Going from hobby to business is exciting, challenging and intimidating for some soapmakers. Time is split between formulating, implementing that formulation and finding ways to sell; not to mention regular day to day activities! One method of manufacturing that has saved many Handcrafters quite a bit of time is master batching.
Master Batching is the process of mixing a large batch of your recipe’s oils and even lye water (separately, but we’ll get into that later) and storing it for later use. This method can cut down on manufacturing time, since time would have already been dedicated to the tedious process of measuring and mixing; when it’s time to get soapy, you’ll only need to measure the oils as a whole instead of measuring them individually.
The process of master batching uses your normal oil ratio multiplied by the number of batches you’d like to make.
Individual Standard Oils x Desired Batches= Master Batch Recipe
Let’s use our oils from the recipe for last month’s Coffee Bar to demonstrate how this process works.
For this example, we’ll take a recipe for 2lbs of soap, and convert it to a master batch that will provide enough mixed ingredients for five batches of this recipe.
6.4 oz Coconut Oil
6.4 oz Palm Oil
15.36 oz Olive Oil
3.2 oz Shea Butter
.64 oz Stearic acid
Now, we will multiply all of these ingredients individually by five to get the amount we’ll need to master batch.
Master Batch Recipe
32 oz Coconut Oil
32 oz Palm Oil
76.8 oz Olive Oil
16 oz Shea Butter
3.2 oz Stearic acid
Mix all of your ingredients well, and then store in a clean container. Keep in mind that if you are using solid oils, you will need to re-melt them each time you make a batch. You can do this with a bucket warmer, but just make sure that you are stirring the batch to evenly distribute the oils again.
Master Batching Lye Water
You can also master batch lye water using the same method as your oils with two major differences. First, you do not need to heat up your lye water to use it when you’re ready. Second, you must make sure that your lye water is stored in an HDPE plastic container, or it will melt the plastic, causing a dangerous clean up situation for you later on.
To master batch the lye for the recipe above, use the following steps.
12.16 oz Water
4.43 oz Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)
Now, multiply these ingredients by five.
Master Batch Recipe
60.8 oz Water
22.15 oz Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)
Mix the water and lye thoroughly, just as you would if you were making an individual recipe. Store this mixture in an HDPE plastic container with a lid firmly attached, and make sure to very clearly mark the container so that someone (including you!) doesn’t accidentally open it without the proper protection.
When soapmakers hear the phrase master batch, they think of it as an extra step that they might not be ready for-but in truth, even the smallest business can benefit from some advanced preparation. Doing a little bit of legwork in advance will set you up for quicker production in the future; a win for future you!
Did you catch last month’s coffee bar recipe? Whether you are planning to create a master batch or not, this recipe is sure to put a little pep in your step. Check it out here: http://www.cuttothetrace.com/2017/08/lets-make-a-coffee-bar/
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