Oud to Owls in (failed) Drop Pour swirl with embeds on Soap Face

I have been looking for an Ebony Oud or Oud Pachouli scent for soap that is similar to the Party Lite candles I have by the same names. Although this fragrance is not identical, it is the only one I have found.

A Yellow Cottage Soapery YouTube video prompted me to try the technique of adding  embeds onto the face of the soap – thank you for the inspiration Stacey!


Description of Crafters Choice Wholesale Supplies Plus Oud & Incense FO: Deep notes of black pepper, oud and incense are brightened with lavender and berries. CP: No A, D, R. .2% Vanilla. Review: spicy, warm smell. (This ACCELERATED LIKE CRAZY!!)


The Plan:
Use 2 lb mold & 7 CP Owl embeds (1.45 oz)
Drop Pour Swirl
Use leftover batter for guest/sample soaps.

Master batch Oils #9: 28 oz Oils (Makes 40 oz soap)
MB Oils: 28 oz/ 794 grams
NaOH/ Lye 5% SF: 3.99 oz / 113 grams
Distilled Water: (1.24 oz/ 13.3%): 8 oz / 227 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 8 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 8 grams (in oils)
Dulse Extract (1%): 8 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Buckthorn Extract (1%): 8 grams (in oils – can add at trace)

36 oz Batter/Colors/FO:
8 oz BB Fizzy Lemonade
8 oz BB Nuclear Orange
8 oz BB Red Mica (+TKB True Red)
8 oz BB Zippy Blue Mica(+Ultramarine Blue)
8 oz BB Queens Purple Mica (+Ultramarine Violet)

Pour sequence: Purple, orange, blue, yellow, red.
Build up top with thick soap and swirl with back of spoon.
CPOP for 4 hours?

Un-mold, cut, and “glue” owl embeds on face of bar with melted cocoa butter. (Or clear melted MP)


The Reality:
I choose several of the colors above because I already had them mixed up for a previous batch. Instead of adding to them when I needed more, I used a little of some other leftover colors (in parenthesize above). (I premix all my micas & colorants in heated oils. I find heating this mixture up helps them incorporate into the batter better.)

Soaped at 104F Lye & 120F oils – I was a little high on the temperature of my oils, as I got distracted while waiting for the lye liquid to cool, but I used to soap at 120-130F (always within 10 degrees with the lye & oils), and I figured this wasn’t too far off.

I stick blended (using immersion blender) and got to very light trace really quickly – I like to stop at emulsified. But since I was doing a drop swirl/pour I figured I needed it a little thicker anyway, so I was not worried.

This was a strange soaping session – when I divided my batter into 5 containers, I only had about 37 ounces of soap. I ran through my procedure of weighing everything out in my head, and I did not make any mistakes. I was especially worried about not weighing out enough oils, but I remember checking it in both ounces and grams.

I mixed up my colors, then divided the FO with a tiny bit less in the yellow & orange, in case of any discoloration with the .2% Vanilla. Everything was still very thin – too thin to pour – until it wasn’t. All of a sudden the soap accelerated at lightning speed and I had to glop the batter into the mold until I couldn’t even plop it any more. I tried texturing the top, but it was all too hard, so I sprinkled with some glitter and put it in the oven. I was so disgusted with it all, I didn’t even take a photo of the top.

Normally I would have warmed the oven back up to 150F after preheating it and opening the door to insert the mold, but the soap was so hot, I was afraid it might crack. (So not only did it accelerate like crazy, but it also got really hot.) I considered putting it in the fridge, but did not.


The Cut:
Since this soap was both very stiff and CPOP’ed, it easily came out of the mold within 24 hours. I immediately steamed & trimmed it so that I could affix the little owl embeds. I used cocoa butter to glue them on, but in hind-sight, I think using MP would be better, as that is soap on soap. While the cocoa butter may add an additional luxuriance to the soap, it already has 3 butters in it and it may take away some of the lather – or with the tiny bit used, it may have no effect at all. But the cocoa butter dried opaque and the edges around the owls needed to be cleaned off, while clear MP would remain translucent, with one less step to contend with.

I expected this soap to have lots of air pockets and blobs of color. Thank goodness I got neither. I was extremely happy with how they turned out – the design looks nice, there are no air pockets, and I think the owls make it adorable:





This was a new fragrance for me. I typically test new scents by making a sample/guest size soap. But since I only had 2 oz of this FO I took a chance without sampling it. The manufacturers notes said no A, D, or R, and there were no CP reviews. (There’s one from me now!)

