hi ted,"Observation: When pouring into tubes, the liquid cooled/congealed after about 10 tubes.
Question: should I have put it back on the double boiler and remelted? I was concerned it might not be good for the essential oils."
hmm, after 10 tubes? did you keep the temp of the liquid at or just below 140 d F?
you must pour quickly, i could do 40 in a shot
it was a learning curve, i would do 20 on one side, put the liquid back on the double boiler if i thought it was starting to set up. so i am not sure why you found the liquid setting up after 10 tubes?
yes you can put the liquid back in the double boiler and remelt, if need be add additional drops of essential oils. "Observation: I can tell you that using the scraper as a putty knife and squeezing the lip balm into the tube will get it in there but, after rolling the lip balm up, it doesn't want to roll back into the tube."
if the lip balm is starting to set up or already set up, you are correct, it is not going to 'seat' at the base of the tube. 'smashing' it in there or forcing the balm down into the tube with the scraper as a putty knife isn't like filling a hole with spackle.
the liquid needs to reach the base of the tube.
not sure i explained this well enough? let me know~"Observation: It's kind of messy.
Question: How do you clean utensils and the tray? The utensils I used are pretty clean from dish water, but the tray? Not so much. The lip balm is stuck in the little holes!"
LOL, it can be a messy operation when you first start doing these, so another learning curve.
cleaning the utensils and tray~wipe everything down with paper towel, throw utensils in hot soapy water.
the tray is the real challenge and will drive one to drinking before 5:00 p.m...........
to clean the tray, the holes where the tubes are inserted~
if there was a bit of extra i would scrape out with a small swiss army knife, then go after it with paper towel, yup i know, one by one.....tests one's patience (drinking before 5:00 p.m.).
i also tried a piece of welding rod (nub on the end) with paper towel wrapped around it to run it through the holes
to get really clean? find a foam bottle brush, (i had one i used to clean out my hummingbird feeders). also a small diameter bottle brush (not made of foam). throw the tray in hot soapy water and go after the holes with a small diameter brush.......the brushes will clean up the holes nicely."Observation: I rolled the lip balm tubes all the way down hoping to fill them completely. After I got them stuck into the tray and filled I noticed, the next morning when I removed them from the tray, that there was about a 1/4 inch of balm above the lip of the tube. I just scraped it off, but wondered if there was some other thing I could have done initially to limit the "waste"? Maybe unroll the tube a bit, fill and when cooled roll it back down? If that makes sense."
rolled the lip balm tubes all the way down? empty lip balm tubes should already be in a rolled down position?
you don't need to wait overnight to pull the tubes out. just wait until the lip balm 'hardens' and the tubes are cool after filling, doesn't take long. i think i waited 30 minutes?
the 1/4" or less above the tube is standard with these trays. this is not waste ted. don't trim the extra off the tube unless when you pulled it from the tube, you messed it up. (straight up and out, carefully). if you messed up the extra when pulling the tube out, use a small whatever, (i used a small swiss army knife) to cut it level with the top of the tube when i messed up. really, when the balm sets up, pulling the tubes out straight up and out should result in a nice tube of lip balm.
think of this in terms of when you purchase a tube of lip balm~ there is about 1/8th or so of lip balm above the top of any tube of purchased lip balm. looks great in a clear container. if you are not using a clear container, the little extra above looks great..........the way it should be! no rolling of the tube until that is gone. one note though, be careful when popping the cap on.......if you aren't careful putting the cap on, you can get a little balm on the side of the cap.......see drinking before 5:00 p.m............
then some fixing of the cap (wipe it out) and smoothing off the extra of the top of the tube (small swiss army knife) , or just plain cut it off as you did.
some tips on using these trays:
1~ when you order these trays, there will be a 'nub' in the center which WILL irritate you. grind it down to the surface level of the tray. (the nub causes any scraper not to properly finish the top of lip balm, any scraper will catch on this causing a problem with the tops of your lip balm.
2~ do not buy/use the scrapers these companies send you/sell you. use plastic paint scrapers, these have a beveled edge. the scrapers sold from the companies online for these trays do not have a beveled edge. the beveled edge gives you a cleaner top on your lip balm.
3~ unlike recommendations to 'flood' the tray with the lip balm liquid, i didn't. what i did was, i went down the tray pouring directly into and slightly overfilling each tube with excellent results.
4~ i used oval lip balm trays for 40 tubes. 20 slots on one side, 20 slots on the other. i used a 2" plastic beveled edge scraper. i went down one side, and then the other after the balm had cooled and set. once cooled a bit on top, i took the putty knife down one side, then the other, threw the extra back into the double boiler for the next batch. after scraping off the top of the tray, let set more until the tubes have cooled and lip balm set, then pulled the tubes out....... nice finished tops.
you can use a heat gun to 'smooth' out the top of the lip balm after scraping off the extra from the tray. i tried with mixed results. what worked best for me is scrape off the tray shortly after pouring (before the liquid sets hard), throw that back in the double boiler. let the balm set in the tray/tubes. once tubes are cooled, pull the tubes out. cap.
hope this helps ted and anyone else, any questions or if someone needs clarification, please ask!