Embracing Opposites Soap Challenge

Hot cold, big small, tall short, happy sad, vibrant dull,  opposites all – in just a few minutes one can come up with so many.  This month’s soap challenge is embracing opposites – the idea was to portray your chosen opposites in soap using a loaf mold.

The first idea I had was to see how many opposites I could get into one design.  What came to mind was horizontal and vertical, cool and warm colors and then I wondered if there was such a thing as opposite fragrances.  A quick Google search came up with a fragrance wheel – much like a color wheel the opposite fragrance are supposed to blend.  I am posting a copy below in case there are others like me who didn’t know this existed.  Also including a warm/cool color chart here and will explain why.

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When I showed my finished product to my son who is an accomplished artist he commented that my green was really yellow green so it is really a part of the warm side.  What- green is green – isn’t it?   Okay that didn’t quite work out for colors.  But happily the fragrance combination did – soft oriental and citrus using Sandalwo0d and Blood Orange.  It is a lovely scent that seems to be improving.  Here my first try:

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So with the green being off and the horizontal stripe needing some improvement it was off to another design.  This time I settled on winter and summer.  For winter I wanted a pine tree in a snow storm (a rather simple design) and for summer the idea was to create a wild flower meadow with a blue sky and wispy clouds (a complex design).  I used is Peppermint essential oil for the cold winter and although I wanted to use a real flowery scent I decided to go with just Lavender essential oil to allow time to pour.

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Just cut

 

 

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These challenges are always learning experiences for me.  If I had time to do the summer/winter soap again I would definitely use squeeze bottles for the flowers and pine tree.  My squeeze bottles are huge (probably 32 oz) and since I only needed a small amount of soap batter in these design features I decided to try it free hand and use a spoon to dribble the soap.  Had I used the squeeze bottle I think the lines that formed the pine tree would have been a more consistent thickness and the colors of the flower field would have been more distinct.  Also I thought I was being very careful in removing the divider but I must have tilted it a little at the top.

Nevertheless I am still pretty pleased with the way the summer/winter soap turned out and that will be my enter this month.

I love the way these challenges push me outside the box.  This month was particularly fun – thank you Amy!

Making soap using the Turkish art of Ebru – June Soap Challenge Club

It has been a couple months since I participated in Amy Warden’s soap challenge club.  This month when she announced the challenge was using Ebru designs in soap, I decided to join in the fun.  Ebru is actually painting on water and then transferring the design to paper.  I have made soap before using Ebru designs without knowing it was Ebru – a good example is the peacock swirl.

Our challenge was to find an inspiration and execute it in soap.  Many Ebru patterns employ a “rake” or other special tools to achieve the look, however, our instructions stated that we must draw the design free hand using a pick or chop stick.  I choose a picture from the website http://marbleart.us/CableCurl.htm.  I recommend visiting the site – he has so many different design – I would love to try more.

cable and curl ebru red

It took me a while to figure out how to do this on soap.  I watched a number of YouTube videos and finally decided how I would try to get this patter.

_DSC1997Colors ready – teal green, peacock blue, black oxide, cosmo martini, and titanium dioxide to go with the Ed Hardy for Men fragrance I choose.

first pass with the colors

first pass with the colors

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the colors are ready for the swirls

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in the process of drawing up and down lines fairly close together vertically and then horizontally.

 

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the next step was to draw lines to make squares

To finish I drew curls in each of the square.

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wet soap immediately after finishing.

 

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close up of the design

I tried a couple other designs but they will have to wait for another day and another post.  The deadline to submit our entries is tomorrow afternoon but I will be at the farmers market so my personal deadline is now.  This was so much fun and I am sure I will be re-visiting many of the Ebru sites – it is absolutely fascinating to watch those artist create their beautiful paper.

Thank you Amy!  Can’t wait to see what you have in store for July.

