Monday, April 30, 2012

Divided Vertical Mold and Slab Mold - Black and White

I guess one batch of soap just didn't do it today, I had to make another. For this one I decided to try a black and white swirl in a divided vertical mold.

Here's the mold with an HPDE liner and center divider (removed in the picture)

The top of the vertical mold.  These molds dry very slowly, so I won't be unmolding this batch for about three days. I rushed it last time and learned the hard way.  

I had a few extra cups of soap, so decided to make a slab in addition to the vertical.  I think it turned out well!  So much more surface for swirling.

A close up of the B&W slab swirl.  This was done in a silicone mold I've used for M&P in the past.

I'll be sure to post pictures of the final product in a few days!

Oh, and the recipe used was the same recipe used for the In The Pot Swirl and the Marble Swirl soaps. It seems to be a good all purpose, slow tracing recipe that I'm going to hang on to.  Emollient, but not too emollient, not too hard that it cracks, but not too soft that you can't cut it cleanly.

Here are some pictures of the divided vertical loaf.  I'm not still crazy about this vertical mold from Brambleberry. It leaks and is a BEAR to unmold.  The soap takes a good three days to harden. It seems to work better to unmold it after two or three days and then let it sit another day before cutting.  A lot of time and not a mold to use if I'm in a hurry! 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Linear Swirl

I decided that today was the day to try a few more colors in a batch of soap. I used a recipe I'd used before that I knew was slow to trace and a combination of lab colors, oxides and micas and an activated charcoal. I used seven colors in total for this soap loaf.

The recipe was the same one I used for the vibrant in the pot swirl soap and it seemed to turn out well, so maybe it will become my "go to" recipe !

23.9 oz olive oil
13 oz palm oil
10.4 oz coconut oil
3.12 oz cocoa butter
1.5 oz castor oil

16.8 oz water
7.2 oz lye

I did a spoon line pour alternating colors throughout the loaf and again on top. I then marbled the top in a traditional marbling pattern and here are the results:

This soap should be cured and ready to use on:  June 11th, 2012


It looks a bit muddy in this photo,  but the colors really are distinct.

Seven colors mixed in blue solo cups (they were out of red !).  I poured at a very, very light trace so it stayed pourable the entire time.

The seven colors used in this loaf were:   Black (activated charcoal), aqua blue lab color, canary yellow oxide, spring green mica, tangerine orange lab color, violet purple mica and white (base mixed with titanium dioxide).

Here's a picture of the marbling effect on the top.  I wish I had photos of spooning the lines of soap until this point, but I'd need a couple more arms to acccomplish that!

I can't wait to  unmold this one - it's always a surprise to see what you have inside. It seems you can have a gorgeous top and a pretty plain interior, or you can end up with unique pieces - each a little different from the other.  That's the magic !!

Here's the soap unmolded...still rough on the edges, but the colors didn't fade too much.

A shot of the side of the loaf. I could swear it says T i P V, but I have a vivid imagination.  :-D

Cool colors on the bottom of the loaf !  It's still too soft to cut, so I'll give it a day or so. I broke down and ordered a cutter, so maybe it will arrive in time to test it on this batch.

My cutter arrived!!  It cuts six bars at a time, which works for me because it doesn't take up as much counter space.  Counter space is at a premium in my kitchen.  Here are the results of the marbleized swirl soap.  I think this one is my favorite so far....just because of the bright colors.  I'll give this a try again.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Modern Cherry Blossom

After watching a great tutorial by Anne-Marie from Brambleberry, I decided to give "Modern Cherry Blossom" soap a try. I ordered a vertical mold and the colorants needed - the oils I had.   They arrived this week and today was soap day!  I have to say, this is one of the messiest techniques I've done so far.
  It seems so straight forward.  Mix and pour, right?  Well, I kept the soap spills to quarter size or smaller, but they were everywhere!  Electric bubble gum pink, white  and charcoal gray.

Okay, let's start with the recipe.

1.5 oz castor oil
10 oz coconut oil
33.5 oz olive oil
5 oz palm oil

6.7 oz lye
16.5 oz water

3 oz fragrance divided between the three (4 cup) measuring cups. I used a mix of Cherry Blossom fragrance oil and Sweet Meyers Lemon fragrance oil. The Cherry Blossom is more of a cherry than a floral. In fact, I don't smell any floral, just sort of a cough syrup cherry which is why I added the lemon.  My order came with two free sample bottles of the lemon, so I used them both - about 1 oz and then added 2 oz of the Cherry Blossom fragrance oil.  Perfect !  The entire house smells like cherry and I'm pretty sure I'll be smelling cherry for a few days's in my nose.

3 tsp pearl white mica (1 tsp in the base to lighten it prior to coloring and 2 tsp after dividing base into three equal (I just eyeballed it here) measuring cups.
1/8 tsp charcoal
3/4 tsp electric bubble gum (super HOT pink ....can't wait to use it again)

2 tsp sweet almond oil for diluting the electric bubble gum.

The vertical mold from Brambleberry comes with plastic sides, bottom and a center divider with a finger hole in the top for easy placement and removal. There's a small groove in the bottom to hold center divider in place. For this technique you don't use the center divider, but I can see where it would cool to use.  Anne-Marie wrote me that there might be a small amount of leakage with the mold, but it was still better than having to line it with freezer paper. I didn't have any leakage (other than what I created myself!) and am really happy with the mold so far.

