Lavender soap with heart embeds & drop swirl. Plus 6 Sunshine Orange Sunflower soaps


Lavender soap and Sunshine Orange Sunflower soap

I have made numerous batches of Lavender soap over the years, using a variety of techniques, and tried many different Lavender FO’s and EO’s. I’m not a huge fan of the fragrance, but there are a lot variations out there – some that are really wonderful, some that are not.

I have been very pleased with the Bramble Berry 40/42 essential oil, but it’s pricey, at $60 for only 15 oz. Since I was getting to the end of the bottle, I decided to add a bit of a Lavender FO to stretch it out.

Description of Bramble Berry and Essential Depot Oils:
BB Lavender 40/42 EO: Similar to Lavender Provence essential oil, this is a mixture of lavender’s: 40/42 blends different kinds of Lavender for a consistent blend. The aroma can have a soothing effects on people suffering from stress, anxiety, and illness. CP: Water White, no A, D, R.
ED English Lavender FO: Floral, floral apple, muguet, grape; lavender, rose, gardenia, jasmine; orange flower, musk. CP: works great, long lasting. A pretty good scent. (This was unbearably strong when new, now that it is a couple years old, it has mellowed quite a bit).
BB 10X Orange EO (for Sunflower soaps): Also referred to as ’10 Fold’ Orange. CP: Scent does not fade. Turns a bright egg-yoke yellow color.


The Plan:
Make 113 oz/ 7 lb of batter, pour off 36 oz for embeds & Sunshine Orange Sunflower soaps.
For Lavender soap:
5 lb mold with tube heart embeds: 1 red, 1 purple, 1 pink – for 2 hearts in each bar.
77 oz batter plus 13 oz tube heart embeds = 90 oz total soap.
Use 45% of colors to white (including embeds) (See blog here and blog here as to how I came up with this idea.)

Master Batch Oils #9: 80 oz Oils (Makes 113 oz/7 lb soap)
MB Oils: 80 oz/ 2268 grams
NaOH/Lye 5% SF: 11.4 oz / 323 grams
Distilled Water: (4.4 oz/17% disc): 22 oz / 624 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 23 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 23 grams (in oils)
Carrot Extract (1%): 23 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Chamomile Extract (1%): 23 grams (in oils – can add at trace)

Lavender Soap: 77 oz Batter/Color/FO-EO blend: 1 oz FO & 3.5 oz EO:
50 oz TD White
9 oz BB Ultramarine Violet
9 oz BB Ultraviolet Blue
9 oz BB Red Mica
ITP swirl
13 oz tube embeds – 1 red (4 oz), 1 purple (4 oz), 1 pink (5 oz).
Silver, red, and queens purple mica oil swirls on top

Sunshine Orange Sunflower Soap: 21 oz Batter/Color/1 oz 10x Orange EO:
Dark Brown center (BB Cappuccino Mica)
Yellow petals (natural color from EO)
Orange background (CC Illite Pumpkin Clay & hint of BB Nuclear orange)

Leftovers: 14 oz for embeds for future projects.


The Reality:
I combined my lye liquid and oils at 100F & 102F, stick blending until emulsified (using an immersion blender) and separated out the batter for each color and project.

I mixed up a little dark brown soap and spooned it into the center of the 6 sunflower molds, then put in the fridge to stiffen. While I waited for that, I made embeds for future projects, then went back to the sunflowers. I added 1 oz of 10x Orange essential oil to the rest of the batter and it turned a beautiful egg-yoke yellow. I poured this into the molds up to the edge of the petals, and again put into the fridge.

I got my Lavender batch ready, adding the colors & fragrance, and had planned to work on that next, but the batter wasn’t quite thick enough. So once again, I worked on the Sunflowers, adding the last layer. I was going to use an orange colorant, but instead tried a Pumpkin orange clay. It was browner than I would have liked, so I added a touch of nuclear orange pigment mixed in oil. (I went with the clay, to make it a more naturally colored batch, but aesthetics won out.)

I ran out of batter before filling all the molds. Fortunately I had some uncolored soap left from making embeds, so I just poured that into the orange from as high as possible, to drop swirl it into the soaps, and then I swirled the top (which will be the bottom) with a toothpick. This solution worked well.

