Monday, June 10, 2013

Great Cakes Soapworks Peacock Swirl Challenge!

I took the plunge and joined the Soap Challenge Club hosted by Amy at Great Cakes Soapworks!  It was my first time with the peacock swirl, and I found that it was a fun, creative, difficult and truly beautiful technique.

To start out, I got some advice regarding equipment, recipe, colorants, temps, and fragrance. Before I started the actual soap making, I needed to gather my supplies.
Since I don't have a real slab mold, I needed to get creative and make one of my own. So off to the web I went. First, I found a post on the Soapers Retreat Facebook page with a tip to go to Michael's craft store and buy a $5 wooden picture box. They had it, and I got it! Next, I had to figure out how to line this thing. Freezer paper? I wasn't so sure. I didn't want my beautiful swirls to go leaking out the corners everywhere. So I decided to use Lovin' Soap 's tutorial on how to make a reusable liner. Never being one to follow all directions, I used appliqué template plastic, instead of lexan sheets. It is what I had on hand, and I figure that if it can withstand the heat of a direct iron, it will do just fine with soap. One thing though, the material is very flexible. It took a lot of wrangling to get it taped together.
My Michael's picture box slab mold

Applique template plastic liner
Bamboo Skewers in Cardboard

Next up was to make my rake. I opted for the bamboo skewers and the cardboard rake. Again, it is because that is what I had on hand. Super happy with the way this turned out. The skewers are really tightly wedged in the cardboard, and they were perfectly spaced!

Then I got a 20 minute video (yeah!) showing exactly how to make my creation. I, of course, watched it multiple times and felt ready to tackle my first ever peacock swirl. OK Here goes!

I tried to mix them well ahead of time to avoid chunks. Cross your fingers!
The colorants I used were:
Activated Charcoal - Bramble Berry
Super Pearly White - Bramble Berry
Electric Bubblegum - Bramble Berry
Lemon Drop POP - TKB Trading (discontinued)
Grape POP - TKB Trading (discontinued)
Green Apple POP - TKB Trading (discontinued)

Base Soap
I used Energy fragrance oil from Bramble Berry and only put it in the base soap because even though Energy moves very slowly, I was too nervous to put it in my squirt bottles. Speaking of....

Starting to Squirt!

Here we go! I put about 5 oz. of soap in each bottle. This is part of the reason why I ended up with a 6 color swirl. I needed more soap for the top, and my bottles were little! So I squirted and squirted some more, and yup.... got a burp at the end. (Even having been warned ahead of time) 
Soapy Lines
I cleaned up my lines and was ready to rake!

A Little Further...

All done - Now to clean up the sides

Making the feathers

Close up of swirling

Here are some more of my completed project still wet. How I wish the color would stay this bright!

I love the mica sparkle!

 The soap went to bed in it's box and got a heating pad on a timer to keep it warm for about 2 hrs. I wanted to make sure that the soap gelled so I could get some bright colors.
Now to unmold!
The next day, it did not have ash as bad as I was expecting. Whew. 
Here is a picture of some of the cut bars with the ash still on them.

Bars before steaming

And here they are!!!!!!  The finished bars after steaming.

Bars after steaming!

SO fun and rewarding. This has been a great learning journey for me. Thank you so much for hosting, Amy!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Kentish Rain

It's been couple of days since my last post, but I have been busy labeling, wrapping and gifting my soapy creations for teachers at my girls' school. I gave each of them a bar of Cold Process soap and a Peppermint Lip Balm. Hopefully they love (and use!) the soap and don't let it languish in a decorative dish, or even worse, in a closet. I gave away some of the Cranberry Fig, the Lemon Verbena, the Fresh Snow, and the Kentish Rain.

Speaking of Kentish Rain, here is a picture of it. A leopard spot design gone horribly wrong. My soap started to get way to thick, and I had to bang it on the counter to get rid of the air pockets. Well, that just flattened and smushed my spots. Plus, I should have put more lines in. It is kind of skimpy on color, don't you think? Feels unbalanced. I am banking on the fact that no one would know it was supposed to be a leopard spot design unless you told them. Now I told you. Smells good anyway. Even ugly soap can smell great.


I also got some new weatherproof labels from They are very easy to use, but I was a little disappointed that my printing was somewhat muted. I really liked the sheen and brightness of the photo quality paper I used to use. I am going to try again with different print settings. I love the stickers instead of all of the cutting, packing tape, etc. More on my experiments with labels later.

Well-almost done writing my Peacock Swirl post. Check back in the next couple of days. I still need to steam a little ash of of some of the bars. Then I need to photograph the whole batch, and do a couple of close ups of the swirl. SO fun. They turned out great!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Hazelnut Toffee

It is FINALLY summer in Minnesota. We have had a ridiculously cold winter and froze our way through what was to be spring. I (along with what seemed to be like the rest of the Twin Cities area) finally got a chance to buy some annuals and hanging baskets at Bachman's today. Will post some flower pictures tomorrow.

Back to Soap!
Mmmmmmm. My Hazelnut Toffee in the pot swirl soap. This is a new to me scent from BB that I think smells divine! It is sweet, toasty, and definately hazelnut. However, I could be convinced that this scent was root beer. Great either way.  I just love the way it discolors to a creamy brown. I think next time I will only scent the main batch, and leave the white swirl unscented. That way, hopefully it will pop a bit more. I am wondering if this is as brown as it will get. I just cut it about 5 days ago, so we will see!