DIY Soap: It’s Not a Fail if You Learn… Right?

This week’s soap experiments didn’t turn out as planned, which is disappointing considering the time and materials wasted. At least I know more about what doesn’t work. I have two new designs made just for March.

St. Patty’s Bath

The loaf this week is a refreshing mint-oil and goat’s milk for St. Patrick’s Day. The loaf was supposed to be layers of translucent green and white sandwiching a central core of green with white sides and a light swirl in the center. This would require carefully controlled temperatures, and I was eager to try out my new touchless thermometer for the first time.

 

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The layering worked well, but that’s the easy part. 
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Cutting it open reveals the failed central core. I first poured the white and waited until it cooled to 132 F. I hoped that pouring the hot liquid green into cooler white would displace the white to the edges and leave the green core in the center. I think I should have waited for the white to cool to 120-125 F so it would be harder when the hotter portion was poured and not mix quite as much. At least it still smells nice. 

Beware the Soaps of March

My second design was to experiment with embedding particles in different layers to create a 3-dimensional visual. I have a design I’m working on that will be a tiny little village on a little landscape, with a translucent blue stream and layered clear base with little swirled white clouds. It’s complex and will probably be twice the depth of a standard bar, so I wanted to try embedded layers before investing the time. I had poured red roses (with rose oil and scent), and bought a large bag of dried rose petals.

This design is a nod to the Ides of March. Red, gold, and white are Imperial Roman colors. I had poured red roses (with rose oil and scent), and bought a large bag of dried rose petals. The roses rest on a base of white-topped charcoal. To add color, I used a new metallic melt-dye brick mixed with yellow for gold, and a brighter red for blood. The red dye is from a cheap craft-store kit and did not deal well with white soap. I could not get it brighter or deeper, so it looks like dark pink or wine. My good red dye from the soap store is closer to brick and matched the roses too closely. So there’s the first failure.

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The rose petals also turned darker when added to the hot melted soap, appearing black instead of red. 
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I had a difficult time getting air bubbles out because I poured the clear base in layers. They were only a problem on the final surface layer. 
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The design looked nicer from the side where the depth becomes apparent. 

 

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