Monday, December 5, 2016

Presents for crafters: Mixing and measuring

I know it's only a few weeks until Christmas and Hannukah (and my birthday, hint hint), so I thought I'd share some ideas for presents you could get for bath & body crafters or yourself. (I encourage you to look at this post on presents for crafters from 2014 as I have many more ideas there and figured I shouldn't repeat myself...)

MIXING
I've added to my mixer equipment this year as I found this Minipro mixer at Lotioncrafter, which is powerful enough for my small batches. I tried a milk frother from Bed, Bath & Beyond and it wasn't powerful enough, which is why I'm recommending this one specifically.)

I've been using it quite a lot for making gels, like the ones you'll be seeing shortly using Sepinov EMT 10, and I love it for that purpose. It's a great little machine for your smaller batches, and it cleans up really easily.

You can get any hand mixer you want for our products, but I am having a love affair with my new 9 speed Kitchenaid hand mixer. It has all kinds of attachments - beaters, whisk, dough hooks, drink mixer - so I can mix pretty much anything I want!

I have a few different mixers that range from my mom's mixer we bought when I was a kid to the Hamilton Beach I have with those neat mixing blades covered in silicone (amazon.ca link). Any of those are great for mixing your products. I'm just in love with the drink attachment you get with the Kitchenaid hand mixer because it can work as a propeller mixer for things like Sucragel AOF or Sepimax ZEN gel.

As an aside, I keep referencing Sepimax ZEN and Sepinov EMT 10, but I haven't discussed it yet. I'm hoping to get to it in the next few weeks as it's my new Saturday night thing when it comes to thickening things like decyl glucoside or making easy gels. I wrote an e-zine for my Patreon subscribers with information and recipes if you're interested in learning more before I get to that series. 

MEASURING CONTAINERS
You know I love the beaker set I just purchased from a hydroponic store with beakers from 5 ml - which is just adorable! - all the way up to 1 litre. I use these all the time in the double boiler as they're heat tolerant, and when making cool products, like gels or body washes. There's never not an opportunity to use beakers, and I cannot recommend enough getting a set with one of every size from 100 ml to 1 litre.

You can find a set at Lotioncrafter, which I own and love. If you're in Canada, check out amazon.ca to find this set of 50 ml to 250 ml or this set of 50 ml to 1000 ml.

I love Erlenmeyer flasks as they're heat tolerant and they reduce evaporation when we heat and hold our lotions and potions. You can get all kinds of sizes, but I have found the 100 ml, 250 ml, and 500 ml to be the optimal sizes for the smaller batches of products I make.

You can find a great set of smaller ones here at amazon.ca  or this set of 5 from amazon.ca (and both will ship in time for Christmas)

I love these tri-corner beakers (from Lotioncrafter) for heating and holding as well as making smaller batches. They clean up really well, and they seem to last forever! (You've probably seen pictures of them all over the blog - I bought a set from Lotioncrafter four years ago, and I'm still using the same ones!)


SCALES
You need a digital scale that can weigh as little as 1 gram to make bath & body products for accuracy, but if you want to make things like facial products that require a titch of this and a bit of that, you'll want to invest in a digital scale that weighs lower than 1 gram. I love this Salter diet scale I bought from London Drugs for $34.99 or, if you want to splurge, this Escali Professional lab scale at Amazon.ca for $109!

There are so many places to get a scale that weighs tiny amounts. Look at jeweller's scales, epoxy scales, and completely legitimate
drug scales as options. (I will share that my epoxy scale that was supposed to be safe from spills and such died violently after a bit of resin spilled on it. This disappointed me greatly.)

I've never ordered from this company, but Canadian Weigh has loads of options! 

MEASURING pH
Those little pH strips you get from our suppliers' shops are okay for getting an estimate of the pH of your product, but they aren't going to help you when you're trying to measure the pH of that alkaline body wash with decyl glucoside or your facial cleansers with AHAs.

I love my Jenco Vision Plus, model 630, but there are loads of other ones that you can love as much as I do. I found a few when I went into my local hydroponics store last week and saw they had some really fancy ones that would work well for less than $100. Lotioncrafter has a very nice one (but they won't ship outside the US for this item), and you can find tons on Amazon.

Related post:
A crafter's Christmas list (2014 edition)
Creating products: Equipment (part one)
Creating products: Equipment (part two)
Equipment for measuring pH

Please note: Clicking through the links takes you to the shops at which you can find the thing about which I'm writing. These aren't affiliate links, and I don't benefit in any way if you click through or buy anything at that shop. These are offered as informational links only for you, my lovely readers. 

4 comments:

Stellarblew said...

I have all the equipment I need at this time. I have requested for Christmas from my husband and family that doesn't now what to get me to get Supplier gift certificates. A tip for beakers over the course of the past 8 years I have broken so many glass ones. I have melted the ones from Lotioncrafters that I know by stainless steel baymarie containers. They look like stainless steel lab beaker for much much less money and last forever. I get them from restaurant supply stores.

Stellarblew

Elizabeth said...

So this is completely my own personal experience but, I absolutely could not get emulsions to work using a hand mixer or Kitchen aid mixer. I almost gave up on lotion making when I decided to try using my immersion blender and voila my lotions stopped separating. The only emulsifier I've used is LotionPro165 and I had issues with several different recipes using several different oils. On all of them I heated and held and otherwise followed the normal lotion making directiins.

Kath Collard said...

I am desperate (drama queen much lol) for a ph meter, thanks for the tip about hydroponic suppliers which thankfully are in my vicinity. Oh my poor bank balance ... crafting $$ continually fly out my door.

Bridget Clancy said...

I have a scale that measures down to the 1/100th of a gram! It's awesome. I got it for less than $20 at my local head shop. So if you're looking for a scale, try your local head shop/smoke shop. They sell them for, well, slightly less legal purposes ;-) But I use mine for Germal Plus, extracts, cosmeceuticals, etc. What can I say, I'm a hipster.
-Bridget