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.

 

Spoon/Chopstick Swirl Challenge

This is going to be a quick post this month.  I am down to the wire on getting this posted on time.  This months challenge involves using a spoon or chopstick to make your swirl after you get your base and colors in the mold.  It is a relatively easy process and you almost always get good results.

The first step for me was choosing my fragrance – I went with Sweet Orange Chilli Pepper.  Pretty easy to select the colors on this one:

IMG_3026  Red, yellow, orange and green.  No surprises there.

I poured my mold about half full with white base then used a drop pour for the colors and a chopstick to swirl.   I was really excited to be using my new mold I ordered from Japan for the very first time.

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After 24 hours the soap was still to soft to try to get out.  And oh by the way I had no idea how to get the soap out as I didn’t line the mold except for the very bottom to keep it from leaking (you are not supposed to have to).  My other clear molds are easy to disassemble and remove the soap but this one only the bottom is removable.  Another 24 hours and the soap was still somewhat soft to the touch.   So I decided the only way I could get the soap out in time was to put it in the freezer.  It appeared I would be able to get the soap out now but just trying to use my fingers was not working.  I found two pieces of scrap wood about the same size in my garage and used several rubber bands to hold them together.  It took some effort but the soap came out perfectly.

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Thank you Amy for hosting this fun challenge.

November Soap Challenge Club – Combing Technique

For this month’s Soap Challenge Club the only criteria was to use a comb in the design of our swirls. The most well known in this category is probably the peacock swirl which is a beautiful design. In fact, the peacock swirl was the first challenge I entered so I decided to do something a little different – the french curl.

I rounded up the comb that I made for that first challenge and since I was using a new fragrance from Mad Oils called Smoke and Mirrors I wanted my colors to be on the dark side and my base to be natural.

Here are the five squeeze bottles (note the well-worn handmade comb in the background).

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We are about half way through squirting the colors:
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This shows how the soap looked immediately after running the comb through the lines of color (the orange is really yellow and will return to yellow after saponification):
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For the french twist swirl you simply make a series of curlicues starting at the top and working your way across then down to the next line and then across again and so on until you are finished.
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The soap is then sprayed with alcohol to prevent soda ash and wrapped up for the night. The next day I was happy that there were no signs of ash and the orange was indeed yellow again. And I am very pleased with the way this design turned out.

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This was another fun challenge. Thanks Amy.