Nag Champa Shampoo Bars In The Pot swirl in round tube mold

This was a custom shampoo bar order with the requirements that they be round, use Nag Champa fragrance, and as little brown coloring as possible:


Description of Bramble Berry Nag Champa FO: Based on best selling Satya Sai Baba Nag Champa (agarbatti) incense from India, this scent is traditionally used in meditation. An earthy scent: contains Juniper, Patchouli & Vanilla, with Rose Geranium & Jasmine to give a sweet note. Incense-like FO. Very Strong. CP: 2.5% Vanilla; discolors brown (or tan/khaki/copper)


The Plan:
Use 11 bar tube mold
Colors: yellow,  orange, and natural (natural, will discolor dark brown)
1 oz Nag Champa FO
ITP swirl & pour

Shampoo Master Batch Oils #2: 36 oz oils, 51 oz soap/3 lbs
SMB Oils: 36 oz/ 851 grams
NaOH/Lye 6% SF: 5.06 oz/ 143 grams
Distilled Water: (1.88 disc): 10 oz/283 grams
Nettle Extract (3%): 28 grams (add to oils)
DL-Panthenol (3%): 28 grams (add to lye water)
Sodium Lactate (1+%): 10 grams (add to lye water)
Silk Amino Acids (1%): 9 grams (add to lye water)

13 oz CC Yellow Locking Mica, .1 oz FO with VS
13 oz MM Clementine Orange, .1 oz FO with VS
13 oz CC Blue Locking Mica, .1 oz FO with VS
13 oz Natural (will discolor dark brown) .7 oz FO
(MM= Mica’s & More, CC = Crafters Choice Wholesales Supplies Plus, VS=Natures Garden vanilla stabilizer).

Leftovers in round leaves molds.


The Reality:
Soaped at 124F Lye and 109F Oils.
Stick blended (using an immersion blender) for about 8 seconds and it was too much, so I had a difficult time doing an ITP swirl and getting the batter in the mold.


The Cut:


A third of the batch was very blue-forward, which I really liked:


With the batter so stiff, fortunately the only air pocket were on the edges of the bars:



Even though I made these a few months ago, it was right in the middle of my holiday soaping plans, so sadly, I didn’t spend as much time as I should have focusing on making beautiful bars. Having the constrains of as little brown coloring as possible and using a FO that discolors brown was a difficult challenge, as I also wanted to minimize the chemical (Vanilla Stabilizer) added.

I chose the earthy colors in case of vanilla bleeding/browning. I found the design a bit boring, but there is always a need to work very quickly using a shampoo recipe, as it sets up quickly.


Fresh Snow with doves & tube mold embeds, in drop swirl; Plus Fresh Snow Snowflake soaps


I used this fragrance last year with a zebra stripe – you can see that blog post here.


Fresh Snow Doves and Fresh Snow Snowflake soaps

Description of Bramble Berry Fresh Snow FO: This fragrance is designed to mimic the feeling of peace and tranquility after a fresh snowfall. It is a very ozone-y fragrance, reminiscent of clean laundry or fresh cotton. The actual notes however are intriguing; this fragrance has a crisp heliotrope top with supporting notes of spring water, juniper berry, vetyver and sandalwood. CP: no discolor. Reviews: no acceleration, very strong; reverses trace.


The Plan:
For Main Soap:
2.5 oz FO
3 lb mold, 45.5 oz soap plus 6.6 oz Embeds (5.15 oz tube + 1.45 oz doves).
Use round tube mold with multi colored blues & white, and 9 white doves, dusted with gold mica.
Light blue & dark blue, with hint of purple drop swirl into white (darker blues near tube mold).
For Snowflake soap:
.75 oz FO, 21.5 oz total batter
ITP swirl with white, light blue & dark blue and hint of purple

Master batch Oils #8 & #9: 48 oz Oils (Makes 67 oz soap)
MB Oils: 48 oz/ 1361 grams
NaOH/ Lye 5% SF: 6.84 oz / 194 grams
Distilled Water: (3.84 oz/ 24% disc): 13 oz / 369 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 14 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 14 grams (in oils)
Buckthorn Extract (1%): 14 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Chamomile Extract (1%): 14 grams (in oils – can add at trace)

Batter/Color/FO (3.25 oz total):
For Main Soap: 45.5 oz soap, 2.5 oz FO:
32.5 oz TD White
5 oz CC Blue Locking mica (light blue) (MORPHED TO GREY, then purple)
5 oz BB Ultramarine Blue (dark blue)
3 oz BB Ultramarine Violet (purple)
Pour 2/3 of white, drop swirl blues, add embed on top of dark blue area, drop swirl rest of white & blues.
Top with lines of blues, violet, white, & silver mica.

