Master-batching Soap Oils

If you aren’t a soapmaker, please feel free to scroll to the bottom of the post to see the pretty soaps I made this week!

For those who care, I finally got my act together and master-batched some oils! I had been slowly gathering information and equipment for several weeks. Long Leaf Soaps was a true inspiration as she shared about her set-up on Facebook. I was able to use my big bucket that my coconut oil came in from Soaper’s Choice, and bought an industrial bucket warmer, as well as a bulkhead tank fitting and spigot online. I told Hubby all we needed were some pipe fittings and some silicone, but he was adamant about not using silicone, so he found the fittings he wanted to use and put together that part for me.

Master-batch bucket for soap oils

I set it up on top of an empty 5-gallon bucket right next to my rack full of supplies. There’s an electrical outlet directly behind it so I can easily plug in the warmer, and it’s high enough I can put my scale and soap pot on the floor under the spigot to get the oils I need.

To start out, I just melted the solid oils in two large pots on my stove, then dumped them in the bucket along with the liquid oils and stirred it up – enough to make 3.5 gallons total. I figure I could have made at least another 2 gallons if I wanted to fill the bucket, but that was a good starting point. Long Leaf Soaps also recommended plugging in the warmer the night before you want to make soap. It heats up to 140 degrees, so you have to be careful not to touch it when it’s hot!

I made three batches of soap in one afternoon – it worked pretty great! I didn’t get it plugged in overnight, but it was probably 5-6 hours. The oils were between 90-95 degrees, which is my perfect soaping temp! I did not master-batch the lye solution, and probably never will. It just seems too dangerous to me to have that sitting around, since I do all my soapmaking in my kitchen.

Here are the final soaps, all cut and ready to cure:

Black Raspberry Creme Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Always a favorite, I figured I would bring it back in time for the holidays!

Moroccan Spice Coffee Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

This is also a re-make, and the first time I will be offering it this year. Perfect for fall with its top notes of orange combined with every spicy note you can think of!

River Dance Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

It’s been several years since I have made a soap with this fragrance. It’s a dupe of the popular men’s cologne Green Irish Tweed – smells absolutely wonderful! Love the way the faux funnel pour came out with the three shades of green.

All three of these soaps will be available at on October 23rd.

35 thoughts on “Master-batching Soap Oils

  1. Michele says:

    Hmmm, so glad you posted this. I will have to get the husband on something like this-it would make live soooo much easier. Great idea!

    And as always lovely soap there my friend. Loving the green one.

  2. Nichole says:

    Wow, what a time saver! Thanks for sharing all about your set up. I would love to do this someday when I have a bigger soap making space. Your three soaps look wonderful as always!

  3. Michele says:

    So Amy, I’m having a bit of trouble wrapping my head around masterbatching-do all your oil ratios work out when you do this? I just can’t seem to get past the idea that something might be off with this method. Just curious.

  4. Linda, The Scented Dove says:

    Hi Amy, I’ve already made a comment, but thought I’d make another as I’m so impressed with your soaps, they look just so pretty. Good luck on your master-batching, x Linda

  5. Tina Berryer says:

    I think this is a wonderful idea and have thought about doing it myself as well. Thanks for your inspiration!

  6. says:

    @Michele – Yes, it all works out…it’s just a gigantic batch of oils using the same ratios, so as long as you keep it stirred up, it should come out just the same. 🙂

  7. says:

    First of all, those soaps are amazing! You are awesome at those faux funnel swirls and your black raspberry cream is soooo pretty. I hope master-batching leads to many more beautiful soaps!
    Patti´s last blog post ..

  8. Regina says:

    Awesome Amy! Your soaps are beautiful! I know what I am going to have my husband doing now. What size was the coconut oil container?

  9. A bucket warmer! Now I get it! Thank you. I was wondering how to do this when some of the oils are hard oils. I totally am going to do this. And Amy, your soaps are just beautiful.

  10. WOOT! Good for you Amy! Glad to have been any help getting anyone interested in master batching their soaping oils…it is truly a time saver :oD So Amy, did you love it? Looks like your hubby did a nice job with your set-up. We will build a stand of some sort to hold our bucket with a ledge to hold the scale & soaping bucket so we don’t have to stoop over so much (saves the back). We found that the warming wrap has an automatic shut off if left on for a few days..all you need to do is unplug it to reset it! Happy “speedy” soaping!

  11. says:

    Totally need to do this. It should help cut down on soaping time and clean up time. Thanks so much for posting this!!

    Gorgeous soaps, as usual.

  12. says:

    I’m finally ready to try to set one of these Master Batching stations up. I noticed that Soaper’s Choice has a ‘Pail Pump, Plastic – 6.5 Gallon’. Would that work instead of the spigot? Or do you think it would be too easy to get that clogged?
    Do you buy the 7 Pound Coconut oil at Soaper’s Choice?
    Linda´s last blog post ..

  13. says:

    @Linda – Not sure how the pump would work…sounds more difficult to pump all that oil out rather than letting gravity do its thing. I get the 50 pound pail of coconut oil – that’s the 6.5 gallon bucket.

  14. says:

    How do you like the warmer you got? I’ve been looking into a bunch and there’s quite a range in price on some and I’m trying to figure out what to go with. Jennifer

  15. says:

    @Jennifer – It worked great the first time I plugged it in…in the wintertime, not so much. I’m a little frustrated with it right now, to be honest! I am stirring and dipping the oils out of the top of the bucket with a ladle because it won’t even heat it up enough to get it through the spigot! So then I have to re-heat everything on the stove again. 🙁

  16. says:

    Hey Amy! Have followed this post for a while, I MB my oils in separate tubs, but would really like to just have the bucket with the spigot. I am interested to hear where you are with this setup at the moment, are you still using it like this, or are you doing it differently? Did you change out the warming pad for something that worked? Thanks so much for sharing this!! have an awesome day!

  17. says:

    Created this same master batch set up a few years ago. I’ve also experienced some frustration. The oil does not get hot enough to keep the spigot clear. Usually it happens right after I’ve filled bucket completely!! The warming wrap died a few months ago. The company was great at replacing it. But it died again today. Not sure why. I spoke to the owner and he said I could leave it on….I thought maybe it died because I turned it off on weekends. He said leave it on and it should last forever. Not so much. I’m at a loss….I guess I’ll save my pennies and get a heat band from…..$179 UGH!!

  18. says:

    @Laneil – What a bummer!! While I’m glad I’m not the only one who had issues with this, I’m so sorry it happened to you twice!!! 🙁 I hope the “good heat band” has much better results!

  19. says:

    So, what are your thoughts on a coffee urn for storing and heating up the batch of oils/butters? I’m looking at one that is stainless steel? I’d like to start masterbatching, but my kitchen is quite cold so looking for something with more oomph. Wondering if this has been tried…..if the oils would clog the spigot on the coffee urn….. thoughts?

  20. says:

    @julie – I haven’t thought of using one, but it might work…I would be concerned about the spigot getting clogged, but the spigot gets clogged on any container you use if you have a lot of hard oils in your recipe. My concern would be that it might heat the oils up too much or that you wouldn’t be able to control the temperature, but like I said, I hadn’t thought of using one nor have I tried using one.

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