Soap Challenge – Week 5

You know I always encourage you to go check out the link-up from the week before at this point! Some fabulous soaps as usual, and LOTS of learning experiences this week from the alcohol soaps.

Here we are on the last week of the challenges – that have been announced anyway. I want to find out if you are interested in continuing the challenges, and if so, which ones you would like to do. I had also mentioned at the beginning that we might do a soap swap with this group. So I’ve created a short survey for you to let me know what your thoughts are about continuing the challenges and about participating in a swap! Please take a few moments and DO THE SURVEY NOW so you don’t forget. Thanks!

Now, on to this week’s challenge: mixing your own scent blend! The challenge is to make a soap using a new blend of either fragrance or essential oils (or a mix of both) you’ve created yourself using what you already have in your stash.

There are three different reasons why I have created scent blends in the past:
1. I was tired of the scents I had and wanted something new without spending any more $$$$$$$!
2. I have a ton of sample bottles or small amounts left in bigger bottles and wanted to use them up.
3. I was creating a new blend for my regular line of soaps.

Now, there are two different approaches to creating scent blends. The first one is just to dump and add until you like what you get. I’ve done this with sample bottles before because I knew I wasn’t going to duplicate it again. It’s not a very scientific method, but you can do it.

The other way is to create your blend on a small scale, using drops or Q-tips. Each drop or Q-tip is translated into a “part”. I prefer the drop method. Using disposable pipettes and paper towels, I will simply leave a drop of the essential or fragrance oil on a piece of paper towel, writing down what I’ve added and how much of each one. Some people like to dip Q-tips into the fragrances and put them in a glass jar with a lid over it for a day or so to let it “marinate”.

Here’s a video of a recent blending project that I’ve been working on for this week’s challenge. I am creating a new scent blend for my Oatmeal, Milk & Honey soap in my regular line:

So, how do you know which scents will go well together? The easiest blends are the ones that blend like scents together – such as florals with florals, citrus with citrus, or spicy with spicy. According to, the easiest scents to blend are florals. I would agree!

UPDATE: Check out this new tool for blending essential oils: ESSENTIAL OIL CALCULATOR

You may have also heard about fragrance “notes”: some are top notes, some are middle notes, and some are base notes. This refers to how fast a fragrance flashes off and what you will smell first, next, and last. You can check out this list to see how different essential oils are classified by their notes. A basic ratio would be 3 parts top notes, 2 parts middle notes, and 1 part base note.

You can also blend fragrance oils – either single note scents or more complex scents. Sometimes this can be easier than blending essential oils because you have a much larger range to work with. Once again, blending like scents together will create the best outcomes. For example, I have plans to create an apple spice soap this fall with several different apple and/or spicy fragrances because I need to use up samples and small amounts left in the bottom of several bottles. For summer, I like what Jennifer came up with for her rum soap last week: mango-peach, pineapple-orange, and coconut. The possibilities are endless!!

Optional: get some guinea pigs – friends, neighbors, or family members work well – to smell your blends and tell you what they like or don’t like.

Once you have your parts figured out, now you can create a blend for any size soap recipe. For example, let’s say you have 3 parts grapefruit, 2 parts bergamot, and 1 part patchouli. (I’ve never made this blend, so I don’t know if it’s good or not!) Here is the math equation to figure out how much of each scent you will need: number of parts divided by total number of parts multiplied by the total amount of scent needed for your soap. Just make sure you stick with the same unit of measurement – probably either ounces or grams! Say you need a total of 2 ounces of your blend. Let’s start with the grapefruit: 3 divided by 6, multiplied by 2 = 1 oz. of grapefruit. Then bergamot would be 2 divided by 6, multiplied by 2 = 0.66 oz. of bergamot. Finally patchouli would be 1 divided by 6, multiplied by 2 = 0.33 oz. of patchouli. You get a total of 1.99 ounces, which is close enough! I know this can be confusing for some, so if you need any points of clarification, please ask!

For the link-up this Saturday, please be prepared to show a photo of your soap that you made using your custom scent blend, and since we lack the technology to smell your beautiful scent blends, I would ask that you also share what you used to create your custom blend. If you’d like to share the specifics (amounts and/or suppliers of fragrances) so that others can duplicate your blend, that is completely up to you. Many soapmakers consider this information to be proprietary, which I completely understand if you are planning to sell the soap in your regular line as I plan to with the Oatmeal, Milk & Honey. My plan is to share a few blends with you in the link-up post on Saturday in addition to the one I’m making for the challenge – so you’ll have a few others to try if you would like!

