Wow! What a challenge! This soap challenge, my second, proved much more difficult than my first and tested my patience and sanity.
First of all, I originally decided to do an all natural soap. This meant I had to learn about infusions and make some in my crock pot, and that was fun. I ended up with several made to use at a later date and a really pretty alkanet infusion that I thought should color my soap a nice rich color.
I made my soap batter and then I made my fatal mistake: I added 4 tbsp kaolin clay. I always add clay to my soap batter, as I think it improves the soap. Unfortunately, this time, the added clay did two things that ruined this batch for me. It dramatically increased how fast the soap was setting up, and it clogged the nozzles of the bottles and made it impossible to do the technique. I ended up doing a quick ITPS with my colors and pouring the batch in a log mold as not to waste it.
In a way, I’m glad it happened this way as the alkanet color morphed into this light blue gray, and I wanted bolder colors.
So the next morning I got started into round two, using some treats I just got from Brambleberry and have been itching to play with. I decided on Crisp Apple Rose fragrance oil, as it was marked to behave well in cold process soap.
I also decided to use some fun colors that I thought would contrast well.
Hot pink, mixing titanium dioxide and an old favorite shine red mica for one color, Sunset Orange from Brambleberry for my second color, and hydrated green oxide as my base color. I debated lime green and in the end kind of wished I had gone that route as the hydrated green oxide came out darker after being put in the oven than it does in regular cp soap.
I got to work, and I’m afraid I didn’t get many pics after I got going because I had to move fast. My soap went from emulsified to medium trace lickety split. I can only think it was the fragrance oil because while it didn’t turn to mud, it sure thickened up! Since I was working at such a water discount, I added some water to each color to thin the soap batter and give me more time to work. It helped a little bit but I never had the liquid soap to work with as shown in the tutorials. I would try this a third time but I have orders for my Etsy shop to fill for this week and I’m simply out of time to play with it anymore!
Here is the soap going into the oven.
I wish the soap was a little thicker but overall I’m pretty happy that I was able to accomplish the technique despite all the trouble. I had just purchased the Brambleberry 9 bar slab mold, and a lot of the reviews recommended 1000g of oils which seemed perfect for this soap. Unfortunately, I think to get a decent size bar of soap you need twice that in oils, which most definitely wouldn’t work for this technique. I have some wood left from building my awesome log mold; maybe I need to make a very small slab mold for times like these, as rare as they are. A soap challenge mold 😉
Thanks for soaping with me!
Addendum and update!
I just was not happy with leaving things like this, so I decided to try it one last time. Having estimated from my last bars that I would need to double my oils, I decided to split the batch and literally make two batches of soap. One right away, one when I ran out and the pan would be, theoretically, half full. So I made two pans of oils and set them to cool, and two things of lye water. I soap at room temperature so this was not a big deal. I also had tweaked my recipe to be extra slow tracing after the last two batches.
Well, I think I learned a few new things. You can actually have something trace too slow. As in, it doesn’t even want to emulsify. And when you think you’ve got it done and in squeeze bottles, all it does is run all over your mold and make you cry in anguish.
I finally threw in the towel as a conquered woman. This challenge beat me. However, I also learned that part of why my second batch thickened so quickly and produced such small thin bars is because I MUST have left out an ingredient. I doubled this batch and it should fit in the mold but only half of it does. I screwed up last time, which oddly makes me feel better. Doing everything right and getting bad results is disturbing. Figuring out where you went wrong is satisfying so you don’t do that again!
Half my soap I made today, colored with indigo extract and using the brown from my circles, is in the slab mold, and will be cut and beveled for fun. I put the other half, which I colored with cochineal extract, into round silicone molds and sprinkled sparkly edible glitter on top. The pretty berry color is something I happy held through saponification!
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