Archive | Bramble Berry News

Yellow Sunrise Soap


In case you didn’t know, this month Otion will be taking you through a colorful rainbow inspired journey with a variety of blogs! If you missed our last blog, you will want to check out the fun we came up with for red and orange! Today we’re moving along and diving into yellow.  Not only does this soap tutorial turn out looking amazing, it will having you smelling bright and fresh due to the lemon verbena fragrance oil we paired it with. It’s the perfect soap to wake up to in the morning.

What You’ll Need:

13 oz Distilled Water
4.74 oz Lye
7 oz Avocado Oil
10 oz Coconut Oil
3 oz Jojoba Oil
5 oz Olive Oil
8 oz Palm Oil
2 oz Shea Butter
2 oz Lemon Verbena Fragrance Oil
Yellow Oxide
Yellow Mica
Titanium Dioxide
12″ Silicone Loaf Mold
3 Easy Pour Containers

— If you are not local, you can get all of this and more at Bramble Berry! They will ship directly to you! —


Before we started, we made a line on each easy pour container to 12 oz. That way we knew exactly how much soap to put into each container.


In separate ramekins mix together:

1. 1/4 tsp yellow oxide and 1/8 tsp yellow mica with 1 tbsp apricot kernel oil.
2. 1/4 tsp yellow mica and 1/8 tsp yellow oxide with 1 tbsp apricot kernel oil.
3. 1/8 tsp yellow mica and half a mini scoop of titanium dioxide with 1 tbsp apricot kernel oil.
4.  Tiny sprinkle of yellow mica and itty bitty dash of titanium dioxide with 1 tbsp apricot kernel oil.
(The last color is the lightest, so use a very small amount of yellow mica and titanium dioxide.)



Weigh out 2 oz Lemon Verbena FO in a fragrance safe container and set aside.


Separately weigh out the distilled water and lye into glass containers. As always, carefully add the lye to the water and gently stir with a stainless steel whisk until solution is clear. You can label and set aside, or you can put it into a designated freezer to cool down faster.

While the lye is cooling, weigh out all the oils in a large glass pyrex bowl and heat in the microwave until the oils are around 100 degrees.

Once the oils and lye solution are around 100 degrees (between 15 degrees of each other) you can now make your soap. Make sure you have gloves, goggles and long sleeves on while you are starting to make soap.

Put the stick blender into the oils and burp the blender so you avoid mixing in any air bubbles. Pour the lye solution down the arm of the stick blender and start mixing until you have reached a light trace.



Once you have come to trace, distribute the soap batter evenly into each easy pour container. Each container should have 12 oz of soap.
Once the soap has been divided between the containers, add one color to each bowl ad mix in well with a fork or other stirring utensil.


Just eyeballing it, pour the fragrance evenly into each container and mix in well.


Starting with the darkest color, (make sure the trace is a bit thicker so you can easily layer on top of it) pour it into the mold completely.


Now, using a spatula, pour the next lightest color over top the first layer. Be careful that the soap doesn’t break through and sink into the previous layer.


Keep layering the soap until you finally end up with the lightest color on top. Be sure to always use the spatula when pouring so your layers don’t break through each other.


Once all your soap is in the mold, take a spoon and manipulate the top however you’d like!


Spray the top with 99% rubbing alcohol to reduce soda ash and cover to encourage gel phase. Let sit for a couple days before unmolding and cutting!


Let the soap cure for 4-6 weeks before using!


If you liked this layered-ombre tutorial but soap isn’t quite your thing, check out this layered candle tutorial on SoapQueen!

Here is another great layered soap tutorial that we just love! This may have been my favorite soap to date!

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Bellingham Our Home – Whatcom County Libraries

We were so excited when the Whatcom County Library System asked us to come and teach some classes at their locations. We knew it was going to be a bit of work to get everything organized, but we finally decided to teach at both the Ferndale and Lynden locations.