Back to my main batch of 5 lbs of Lavender: By now the soap was at a light to medium trace, which I though would be perfect to hold the tube embeds. I started with some white, then drop swirled the other colors and used a chop stick to mix them. I had about half my batter in the mold and added one row of hearts, more batter, the other row of hearts, more batter, then finished off with a white top. I then added one row of each color, swirled with a chop stick, and added the mica oils and swirled again, sprinkling the top with fine iridescent glitter.

An interesting note: I thought the top looked really boring, but when I complained to my Sweetie Pie, he gawked and said “That’s boring???” He thought it was beautiful, which just shows you the different perspectives between a soaper and a “normal person:”



More Soaping Notes:
I knew this soaping session would be complicated, doing 3 different projects. It wasn’t all “elbow and knees,” but it was far from flawless (is any soaping experience perfect?)

The first oops was after I finished mixing my soap to emulsified: It seemed like a great idea to unhook my stick blender and leave the mixing part in the bowl – all the cool kids did it on YouTube, so I thought I’d give it a try. But instead of standing it up, I did what I always do (when the two pieces are together), and laid it against the side of the bowl. Plunk! It immediately slipped all the way to the bottom and I heard a “glug, glug, glug,” as the center core was filling up with soap. (I’m sure it will be the end of that attachment – good thing I have extras.)

Then of course I ran out of batter for my sunflower soaps…I never checked how much soap the mold held (I was thinking they were the size of the snowflake molds I had been working with).

I always weigh out the batter in containers with spouts. This time I decided to use the bowl I mixed my 7 lbs of soap in for my white soap, as this would work well for my In The Pot swirl. That’s right – I was going to do an ITP swirl: pouring the colors into the white, swirling with a spatula, and pouring it all into a 5 lb mold with embeds. I had it written on my soaping sheet and it wasn’t until I was cleaning up and asking – Why? Why did I have so much trouble with my colors? And why did I use this big bowl? – that I figured it out!

It was very frustrating making the lavender soap, as it seemed like I had way too much color and I just couldn’t get it mixed in right using the drop swirl. That’s because I wanted an ITP swirl – somehow the image in my head and what my hands were doing never set off a bell to alert me I was messing up!!

I think I have been watching too many YouTube soaping videos – the techniques of others have permeated my brain to the point of taking over, in spite of what I consciously want to do! But I just can’s stop watching them!

And Note to self (I actually wrote it on my EO/FO inventory list): DO NOT USE this Lavender FO again! Just throw it out!! (which I did.) It took over the wonderful EO and it just smelled stinky – fortunately it mellow out in a couple days.


The Cut:



I like that these bars were cut right where the red heart ended and the pink began:


You can see a range of heart combinations in these: red & purple, purple & pink, and red & pink:

For more lavender soap blogs using different techniques look here, here, here, and here.


The biggest issue I had with these were of my doing: I cut them too soon. The embeds were fully cured and because they were so hard, they caused the soap to ripple (you can see that a little on the bottom edges of the hearts). The colors also streaked in some places, due to the softness of the bars. (I was leaving town for a week, and if I had waited till I returned to cut it, I wouldn’t have had these issues, and/or they wouldn’t have been so acute.)

I picked one side of each bar to plane some of these problems away, but I would have lost too much soap weight if I would have planed them to perfection.

I do love that every bar is so different – not just from the swirls, but from staggering the red & purple heart tubes in the mold and adding half of the pink heart tube to each side to get a variety of combinations.


Sunshine Orange Sunflowers


I dusted the petals with gold sparkle mica:



The petals faded to a beige cream, while the background fated to a brown/beige, but then perked back up to a light orange. Dusting the tops with gold mica helped brighten them up a bit. Next time I will use Annatto infused in oils, or a colorant or clay to get the petals a yellower color.




Unscented Shampoo Bars with Hearts Impression on top & Peacock Swirl on bottom

Version 2

The Plan:
9-bar mold
Peacock swirl on top with tiny heart embeds (not used) and heart impression mat on bottom (reversed this)
Use 58 oz batter (leftovers for sample size bars and fragrance testing)
Hand stir – NO Stick Blending!