For Snowflakes: 21.5 oz soap, .75 oz FO:
15.5 oz TD White
3 oz BB Ultramarine Blue (dark blue)
3 oz CC Blue Locking mica (light blue)
ITP Swirl


The Reality:
I combined the lye and oils at 106F and 108F, stick blending until emulsified (using immersion blender), then pouring off 21.5 oz to make the Snowflake soaps, adding .75 oz of FO to the batter and stick blending until light trace.

I did an In the Pot swirl and poured into 6 individual snowflake molds.

I then added 2.5 oz of FO to the remaining batter, stick blended to light trace, and separated some out for the colored portions of the loaf soap, adding titanium dioxide to the rest of the batter. I had to wait 15 minutes until it all thickened to the perfect consistency I wanted (a light-medium trace).

I poured just over half the batter in the mold, then drop swirled the colors; added the tube mold, more white, and more colors; finishing with a layer of white. I topped it off with lines of leftover color and silver & blue mica lines; swirled with a chop stick, then put one white dove (dusted with gold mica) on what will be each slice:


You can better see the blue mica that was still blue in places and in others had already morphed to grey (both which eventually turned purple)

I spritzed with iridescent glitter – using a powder spray bottle (purchased at Qosmedix here) and put in a room with a little heater, wrapped in towels to promote gel.


The Cut:





This is definitely a good fragrance to use when making a complicated design, as it seems to take a very long time to thicken. It is also really strong and 3.25 oz of FO for 4+ lb of soap is too much, 2 to 2.5 oz of scent may be a better choice next time.

I was so disappointed that the CC Blue Locking mica (light blue) morphed to a grey. I added more & more color, but it didn’t help. I have only used this mica a couple times, but it didn’t turn grey. (You can see this blog post here, where it turned a nice shade of blue.) Of course, the next day it was purple. So instead of having 2 blues and a hint of purple, I have lots of purple with a little blue.

The round tube embed seems strange in this soap. I was originally thinking of a snowball in each bar, but that’s not quite what I got. I find the drop swirl design & embed inelegant and boring. Not a winner for me, but I really love the top – if only the whole soap could look as pretty as the top does!

A white round tube embed with a light blue base and possibly ITP swirl might have worked better.


Fresh Snow Snowflake soaps:

The In The Pot swirl gives these soaps a nice look:





Doing an ITP swirl is a great way to go with snowflakes, as alternating the pour (seen in Peppermint Snowflakes blog here) makes them a bit clunky. The colors really blended nicely in these, which create a lovely design on the sides too.




Woodland Elves Christmas Tree soap with Glycerine soap embeds and ITP swirl

I have made this soap several times – always over coloring (you can see blog here), but I like this simpler version best:


I made some stars for another soap (on previous blog here) and was trying to figure out how to incorporate some in this soap. I was inspired by The Soap Mine, which you can see here. Thank you Vicki!

Description of Bramble Berry Woodland Elves FO: This fragrance officially welcomes you to the holiday season! It’s the perfect combination of Christmas trees and Christmas spices including Siberian Fir, White Pine, Clove Buds and Mistletoe Berries. The pine and spice is tamed down by Pink Grapefruit, Frosted Lily and ripe Pineapple. Woodsy & spicy. CP: super strong – use a maximum of 1/3 to 1/2 oz pps; no discolor; acceleration (was fine for a while, then started to separate & clump; 2nd & 3rd time, worked great). Reviews: several with acceleration issues.