I will admit to my part in the issues I had – soaping the oils a little high, at 120F. (Even at my usual 100-105F I would have had acceleration if it was going to happen – I just may have had a bit more time to work with it.)

I was very frustrated and disheartened after making this soap. But then I realized that it has been a really long time since I’ve felt like this while soaping – so I guess the soap gods caught up to me! Which made me feel especially grateful that all my holiday soaps worked out so stunningly (I was extremely pleased with my fall and Christmas soaps this season).

The FO was extremely strong when soaping with it, but it mellowed out quickly and within a week smelled so wonderful I would definitely buy it again. (I have several Ebony Oud and Oud & Patchouli candles that I cherish and have looked for a similar fragrance. This is not the same, but the closest I have found.)





Four Thieves soap #13 in Advanced Tiger Stripe & Layers

This is a remake of Four Thieves soap – and by the title, you can deduce that I have made it a dozen times before. There are other blogs on this soap with the tiger stripe here and here, and using the zebra swirl & impression mats here and here (where I won sponsors choice award and placed 7th overall).

Ever heard of Four Thieves Blend? Wonder what the story is behind the name? You can find out at the bottom of this blog.



The Plan:
Make 106 oz soap batter
Pour off 16 oz for embeds/samples
Use 5 lb mold, 90 oz batter, 3 layers: 1st layer white with EO blend; 2nd layer tiger wall pour (no fo, 6 colors); 3rd layer white with EO

Master Batch Oils #9: 74 oz Oils (Makes 106 oz/6.6 lb soap)
MB Oils: 74 oz/ 2098 grams
NaOH/Lye 5% SF: 10.54 oz / 299 grams
Distilled Water: (3.42 oz disc/ 14%): 21 oz / 595 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 21 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 21 grams (in oils)
Chamomile Extract (1%): 21 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Green Tea Extract (1%): 21 grams (in oils – can add at trace)

Four Thieves Essential Oil Blend: 5 oz /142 grams: (accelerates trace, discolors yellow)
34% Clove leaf: 1.7 oz/ 48 grams
30% Litsea (May Chang): 1.5 oz/ 43 grams  (can use lemon)
16% Cinnamon: .8 oz/ 23 grams
12% Eucalyptus: .6 oz/ 17 grams
8% Rosemary: .4 oz/ 11 grams

90 oz Batter/Colors/ 4.5oz EO:
1st Layer:
38 oz TD white 2.5 oz EO
2nd Layer 18 oz total: No EO
(2.5 oz in layer & .5 oz for top, save 1 oz for samples)
4 oz BB Ultramarine Violet Purple
4 oz BB Plum
4 oz TKB #40 True Red
4 oz BB Zippy Blue
4 oz CC Apple Green Mica
4 oz BB Nuclear Orange
3rd Layer:
28 oz TD White 2 oz EO
(BB = Bramble Berry, TKB = TKB Trading, CC = Crafters Choice Wholesales Supplies Plus, TD = Titanium Dioxide)

Top with swirl of colors & fine Iridescent Glitter.


The Reality:
Soaped both the lye liquid and oils at 102F and stick blended (using immersion blender) until emulsified. I separated the batter and added a lot of titanium dioxide for my first layer, knowing that as soon as I added the essential oil blend, it would yellow the batter and accelerate fast – which it did. I mixed in the essential oil blend as quickly as possible, then poured into the mold.

Next, I colored all my batters for the second layer. While I was waiting for that to thicken slightly (it was still at emulsified and too watery for an advanced tiger stripe swirl), I worked on making embeds for future projects. When ready, I titled my mold and poured a stripe of each color along the edge in this order: blue, green, purple, red, orange, and plum – four times. By the start of the third round, the batter was getting a bit thicker than I would have liked, but interestingly, it seemed to thin out again in the last pour.

I put the mold in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to let the 2nd layer set up quickly, then repeated the process done in the first layer, for the 3rd layer. By now the batter was much thicker than when I started, but I was still able to add the essential oils, mix and pour. While pouring, the batter started getting lumpy. After the pour, it seemed like the soap thinned out a bit in the mold and instead of staying slightly rounded on top, it spread out. This was a first for working with this blend.

I added two stripes of each color on top, swirled with a chopstick, sprinkled with iridescent glitter, and put in a 150F oven for 4+ hours for CPOP. (Typically a 170F oven is used, but at an altitude of 6,000 feet, where I live, this is too hot.) If I am working with a wooden mold, I find that using the oven helps the soap harden faster and makes it easier to un-mold. (I usually use a silicone mold, which doesn’t work well for CPOP.)


