I decided to step up my game a little bit and enter a soap challenge. They are great ways to learn new techniques and network with other soap makers across the world over. I wanted to do it a few months ago when I first learned about them, but the past months have had themes and techniques that just were above my skill set and I wasn’t comfortable jumping in as a beginner soaper. However, for May, the theme was the Teardrop Technique, and I was fascinated by it so I thought I would give it a shot.
This technique required a lot of patience (remember me blogging about my total lack of patience?!?) and a soap recipe that would not trace quickly. After some time spent researching and even more time crunching numbers on Soap Calc to see what I was wanted in a soap and still get a slow tracing soap, I had what I wanted. This soap recipe didn’t use coconut oil, it used babassu oil instead, and it has both grapeseed and avocado oils in it. All you coconut allergic people in my life can rejoice that there will be a second coconut free bar in my shop soon.
The end result is a very soft bar, as opposed to the hard bars I’ve gotten used to making. So soft, in fact, that I ended up cutting it with fishing line…which means the bars are not clean cut but are a little rustic and fun. Still, as you’ll see, it’s very pretty soap.
Here’s some more pictures:
After letting the soap cure, it was time to cut it. As I stated before, it was too soft to cut with a knife. Both a top cut and a side cut simply smeared the colors and ruined those slices. However, I was able to cut the rest with fishing line, even if my cuts weren’t perfectly straight and I had to to back a few days later after the bars firmed up more and smooth them out with a sharp knife. Here’s what I ended up with:
I know I have titanium dioxide spots where it didn’t dissolve, and that’s considered a flaw, but I actually like the way it looks in the purple layer of the teardrop-the speckle effect is cool- and I don’t mind it so much in the blue of the soap. It works with the “theme” I had in mind, which is that this is a colorful mermaid scale suspended in ocean water. The mermaid’s scale has the two purples, ocean green, a nice coral, and gold mica. The ocean water is ocean green with ultramarine blue and the titanium dioxide, and I think the undissolved white spots are representative of sea foam.
That being said, technically, I will have to make sure my titanium dioxide is dissolved in water next time (perhaps). I thought it was oil soluble but I’m curious if it’s maybe water soluble instead. The label doesn’t say, which is frustrating, and a good reason never to buy from the cheapest vendor necessarily but instead, from one who specializes in soap and gets great reviews. Time for a quick experiment with a tiny bit of it before I try it in soap.
My colorants are all from Soap Goods-and I think they are very good for the cost, btw-with the exception of the gold mica which I purchased locally at a craft store. The titanium dioxide was bought off Amazon forever ago originally for the purpose of making cosmetics and while the seller claimed it was ok to use in soaps, I’m beginning to have doubts. Le sigh. We live and we learn.
In some of the pictures, you can see the ripples on some of the bars where I cut it badly with the fishing line and then had to go back and plane it with a knife yesterday. It worked out ok in the end, however. I think if I ever use a recipe with that much oil and that little hardening fat, I’ll wait three days to cut and not two. It will help in the future that I will have a fancy wood soap cutting box (on order, just hasn’t arrived yet!).
It occurred to me that this is my 15th batch of soap! That’s all! I’ve only been making soap since December, and while it seems like I talk about it all the time and post pictures of all this soap I make, the truth is that I haven’t made all that many batches of soap. This makes number 15, and that’s only if you count liquid soap as well (which I totally do, because it’s as much labor and chemistry as bar soap).