 

 

Landscape Soap Challenge

Sometime ago while looking through one of my suppliers’ sites I came across Tahitian Black Sand and I just had to buy it.  Every time I see it I wonder what I am going to do with it.  So when Amy announced this month’s challenge was to recreate a landscape scene I immediately thought of doing a black sand beach.  I Googled Tahitian black sand beaches and quite frankly the results were not very inspirational – they just were not very pretty.   I keep putting off making the soap and then I got busy preparing for the first big craft show of my season which was last Saturday.  So Amy’s email saying it was time to post came as a surprise.

I thought about skipping this month but I really wanted to use that darn sand.  Another search and I came up with a picture that I thought might be workable and have a little bit of interest to it.  I studied the picture quickly and made a drawing of how I thought I could pour the soap.

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Ideally I should have allowed at least two days to complete the layers but I knew the fragrance (Crafters Choice Beach) is a fast mover.  I decided that I would mix my colors and add the fragrance to each color just prior to pouring and hoped the layer would set up while I was preparing the next one.  It did work but not as well as I had hoped – there is some minor mixing of the colors.  When I got to the sky, I realized that I had not left enough white for the clouds.  I used what I had and then called on my cache of melt and pour soap for the balance.

IMG_3084  It is in the mold.  Nothing to do now except wait and hope.

Since the soap was in a silicon mold I was afraid I might have to wait an extra day or two to remove it – talk about last minute.  But I gently pulled one side and it released easily. The soap popped right out.  Here are the result:

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Overall I am pretty pleased with the way it turned out and am really happy that I didn’t take the easy way out and just skip this one.  Now I am looking forward to trying soap with sand as an exfoliant.

Thanks Amy this was another fun challenge.

 

 

February 2015 soap challenge – DNA/Helix swirl

This month’s challenge was the DNA/Helix swirl.  To accomplish this you lay down alternating lines of several different colors.  You then use a chop stick, skewer or instrument of your choice to make a back and forth motion that produces a Chevron pattern.  This is what my soap looked like at this point:

_DSC0892  I must admit that I was tempted to leave it like this.

The next step is to make “s” curves (like you would in the peacock swirl) also using your chop stick.  The result is supposed to look like the DNA Helix.  My curves may be a little too big but it is still a very pretty design (IMHO).  To compliment the green and blue, I scented this with Nature’s Garden Aqua Di Gio type.  Now I am wishing I had used a large slab mold – I sued my little nine bar mold.

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It was fun trying this one especially since I was not familiar with this design technique.  I will definitely be doing this again.  Thanks Amy.

 

Butterfly Swirl Soap Challenge

This month’s challenge was by far the most challenging in my opinion.  The butterfly swirl technique requires that you pour two or more contrasting colors in your base soap and then use a hanger tool to try to create something that looks like a butterfly when the soap is cut.  Keep in mind that you cannot see what is happening in the soap batter as you move the hanger about.  There is a very talented soaper, Zahida of Handmade in Florida, who has perfected this technique – she creates such jaw dropping beautiful soap.  Her videos make it look easy but believe me it is not.

Okay my first try didn’t turn out as well as planned.  The contrasting colors are poured a little at a time and alternated with the base color until you use most of the colored soap.  I used a fragrance called champagne pear and my idea on the colors was that the base would be champagne color (used a mica called honey) but it turned out much darker than anticipated.  I know I should test my colors before using.  The contrast idea was yellow, green and red for various colors of pears.  I mixed a couple of colors to get the red and it is what I wanted.  The yellow and the green would probably have been okay except the red over powered them after the first pour (not to mention the first pour was a little thick).  Anyway here it is:

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For the second attempt I decided to use Crisp Apple Rose fragrance and keep the base white.  For colors, a red juicy apple and pink roses came to mind with some green for the leaves.  It seemed that using a little less color might produce better results but it is so difficult to hold back and this still has just a bit more than planned.  The soap performed well and gave me lots of time to work.  Did I mention this fragrance smells wonderful?  I can see a butterfly – can you?

 

butterfly swirl final

 

I am definitely not through with this technique – it will be on my list to try again soon.  Even when you don’t get a perfect butterfly the swirls are still so pretty.  Thank you Amy.  This was really fun.