Soap Challenge December 2014

A spoon swirl challenge this time around via Amy Warden’s Great Soapworks Challenge.  I love spoon swirls and have had something in mind, so here goes!  My vision is a soap that brings to mind the breathtaking Alaskan Northern Lights.

Northern_Lights_Over_Portage_River_Valley_Alaska[1]    20141208_112918    20141208_112933

The beautiful colors dance, ripple and undulate across the Northern sky.  One of our great winter pleasures is a soothing soak in the hot tub while watching the stars and the Northern Lights.  Maybe throw in a glass of wine, too!  Rather than a graphic reproduction of the landscape, mountains and night sky, I like the idea of a suggestion of the snow-covered Alaska Range mountains.   I attempted to suggest the mountains and the colors I associate with our winter night sky.  My unmolded, uncut soap above.

This soap is the third batch I’ve made with this idea in mind.  The first are lovely, but this is close to my idea!  Here are some of the finished bars.

north lights 2

I used my go to recipe that includes olive oil, palm kernel and palm oil, coconut, shea and cocoa butters, and castor oil.  It is an awesome recipe and makes a luscious moisturizing soap.  Colors are Nuture  Vibrance micas.  I soaped at about 105 degrees F.

Stick-blended to light trace then separated out about a cup of batter into three separate cups to color.  (Next time, I will use less batter for finer swirls)  I added titanium dioxide to the remaining batter.

My micas are premixed in a bit of olive oil, so added a bit of teal, purple and apple green to each of the cups of batter.  (not all colors in each cup; one color to each cup)

north lights 1

Looks a bit like a hanger swirl, but really is a spoon swirl!  To do this look, I poured about 2/3 of plain batter into a TS mold.  Then poured from a higher level the colors, one after the other.  Things were getting a bit thick, maybe honey thick.  I spoon swirled from one end of the mold to the other, then made a few more swirls randomly through to make sure all was swirled.  Next, spooned the rest of the plain batter into the mold.  Then I spoon swirled, only trying to go into the area between the plain and the previously spoon swirled part.  I did not come up to the top.  I wanted to keep the top white.  I finished with texturing the top to suggest mountains, and added snowflake glitter (appropriately, I’d say!)

20141208_112756

When planning the fragrance, I wanted cool, outdoorsy, magical.  A tall order!  I blended a combo of EO’s including lavender, fir, patchouli, citrus and rosemary.  Love the way this smells!

north lights 3

And one more of the cut bars in my soap room.  These aren’t cleaned up yet, but you can see the lovely variation in the bars, just like the ever-changing Northern Lights!  (The lighting in there is not the best.)

north lights 5

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Unmolding soaps

Fair warning.  If you are not  a soapmaker, this will likely be a bit boring and nerdy.

If you make soap and use individual plastic molds, this may help you.  I use silicone molds and also the Milky Way plastic molds.  The silicone are, hands down, superior for ease of removing soap. I make cold process soap and have struggled with the more intricate plastic molds, trying to unmold soap without damaging it.

I figured it out today!

1.  Make and pour your soap.

2.  I let it sit 24 hours and then into the freezer for a couple hours; it needs to be hard!

3.  Put the mold soap side down on your work surface and use a heat gun on it for a few seconds.  I have had my soap fall right out perfectly intact.  I did 6 or 8 today and all came out perfectly.  In my picture, they are still cold and have condensation on them.  But, perfect! moose and bear blu,purple, gr