Okay, so undaunted here I am preparing for the September Soap Challenge. In the past 6 months, despite enrolling for all of them, I’ve only actually created an entry worthy soap twice! But, hey, it’s been fun trying out the new techniques.
This month it is all about piped soap. Yet again, as a new soaper, this isn’t something I’ve tried but I’ve seen some amazing creations by other soapmakers so I’m really excited to give it a go.
First thing was to order up some cake decorating equipment. I don’t really own any as I don’t even ice cakes (doesn’t bode well, does it?), but inspired by Amy Warden’s challenge tutorial and a bit of research online, I got myself a dinky little set of Russian tips (no, I’d never heard of them either) and a set of Wilton petal, flower and leaf nozzles. How cute is that tin?!
This month Amy has provided an extensive set of guidance notes with hints and tips from other soapers. Checking out the notes, I decided to go with the recipe suggested by Kyme Garcia. A simple blend of equal parts castor oil, coconut oil, palm oil, and olive oil. All of which I had to hand and, if it all went pear shaped, it wouldn’t be an expensive disaster. I also added some beeswax (to reduce soda ash) and sodium lactate (to help them firm up). I decided to only use fragrance in the base loaf (which I’ll make over the weekend) so I didn’t need to worry about acceleration or discolouration. Kyme recommended only making 8oz/200ml of soap at a time, and I must say it was quite nice making a smaller batch as there was much less time waiting around for the oils and lye to reach the correct temperature.
I split the batch and coloured one dark pink and the other a lighter pink. One was a mica which I added directly to the batter, and one an ultramarine which I mixed with a little water first. Even this small amount of water loosened the batter slightly so getting them to the same consistency was a bit of a challenge. Lesson learned – next time stick to the same type of pigment for all batches. Also, use more contrast as my colours were just a little too subtle.
I could probably have benefited from waiting a little longer, but after about 30 mins I decided to pipe. I used a Wilton 104 tip and here’s what I got …
One the left is the first and on the right my second one. I think the mixture was still a little too soft so, even though I didn’t think they were too awful, I scooped them up and popped them back in the bag. You can’t do that with a swirl you don’t like!
I continued to make a batch of roses, although some looked more like ranunculas or peonies. But still, I think they’ll look okay once arranged on top of the soap with a few leaves added.
For a first attempt, I was not too disappointed. I then changed bags and tried one of the Russian tips. My batter had reached a better consistency now and Amy Warden got amazing results with these, so I had high hopes.
Hmm, back to the drawing board I think. However, I kept them in the hope that they could perhaps be used as fillers in among larger (and prettier!) flowers. After all, not every flower in nature is perfect 🙂