Students were able to create their own handmade sugar scrub as well as a detoxing clay mask. Both of these items were able to be custom blended to each person.

For the exfoliating  sugar scrub we did something similar to what we offer in-store in our Crafter’s Corner. Each student made an 8 oz luxury scrub by mixing together a variety of ingredients. They choose from lavender buds and lemon peel powder to add as an extra exfoliant. We also brought a variety of our newest fragrances as well as some essential oils. They got to put their creation in one of our short 8 oz bail jars. It’s the perfect size for the shower and the plastic makes it a safe choice to use with slippery wet hands.





We sell these as well as some other great packaging options in our store located in downtown Bellingham. However, if you’re not able to come visit us, our parent company Bramble Berry sells them on their website too!

Then we continued with making the detoxing clay mask. This product focused on naturally pulling out impurities from the skin as well as providing a vitamin rich application.

Students made a 2 month supply (if applied weekly) of custom blended clays and coconut milk powder to make up their detoxing face mask.
We offered sea clay for its high content in algae, macro and micro minerals as well as sodium and sulfur which naturally tone and even skin tone. Rose clay which is gentle, revitalizes & tones skin as well as pulls out impurities. Our last option was kaolin clay. It’s a great clay for sensitive skin as it is the mildest of all clays & helps combat acne.  Our base was coconut milk powder which is rich in vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 & B6. It has a rich source of magnesium/copper which results in reduction of muscle contraction = wrinkle prevention, combats dryness & promotes healthy & glowing skin.




In other library business, we are happy to be a sponsor of the Bellingham Alternative Library. It’s a wonderful bustling beehive of creation and acceptance. It’s a wealth of goodies and is even a home to some of the amazing books we carry here at Otion. Of course we had to donate Soap Crafting written by our very own Soap Queen. The Alternative Library is completely run by volunteers! And every so often we send over goodie bags for them to enjoy. Recently we included a free soap coupon!


The Otion Team loves reading! In fact, our very own Samantha majored in English!

We have ever growing libraries and even wishlists on our Kindles & Nooks!

Karly’s Recommendation: Move Your DNA by Katy Bowan

Calie’s Recommendation: The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

Samantha’s Recommendation: Feed by M.T. Anderson

Angela’s Recommendation: Yes Please by Amy Poeler

We would love to hear any book recommendations you might have for us as well!

And don’t forget to support local with us this month! 15% off all locally crafted products including items from Northwest ScentsAlchemia. and Otion’s very own finished product!

Don’t forget to FOLLOW us on Instagram!

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From The Soap Queen Archives: Mango Avocado Balmy Salve

This rich salve, originally posted here on the Soap Queen blog, is perfect for curing those winter elbows, knees, or any other rough patches.  It’s easy to whip up, and has a great non-greasy texture.  It’s one of my favorite recipes, and I always keep a small tin of it in my purse. Remember, you can add any essential or fragrance oil you like, but my preference is just a tiny drop of Jasmine. -Elizabeth

2 Tablespoons Tapioca Powder

Other great skin-loving essential oils that would be incredible in this recipe too: Helischyrum, Frankincense, JasmineRose, Neroli

ONE: This recipe is designed by weight so have your handy dandy scale ready to weigh.  Weigh out the Cocoa Butter and Avocado Butter. Melt in the microwave on 30 second bursts and stir in between bursts. Remember to choose a glass container that is almost all the way full with solid materials because empty glass containers are prone to cracking or exploding in the microwave.
TWO: In a separate, smaller container, weigh out the Tamanu Oil and Jojoba Oil. Heat this oil up in the microwave for 30 seconds. Are the Tamanu Oil grains melted? Stir well. If they’re not fully melted, put the mixture in the microwave for another 30 seconds. And don’t forget the little waxy-like grains at the bottom of your Tamanu Oil bottle. I like to rinse my bottle out with the hot oil to get all the components of the Tamanu Oil.
Tamanu Oil has a very earthy smell and slightly grainy texture. It smells sort of like a nutty, musky dirt. It’s not unpleasant but it is surprising if you’ve never smelled it before.

