I signed up for another soap challenge! It’s like a contest, where you learn a new technique then enter the results of that technique in the challenge to not only potentially win prizes, but also connect with other soap makers and cool people around the world who are crafty. Although $100 grand prize gift card would be cool, and the actual prizes being offered this time are nifty. It’s all soap making related stuff. (Geeks out)
This month we are taking on the soap pictured here, which uses the “dancing funnel” technique. I can’t go into it more (contest rules, yo) but I’m frankly kind of worried I may be in over my head. Not only is the technique itself difficult, there are two categories, natural and synthetic. This means if I use any of my micas or oxides for colorants I will also have to use a fragrance oil-and I hate fragrance oils- to be in the “artificial/synthetic” category. This puts me in a pickle. I want mica (and personally don’t consider them true synthetic)…and I want essential oils, because almost every fragrance oil I’ve ever worked with accelerates trace and with this technique, that’s simply not an option at all. Sigh. To be in the natural category, I CAN use essential oils for fragrance, but I will have to figure out an all natural colorant like using spinach, paprika, cocoa, alkanet, wode, activated charcoal, cinnamon, henna, or indigo. These are examples, there are other ways to naturally color soap but it’s limited as the lye solution will wreak havoc on colorants and turn a lot of things black or murky brown (ex: lavender tends to look like little mouse droppings in cold process soap so I don’t put it in the soap, only on top). I haven’t worked with all natural colorant in soap very much, so I don’t have jars of extracts of these food based items ready to go, and while making rapid extractions is possible it’s time consuming and not as effective as the slow extractions and neither is as vibrant as a mica or oxide. I have an idea that focuses around three shades of indigo and some activated charcoal but I’m not sure it would work the way I have planned. I guess all I can do is try. Alternatively, I could try to pick out a fragrance oil that isn’t totally gross and kind of fun, like satsuma or something else that’s fresh and fruity for a kid soap. My final option is to leave the soap unscented and use micas or oxides. I recently bought some new micas and oxides from Brambleberry and have all these new colors I can choose from. It seems ridiculous to add the stress of working with natural colorant to the mix on this soap
Well, I should be busy researching this, learning about this, planning this, and making this all through the whole month of August. The only other soaps I have planned are pumpkin pie soap (it needs a long cure time to be ready to give away in December for Christmas presents), possibly laundry soap, and citrus beer soap-using Wichita Brewing Company’s BerLemoner Wheat Beer. I’m looking forward to making beer soap and blogging about it.
Wish me luck in the Soap Challenge!