After mixing my lye water with my oils, I blended to a light/medium trace ,  poured the base into three measuring cups (one with the pre-diluted electric bubble gum) and added charcoal and pearl white to the other two.  I added fragrance and mixed with my frother.  Note to self:  make sure the battery cover is tight on the frother.  It stopped working because the battery cover had popped open. When I lifted it from the soap to close it, the batteries made a connection again and splattered raw soap (electric pink, of course!) all over the kitchen counter and the keyboard of my laptop.  It's always something!!

  Here's the vertical mold from Brambleberry.  Really well made and no leakage.  We'll see how it unmolds before I make a final judgement.

Not much to look at here I'm afraid.  There's charcoal (more pea soup green...I'm hoping it morphs into more of a gray) pink and white.  This shot of the top shows that last two pours of pink and charcoal.

There was a little leftover, so I poured it into a silicone mold.

Hindsight is 20/20:  Make sure your soap is at a solid medium trace before pouring....and pour quickly!!! The lower pours were more of a light/medium and I'm not sure how they'll turn out. They seemed to swirl more when they should have sat on top of each other.  The later pours (towards the top of the mold) were at a good medium trace and each sat on top of the prior pour in the center of the mold.  I tapped the mold down a few times and the circles really looked the way I'd hoped.

Here's a picture of the goal.  I need to wait 3-4 days to unmold, so we'll see how close I come. Sometimes the imperfections only add to the design and give you something really unique and special.  If nothing else, I can say I worked outside my comfort zone and tried something totally new.  A few more tutorial loafs and I think I'll be ready to adventure out on my own!

Next up:  Faux Funnel Swirl !

So, here they are. Not nearly as pretty as Anne-Marie's batch in the photo above.  My circles aren't as distinct and the pink is a bit too bright.  I may try these colors in a log mold rather than the vertical.  The smell of the cherry  blossom fragrance alone is enough to turn me off this soap, I'm afraid.  It just doesn't sit well with me.

Note the holes in the batch. It's a shame, because this bar actually has an interesting pattern to it !!

Uneven texture - partially due to my unmolding it on day two when I should have waited at least one more day.  Even so, it's been sitting all week and it's still soft in the center, so I'm not sure  if it would have ever hardened or not.

This is what I decided to do with it.  I shredded it and rolled some into balls for embeds in a future soap batch.  That way I can diffuse some of the overpowering fragrance too.

Live and learn !!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tim Holtz 12 Tags of 2012

I'm sure you're aware, but Tim Holtz is doing "12 Tags of 2012" as a follow up to his super popular "12 Tags of Christmas".  Here's the link:

I think his work is just amazing and unique. After taking his Creative Chemistry 101 class, I have to say he's also a laid-back, patient and motivational teacher.  That's part of his job as Artistic Director with Ranger Inks, so goes to reason.

Here's a photo of an Easter Egg he the style or not (I love it !),  it's so unusual.

Friday, April 6, 2012



My lab colors from Brambleberry arrived today!  I couldn't wait to try them out, so rather than clean or start dinner....or even shop for dinner....I made soap.  The dogs haven't learned to operate a camera, so I have no photos of my mixing, but will photograph the mold and the cutting when I uncover it.

Here's the recipe I used for this batch:

11.9 oz olive oil
12 oz canola oil
13 oz palm oil
10.4 oz coconut oil
3.12 oz cocoa butter
1.5 oz castor oil

16.8 oz water
and 7.2 oz lye

The colorants I used were 1 ml marigold, .7 ml cherry, .7 ml green apple and .7 ml vibrant orange and the fragrance was Valencia Orange essential oil.

The idea came from a tutorial I saw on the Brambleberry website, but I altered the recipe via lye calculator in hopes of getting a whiter base.  I may even try some titanium dioxide next time for an even whiter base and, hopefully, even more vibrants colors.

This was an "in the pot" swirling technique and, other than not having my trace as light as it should have been, it seemed to work pretty well !  My base was fragranced with Orange Valencia oil and then three containers were poured off from the main pot.  The main pot was then colored with marigold and the three smaller containers were colored with vibrant orange, cherry and green apple.  The vibrant orange and the cherry are VERY difficult to tell apart, so I'll be sure to keep the bottle next to the container if I try this one again.
The three containers were poured back into the pot at clock positions of twelve, four and eight.  The first pour was from about chest height, the second just above the pot.  The pour would have been more dramatic (and less bubbly) if I'd poured at a lighter trace or just after emulsion. Next time!  The pot is then poured into a five pound mold (mine is a silicone lined mold that I'm really liking).  The little bit left in the cups is poured in lines on top of the mold and then swirled with a chopstick by working the chopstick just across the very top of the soap on a diagonal. I like that pattern, so left it as is...but you could also run figure eights to break that up.   It's going to be a loooooong 36 hours until I can unmold this loaf !!  Until that time, I'm already planning more color combinations.  I'm obsessed !

Soap mold "put to bed" 

One peek won't hurt, right?
Bottom of the loaf

Side of loaf

Each bar is just a little different 

The green turned out well in this bar

This picture isn't true to color - it's much lighter than this - but the swirls turned out well on this one.