Top before adding glitter


The Cut:




This soaping session worked well – I knew what to expect with the fragrance blend, as I had used it so many times before. It it always frustrating to get TD streaks, but at least they are very fine. I cut the soap with a crinkle cutter, as it seems to add a bit to the design.


The Story behind Four Thieves Blend:
The Bubonic Plague wreaked havoc in Europe off and on for about 600 years before peaking in the 1300s. Century after century, as late as the 1700s, outbreaks claimed up to half the population.

During the plague a group of four brothers began robbing the dead. At first, they were largely ignored, as everyone knew they would eventually pay the price by catching the contagion themselves but, to everyone’s surprise, they managed to avoid the plague and continued robbing graves, amassing a great deal of wealth. They became legendary and everyone wanted to know how they evaded the sickness.

When they were finally captured, they were asked for their secret during questioning. After much debating, they agreed to share it in return for their pardon, which was granted.

These men were the offspring of a perfumer and herbalist. They learned about essential oils from their parents during their childhood. They knew these oils would protect them so they rubbed them on their bodies, soaked their masks in it, and used them to clean anything they brought back. The powerful blend is now called Four Thieves Blend. (An aside: they used these oils & herbs in vinegar, and the vinegar probably played a big part in their wellness too).

An interesting note: There is a period of time when physicians wore dark robes, wide-brimmed hats, & masks with long beaks. These beaks held dried herbs, spices and essential oils which the physician breathed. The robe was doused with a similar fragrant concoction to help prevent catching any disease.

Karma Sea Clay Avocado Detox Buttermilk soap, with tiger & hanger swirls, & clays for color)

I made a batch of this soap last year, but I wanted it to be lighter and brighter. (You can see the previous soap blog post by clicking here.)


Bramble Berry Karma Essential Oil Blend: A mixture of patchouli, orange, lavendin, pine, Lemongrass, & Elemi Oils, and Gardenia extract. It is inspired by Lush’s Karma fragrance and smells deeply sensuous and alluring, with base notes of Patchouli and Orange. (I don’t get the orange, and I think it smells much better than Lush’s version.) CP: Accelerates and discolors beige. (Soaped last time at 95-100F degrees with no acceleration.) This EO blend has been discontinued, but fortunately I have a nice stash left.


The Plan:
3 lb mold 52 oz, tiger & hanger swirl
62 oz batter – pour off 10 oz for unscented sample soaps

Master batch Oils #9: 42 oz Oils + 2.02 oz Argan (Makes 62 oz soap) 8% SF
MB Oils: 42 oz/ 1191 grams
Argan Oil: (4.8%) 2.02 oz/ 57 grams
NaOH/ Lye 8% SF: 6.04 oz / 171 grams
1:1 Frozen Buttermilk & Distilled Water: (2.52 oz disc/ 17.35%): 12 oz / 340 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 12 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 12 grams (in oils)
Ginseng Extract (1%): 12 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Green Tea Extract (1%): 12 grams (in oils – can add at trace)

Batter/Colors/ 2.5 oz Karma EO:
22 oz BB Red Brazilian Clay in water – use a lot to counter beige
10 oz BB Green Sea & Green Zeolite Clay, with a touch of Spirulina – use sparingly
10 oz BB Yellow Silt Clay in water – keep light, use sparingly
10 oz CC Orange Illite Clay in water – keep light, use sparingly
(BB = Bramble Berry, CC = Crafters Choice Wholesale Supplies Plus)


The Reality:
I took out the frozen distilled water and Buttermilk and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. I soaped the lye liquid and oils at 91F & 95F, stick blended (with immersion blender) until emulsified. I then separated out the batter and colored with clay, expecting some acceleration from them, but didn’t see any.

Note about the clays: The yellow was a very muddy beige and the green had a lot of specks in it – I think that was from the Zeolite clay.

This was the first time I used the Orange Clay – it actually turned to a dark pink – the same color as the Red Brazilian clay. Even though I had wanted this to be a pure clay soap, I fudged a bit to adjust my colors and added a little BB Nuclear Orange I had already mixed up – which really helped this towards the orange spectrum.

I added too much Red Brazilian Clay and it felt too dark, so I put in a tinge of BB Red Mica. However, when I mixed in the essential oil, it turned this back into an orange-pink – I increased red mica just a bit, until it was a color I liked.

