900 ml)
- 1 silicone loaf mold
- 4 ramekins (1 for the essential oils, 3 for the colourants)
- 1 immersion blender
- Several spoons
- 1 silicone spatula
- 3 mini silicone spatulas
- 1 mini-mixer
- Protective soapmaking gear
- 1 metal wire hanger, to create the swirl design
- 1 pair of pliers, to bend the hanger
Good to know!
In this cold process soap recipe, we chose to use a hanger swirl technique, because it offers a wide range of possibilities and it can yield a variety of final results. Please be easy on yourself: this unusual technique requires a bit of practice to pull off well. But with time, you can become a “hanger master!”
Once you’ve gotten the “hang” of the technique, you can try varying it a bit! For example, try sliding the hanger through the same spot in the soap several times.
Preparing the hanger
- Take a metal wire hanger and cut off the top hook. Unbend the first arm to form a right angle.
- Measure the length of your soap mold (the length of our silicone loaf mold is approximately 20 cm or 8 inches).
- Measure out this distance from the first arm/bend and create a second 90° angle at this point.
- The goal is to create a U-shaped tool, with two right angles, that can fit lengthwise inside the mold.
- Cut the excess off of the longer end of the hanger tool.
Steps to follow
- Prepare and sterilize your equipment and workspace.
- Take the necessary precautions for using sodium hydroxide safely.
- Prepare the sodium hydroxide solution (measure sodium hydroxide and water separately; pour the sodium hydroxide into the water, contained in a Pyrex measuring cup or HDPE pot; mix together) and leave to cool.
- In the first ramekin, weigh the essential oils using the pipettes. Mix together.
- In a small bowl, weigh the hazelnut oil (for superfatting).
- In the three other ramekins, weigh the mars violet, green, and titanium dioxide colourants separately.
- Add 4 g of hazelnut oil to each ramekin containing colourant. Mix well using the mini-mixer. Be sure to clean the mini-mixer between each colourant so as not to combine them.
- Weigh the coconut oil and the kokum butter in the large stainless steel bowl. Melt on the double boiler. Once melted, remove from heat and add the olive, castor, and grapeseed oils. Set aside to cool.
- When the oil mixture and the sodium hydroxide solution have both cooled to a temperature between 26°C and 30°C, pour the sodium hydroxide solution into the oil mixture and combine with the spatula. Stir with the spatula until you have reached a homogeneous mixture, then mix with the immersion blender at the machine’s lowest setting.
- At very light trace, add the essential oil mixture. First mix well with the spatula, then mix with the immersion blender (still on the lowest setting).
- Pour 150 g of the sodium hydroxide/oil mixture into each of the three measuring funnel pitchers. Add one ramekin of colourant/hazelnut oil to each of the pitchers to obtain one measuring funnel pitcher with mars violet, one with green, and one with titanium dioxide.
- Mix each with a (clean) silicone spatula until it becomes homogeneous, then mix with the mini-mixer for a few seconds (clean the mini-mixer between each colour). The batter should be at light trace.
- Pour the rest of the superfatting oil into the uncoloured sodium hydroxide/oil mixture in the large bowl. First mix well with the spatula, then mix with the immersion blender (again on the lowest setting to maintain light trace).
- Pour the uncoloured soap batter (from the large bowl) into the mold.
- Take the pitcher with the violet soap batter. Holding the pitcher relatively high, pour in a lengthwise line along the centre of the soap base. Take the pitcher with the white soap batter and repeat (pour a thinner layer than for the violet, however), holding the pitcher slightly less high above the soap mold. Repeat with the green soap batter, again holding the pitcher a little less high than you did for the white soap batter. With each layer, you should be holding the pitcher a little lower to the soap. Varying the height from which you’re pouring allows the coloured soap batter to penetrate the base soap more or less deeply. This (along with the hanger technique) will create the unique pattern in this homemade soap.
- Repeat this process, alternating the colours in the following order: violet / white / green / white. The white layers must be thinner than the violet and green ones (in order to have enough). Adding a white layer between each violet and green layer creates a beautiful contrast between the coloured layers.
- Continue to alternate colours until you have only a little bit of coloured soap batter left in each pitcher. Set the remaining coloured batters aside to decorate the top of the soap.
- Gently insert the hanger into the coloured mass at the centre of the mold (approximately where the colours were poured) until it reaches the bottom. Slide the hanger from the centre of the mold to one of its sides, holding the hanger upright. When you’ve reached the side of the mold, remove the hanger by gently sliding it upwards.
- Insert the hanger into the centre of the mold again and repeat the operation, this time sliding the hanger towards the other side of the mold. Set the hanger aside.
- Pour the rest of each colour in straight lines on the top of the soap.
- To decorate the top surface, create zigzags with the tip of the thermometer. Stay on the surface of the soap to avoid spoiling the pattern inside.
- Cover the soap for 24 hours.
- Unmold after 48 hours. Wear gloves for this step. Cut and leave soap in a cool, dry place for 4 to 6 weeks.
- Use and conservation
This cold process soap recipe is formulated for use on the body. It is suitable for all skin types.
Keep soap in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place. Made in optimal sanitary conditions, your homemade soap should keep for at least 12 months.