Friday, March 26, 2010

Update Soapisms Blog

Please hang in there with me as I am coming out of a very interesting March Break.  Just when I thought it was over, and time for the kids to return to school, we had an unexpected visitor immediately after and all I can say is "wow!"  I am thoroughly overwhelmed, but absolutely dying to get back into my soaps, websites, discussions, and blog!  I tried a wonderfully smelling Chocolate / Vanilla soap a few days ago.  It was going to be a great tutorial, but the soap never hardened.  It looks a lot like pudding, and smells really good, but something went wrong.  As promised, I will be posting all of my mistakes as well as my successes.  I do think that time will free up for me very soon, and I hope you hang around and watch for it.  I promise not to disappoint.  The promises that I can't seem to keep these days have more to do with timing, than the actual delivery.
Thank you for your patience,

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Things of Spring

These are the Things of Spring
Part I - Colorful Embeddables
Spring is just around the corner.  The sun is peeking out, our days are lasting longer, and we day dream of all of the things of Spring; colors and scents of roses, lilacs, Jasmine, grass, violets.......
This is a Spring inspired soaping tutorial.  Great for beginners of melt and pour, and can be incorporated into cold process as well. This tutorial will show you how to make beautiful embeddable glycerin spirals, chunks, and other shapes in all of the colors and aromas of Spring. These embeddable pieces can be used inside of your next loaf of clear, or opaque melt & pour soap, and / or your next batch of cold process soap.

What you need:

  • Clear Melt & Pour soap base
  • FD & C Color
  • Essential & / or Fragrance Oils
  • Mica Powder (gold, silver, pearl)
  • Flat molds that will allow you to pout sheets of soap (1/4" thick and at least 12 or more inches long)  Any of the following can be used for a mold: Tupperware, other plastic containers, empty. clean milk or juice cartons, plastic food trays. If you do not have something suitable for a mold, don't fret.  You can pour your soap slowly over any flat surface such as your counter or table.  As long as your soap hardens in a thin, long slab and can be peeled off of the surface it is poured on, you're fine.  Pouring on a sheet of wax paper works fine as well.  
  • Spray bottle with rubbing alcohol for spritzing your poured soap to remove surface bubbles.
  • Optional: liquid glycerin
Step One:
The first thing we do of course is cut our clear glycerin soap base into small chunks to speed up the melting process. After you have chopped up your base, (I used about 4 loose cups), place it into a microwavable cup.  The amount you choose to cut will depend on how many slabs of soap you are pouring, and how many different colors you will be using.  For the purpose of this tutorial, I am using 3 colors: Violet, Pink & Green.  Therefore, I have chopped up enough soap base to loosely fill about 4 cups.  For Spring colors, you may wish to use: Yellows, Greens, Blues, Violets, Pink & Aqua. Because you will be doing more colors, than I am, you will likely want to melt more soap, say 6-8 cups, or approximately 1.5lbs of soap base.

Because we are pouring thin slabs of soap that we will want to remain flexible, we are going to add a little bit of water to the soap chunks before microwaving. In this four cup glass, I added approximately 3-5 oz of water.  A small amount of water should not hurt the integrity of your finished soap.  If you have liquid glycerin, add about a tablespoon of this (per pound) before microwaving as well.  Both the water and the glycerin will help the hardened soap remain flexible enough to roll, twist, etc., without cracking and breaking.  If you don't have glycerin, you can add a touch of olive oil.

 I will be pouring my soap into these plastic TV trays.  They can be purchased at most dollar stores and are great for projects like these.  Directly below this picture, take note of the three small plastic containers. You will need one small container for each color you decide to make.  I have added my chosen essential oils to each of my containers as well as some pearl, silver and gold mica.  For my scents, I am using florals, such as Jasmine, Lavender, rose, geranium and lilac.  My colors will be pink, violet and green.  As a side note, gold mica looks great in green coloring.  Silver and pearl mica look great in any coloring.  The way you choose to use your micas are totally up to you. If you do not have any micas at this time, no worries.  You can still make these embeds and they will look great either way.
By now you have begun to melt your glycerin soap base in the microwave, and you have gathered small containers which contain the scents you have chosen to use, the micas you are using, and a few drops of FD & C coloring.  The coloring will separate from the fragrance or essential oils in the containers, but this will be mixed in just fine once you add the melted glycerin soap and mix it.