I added my Karma EO to all my containers and quickly stirred, but again, no acceleration. Still expecting a little, I started pouring a tiger stripe with the batter a bit too thin and it looked quite muddied. I did get some acceleration and thickening half way through my pour.

I zig-zagged vertically with my thin hanger tool; added 3 lines of each color on the top, then swirled with a chop stick. I should have quit after the first swirl, but just had to add some circular swirls too, which I think muddied it up a bit:


I put the soap in the freezer (only because the fridge I use had a Moose in it – yes, my sweetie pie is a hunter.)


The Cut:





I used an 8% superfat so that this can be used as a facial soap. (I have several people that won’t use a dedicated facial soap, but will use this.)

I really love this essential oil – so much so, that the last time I bought it, I got a 16 oz bottle. I wise choice, as it was soon discontinued. But I have enough left for several batches of soap. It’s an expensive eo blend – probably too expensive to use in soap, but I like it so much. (Bramble Berry has come up with a FO “dupe,” which I immediately sampled, but they are so different I’m surprised they have the same name, and I don’t care for it at all.)

Nag Champa Yogurt Soap with tiger stripe & hanger swirl

This was a special order made in September, but I got so busy with Christmas soaps, I didn’t get a chance to didn’t post it:


Description of Bramble Berry Nag Champa: Based on best selling Satya Sai Baba Nag Champa (Agarbatti) incense from India, this scent is traditionally used in meditation. Renowned for its earthy scent, it contains Juniper, Patchouli and Vanilla. Rose Geranium and Jasmine are also present to give the blend a sweet note. Very Strong. CP: 2.5% Vanilla; discolors brown.


The Plan:
3 lb mold, 52 oz.
1.25 oz FO (too strong, use .75-1 oz next time)
Bottom layer of brown, rest tiger stripe with vertical zig-zag hanger swirl
Brown, gold, purple, & red mica oil top

Master batch #8 oils: 38 oz Oils (Makes 54 oz soap)
MB Oils: 38 oz/ 1077 grams
NaOH/ Lye 5% SF: 5.41 oz / 153 grams
Frozen Yogurt & Distilled water: (1.54 oz disc/12.3%): 11 oz / 312 grams (used 8 oz yogurt, 3 oz water)
Sodium Lactate (1%): 11 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 11 grams (in oils)
Carrot Extract (1%): 11 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Chamomile Extract (1%): 11 grams (in oils – can add at trace)

Batter/Color/1.25 oz FO:
Bottom layer with 12 oz brown mica
16 oz BB Cappuccino, .75 oz FO
12 oz BB Queens Purple mica, .25 oz FO with .25 VS
12 oz (??) Yellow, No FO
12 oz BB True Red mica, .5 oz FO with .25 FO with .25 VS
(BB= Bramble Berry; VS= Natures Garden Vanilla Stabilizer)

Pour bottom layer of brown.
Alternate poring purple, yellow, red, and occasionally leftover brown in tiger stripe.
Zig-zag hanger swirl.
Top with brown, gold, purple, & red mica oils and swirl.
Put in fridge to prevent yogurt overheating


The Reality:
Soaped at 87F Lye liquid & 96F Oils, stick blending (with immersion blender) until past emulsification, but just before light trace. I separated out all the batter and lightly colored 16 oz with brown mica.

I poured 12 oz of brown for a bottom layer and put the mold into the refrigerator to set up, as it was quite thin, while preparing the other colors. Every one thickened quickly but the yellow – either from the FO, but more likely from the Vanilla Stabilizer.

After 5 minutes in the fridge, I removed the mold. The bottom layer was not yet hard, but I needed to start on the tiger stripes before the rest of the soap got too thick. The soap broke through, but I continued and decided to swirl the entire batch, instead of leaving a straight layer on the bottom.

I zig-zagged my skinny hanger in a tight vertical swirl, then topped with way too much mica oils and swirled with a toothpick. (The mica oils are so pretty, I tend to over do it!)




The Cut:





So much for a layer of brown on the bottom! Next time I need to wait to add the Vanilla Stabilizer to the batter until the first layer sets up. And I’m not sure of the color scheme – it’s a bit different (maybe a more intense yellow next time?), but I do like the mica swirls on top.

This fragrance is unusual compared to most containing vanilla – it takes a really long time to discolor brown and does it in an uneven way. If you look closely at the photos, you can see the splotchy brown on the bottom – especially on the individual bars – and these had been curing for over a month when they were photographed.