The Plan:
Make light green clear glycerine Christmas tree soap embed tubes with glitter. (CC Crystal Clear MP)
Make glycerine gold mica star embeds.
3 lb silicone mold.
35.5 oz CP soap batter (with 1 oz FO)
Plus 16.5 oz embeds: 15 oz trees + 1.5 oz gold stars.
Pour off 7.5 oz for making unscented soap samples.

Master batch Oils #8: 30 oz Oils (Makes 43 oz soap)
MB Oils: 30 oz/ 851 grams
NaOH/ Lye 5% SF: 4.27 oz / 121 grams
Distilled Water: (1.9 oz/ 20% disc): 8 oz / 227 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 9 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 9 grams (in oils)
Ginseng Extract (1%): 9 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Green Tea Extract (1%): 9 grams (in oils – can add at trace)

Batter/Color/1oz FO:
30 oz TD White
5.5 oz MM Hunter Green mica
15 oz MP green trees (CC Apple green mica with BB fine & regular iridescent glitters)
1.5 oz MP gold stars (BB Gold Sparkle mica)
(BB = Bramble Berry, MM = Mica’s & More, CC = Crafters Choice Wholesales Supplies Plus)

Spritz trees with alcohol and put them in mold
ITP swirl with green into white. Pour batter around tree, add gold stars on top.
Green, gold, & silver mica oils on top
Put in refrigerator to prevent MP embeds from melting.


The Reality:
I made the embeds first thing in the morning, using detergent free CC Crystal Clear Glycerine (MP) soap. This took 2 -3 hours to get the trees poured, set, and in the freezer so they were stiff enough to get out of the mold.

I soaped the CP at 110F lye liquid and 115F oils, stick blended (using immersion blender) until emulsified; poured off 7.5 oz for making unscented soap samples.

I added the FO to the rest of the batter, then poured 5.5 oz for the Hunter Green color. When I add any FO to my entire soap, it’s always the “kiss of death,” and this was no exception, as the batter accelerated quickly. What saved me was that I started at emulsified, and I needed the soap to be at least a medium trace anyway.

I poured the green into the white in three different spots, did two swirls with my spatula and poured on both sides of the tree embeds I had put in the bottom of the mold. I covered the trees with a little batter, then blindly added the gold stars where I thought the top of the trees were – one for each slice.

I attempted to swirl some green, gold, & silver mica oils on top, but the soap was too thick to cooperate well. I immediately put the loaf in the refrigerator, to prevent it from heating up and melting the MP embeds.


Top of mold

I like the look of the green and gold mica oils:


Close up of top


The Un-molding:
The soap has beautiful swirls on the side, but it split in several spots on top:


I don’t know why I got the cracks on top (fortunately it’s not too noticeable when cut):



The Cut:




You can better see the clarity of the glycerine embeds when lit up from behind:



I’m very surprised that the top split – that hasn’t happened with this soap before. (Next time it might help to put into the freezer for a while first, then transfer to the fridge.)

It would be better to make the embeds the day before, so they have plenty of time to set and un-mold. (I prefer to make all my embeds with CP a week before. However, this tree mold doesn’t work well with CP, hence the use of MP. It is nice to have the clear and sparkle of MP occasionally too). The regular iridescent glitter shows up much better than the fine glitter – but I wonder if it’s slightly scratchy on the skin?

Next time I would pour some soap on bottom of the mold, then put trees on top of this, so that batter will get all around the tree trunk.

I wish I could find a smaller tree tube mold or even better, an elf tube mold and/or little elf embeds to put on the top, but I searched the internet without success. (It would be great to come up with a different name for this soap too – any ideas?)

Another option that might work better than using individual stars is to use a tiny star tube mold for the top – I just ordered one for next year. (I was reluctant to use my large star tube this time, as I didn’t want to overwhelm the tree.)


Gold Frankincense & Myrrh in drop & hanger swirls, with star embed on top

I really love this fragrance and the designs I have been able to create with it. I made this twice last year – you can see those blog posts here and here. And a third blog post here.


