Monday, February 23, 2015

Using Texture Mat for Soap Pattern

 Have I mentioned before that making cold process soap is very much like baking and decorating the bakery?  You will be shocked how many soap makers shop at baking goods for tools we can use!
This is about using fondant texture mat to make soap.  There are 2 kinds on the market, plastic sheets which are much cheaper, and the more durable silicone mats but cost far more.  Plastic sheets tend to have simpler patterns while silicone mats can be as intricate as you can ever imagine.  However, the common problem we run into is that it's hard to find fondant sheet big enough for our molds, they are not designed for soap makers for sure!
About 2 years ago I was lucky to saw this listing of a clear plastic texture sheet that has very nice wood grain pattern and the size is bigger than any I've seen out there.  I bought one to try, but that batch of soap failed.  I learned a lot from that experiment.  These grooves are shallow, only about 1/16" deep at most.  To cast a great impression the soap batter needs to be very fluid at pour but harden fast to get a perfect release.  I admit I didn't have the patience to think about all these little details 2 years ago so I simply gave up after one failed try.
Making texture mat soap is somewhat different.  It requires forehand preparation.  Measure twice (sometimes 3 times) and cut once to fit the interior of the mold.  In my case I used a silicone log (loaf) type mold and lined the mold with this plastic texture sheet on 3 sides to form an "U" shape.  Simple clear tape was used to secure the sheets temporary to the mold.  Then all I need is some simple 2 color ITP (in the pot) swirl and pour into the mold.

I really like these simply elegant looking soap bars!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Where Is My Glycerin River?!

What is glycerin river?  In most cases it happens when you use water dispersible titanium dioxide to color your soap batter white and then the soap gelled.  Can't imagine it?  Here's a picture to show you:
Most of us trying very hard to avoid it.  One of the trick is not to gel the soap.  Another trick is not to use water dispersible titanium dioxide, instead, use oil dispersible version.  If you don't like these 2 options, heavily discount your water when you make lye solution would work too.
But, what if I want glycerin river?!  Should be easy, right?!  Not in this case!
I had this grant design idea to mimic the cracking of Arctic ice like this picture:
I soaped normally, didn't discount water, added descent amount of water dispersible titanium dioxide, even put it in the preheated oven to force gel.  So, where is my glycerin river when I intentionally tried to make it?!

The only difference is I also used transparent melt and pour soap to swirl the bottom blue portion for water effect.  Could it be the melt & pour?  Melt & pour soap does contain lots of glycerin that why it tends to sweat in humid area.  Could that be the reason I'm not getting the glycerin river I wanted?!  There got to be a reasonable logic to this right?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pumpkin Cheese Cake Soap

It's the end of summer, school has started, meaning time to plan fall soap projects!  Each year I would make pumpkin soap once, usually around this time.  I made a recipe just for this soap, the only recipe that uses pumpkin seed oil.  The virgin cold pressed pumpkin seed oil is rather smelly, not in a bad way, it's nutty and amber brown in color.  When I tried to put in my order for more virgin pumpkin seed oil I noticed the shortage in inventory.  The 2 suppliers I normally buy from had none this year.  The other suppliers who still carry it have priced it higher than what I would  like to pay for.  For  this soap I've used up the last bit I have left.
Previously I had been making pumpkin chai scented typical bar soap.  It's getting old and boring, time for me to revamp it this year.  While looking online for idea I found this photo on Pinterest, it's actually a real desert, a frozen yogurt cake:
 It is not in a typical cupcake form, rather simple and elegant!
If you are a soap maker you probably already know any pumpkin related fragrance contains a lot of vanillin (for smelling like vanilla) and that would cause soap to turn brown when exposed to the air, it's oxidation.  I picked a pumpkin fragrance that's more like sweet pumpkin filling without heavy spice and less vanillin.  How to work around the color is always the challenging part.  Anyway, to not bore you with details, I present you my version of pumpkin soap this year:
Pumpkin Cheese Cake Soap
It's a rather time consuming soap to make, a 3 days project!  Day 1, I had to make the cheese cake middle first, unmold it and cleaned it up to dry.  Day 2, made the brown crust, put the cake back into the mold on top of the crust.  Reason for this extra step is to cover the day one's ugly uneven soap top by placing it up side down into the mold to adhere with the brown crust.
Day 3, final dress up, this is the part it didn't go as planned. Day 2's brown crust did not adhere to the cheese cake part well, it left gaps.  I had to make extra soap batter, split it to make the brown crust again to patch up the gaps.  By the time I was ready or the cream topping the batter got too thick to drizzle... sigh.  Oh well, plan B is not unusually in my soaping kitchen.
Dusting it with pearl white mica is like cherry on top, make it have this powder sugar look, totally realistic!
The only problem is, days later the soap still turned brownish... sigh.  I just can run away from browns...


