Sunday, August 19, 2012

Question: How to measure small amounts of preservative?

In this post, Ellbie asks:  Can you at some time during this Newbie series talk about a good technique for weighing your preservative? Specifically Germall Plus liquid. I have the dangest time trying to figure an accurate means of weighing this viscous liquid out. I am a tween (not really a newbie and with enough knowledge to be dangerous). THANKS! 

Great question! This is one of those things that drives even the most experienced formulators crazy! Small amounts are the bane of my existence, so I bought myself this adorable little scale from a jewellery shop. It weighs down to 0.1 gram, so I can use it for things like extracts, colours in mineral make-up, and preservatives.

Melian1 commented: I found a lovely little scale that weighs to .01 gram at tkb. in case anyone already has got the scale to 1 gram and wants to make those tiny batches. it is called the "awesome" scale. (Click here for the product at TKB Trading!

I've found when weighing tiny amounts, especially on my 1-gram weighing scale that if i put a drop in, pick the container up and place it back down, it will give me a better reading. In a thread some time back on the dish, Ande (of Brambleberry) or Jen (Lotioncrafter) - not sure which - explained why that works better than just continuing to drip stuff in, because you can get 2 or 3 grams (or more) of stuff in that way before it goes up to the next gram. Anyway, by lifting and then setting it back down, it works.

I have two thoughts - one, I generally suggest making a batch of 200 grams so you can use 1 gram of liquid Germall Plus or two, get a smaller scale and weigh it out that way. In the case of the 200 gram batch and a scale that weighs to 1 gram, weigh your entire container and product because most scales have trouble going from 0 to 1, and you could have 5 in there before you know it.

What suggestions do you have for weighing small amounts? Share your thoughts!


Anonymous said...

When I need 0.5% of an ingredient I make a total of 200 grams product a minimum so I don't have a decimal. But even then, for blending purposes where a stick blender is the best tool to use, it can be challenging to make that little emulsion.

I hope I can find a jewelry scale anyway. Decimals and very small amounts are a problem often enough to justify the investment. Less than 20$ is very reasonable.

Evik said...

What I used to do (before I got a 0,01g scale) was to measure how much drops is 1 gram. This way I found out how much weighs 1 drop and then I just used the number of drops that summed up to the amount I needed in a recipe.

catherine said...

For measuring out tiny amounts the 15 ml dropper bottles from brambleberry are awesome:

I decant all my liquid ingredients into these bottles. Much cleaner/easier than pipettes. I make cheap waterproof labels with duct tape and laundry pens. I even have a bottle of water! Distilled of course. :)

Another well priced .01g scale can be found at bulkactives:

With this new equip I've been able to experiment in 100g and even 10g amounts, which is great when you don't want to waste expensive ingredients.

Ignace said...

Given how I only have a mechanical kitchen scale at home (and it's particularly innacurate) I've found that doing quantities by volume gets me the best results, thus I take the ingredients to melting point and then use a pipette or a syringe to accurately measure the volume needed.

Julie said...

Hey Susan,

Speaking of difficulty weighing things, I'd love for you to cover this....
Feather-light ingredients. I can't figure out how to weigh my Silk Peptide. I don't see how it could be by weight since it is so light. At 3% in a recipe I needed 5 grams of it. When I weighed it on my scale it filled an entire ounce measuring cup, which didn't seem right to me.
I contacted the supplier to ask about it, and they weren't really sure how to weigh it. They just told me 5 grams would be equivalent to .18oz. So I ended up using 1 teaspoon (.18oz x 6 tsp in an ounce = 1.08tsp) since that seemed much more like 3% in a 6oz recipe.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on how to weigh ingredients like Silk Peptide that are super light. I can't think of any others off the top of my head, but I'm sure there are plenty of others. Thanks!


Diane said...

In the US, Old Will Knott has a good selection at reasonable prices.

Diane said...

But you know, I just use a small dab or a big dab of Germall - it's pretty viscuous (sp).

Kim said...

Most of the time I have problems weighing an accurate 1 gram. As on a normal (weighs to 1 gram accurate scale) you dont see what is after the 1 gram. When i weigh 1 gram on the 1 gram scale and then put it on my 0.01 scale, I often already have more then 1 gram. For Bath and body product making for personal use (small batch making) a 0.1 scale is important to my opinion.
There are also measuring spoons, those often go to 0.1 or 0.01 measuring. I started with those, very handy!

Nedeia said...

Honestly, for a home user the.01 g scale is perfect. I bought mine from the US, can't remember the price.

For liquid germall plus I use an insulin seringe from which I have removed the needle, take some preservative and go drop by drop. I can handle batches of 30g this way and I always use germall at .5%

Fehin said...

I bought this scale I heard it's better to buy a scale that does not use a battery since low battery can affect the result. It working well so far. I find that I get more accurate weight after I press Tar if I live the container on it and add my ingredient to it. I also noticed it reduces by .1 or .2 after a while if I leave the item seating on it. Not sure why so I try to measure and remove it immediately.