Description of Bramble Berry & Essential Depot Scents:
BB Frankincense & Myrrh Cybilla FO: A warm and sensual scent. Perfect all year round, it cures to a wonderful exotic scent when used alone or adds a soft musk and woodsy bottom note when used in blends. CP: Discolors to brown, 2% Vanilla. Scent lightens as it cures.
BB Amber FO: A base note that is used in perfumery because it adds a sophisticated structure to fragrance blends. This Amber blend also contains notes of Vanilla, Patchouli, Sandalwood and Musk. CP: Discolors brown, 3.2% Vanilla. Reviews: Moves quickly.
ED Frankincense EO: Woody, spicy. CP: stays white.


The Plan:
3 lb silicone mold
50.85 oz + 1.15 oz white star embeds, dusted in gold mica
Drop & hanger swirls
1.5 oz Frankincense & Myrrh FO (FM)
1 oz Amber FO (A)
.5 oz Frankincense EO (F)

Master batch Oils #8: 38 oz Oils (Makes 54 oz soap)
MB Oils: 38 oz/ 1077 grams
NaOH/ Lye 5% SF: 5.41 oz / 153 grams
Distilled Water: (1.54 oz/ 12.3% disc): 11 oz / 312 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 11 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 11 grams (in oils)
Ginseng Extract (1%): 11 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Green Tea Extract (1%): 11 grams (in oils – can add at trace)

20 oz BB Activated Charcoal Black, 1 oz FM & 1 oz A
6 oz BB Cappuccino Mica Brown, .5 oz FM
10 oz TD White, no FO
8 oz TKB #30 True Red, .5 F .25 oz VS
8 oz CC Yellow Locking Mica, no FO
(BB = Bramble Berry, TKB = TKB Trading, CC = Crafters Choice Wholesales Supplies Plus, VS = Natures Garden Vanilla Stabilizer)

Drop swirl colors into Black, then hanger swirl.
Swirl top with silver, gold, red, & copper mica oils, add white stars.


The Reality:
Soaped at 107F Lye liquid and 110F oils, stick blending (with immersion blender) until emulsified. Separated out the batter and colored it, then patiently waited until it thickened to a light trace.

I poured 2/3 of the black into the mold and alternated drop swirling the other colors, including the rest of the black. I then hanger swirled horizontally and vertically. After that, I added drops of gold, red, silver, & copper mica oils on top, swirling with a toothpick diagonally, then zig-zagged down the length of the mold:


I added my cp star embeds (white dusted with gold mica) – one per bar:


Then wrapped it in a towel and put in a little room with a heater to help promote gelling.


The Cut:


The red colored background give these soaps a different look too:


Which background do you like better?


I had a extra white dove, which I added to one of the bars:



I love this fragrance – it is another one that says Christmas to me – in a sexy, sultry way. I used white this time just to be able to match the white stars I had made earlier, but I think I like my previous batch better (seen here), as it’s darker, which better complements the seductiveness of the scent.


Peppermint Candy Canes in tiger stripe & hanger swirl, with little embeds. Plus Peppermint Snowflake soaps


Peppermint Candy Canes and Peppermint Snowflakes

Description of Bramble Berry Peppermint 2nd Distill Essential Oil: Less herbaceous than 1st distill, this smells like a more traditional mint, with a bit of a candy cane scent. CP: Water White. No issues.


The Plan:
3 lb silicone mold, 50 oz soap + 2 oz Candy Cane embeds (9 white & 9 red) dusted with silver mica.
2 oz Peppermint 2nd Distill EO.
Tiger stripe with vertical zig-zag hanger swirl.
Plus: 6 individual snowflake molds (3.5 oz each, 21 oz total): 4 peppermint and 2 unscented.
71 oz total. (Leftover batter: make embeds for future projects).

Master batch Oils #8: 55 oz Oils (Makes 77 oz /4.8 lbs soap)
MB Oils: 55 oz/ 1559 grams
NaOH/Lye 5% SF: 7.84 oz / 222 grams
Distilled Water: (3.15 oz disc; 17.36% disc): 15 oz / 425 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 16 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Buckthorn Extract (1%): 16 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Dulse Extract (1%): 16 grams (in oils – can add at trace)

Batter/Colors/2 oz EO: (fill 2 snowflake soap molds before adding EO)
For Candy Cane soaps:
25 oz TD white
25 oz TKB #30 True Red
For Snowflake soaps:
10.5 oz TD white
10.5 oz TKB #30 True Red


The Reality:
Soaped lye liquid & oils at 114F & 110F, stick blending (with immersion blender) to emulsified. Divided batter and poured off extra soap for embeds to use in future projects.