Shampoo Master Batch Oils #2: 45 oz oils, 66 oz soap/4.125 lbs
SMB Oils: 45 oz/ 1276 grams
NaOH/Lye 6% SF: 6.33 oz/ 179 grams
Distilled Water (no discount): 14 oz / 397 grams
Nettle Extract (3%): 38 grams (add to oils)
DL-Panthenol (3%): 38 grams (add to lye water)
Sodium Lactate (1%): 13 grams (add to lye water)
Silk Amino Acids (1%): 13 grams (add to lye water)

14.5 oz CC Purple Play Date (Plum)
14.5 oz BB Queens Purple mica
14.5 oz Blue: Alkanet Root (infused in heated oil; soap turns grey, then purple, then blue)
14.5 oz Yellow: Annatto Seeds (infused in heated oil; high in carotenoids; yellow to orange)

Modified Clyde slide swirl, then pour lines on top.
Use #1 swirl tool (from Bramble Berry) and score from top to bottom. Take #2 swirl tool and zig-zag from top to bottom.


The Reality:
I soaped at 118F Lye and 123F oils – I had planned to soap at around 130F, but the lye liquid cooled quickly. This was hand stirring only, and I was a bit surprised at how fast the batter set up, but it still stayed very fluid the entire time. With so much castor oil, it always has a different consistency than regular soap – more like it’s ricing the entire time. However, after saponifying, it has always becomes uniform and the slight ricing look goes away.

I liked the results I got from doing a modified Clyde slide swirl in the last batch of Salt bars I made (see blog here) and I wanted to try this method again. The batter was much more fluid than last time. I made two pours of each color into the pot: plum, purple, dark blue, and yellow, then poured into the mold. The ribbons of soap I got were very large. Since the batter was so fluid, I did this again, but this time with three rounds of color and using a smaller container. This produced lines that were too thin.

I completed the pour with lines of color, then used my #1 swirling tool – dragging down from top to bottom, followed by the #2 tool – zig-zagging from top to bottom to get a Peacock swirl. (The tools are from Bramble Berry, which you can see here). The soap was so fluid, that I didn’t get a true Peacock swirl. But I liked the results and decided against adding the tiny heart embeds I had planned:


I realized that all of these colors are very dark, however from prior use of Alkanet Root and Annatto (see blog here), they lighten up considerably as they cure.


The Un-molding/Cut:
I had originally planned to use the peacock swirl side as the top and the hearts embed mat as the bottom, but after un-molding and seeing the design the mat created, I switched up my thinking and used the hearts as the top and the swirl as the bottom.


I had to plane off the back of every bar, as they were very rough with lots of ash:


Front and back

Look at the top right bar in the photo above and you can see how the Alkanet Root dark blue has turned into a light grey-blue, or almost grey-green.



I really love the definition of the hearts mat and it would be fun to really futz over it by using a dropper and coloring each heart differently. (Or alternatively, use more defined colors in a smaller pattern, as some of the bars are almost all just one hue.) It also seems like a waste of time to do the peacock swirl on the back, which you can’t see when packaged.

I don’t think the Alkanet Root did me any favors, and kind of muddies the color palette, with a tint that doesn’t really go with the other tones.


Additional Resources:

Check out more Shampoo Bars on the links below:
Nag Champa Shampoo Bars In The Pot swirl in round tube mold
Peppermint Eucalyptus with silk using impression mats and embeds (MY BEST BATCH!)

Eucalyptus Mint Tree & Unscented with silk using impression mats and embeds

Citrus Surprise with embeds and impression mats

POG in Yin-Yang design & POGY in Pipe Divider swirl
Eucalyptus Mint Tree with silk in simple swirl
Sweet Meyer Lemon & Apple Sage with impression mats
Eucalyptus Mint in Pipe Divider Swirl

Rimmed Shampoo Bars with Peacock swirl and Spin Swirl

For Additional Recipes, click on the links below:

Shampoo Master Batch Oils #1

Shampoo Master Batch Oils #2 – new and improved!



LLP: Lavender Lemongrass Peppermint PH Salt & Dead Sea Salt with shell embeds on top & negative impression mat on bottom

What’s so great about salt bars? And why specifically use Pink Himalayan salt, which is so much more expensive than other salts? Because I have found it to be a miracle worker. Everyone I know that has had skin issues (psoriasis, eczema, dry skin, hives, rash, etc.) and washed with PH Salt soap have had their problems disappear or vastly improve.

