I’m so excited to try out my new 18-bar mold from Bramble Berry that I got for my birthday – Yay!! (You can get one here)
Use 18-bar mold & 102 oz shampoo batter with tiny embeds on top and swirl impression mat on bottom.
Peacock swirl top.
Add Tiny Bird & Heart embeds on top, in Ultramarine Violet, Coral Reef Blue, & Plum.
Use 25 oz Shampoo MB Oils #1 (NaOH 100 grams) and 55 oz Shampoo MB Oils #2 (NaOH 220 grams), ran through the Lye Calculator. (Finishing the last of SMB #1 and starting SMB #2).
Soap at low temperatures.
Recipe: 80 oz oils; makes 118 oz soap/ 7.35 lbs:
SMB Oils #1 & #2: 80 oz/ 2268 grams
NaOH Lye 6% SF: 11.25 oz/ 320 grams
Distilled Water: 26.4 oz/ 748 grams (used 22 oz/624 grams, 17% /4.4 oz discount)
Nettle Extract (3%): 68 grams (add to oils – can add at trace)
Tuscan Silk Fibers: (enough fibers to loosely fill 1 teaspoon or no more than 1/2 tsp/lb. Cut into small pieces with scissors and add to lye water right away.)
DL-Panthenol (3%): 68 grams (add to lye water)
Sodium Lactate (1%): 23 grams (add to lye water at <130 degrees)
Pour off 16 oz for samples.
Essential Oil Blend – 4 oz total:
2 oz Peppermint 1st Distill & 2 oz Eucalyptus
Batter/Color/EO Blend 4 oz:
20 oz BB Ultramarine Violet
20 oz TKB Coral Reef Blue
20 oz CC Purple Play Date (Plum)
42 oz TD White
18 bar mold with new impression mat on bottom:
It was one of those soaping days, where things did not go the way I wanted them to. It could have been a disaster, but fortunately wasn’t and I got some extremely beautiful results, just not what I was planning (but maybe better!)
The prep seemed to take forever (everything did). Cutting my silk fibers into 1/8-1/4 inch pieces felt like it took 30 minutes – actually it took about 15-20 minutes, but was so tedious I was wondering why I use silk.
I adjusted my Peacock swirl tools: (found here at Bramble Berry). I have always used them for the 9-bar mold and they had to be converted to the original setup for the 18-bar mold. The nails kept poking & scratching me and it was difficult taking them apart, as well as putting them back together. They had been in the modified mode for years and were a little stuck.
When everything was finally arranged correctly, I added my NaOH to my water and stirred until clear, then immediately added the Tussah Silk Fibers and stirred, stirred, stirred, until they dissolved. I then put into an ice bath and again it seemed to take an eternity to get the Lye mixture chilled down enough to mix in the additives (Sodium Lactate & DL-Panthenol at 130 degrees) and then cool enough to soap. (It was just one of those days where everything felt like it was moving in slow motion, although because of such a big batch of Lye, in reality, it did take longer than usual.)
I soaped my Lye & oils at 95 and 92 degrees and hand stirred my batter. While I was stirring and stirring and stirring, I thought I might as well add my EO blend. As I finished adding it, I realized I had wanted to pour off 16 oz to try some new fragrances. But that wasn’t going to happen any more, which was really disappointing.
I separated out my batter and added 2+ more oz to each color and the rest of the extra batter to the white. And stirred, and stirred, and stirred. I was so very temped to use the stick blender, but held off and I’m glad I did. The soap never accelerated and when it finally got to a very light trace it stayed that way through all of my soaping.
I poured a few colored circles onto the impression mat on the bottom of the mold, but that wasn’t too exciting for me. So I switched to doing a cosmic swirl and did that through half the pour, which will give some fun patterns while using the bars:
I then shifted to putting down alternating lines of color on the narrow side of the mold for the Peacock swirl. (The swirl tools don’t reach all the way through the batter, so doing some kind of swirl on the first half – in this case, the cosmic swirl – will give a design throughout the soap. You can clearly see this when planing soap, as was done in the Rimmed Soap blog here. I think the variations are pretty cool).
When it came time to use my tools for the peacock swirl, I realized I had them set up for combing down lengthwise, which is how I should have done my pours (I was so accustom to using the smaller side with my 9-bar mold I forgot to switch to the larger side.)
I could take apart my tools and re-adjust them, but I knew that would take way too much time. So I switched gears again and did a bit of a modified Taiwan swirl on top. I thought this turned out so beautifully that I wasn’t going to add my tiny embeds on top.
I proceed to make 4 more bars in a single bar rectangular mold, doing the cosmic swirl throughout and swirling with a toothpick on top. I added the tiny embeds, as the swirl wasn’t as nice as my others.
I liked how much these turned out that I went back to my 18 bar mold and added the embeds:
Close up of swirls and embeds:
I put the 18 bar mold in a 150 degree oven, turned the heat off and left it for 6 hours. (Typically 170 degree oven is used, but due to the altitude I live at (6,000 feet), where water boils at a lower temperature, 150 degrees works better here.)
I like to use this CPOP method on occasion if I am using a wooden mold (silicone molds can cause sweating and bubbling in the oven). This forces gel, which can help brighten the colors and it also speeds up saponification to where the soap is firmer for un-molding.
The individual rectangular mold was wrapped in towels, put in a room with a little heater in it.
I love all the beautiful swirls created on the sides of the bars too:
Even the leftovers from the individual molds turned out nice:
It felt like I was wading through molasses trying to make these. But I am extremely grateful that they turned out so beautiful. This was my best batch of shampoo bars I have ever made: no acceleration, no muddiness from pouring at just emulsified, or too thick because of acceleration. I guess patients (and luck) really do make a difference!
Although I wasn’t able to create the original swirl I wanted (due to falling into the old routine of pouring my lines width-wise), hopefully next time I use this mold I will be able to form new habits and produce the Peacock swirl.