I hadn’t done a Peacock swirl in what seemed like years.
I made this soap for the rim of the March Challenge Rimmed soaps (see Blog Post, March 19, 2016). After slicing off several thin layers for the rims, I cut the rest into bars for some beautiful unscented soap.
20% apricot kernel oil 8 oz 227 grams
20% avocado oil 8 oz 227 grams
10% castor oil 4 oz 114 grams
25% coconut oil 10 oz 283 grams
20% palm oil 8 oz 227 grams
5% palm kernel flakes 2 oz 57 grams
7% SF lye 5.49 oz 156 grams
30%/oils water 12 oz 340 grams
I divided the batter equally into four containers and added colors:
CC Yellow Locking Mica
BB Tangerine Orange
BB Electric Bubblegum dark pink
BB Apple Green LabColor
The first thing I realized (and had been suspecting) is that I may have a container of Lye (sodium hydroxide) that is waning. I have been noticing some slight changes through the past couple months with this lye. It used to always heat up to 210 degrees, then only 200 degrees and in this batch it only went up to 190 degrees. And even though I keep it in a cool dry place (my basement), it has gotten clumpy in the container.
Also the soap batter seems to get thick really fast and then starts reversing trace. (With bad lye, you will not achieve trace at all – speaking from experience and from what little I have read.)
I pushed on and did a Peacock swirl in my 9-bar mold. I free-poured each line, as the batter got thick quickly and I felt that it was too thick to stop & put it into squeeze bottles. (I didn’t do much of a photo shoot because of this.) By the end though, it had reversed trace and I was able to get nice thin lines. I poured on the small side of the mold instead of on the horizontal side, which is more traditional.
Half way through the pour, the lines were pretty thick (first photo below).
I then swirled this with a chop stick, as I know that my peacock swirl
tools would not reach all the way to the bottom.
In first step of the peacock swirl (middle photo), you can see that the lines of the
soap are narrower with the reverse trace. On the third photo you can see that I
made the swirls much tighter than usual, for more definition on each bar.
(The orange & pink are not very well delineated, but after the soap
gelled, they became much more pronounced)
I hot processed this batch: covering & putting in a 150 degree oven for 2 hours; turning off the heat and then left it in for another 4 hours. I took it out and it sat on the counter for another 4+ hours before it cooled off enough to un-mold.
The Photo on the left is all 6 bars with the peacock swirl very prevalent on each one. The photo on the right is the back side, which looks a bit like the frog-foot swirl:
I did do a Ph test on this soap & the others I had possible lye issues with and it was right in the middle range for CP, so no worries on that count with the lye.
(Back side (left) and front side (right) of bars)
While making Rimmed Shampoo bars (March 19, 2016 Blog) I had some leftover shampoo batter that I put into these fun molds: