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.)
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)
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.)
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:
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.)