The scent is intense – I could have gone with less than 1 oz for this 3 lb batch. It’s one of those fragrances that stay on your skin after touching the bar. And during the first couple weeks of curing, it is so strong it gives me a headache if it’s not locked away in a little room (which it was…still, when entering the room it’s very overpowering).

Eucalyptus Mint Tree Pink Himalayan Salt Bars with Neem & Tamanu oils. Plus Unscented Pink Himalayan Salt Bars. With negative impression mats on bottom & embeds on top.

These two batches of soap were made sequentially, prepping them at the same time, except for the lye liquids, which were done separately:


Unscented & Eucalyptus Mint Tree PH Salt soap



Unscented Pink Himalayan Salt Bars



The Plan:
9 bar slab mold with negative impression mat on bottom and tiny heart & bird embeds on top.
Pour lines of color, then swirl with chopstick in chevron patter. Add embeds.
Put in 150F oven for 4 hours, then un-mold while still warm.

Salt MB Oils #2: 30 oz Oils (Makes 42 oz/2.6 lbs Plus 15 oz salt = 57 oz/3.6 lb)
SMB Oils: 30 oz/ 850 grams
NaOH/Lye 10% SF: 4.5 oz/128 grams
1:1 Aloe & Distilled Water (1.9 oz disc/ 20%): 8 oz/227 grams
Kaolin Clay (1%): 9 grams (in oils)
Chamomile Extract (1%): 9 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Extra Fine Pink Himalayan Salt: 15 oz (by weight)

10.5 oz Blue (Alkanet Root in oil), 3.75 oz PH Salt
10.5 oz Yellow (Annatto seeds in oil), 3.75 oz PH Salt
10.5 oz Pink (Red Brazilian Clay in water), 3.75 oz PH Salt
10.5 oz Green (Sea Clay & Spirulina in water), 3.75 oz PH Salt


The Reality:
I soaped the lye & oils at 114F and 117F. (I typically like to make salt bars at higher temperatures, but the lye liquid cooled so quickly, as it was such a small amount.) I stick blended to a very light trace (using immersion blender), divided up the batter and mixed in the colors – the Alkanet Root & Annatto Seed first, as the clay colorants accelerate trace. I then added the salt to each color, which helped thin out the batters a little.

I used all of my infused oils, trying to go as dark as possible, as they fade very quickly (infused oil colors on left, clay colorants on right):

I still have been unable to get the Annatto Seed oil to an orange color. The Alkanet Root oils was a dark purple-black, but by the time I finished soaping, it had already started to lightened.

I had wanted to do a Clyde Slide pour, but with the two clay colored batters getting thick, I alternated lines of color instead, then used a chop stick to make a chevron patter one way, then the other way. After putting in the dividers, I added tiny bird & heart embeds, and put it in a 150F oven for 4 hours.

I usually turn the oven off as soon as I put my soap in, but this time I left it on until I got my second batch in, which was over an hour later. There were no ill effects from doing this.

At 4 hours, I pulled it out of the oven and un-molded, while the soap was still slightly warm. I have found that if the soap has already cooled off, the bars will stick to the dividers and break off in shards.

These probably could have been un-molded at three or 3.5 hours. You can see how much the purple has lightened up (top of slab & bottom after removing impression mat):


The Un-molding/Cut:
Within 24 hours, the purple-black color started to change to an ultraviolet blue:


After 2 weeks of cure the Alkanet coloring is more of a ultramarine blue:



Back side:



I would like to study more plant colorants and increase my natural color palette. I have used the Alkanet Root and Annatto Seed infused oils a couple times, and both infused oil colors faded quite a bit. (You can see some results on this blog here.) It seems as though the Alkanet Root oil produces a large variation of color. I need more experience with these to be able to know what to expect for results.

I am really pleased with the lovely colors I got.


Eucalyptus Mint Tree Pink Himalayan Salt Bars with Neem & Tamanu oils

Why Neem and Tamanu Oils?
The benefits of Neem and Tamanu Oils are purported to be extensive: helping to heal numerous skin disorders including eczema, psoriasis, rashes, burns and acne. You can find more in-depth information on both oils in a previous blog here.


