This month’s challenge was incredibly challenging for me. I had so many goes at this trying to nail it, I think I will have enough soap to wash with for fifty years! I finally achieved a droplet that I am happy enough with to enter so here it is!
I only poured a small amount of batter into the bottom of the mould before pouring in my droplet colours as I like the droplets which have a long thin stem.
My bars are scented with a blend of spearmint, lavender and rosemary essential oils hence the mica colours that were chosen.
The mica was purchased from http://www.u-makeitup.com/ and the colours used were purple passion, lime, dreamy aquamarine and some titanium dioxide and activated charcoal for the black.
I thought I would also post some of my other attempts in order to show you how challenging I found this challenge to be. Getting a droplet shape was not easy for me!
I loved the colour of these and all the layers within the droplet, In real life they look much brighter and more vibrant. I was gutted that the outline turned out wobbly. I think it was because I poured the sides with a squeeze bottle rather than a jug so the pressure forced the batter into the mould unevenly.
There were also lots of other attempts, some with no droplet at all, others with triangular shaped patterns and one where I used an accelerating fragrance which set up on me so fast that all I got was tiger stripes across the middle of the bar.
And here as promised are my other six attempts!!!
Thank you for another great challenge Amy 🙂
I recently discovered that Great Cakes Soapworks host a monthly soap challenge. There is a swirl technique that you are given instructions on how to achieve, then you are asked to take a photograph of your own personal attempt. All entrants are then asked to vote on which soap is their favourite.
Here is one of her images
Unfortunately, my soap didn’t look the way I wanted it to when I did it completely in greyscale so I added in a touch of pale blue/green mica to add a bit of extra interest.
I used a recipe that I have found to be really slow to trace. It takes days to set hard, and wouldn’t be my ideal choice for functional soap, but it allows you ages to work on swirls, and the bars are still useable.
30% Olive Oil
20% Sunflower Oil
I scented with 3% English Rain Fragrance as I thought it went well with the blue and grey theme.
I added titanium dioxide to the whole batch to create a white base. Then I poured about a 2cm layer of that base into the bottom of the mould. I poured the remainder into three squeeze bottles, and used two different concentrations of activated charcoal and blue/green mica to dye the batter.
I squeezed the pale grey and blue in vertical stripes down the middle of the mould, then outlined the multi-coloured strip with the dark charcoal. I then used a skewer to streak horizontal lines in between the dark lines all down the mould. I then used a fatter skewer to drag the dark lines into the helix shape. (unfortunately I have no pictures of this as I was too busy trying to get the swirl right!)
Here are some more close ups of my entry, a slightly different interpretation of the swirl, but I incorporated all the key elements so I hope it is acceptable and I hope you like it. I will add some more images of the cut bars when the soap is hard enough to unmould.
This produces a wonderful smelling soap and the pastel colours compliment the fragrance beautifully. The goat’s milk yoghurt produces a lovely bubbly bar of soap and the silk adds extra smoothness. You can leave out the soap and the colouring if you don’t have those ingredients available to you.
This batch fills a mold size of 25x7x7.5cm and is superfatted at 5%
Olive oil 414g
Sunflower Oil 92g
Coconut oil 46g
Palm oil 92g
Sodium hydroxide 122.485g
170g Goat’s milk yoghurt
179.6g Distilled water
Large pinch of tussah silk
Green mica 1/4tsp mixed into 2ml olive oil
Blue Mica 1/4 tsp mixed into 2ml olive oil
Titanium dioxide 1/2 tsp mixed with 2ml olive oil
Spearmint Essential oil 10ml
Peppermint Essential oil 10ml
Aniseed essential oil 10ml
Prepare your mold, either line it with waxed paper or petroleum jelly to help release the soap when it has hardened. Use plastic or cardboard sheets to make 4 divisions in your mold, I am lucky and my mold comes with acrylic sheets that slot into place. Now you are ready to start soaping. Heat the oils until melted, mix the sodium hydroxide and water together. Wait until the two portions cool down to 35C then mix the two parts together. Blend with a stick blender until the mixture reaches light trace. Add the titanium dioxide and yoghurt to the whole batch and mix thoroughly. (You will have to work fast from now on as the sugars in the goats milk will heat up the batter and you don’t want brown soap!) Separate the batter into three containers, two with 1/4 batter in each and one with the remaining 1/2 of the batter. Add the green and blue mica to the two 1/4 batch containers. Fill up two of the mold sections with white mix and the other two with the coloured batter. Then gently remove the separating sheets. You should now have a mold filled with 4 stripes of differently coloured soap. Take a stainless steel skewer or piece of wire coat hanger and swirl it through the soap in a figure of eight pattern wich will produce a mantra swirl pattern on the top of your soap.
Quickly move your mold into the fridge to make sure the soap doesn’t overheat, and leave overnight to saponify. I took my soap out of the fridge the following morning but the soap was still too soft to unmold and cut so it needed to be left another two days to dry out before it was hard enough to cut.
Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos while making this so the post is going to look a bit boring. This soap started out as a disaster for me but I managed to remedy the situation and ended up with a really nice bar of soap in the end. I have outlined below what went wrong, how I remedied it and what to do to prevent this happening to you.
This soap contains lots of really rich oils to provide lots of moisture for sensitive facial skin, along with kaolin clay to cleanse and gently exfoliate dead skin cells.
Please read the health and safety instructions, and the whole post before attempting this recipe.
Rose and Kaolin Facial Bar
Olive oil 100g
Coconut oil 100g
Shea Butter 25g
Rapeseed oil 75g
Palm oil 25g
Cocoa Butter 25g
Distilled water 190g
Sodium hydroxide 68.9g
Pink mica 1tsp
Rose fragrance oil 20mls
- Place the water into a plastic container and slowly add the sodium hydroxide bit by bit until it has completely dissolved.
- Gently heat the oils in a pan until they have completely dissolved.
- Wait until both the lye mixture and the oils have cooled to 45C then combine them in a plastic container.
- Blend the two together until the soap mixture reaches trace.
- Add in the kaolin, mica (you may want to add more than 1tsp, I wanted a really pale shade of pink for my soap so this is why I used such a small amount).
- Then I added the fragrance oil and about two seconds later the mixture started to resemble curdled milk with lots of the liquid oils separating out (apparently this is common when dealing with certain fragrance oils especially floral ones)
- I spooned it into the mold in one big glob and hoped that the soap would sort itself out when it reached gel phase.
- The next morning I checked on it and it was still an oily mess.
- My plan was to heat it up in a pan to rebatch it but I know you can’t make soap in an aluminium pan so I tried all the pans we have with a magnet to find a steel one and no luck!
- As a last resort, I set our big soup pan on the stove and filled it with boiling water.
- I spooned the dodgy soap mix into a zip lock plastic bag and the put another bag around it to keep out the water.
- I boiled the soap mixture in the bag until it had completely melted, at this point the soap turned from a curdled mess into a nice smooth soap mix which I squeezed out of the bag back into the mold and allowed to set.
- I left the soap for two weeks to dry out, then it was ready to use. I’m really pleased with it as it moisturises my dry facial skin really well and has a lovely light smell of roses.
I have done some research and there are several things you can do to prevent the soap seizing so badly when you add certain fragrance oils. I will give these methods a go next time I work with fragrance oil.
1. Add your fragrance oil to the melted oils before adding the sodium hydroxide as the effects of the fragrance oil will be diluted by the other oils.
2. Mix the oil and sodium hydroxide together at a lower temperature to prevent the mixture reaching trace as quickly.
3. Make your soap base with a higher amount of liquid oils as this will also slow down trace.