Amy Warden’s Great Cakes Soapworks Soap Challenge this month is the Dancing Funnel technique, with guest teacher Tatsiana Serko who taught the March 2016 Rimmed Soap Challenge. (See March 19, 2016 Blog for more information on that challenge.)
Scroll down to the Second Batch to skip over the big fail.
Sugar Plum in 6-bar mold
Have you ever felt that you were SO Not in the Groove? I always know that if I feel that way, it’s not a good time to soap. However, sometimes I have a very limited window for soaping and this was the day, so I pressed on. Obviously you know the end of the story…
This was definitely going to be a practice batch, as the scent I was using was new to me (Plum Tea) and a little suspect as to it’s behavior. Of course it behaved very badly – accelerating and ricing. Just in case, I had planned for this by covering the bottom of my mold with a peacock positive impression mat.
I had really wanted to try this fragrance, as it is being discontinued. Here’s the description of BB Plum Tea: This clean fruity floral has been described as “autumn rain on flower garden.” After a lovely white tea, damask plum, and herb notes, this fragrance is beautifully supported with sweet notes of honeydew melon, quince apple, lily of the valley and chamomile. The scent finishes with a touch of black tea to add depth and tamp down on the sweetness. (And it smells wonderful!)
But two of the reviews said there was a slight acceleration. Several mentioned how light the fragrance was (so naturally I added more, which of course upped the acceleration factor.)
I also added a hint of BB Cinnamon Sugar.
(See August 1, 2016 Blog for soap recipe.)
Master batch #4 oils: 30 oz oils (850 grams) = 44 oz /2.75lb soap
5% Lye: 4.26 oz / 121 grams
Distilled water (no discount): 9.9 oz / 280 grams
Sodium Lactate: 9 grams
Batter/ Colors/ Scent:
35 oz for main/base in BB Radiant Plum color with 2.5 oz Plum Tea FO.
9 oz for edge/outer in TKB Blaze Orange, with .25 oz Cinnamon Sugar FO & .25 oz Vanilla Stabilizer (to counter the discoloration)
Soaping at 110 degrees, I put all of the Plum Tea in my oils and stick blended the lye into the oils for a few seconds – stopping before emulsification. The acceleration did the rest – and then some.
I separated out 9 oz for the orange and colored the rest with Plum. I always mix up way too much color, and this time I wanted to mix up the correct amount – why get picky now? I don’t know…return to the first line about not being in the groove!
Of course I used up all the color and needed more. But things were moving too fast to stop and prepare any. So the plum is more of a pink.
I added my colored batter into squirt bottles and practiced putting down my circles until it was too stiff to continue. I glopped in the rest of the batter and put into a 150 degree oven for 2 hours, turned it off and let it sit for 8 hours, un-molding the next morning.
I use 150 degrees instead of the recommended 170 degrees because I live at an altitude of 6000 feet, and 150 worked the best in the past (water and everything else boils at a much lower temperature at this altitude.)
It was also good practice putting down my dots & circles. And I found it easy to mistakenly put the orange directly on the plum color – oops…practice, practice.
It’s fascinating to see how those little dots of orange took over the entire area because they were so thick that the other color couldn’t penetrate it. I also didn’t take into account that with the very stiff soap, it would not go into the finer areas of the impression mat:
I have since dusted the tops with BB Copper Sparkle Mica, which has pulled out some of the fine lines in the impression mat and make them look a little snazzier. (It’s so nice to be able to “make lemons into lemonade!”)
FYI on Fragrance Blend: I would not recommend the Cinnamon Sugar with the Plum Tea. I was looking for something to sweeten the Plum up a bit, but the cinnamon is not quite right. Fortunately, it is only in the orange color, which there is very little of. (I should have taken the time to make a test bar.)
Apple Sage Herb Garden in 6-bar mold
I feel like it’s time to start thinking about fall and some autumn scents (and colors), so I wanted to soap with a combo of Sunny Herb Garden and Apple Sage fragrances.
- BB Sunny Herb Garden: There’s nothing better than the smell of fresh picked herbs. This fragrance combines the fresh aromas of rosemary, thyme, sage, and basil with a soft lavender undertone. No A or D.
- BB Apple Sage: A refreshing blend of sweet, juicy apple and herbaceous sage. Top notes of pineapple mingle with a touch of coconut water and an rich, earthy base. This fragrance is sweet, fresh and mouthwatering. No A, D, or R.
Same master batch oils, lye-water, and sodium lactate as previous batch.
The Plan: 1:1 Apple Sage FO & Sunny Herb Garden FO – 2.6 oz total: 1.3 oz of each FO.
The Reality: (I ran out of Sunny Herb Garden)
.8 oz Sunny Herb Garden
.1 oz Basil EO
.4 oz Neroli & Shea Blossom
1.3 oz Apple Sage
I knew I might not have quite enough Sunny Herb Garden, so I had the other scents ready. It’s amazing that with only .1 oz of Basil, it seemed to over power the other scents. I judiciously checked all four fragrances and none had even a hit of acceleration.
9 oz TKB #30 True Red
12 oz BB Green Apple LabColor
12 oz TKB Blaze Orange
12 oz TKB #10 Lake Yellow
Yes, my colors were very ambitious. I had my lye water and oils at about 112 degrees when I combined them and stick blended for 5 seconds or less. I heated up my fragrance and added it to my batter after mixing the colors. The soap was so watery I thought I should wait a while before starting. But fortunately I didn’t, and they all started thickening up as I started to pour them into my bottles.
This seems to be a theme lately with my soap challenges. When I’m not doing them, I wait & wait with my batter as it’s too thin to do anything. But not when I’m doing a challenge!
Heating my fragrance was the only thing I did differently (it’s supposed to help prevent or slow down acceleration – in this case I think it did the opposite.) I would love to hear from anyone that has had any experience with this.
All planned out and after the fact:
The pours seemed to go well. I think a few of my red dots might have been a little big. The yellow doesn’t stand out much in this photo, even though the colors were very distinctive. I carefully tapped down my mold, but it seemed to mess up my design on the top edge. (You can also see that my batter got a bit thick in the end):
I covered & put the mold in the oven at 150 degrees for 2 hours, then turned it off and un-molded it the next morning. Top & Bottom:
My usual way of gelling is in my small bathroom, wrapped in towels, with a space heater on for 2 hours. It will stay warm generating it’s own heat and I un-mold the next day. I prefer that method, as I don’t get the “wrinkled old man” effect that happens in the oven.
The first cut was halving the loaf…It looks cool when the two edges are put side by side:
The Finished bars: (planed, edged, & steamed)
This technique was both challenging and fun, and was a lot harder than it looks.
A record 361 soapers signed up for this event: 290 from the USA and 71 from several other countries. 100 submitted their soaps for judging in two categories: 28 in the all-natural group and 72 in the synthetic. I entered in the second category finishing #14.