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Confetti Soap

I have been ignoring my blog recently since my summer vacation to Jordan and Turkey.  No specific reason, just hard to getting back into the mood.  I would stare at my soap in the curing area or even in front of my computer screen with my soap photos and just draw a blank.  I guess I just have to make something to get going.  Prior to my vacation i did a series of pink and red colorant testing and got all these pink and red soap not for sale.  That's a lot of pink and reds.  The easiest way to reuse these soap is by grating them down (which is pretty mindless to do) and add them to a fresh batch of soap for confetti style soap.

This one is particularly interesting as I did not know using black oxide can get you glycerin river too.  I usually get glycerin river with using water dispersible titanium dioxide which is a whitening agent to create bright white soap.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Color Inspiration - Mulberry Frost II

Last year I made my Mulberry Frost Soap with a color palette taken from Design Seeds, see this post: Color Inspiration - Mulberry Frost  This year I'm revamping it, with ANOTHER color palette.  I'm always looking to out do myself!
This one caught my eyes:
 I really like that splash of slightly neon green that brightens up the mood.  I'm rather surprised how well it went, looks so much better than I expected inside!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Live YouTube Soaping Event Series 2: Honey Moon

It is kind of late to blog about this post but better than never!  This is my 2nd Live YouTube soaping event a month ago inspired by the Honey Moon event.  Honey Moon gets its name by the golden yellow color of the moon and it was the biggest moon because it was closest to the horizon.  It is also sometimes called Strawberry Moon because it always happens during peak of strawberry harvest season which is the month of June.  If you are interested in how it's made please watch the video below.

In the video I explained the inspiration and how the soap is done, please watch it if you have questions about the whole process and or tools I used.  And these are the cut photos:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Beldi - Moroccan Black Soap

Have you heard of Beldi soap?  It's also called Moroccan Black Soap, made of 100% olive oil and black olive paste.  It is used in Moroccan bath or Hamam Maghrabi.  It starts with an overall rinse, then smear black soap all over your body, followed by sitting in a hot steamy room for awhile until your pores all open up.  Then someone will take a scrubby sponge and scrub the heck out of you, LOL  It is then followed by a body mask to detox.  The whole process takes about an hour.  Your skin is supposedly like baby soft again.
Anyway, I tried making Beldi soap the other day, except I used herbal infused olive oil and fresh rosemary puree instead of black olive paste.  Beldi soap uses potassium hydroxide to saponify oils, same process as making liquid soap.  The only difference is it stays as a paste and not diluted with more liquid to form final liquid soap.
I used glycerin method to avoid cooking.  It's very fast, done  within 10 minutes.  Glycerin method is by using glycerin in place of water to dissolve potassium hydroxide.  This method requires no cooking, no additional external heating required.
Usually after I saponified my liquid soap using glycerin method I would let it cool down on the counter.  By the time it's cool enough to touch it's pretty much thicken to a sticky paste consistency.  I store the paste until I need soap then I'll dilute is with hot distilled water.  But when I did the same to my Beldi soap it didn't get thick like my normal liquid soap.  Over night it actually stayed jelly like but got really shinny!

I'm thinking it has a lot to do with the puree rosemary I added that made the soap more like jelly than sticky paste.  Jelly is definitely easier to apply on skin than sticky paste, I'm not complaining!