THREE: Weigh out the Mango Butter. Put this directly into your mixer. Drizzle the melted oils and butters over the solid oil. Immediately turn the mixer onto low (much higher than that and you’ll find yourself with oil splatters all over your kitchen and yourself!). Let the warm oils slowly and gently melt the Mango Butter. This helps with the ‘Mango Butter chunks’ that you sometimes see with balms.
FOUR (optional): I really like a balm that soaks in quickly and doesn’t feel massively oily on my skin. Tapioca Powder is a modified tapioca starch that has been designed to be free-flowing and non-clumping. It is unique because it is aluminum free and because it has been modified with a silicone. It is velvety smooth and imparts a soft after-feel to the skin. Add 2 Tablespoons of Tapioca Powder to your heated warm oils a bit at a time. If you add it too quickly, POOF! Tapioca Powder everywhere!
FIVE: Whip, whip, whip until the butter is turning slightly cloudy (signifying that it is starting to set up). Add the essential oil mixture of your choice. I’ve chosen the ones in this recipe specifically to help me in bouncing back from my labor and stretched-out belly. They are extra skin-loving but you can use any essential oil or fragrance oil you’d like. Just keep the mixture to 3 grams or else it turns into a strong smelling perfume balm!
SIX: Pour into clean containers of your choice. I used Bramble Berry’s Candle Tins and tried a few lotion bar containers (woot! woot! they worked great!). Allow to sit overnight. Mixture takes several hours to harden so don’t panic if it doesn’t seem to be setting up quickly.
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Thank You SWI Participants!

All of us on the Otion and Bramble Berry team would like to express our gratitude to all of the enthusiastic participants at this year’s Soap Weekend Intensive. Thank you for making it a spectacular event and bringing forward such fantastic positive attitudes and willingness to learn.  We had a blast and hope you did too!

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Gambling Soapmakers

Greetings from The Handcrafted Soapmaker’s Guild annual conference in Portland, Oregon! Myself (Kat), along with Anne-Marie, Amber (Bramble Berry marketing leader and display designer extraordinaire),  and the voice behind the phone from Bramble Berry’s amazing customer service, Courtney, all traveled the five-hour drive from Bellingham in a 15 passenger van. We set up on Tuesday morning and began seeing some familiar faces, particularly from Facebook. Let me just say, it is so wonderful meeting everyone in person and seeing just how friendly you all are and how passionate you are about your craft.


This is our display set up in the vendor hall, all designed by Amber and custom made for us at our mold making company with their giant CNC machine. We have a selection of fragrances by category for your sniffing pleasure, and some of our favorite projects and tools with instruction handouts and samples. We aren’t selling anything, but we are giving everything away in raffle drawings at the end of the event.

The talks so far have been nothing short of amazing. I really enjoyed Ruth Esteves‘ presentation on using alternative liquids for the lye solution in cold process soapmaking. Did you know it takes 2 hours to simmer off 90% of alcohol in beer or wine? And if you leave it uncapped overnight, you lose 30% just be evaporation! Also, the stench of using pretty much anything other than water in your soap is really bad, but if you freeze the liquid, it considerably reduces the smell. Fascinating!

Wednesday evening was Casino Night and everyone gambled for raffle tickets. It was SO much fun! Prizes for winning raffle numbers were from Bramble Berry and Wholesale Supplies Plus. Thursday evening was the Essential Wholesale special event with a live performance from March Fourth Marching Band that blew us all away. The high energy performance included dancers on stilts and outrageous outfits. I do believe I saw a pretty fantastic mustache as well.

Anne-Marie and I teach in a few hours and then tonight is the awards dinner. After that, we say our goodbyes to another amazing conference and head back up to Bellingham. It has flown by! Thanks to everyone who has made this a very successful and memorable event.

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