I mixed up the colors for the Snowflake soaps and poured 2 unscented ones, alternating the white & red. I added the eo to the rest of the batter; it accelerated and got lumpy – a first for this essential oil. Too old? Could be, the bottle was dated 2 years ago (although essential oils seem to last several years).

I abandoned the snowflakes and quickly got started on my loaf soap, alternating the red & white in a tiger stripe, then using my skinny hanger tool to zig-zag up and down a bit. I finished off the top with some lines of color and swirled with a toothpick:


I then added the candy cane embeds. The top set very fast, so I had to push them into the soap a bit:


Finally, I sprinkled the top with glitter, using a powder spray bottle (found at Qosmedix here):


I attempted to mix out the lumps in the containers for the snowflake soaps and alternated pouring them into the 4 molds – the batter was at a medium to thick trace and still lumpy.


The Cut:




Unscented Snowflake soaps:



Peppermint Snowflake soaps:




I can’t quite explain why the essential oil acted so strange – I had used it a month before with no issues. Fortunately, I was able to still pour thin enough lines and hanger swirl without too much difficulty. I love the Peppermint Candy Canes soap – they look even prettier in person than in the photos.

I think the snowflakes would look nicer with an In the Pot swirl (which is what I did the next time and they turned out great. Look for them in an upcoming blog.) I do like the striped effect on the sides of the snowflakes. Sprinkling a little dry sliver mica and iridescent glitter on top adds a little sparkle too (not easily seen in the photos).



Hollyberry soap – layers with gold mica lines and embeds on top. Plus Unscented Soap in drop & hanger swirls, with embeds on top



Unscented and Hollyberry soaps


Hollyberry Soap

I made this soap last year and it was big trouble – the FO accelerated like crazy and my Holly swirl that I had planned turned into a hot mess. (I was lucky and got blobs in a few soaps that looked like sleighs – don’t know how I could ever do that again.) (See blog here).

So this time I was prepared for the fast movement with a simple layered soap.


Bramble Berry Hollyberry Cybilla FO: Discontinued. This fragrance is a combination of holly (that fabulous green garland-making holiday shrub), pine, and the tart red berries that grow on the holly shrub. It also has some supporting notes of cardamon and cinnamon to give it a bit of a twist. I find this fragrance to be the scent of Christmas – with lots of cinnamon notes. CP: Discolors to golden/ orange/ peach within 8 hrs; no acceleration. (Accelerated fast last year.)


The Plan:
32 oz soap batter, 2 oz berries for 2 lb mold; rest of batter for 1 lb unscented soap
Soap low temps & stick blend only to emulsified to help with FO acceleration.
1.35 oz Hollyberry FO with: .1 oz Christmas spice FO, & .2 oz Burnt Sugar FO (a few leftover sample scents to boost the little Hollybery I had)
Layers: red, green, white; topped with gold & sliver mica oils swirled with toothpick.
Red Berry embeds on top; 24 berries. (use 4 on each bar)

Master batch Oils #8: 38 oz Oils (Makes 54 oz soap)
MB Oils: 38 oz/ 1077 grams
NaOH/ Lye 5% SF: 5.41 oz / 153 grams
Distilled Water: (1.54 oz disc; 12.3% disc): 11 oz / 312 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 11 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Carrot Extract (1%): 11 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Chamomile Extract (1%): 11 grams (in oils – can add at trace)

14 oz TKB True Red, .9 oz FO: (.6 oz HB, .1 oz Cs, .2 oz Bs) + .4 oz VS
Gold mica layer dusting
12 oz Christmas Green, .5 oz FO
Gold mica layer dusting
8 oz TD white .25 oz FO
Top with gold & silver mica oils, swirl; add 24 berries – 4 on each bar.
(BB = Bramble Berry; TKB = TKB Trading; Christmas Green = BB Hydrated Chrome green (teal) & BB Chrome Oxide; VS = Natures Garden Vanilla Stabilizer)


The Reality:
I soaped this at 99F lye water an 98F oils, stick blending (with immersion blender) to emulsified and divided out my batter. For the first layer, I mixed up red & added the FO’s & Vanilla Stabilizer and cautiously waited for the lighting fast acceleration I got last year, but it never happened. I poured the batter into the mold & dusted with gold mica, putting it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes while prepping all my other colors.