*Do not heat your soap base any more than needed.  If you heat it to steaming, you will have lost some of the moisture in the soap, making it dry.
Once your melt and pour base has melted, pour some into each of your small containers, and mix gently.  
As you can see (left), I have used a silver mica with violet color (mixed blue and red), a pearl mica with the pink (red FD&C color), and a gold mica with the green FD&C color (yellow and blue mixed to green).

Just to recap before proceeding:
Each small container should contain:
~Color of choosing,
~Fragrance or Essential Oil of choosing,
~Micas (if using)
~Your melted glycerin soap base.
Mix these gently, and if they are super hot, let them cool down before pouring.  Why? Because we want the mica to stay somewhat suspended within the color, so pouring the base a little cooler than usual is a good idea.

When you are ready to pour, proceed to do so.  Each color is poured into a long thin slab of soap, approximately 1/4 of an inch thick.  Spritz the poured soap with rubbing alcohol to displace any foam or bubbles on the surface of the soap.  

As you can see, I had some green left over, as well as some violet and pink, so I have poured the remainder into the smaller squares on my tray. You don't need small slabs.  If you have soap left over, pour it into a mold and let it harden, then wrap it up for future use.  You can even pout your left over soap base into glad baggies and let it harden in the bag.  Make sure you label it with the scent you have used.  It can be peeled right out of the bag when you are ready to use it in the future.

The Fun Begins:
Watch your poured soap carefully and check it often.  You will want to peel it from it's mold as soon as it becomes hard enough to do so.  It won't take long to harden at this thickness.  Within 10-15 minutes or so it should be ready.  If you can peel your soap off of it's mold while it is still warm, it will be even easier to manipulate it without it cracking or breaking.  Pick a corner and lift your soap out of it's mold.  It is best to remove all colors of soap from all molds at the same time.  You can stack them in piles while you are working with the first color. You will now manipulate your slabs of soap into spirals.  Start with one slab, and wrap it tightly just like the picture below:

Now you can do the same thing again, but this time keep two slabs together so that when you roll it, you have something like the picture below:

Get Creative:
Carefully slice your colored rolls into a variety of thicknesses.  You can make large rolls, small rolls, very thickly sliced roles, and very thinly sliced rolls.
The smaller rolls in the picture to the left were made by shaving some thin slices off of the edges if the soap slabs with a vegetable peeler.  They were then simply rolled by hand both by themselves and with other colors.

One thing to keep in mind after you have wound up your rolls and sliced them is that you need to loosen the   slices up some.  If the slices are wound too tightly, they may not adhere properly to the soap batch you're going to pour over them. The larger rolls pictured above are an example of rolls that are too tightly wound.  This is fine when you are rolling them up initially, but they must be loosed as pictures below, after you have finished slicing them. Continue on to the next few pictures.  The pictures have notes beneath them and are there to show you  examples:

 Properly loosened, sliced rolls
Too tightly wound
Properly loosened, sliced rolls

Imagination & Creativity:  
After you have mastered the rolling, slicing and loosening, you can try many different things.  Your imagination is your only limit here.  As picture left for example, try taking a tightly wound, sliced roll and pull each end of it outward to form a spring shape.  You can curl your soap pieces around your finger, a pencil, pull it, twist it  do whatever you want to it! Make squiggly lines, small cubes, rectangles, shavings and on and on it goes.   I have taken a few pictures, (below), to give you an idea on all of the different shapes and sizes you can create here.