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

Page with Comments

  1. I’m looking forward to this week’s challenge! I’ve had great luck blending. I’m a just dump and go type of person and it always works for me. I have developed some different fragrances by using soap at one sink and not long later using a different soap at another sink. The scents blend and I go nuts over it and then have to make my own blend.
    Holly´s last blog post ..Parrot Bay Pirate Soap

  2. If we do the swap, I don’t want 30 full size bars of soap, so I think I checked “no”. If they were one ounce soaps, then I would think about it depending on how many were in the swap.

  3. This one is really going to challenge me! The only blending I’ve done is because I realize late in the game that I don’t have enough of a scent so I HAVE to. I have just picked one and hoped it turned out. I am excited to be “forced” to actually take my time and think about it a bit and maybe I will find I like doing it. 🙂 Thanks Amy for doing this and for taking the time to show me how!

  4. Amy, Have you done much of this type of fragrance formulating with the drops on the paper towel? If so, I’m wondering how the paper towel samples compare to a soap with that scent combo. Do you think it’s pretty close? I realize that scents can change as they go through saponification so you can’t always be sure. I bought an FO that is a perfume dupe. It smelled very green and herbal in the bottle, but after using it in CP soap, it actually smelled quite different, kind of perfumey (but very nice). I was really amazed at how it changed.

  5. @Susan – I have done some with fragrance, yes. It may not be exactly the same when you put it in the soap for the reasons you mentioned, which is why I always recommend doing a test batch!

  6. Thanks Amy! Good advice to test before making a full size batch. I guess creating some similar scents with variations and testing them in single size soaps would be a good way to see how they react to the saponification process and figure out which one works best.

  7. Amy, I’m a relatively new soap creater and I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the videos you have been doing. It’s really great to see the others who are in your challenges as well. I for one am not confident enough to join but want to encourage you guys to keep going. Thanks again for your expert advice.

  8. Great overview of blending Amy ! I love making my own blends and have learned that even some final products whose scents were not so great (in MY opinion) ended up being favorites of my customers. Each to his own nose. I am also forever entrigued by how the gelling process, curing process and if you make it…hot process…can affect the final scents.
    Donna OShaughnessy´s last blog post ..OPEN FARM DAY next Saturday!

  9. OK now this will be a challenge as I have a plugged up nose and cold! LOL
    Your video was a great help Amy thank you. I’ve done the desperation sample type of fragrance so I’ll do a nice combo and have my Gene help with the fragrance yeah or neigh!

    How about we put all the names in a hat and draw names and send one soap to a participant. Everyone gets one bar from a participant. Not expensive and then you would have another soaper give it the smell test. It might be fun. Ideas!
    Pam´s last blog post ..Ambrosia for Penelope…Gentle Soap… Hand Made…Available Now by bytheseasoaps

  10. Hi Amy!
    Thanks for making this video. I actually do find myself with various bottles of fragrance oils that I do not use for various reasons. I’m actually going to set up my table now and follow your notes and videos to start making scent blends 🙂

  11. Just a note to mention that I have been having problems with my blog and haven’t been able to post my comments on several of the participants blogs. My problem has been figured out, I had to allow all cookies from third parties. It was turned off by default when our new computer was hooked up. Who knew.

    So just wanted to say I love everybody’s soap and hope to be able to say so now!

  12. Hi Amy! This has been a busy week, and I guess it’s too late to take the survey, but I wanted to share my thoughts anyway! I definitely think we should keep doing the challenges, it has been fun. I was only able to do 2 of them, and one was NOT worthy of posting, so I would love to do more! As for a swap, I think it would be great fun! A couple of suggestions would be to do around 8-10 soaps, maybe vegetable oils only, and animal fats only(I say this, as I’m VERY allergic to beef), and even enlisting in some help, have several people help with a swap, maybe based on where we live? Lastly, THANK YOU for taking this on, it’s been a huge learning experience for me, and fun looking at what others do. It has inspired me to finally get my blog and website up and running!

  13. thanks so much Amy for the overview on blending; I have a number of fragrance oils & essential oils I need to use up so this is going to be a great lesson for me. I am getting a late start of this week’s challenge but I post results once I get it done.

  14. Thanks for the new challenge Amy, I am using one of my absolute favorite blends… Kinda lazy this week. Been working to much overtime. You did inspire me to try something new though. The wheel’s have been churning. 😉

  15. Hi there Amy.
    I have been reading your soap challenge mails weekly with envy as I have been too busy and then was away so I could not take part. I am now back ad have decided to take part in the Faux funnel challenge for week 6. My Dad is here from New Zealand so I roped him into making his first batchh with me.

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