For the second layer, I stick blended the green and poured into the mold, dusting again with gold mica. This layer was thicker, so I didn’t have to put it in the refrigerator to thicken. The white batter turned very beige-orange and I puttered with that for a while trying to whiten with TD, with not much success.

After the last layer, I used a dropper bulb to make diagonal lines of gold & silver mica oils, then used a toothpick to swirl on the opposite diagonal. While waiting for this to stiffen up, I made my 1 lb loaf of unscented soap, then added 4 berries to each slice of Hollyberry soap.


You can see some ash on the darker berries, which I steamed away after cutting:



The Cut:






I was very surprised that the Hollyberry FO did not accelerate trace as it did last year (you can see that blog here). After pouring the first layer and dusting on the gold mica, I realized I could change my strategy and do a drop swirl and hanger swirl, but with the gold mica line already on I decided to stay with my original plan. (Although it would have been interesting to see what would happen to the dry mica after swirling inside.)

This is a very straight forward looking soap, but I love the simplicity of it and the colors & fragrance scream Christmas.


Unscented Soap


20 oz batter:
12 oz TD white
4 oz TKB True Red
4 oz Christmas Green
Drop swirl & chop stick swirl. Gold & silver mica oils on top, swirl with toothpick; add 4 red & 4 green butterflies, dusted in silver & gold mica.


The Reality:
The batter I saved for the unscented soap stayed at a very light trace throughout. I poured all of the white in the mold, then drop swirled layers of red & green, followed by several swirls with a chop stick.

I again added lines of gold and silver mica oils on top and swirled with a tooth pick:

IMG_3034Then I added 1 green and 1 red tiny butterfly embed on top of each of the four bars I would cut. (In this photo they look like butterflies, but to me they look more like bows):



The Cut:





I definitely over swirled the inside of this soap, but I love the swirls on top and I think it’s wonderful to have a Christmas-looking unscented soap.


Honey Chai Goat’s Milk with Frog Foot swirl

Every year for the holidays, I make a Chai Tea soap with the classic red, white, & green top – which really says Christmas to me. (You can see the previous ones on the October 8, 2015 Blog here and Dec 5, 2016 Blog here.)

I try to improve the recipe, design, and scent blend each time, and this year I went with a Honey Chai fragrance blend in a Frog Foot swirl:


Description of Bramble Berry and Natures Garden scents:
BB Chai Tea Cybilla FO: A traditional Earl Grey Tea with citrus notes of Bergamot & Sicily Lemon; base & heart notes of Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Tahitian Vanilla & a bit of Allspice; a sweet, buttery fragrance with a touch of spice. CP: discolors to rich brown, sticks well; 4% Vanilla. Reviews: moves very fast and no acceleration.
NG Honey Bunny FO: Like LUSH “Honey I washed the Kids.” A honey scent with toffee notes, mild; scent stays. CP: Very slight acceleration, no discolor, smells nice & strong. (Used before, seemed to slow down & reverse trace, with no discolor.)


The Plan:
9-bar mold, 54 oz soap (extra to trim sides)
1.5 oz Chai Tea & 2.5 oz Honey Bunny
Three Layers: brown, red & yellow, white with red & green

Master batch #8 oils: 44 oz Oils (Makes 62 oz soap)
MB Oils: 44 oz/ 1247 grams
NaOH/ Lye 5% SF: 6.27 oz / 178 grams
Frozen 2/3 strength Goats Milk & Distilled Water: (2.52 oz disc; 17.35% disc): 12 oz / 340 grams (8 oz & 4 oz)
Sodium Lactate (1%): 12 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Honey (1%): 12 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Green Tea Extract (1%): 12 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Oat Extract (1%): 12 grams (in oils – can add at trace)