Description of Bramble Berry, Bulk Apothecary, and Essential Depot Essential Oils:
BA Eucalyptus: It awakens the mind and opens the lungs. It helps remove exhaustion & mental sluggishness and rejuvenates the spirits of the sick. It has a pleasant aroma and is effective as a deodorant, antibacterial, antiseptic, and antimicrobial agent. CP: No Discolor.
BB Peppermint 1st Distill: Fresh, nostalgic, and instantly recognizable, Peppermint essential oil’s scent invigorates the mind and senses, while inspiring a sense of peace. This herbaceous, sweet smelling mint improves mental performance, cognitive function, digestion, athletic performance, & pain tolerance. It is used for its soothing qualities on the digestive system. CP: Water White.
BB Spearmint: Medicinally it is known for its effects on the digestive system, and for relieving aches and pains. It is also believed to be an uplifting oil, great for alleviating fatigue and depression. CP: Water White.
BB & ED Tea Tree (Melaleuca): Has a minty, earthy smell that leaves you energized & revitalized. Tea tree oil has claimed to be useful for treating a wide variety of medical conditions and shows promise as an antimicrobial. It may be effective in a variety of dermatologic conditions including dandruff, acne, lice, herpes, and other skin infections. CP: Water White.


The Plan:
18 bar slab mold with negative impression mat on bottom and turquoise & white lotus embeds on top.
Add 4.5% each of Neem & Tamanu oils to Master Batch oils (run through a lye calculator).
Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Spearmint, & Tea Tree EO blend.
Clyde Slide swirl pour.
Put in 150F oven for 4 hours, then un-mold while still warm.

Salt Master batch Oils #2: 50 oz Oils, plus 4.54 oz Neem & Tamanu oils (Makes 77 oz /4.8 lbs, plus 29 oz PH Salt = 106 oz – 6.6 lb)
SMB Oils: 50 oz/ 1417 grams
Neem Oil: 2.27 oz/ 64 grams
Tamanu Oil: 2.27 oz/ 64 grams
NaOH/Lye 10% SF: 8.08 oz / 229 grams
1:1 Aloe & Distilled Water (3.19 oz disc/ 17%): 15 oz / 425 grams
Kaolin Clay (1%): 15 grams (in oils)
Chamomile Extract (1%): 15 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Extra Fine Pink Himalayan Salt: 29 oz (by weight)

Scent Blend: 1.25 oz Eucalyptus, 1.25 oz Tea Tree; .75 Peppermint, .5 oz Spearmint = 3.75 oz total

Batter/Colors/ PH Salt:
26 oz BB Blue Raspberry (Turquoise), 9.7 oz PH salt
26 oz TD White/ switched to BB Fizzy Lemonade Yellow, 9.7 oz PH salt
26 oz MM Mint Green, 9.7 oz PH salt
(BB = Bramble Berry, MM = Mica’s & More, PH = Extra Fine Pink Himalayan Salt, TD = Titanium Dioxide)


The Reality:
I soaped my lye liquid & oils at 128F & 132F, stick blending until emulsified, adding the EO blend, dividing out & coloring, then adding the salt. Because the Neem & Tamanu oils discolored the oils to a light brown/dark yellow-beige, I had a lot of difficulty getting my colors to the shades I wanted.

I had originally planned on using white, but after a while I gave up on that and instead switched to yellow. (In hind-sight, I wish I would have kept it white, as the Neem & Tamanu discolor fades a bit – I just didn’t trust it to fade enough for me.) All three colors took on a yellowish hue, so I added some titanium dioxide to each of them. I also added some Ultramarine blue to the Blue Raspberry to help decrease the yellow.

I alternated pouring the batter back into the mixing pot in a Clyde Slide, then poured it all into the mold. The center got quite muddy, so I added drops of leftover soap and swirled a bit on top with a toothpick (you can see the wispiness of the Clyde Slide on the edges):


I really hate how yellow-green this is

I added the dividers and embeds, putting in the oven for three hours. (I originally planned for four hours, but after un-molding the previous batch, which was a little hard, I took these out early.) They were too soft to un-mold, so I left them for 20-25 minutes on the counter. They were still a bit soft – four hours on this bigger mold would have been ideal. However, due to this softness, I was able to trim all the edges nicely.



The Un-molding/ Cut:



Back side:



I was not keen on all of my colors having a yellowish tint and I’m really kicking myself for not leaving it beige, knowing it would lighten to off-white.

In spite of all of the strong essential oils used, the horrible scent of Neem oil comes through for me while using this soap. It is very light and I am really sensitive to fragrance, so hopefully no one else can smell it but me. The people that have Eczema issues have told me it doesn’t make a huge difference – but does help a bit, so I’m not sure if I should continue using it. (I am incline to leave it out in future batches, just because of the smell, but then if no one smells it but me….)


Additional Resources:

Check out more Salt Bars on the links below:
LLP: Lavender Lemongrass Peppermint Pink Himalayan Salt & Dead Sea Salt
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”)





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.