I have made numerous Pink Himalayan Salt bars (there are several links at the bottom of this blog), but wanted to incorporate some Dead Sea Salts in this batch:


Lavender Lemongrass Peppermint Pink Himalayan and Dead Sea Salt soap with embeds

Why LLP? I learned years ago that a combination of Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint essential oils help with allergies and allergic responses to toxins. Specifically, equal parts of Lavender, Lemon & Peppermint eo’s mixed into coconut oil and rubbed on the bottom of your feet twice daily may help with allergies. I have done this in the past, but find it difficult to make the time to put my feet up while the oils soak in. Bathing with salt bars help, and although Lemongrass is not the same as Lemon eo, it does have a lot of it’s own great properties and it sticks well in soap.

Description of Bramble Berry & Bulk Apothecary Essential Oils:
BB Lavender 40/42: Similar to Lavender Provence essential oil, this is a mixture of lavender’s: 40/42 blends different kinds of Lavender for a consistent blend. The aroma can have a soothing effects on people suffering from stress, anxiety, and illness. CP: Water White, no A, D, R.
BA Lemongrass: Known for its invigorating and antiseptic characteristics, it’s astringent properties also help fight acne and greasy skin. Purported to be an excellent anti-depressant, it tones and fortifies the nervous system and can be used in bath for soothing muscular nerves and pain. CP: has staying power; discolors yellow.
BB Peppermint 1st Distill: Smells minty fresh, like peppermint gum; herbaceous, sweet smelling; can improve mental performance, cognitive function, & digestion. CP: Water White, very potent.


The Plan:
18 bar slab mold, 73 oz soap, 28 oz salt, 4.45 oz embeds = 105.45 oz total.
Negative Impression mat on bottom.
(4:1.25:1.25) EO Blend Lavender, Lemongrass, Peppermint

Salt Master batch Oils #2:  50 oz Oils (Makes 73 oz /4.5 lbs – plus 28 oz PH Salt; 101 oz – 6.3 lb)
SMB Oils: 50 oz/ 1417 grams
NaOH/Lye 10% SF: 7.5 oz / 213 grams
Distilled Water & Aloe: (2.5 oz/15.15% disc): 14 oz / 397 grams
Kaolin Clay (1%): 14 grams (in oils)
Carrot Extract (1%): 14 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Chamomile Extract (1%): 14 grams (in oils – can add at trace)

Salts: 28 oz: ~95% PH & ~5% Dead Sea Salt
Pink Himalayan Salt: 26 oz (by weight)
Dead Sea Salt: 2 oz

Essential Oil Blend (4:1.5:1.5) = 6.5 oz:
4 oz Lavender
1.25 oz Lemongrass
1.25 oz Peppermint

(25+ batter total each color including salts)
18+ oz BB Ultraviolet blue oxide
18+ oz BB Kermit green mica
18+ oz CC Purple Play Date (Plum) pigment
18+ oz BB Indigo
7 oz salt in each container: 6.5 oz/177 grams PH salt in each + .5 oz/21 grams Dead Sea Salt.

Negative Impression mat on bottom.
Pour lines; use #1 swirl tool.
Add embeds on top:
9 – ultraviolet blue & Kermit green shell embeds 2.3 oz
9 – plum & indigo shell embeds 2.15 oz

Put in oven 150 degrees for 4 hours – remove & un-mold.


The Reality:
I chose the colors above to match some embeds I had previously made. I’m not too keen on the Indigo, as just in the embeds, it seems to always turn grey. I’m not that excited about the Kermit Green mica either. I used a lot to get a darker green (after gelling, it turned yellow, which looked okay, then surprisingly it morphed back to green).

I soaped at 123F Lye and 126F oils. I prefer to soap salt bars at 130F, but got a bit distracted while waiting for the lye liquid to cool.

I stick blended (using an Immersion blender) past emulsified and then added the essential oils and stick blended a little more. I had wanted to start at light trace, which I did, but the batter continued thickening and got to medium to heavy trace very quickly. Adding the salt thinned it out slightly, but it was still too thick for the plans I had.