Batter/Color/ FO:
Bottom layer: 18 oz
18 oz BB very light Cappuccino Brown, 1.5 oz Chai Tea FO
Gold Mica line
Middle layer: 18 oz two color swirl
12 oz TKB #30 True Red, 1 oz Honey Bunny FO
6 oz BB Fizzy Lemonade Yellow & gold mica mixed, .5 oz Honey Bunny
Gold Mica line
Top layer: 18 oz, lines for frog foot swirl
8 oz TD white, .25 VS
5 oz TKB #30 True red, .5 oz Honey Bunny
5 oz Christmas Green, .5 oz Honey Bunny FO
Lines of Gold Mica oil
(BB = Bramble Berry; TKB = TKB Trading; VS = Natures Garden Vanilla Stabilizer; Christmas Green = BB Hydrated Chrome green (teal) & BB Chrome Oxide)

Frog Food swirl on top. (Drag 1st tool down from long side to bottom, cutting through the lines of color. Zig-zag with 2nd tool the opposite direction of first tool.)


The Reality:
I had tested varying amounts of fragrance combinations several times and had difficulty getting much scent, especially from the Honey, hence the reason for such a large amount of FO in this batch. (This is probably due to both of the FO’s being old. However, I finished up the Chai Tea bottle with .5 oz and used 1 oz from a new bottle, which improved the scent.)

I used half strength frozen Goat’s Milk (2/3 strength premixed powdered GM plus distilled water), as I am learning milk seem to preform the best this way. I soaped my lye liquids & oils at 92F and 94F degree, using a strainer when combining and caught some hard bits, possibly undissolved lye (which I have only gotten a few times.) I stick blended until emulsified (using an immersion blender), then divided up the batter and colored.

For the first layer, I lightly tinted the batter, for a more uniform brown. I added the Chai Tea FO and had to stick blend quite a bit to thicken it up. Using a tea strainer, I dusted on a heavy coat of gold mica. The batter was still a bit soft, so I put it in the refrigerator for 10 minute before starting on the next layer.

After adding the Honey Bunny FO to the next two colors, I randomly poured each into the mold. As I was doing this, I noticed that the FO was reversing trace and the batter got very thin. When adding the gold mica line, the batter could barely hold it. Back into the fridge – this time for 15 minutes, which made it barely thick enough for the last layer.

By now the white, red, & green soaps were getting quite thick, but adding the FO to them thinned them out to the point where they would be easy to pour lines. (I added just a tiny bit of FO to the white to thin it out – about .2 oz, leaving .4 oz for each of the other colors.)

I flooded the top of the second layer with a thin coat of white, then poured lines of red & green lengthwise until the end, where I added some white lines, followed by lines of gold mica oil:


I took the #1 swirling tool (found at Bramble Berry here), and went straight down from top to bottom:


I turned the mold 180 degrees around (for better control) and zig-zagged (with #2 swirling tool) lengthwise down the mold. (Instead of rotating the mold, you could zig-zag from bottom to top – basically the opposite of the first tool):

The end result is the Frog Foot Swirl:



Close up of swirls

I added dividers and put into the refrigerator for 24 hours before un-molding:




The Un-molding/Cut:





I’ve done mica lines between layers several times for my fall and holiday soaps and I have come to the conclusion that it’s a bit superfluous. They don’t show up very well, I use a lot of mica, and it doesn’t seem that appealing to be getting mica all over while showering.

The two colors in the middle layer didn’t show up that well, and when they did, it wasn’t as attractive as a single color. I think I over-played the red and green colors, trying to get them Christmassy – they seem too dark to me. Also, a thicker layer of white would be more striking.

I soaped too cool to keep the honey liquid and found most of it in the bottom of the bowl. But for milks it’s important to soap cool, so next time I would skip the honey.

I had to plane most of the sides, as the dividers pulled down the colors. I hate to Not use them, as I can’t cut very straight by hand, but that would preclude the planing. (Another option is cutting 8 bars instead of 9 – they would be less chunky and more the size of a traditional bar of soap, with additional top surface to display the design.)