February Challenge (and moving into the big leagues!)

This month’s challenge was to create a soap using both cold process and melt and pour soap.  Beyond that it was really up to us as to what design and technique we wanted to go with.  So, I decided to create a seascape with the idea of using the translucent quality of melt and pour to represent the water … plus I had a silicon shell mould that I hadn’t had a chance to use yet.

Above are my inspiration images, and here is the final soap …

I used a simple basic formula of 30% coconut oil; 30% palm oil; 30% olive oil; 10% almond oil – all organics.  It was fragranced with a mixed of sweet orange oil and a natural fragrance blend called Calypso containing essential oils of orange, lime, grapefruit, cinnamon leaf, basil, mandarin, lavendin, cedarwood and patchouli.  It was the first time using this but as I wanted to sculpt it and wanted a sandy colour, I wasn’t too concerned about acceleration or discolouration.  That said, it behaved well.

Step one was to make the shells.  A little left over soap from a previous batch and a silicon mold, and I soon had a selection of shells.  Felt they looked a little plain, so popped them in a bag with some sparkling gold mica and after a quick shake I had golden sea shells.

Next I lined my mold (a nice sturdy box courtesy of my new iPad!) and created a card template to sculpt the sea bed.  This was my first attempt at using sculpted layers and I think it is a technique I’ll definitely try again.  It’s nice to make soap where you actually want it to thicken.

The last few dollops I splatted on to the base to add some texture to the sea bed (ok … it was really ’cause I couldn’t bear to waste the last bits of soap!).  I then created my golden beach using salt mixed with some of the gold mica, and added my golden seashells.

So far so good, now for the sea.  This was the first time I had used M&P soap.  I used Crystal SLS and SLES Free Clear Melt and Pour Soap Base from The Soap Kitchen Ltd.  First challenge was getting it out of the tub – it was not for shifting!  It melted down easily enough, but it didn’t get as liquid as I thought it would.  I decided to go for an ombre effect using Blue Electra mica for the base layer and Blue Ice for the upper layers.  I was quite pleased with the overall effect although the soap was not as translucent as I had hoped for; I had hoped it would be possible to see the ‘sea bed’ through the soap.

I also found I got quite a few bubbles in the mix, but found that if I poured the final layer careful I could get them to gather near the ‘beach’ which looked a bit like sea foam.  To emphasise this I dusted a little titanium oxide on to the edges.

Overall I’m quite pleased with this soap (it smells lovely and looks more or less as I had imagined), and don’t feel too embarrassed to enter it :-).  Especially since I’m now playing in the big leagues.  I checked back through my folder of invoices and recipes and discovered I made my first batch of soap in January 2015.  That means I now qualify to enter the experienced category of the Soap Challenge Club.

Help!  I don’t feel very experienced!!!

 

 

 

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