I did a modified Clyde Slide swirl – pouring about 1/3 of each color on the side of a big bowl, then pouring from 90 degrees away from that pour, creating ribbons of color. I did this three times, then tried to use my #1 swirling tool (from Bramble Berry, which you can see here) and that worked okay. I tried the #2 tool, but did not get good results (batter too thick), so I went back and used the #1 tool again, then swirled on a diagonal with a thin chopstick; added the dividers and embeds:


In this close up you can see that the Kermit Green in the soap batter looks very yellow. Fortunately it has morphed back to green. Sadly, the Indigo just always looks grey, no matter how much I use:


I put the mold into a pre-heated 150F degree oven, turned it off and left it for 4 hours. At 2.5 hours, I turned the oven back on and brought it up to 150F degrees again, then turned it off. At 4 hours I took the mold out and un-molded.


The Un-molding:
This is a big mold and was the first time I used it for salt bars (used once before for a batch of Shampoo bars here). It was very difficult to get the liner out of the wooden mold. I had to use a pliers (with the tips taped) and wiggle it back and forth numerous times. Once I got the liner out, the bars fell out easily. They were still slightly warm – a perfect time to get salt soap out of the mold.

But a very strange thing happened when I checked on my soaps the next day – they all had white spots on them – like snow. I thought they were stearic acid spots. I’ve seen them before, but not this noticeable. This can happen if the Palm Oil used is not melted and mixed thoroughly, which was not the case here. It can also happen if the soap gets too hot and cools too quickly.

Then I chastise myself for not opening the oven and checked the mold before adding more heat. (I thought I was doing a good thing by not letting out all the heat.)

However what I finally figured out is that the spots are from the dead sea salt. Although I methodically mixed it into the Pink Himalayan salt, the magnesium in the dead sea salt will prevent soap from saponifying (hence the reason I was so cautious and used so little.) I have used Dead Sea salt with Pink Himalayan salt once before (see blog here) and I thought they were dot free. But on closer inspection, they too all have spots – just with the light colors they are harder to see (and not visible in the blog photos).

I was a bit freaked – what do I do with 18 bars of spotted soap? Fortunately, as the soap has cured, the colors have lightened and the spots have faded a bit – at least on top – they are much more noticeable on the sides.


Back of bars:



I added a lot of Lavender in this batch – twice as much as when previously made, trying to really punch up the Lavender scent. I think this is unnecessary, as it smells about the same as when I only used 2 oz, so I will go back to that next time, maybe with Rosemary added to the blend. (Lavender essential oil is too expensive to use substantial amounts when you only get a hint of it.)

I think my use of dead sea salts have come to an end – unless I am using light colors (clays?), as the spots are much less noticeable.

All the colors have lightened up quite a bit, as seems to happen in salt bars. In this case it hides a lot of the white spots, which have thankfully also faded from a bright white.



Additional Resources:

Check out more Salt Bars on the links below:
Unscented Pink Himalayan Salt & Dead Sea Salt Soap with clay & plant colorants
Pink Himalayan Salt Test Soap Batch with Tamanu & Neem Oils
Eucalyptus Mint Tree with Neem Oil & tiny embeds
Grapefruit, Kumquat & Lime with tiny embeds
2 Batches: Unscented and Lavender, Moroccan Mint, Tea Tree, Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage & Black Tea Blend
Orange Lemongrass Patchouli & Unscented
Lemongrass, Lavender, Rosemary, Peppermint
Peach Mango Kumquat with Aloe & Coconut water
POGY: Pineapple Orange Grapefruit Yuzu


For Salt Bar Recipes, click on the links below:
Salt Master Batch Oils #1
Salt Master Batch Oils #2 (“Everything But the Kitchen Sink”)




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.


Additional Resources:

Check out more Shampoo Bars on the links below:
Peppermint Eucalyptus with silk using impression mats and embeds (MY BEST BATCH!)

Eucalyptus Mint Tree & Unscented with silk using impression mats and embeds

Citrus Surprise with embeds and impression mats

POG in Yin-Yang design & POGY in Pipe Divider swirl
Eucalyptus Mint Tree with silk in simple swirl
Sweet Meyer Lemon & Apple Sage with impression mats
Eucalyptus Mint in Pipe Divider Swirl

Rimmed Shampoo Bars with Peacock swirl and Spin Swirl

For Additional Recipes, click on the links below:

Shampoo Master Batch Oils #1

Shampoo Master Batch Oils #2 – new and improved!


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.