Soap Embed Challenge

It’s that time again: Soap Challenge Club time! This month’s creation was to include embeds in cold process soap. After nearly two years of soap making, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I’ve NEVER added embeds into any soap! I’ve been collecting different silicone molds for quite some time, planning out lovely soaps with embeds all the while in my head. There are just so many different techniques to try and only so many hours in a day!!! Thank goodness for Amy and her challenges, or I might never try some of those things that I’ve intended to do. Deadlines and group accountability are two things that motivate me well!!!

So here’s the result.


Pixie Dust Soap

Pixie Dust soap (version 2.0) was born simply because I needed to restock that scent! (Here’s what version 1.0 looked like, also from a club challenge!) I have several young girls who love it, and I wanted to make a new design that was specifically for them. I bought some star ice cube silicone molds just after the 4th of July on clearance, and I thought they’d be perfect on top of a magical fairy wand.

I began by making embeds using the microwave hot process method that Amy showed in her awesome-as-usual tutorial. I used a one-pound recipe and a tall plastic container, carefully stirring the soap after 2 minutes of half-power heating, and then after another 2 minutes of heating. I’m glad that I didn’t walk away, because the soap started to volcano after just one more minute of heating! I stirred it down just before it bubbled out all over my microwave, then heated it for about 45 more seconds when it bubbled up again. At that point, it looked like soupy applesauce, so I continued to stir it until it cooled and began to come back together.


Microwave hot process soap

After about 7 minutes of stirring and at about 160 degrees, I split off half of the soap, stirred in neon yellow colorant with gold mica, and added some fragrance. It was messy, but I pushed the yellow soap down into the star molds, filling them as best as I could. Then, I colored the remaining soap white and mushed it into the bottom of a long wooden mold, the same one that I would later use to make the final soap.


Once this piece hardened, I trimmed it up a bit and used it turned vertically to create the handle of the fairy wand.

After only a few hours, the hot process soap was cooled and hardened enough to remove it from the molds. The silicone star molds worked amazingly well!


The stars popped right out!

I made a few soap curls from the white trimmings, and I also chose some pink, orange, and yellow scraps out of various recent soap trimmings to use in the final soap.


Soap curls to embed for some added whimsy.

Later in the same day, I made the remainder of the soap using my regular nourishing recipe and adding in yogurt. I turned the soap a lovely shade of deep lavender. I thought the bright pinks, oranges, and yellows would really stand out, creating some fun “pixie dust” colors! After adding a bit of purple soap to the bottom of my mold, I put in the white wand, then began adding soap scraps and curls followed by more purple soap and repeating.


When the new soap reached the top of the wand, I stacked the stars down the length of the mold along the top of the white column.


Stacking the stars was pretty difficult!


My only issue was that I didn’t quite  make enough new soap! I ran out of purple and had to pile it up around the stars to get them to stay put. Plus, the purple soap was extremely set up at that point. Simply put, I made a magical mess! I spent a long time tamping the mold and pushing soap down, trying to eliminate as many air bubbles as possible. I finally gave up and sprinkled on some glitter. Can’t have a pixie dust soap without glitter! 


Not so pretty from here!!

Boy, that top looked messy. Unmolding the soap the next morning was a bit scary. I did find many air pockets, but mostly small ones.


The big reveal…Rather underwhelming.


The first few cuts weren’t too shabby! A few air pockets, but nothing major.

This is certainly not the prettiest soap I’ve ever made, but it’s not the worst either! The soap scraps and swirls make this whimsical and fun, and the color combination is quite girly. My triplets were ooh-ing and aah-ing over the stars and glitter as I was cutting it. It was hard to explain to them why they couldn’t use the soap yet! That curing time is such a kicker!!! I completely understand their disappointment. Don’t all of us soap makers feel that way?! Waiting for soap to cure is probably the hardest part of the job!


Pixie Dust Soap

Overall, this soap came out reasonably well. I figured out that next time, I’ll mix the soap scraps directly into the new soap before adding it to the mold. I’ll also make more soap than I think I’ll need just to be sure I have enough!


Pixie Dust Soap. (I’ll clean up those rough edges once the soap has had more time to harden.)

Now that I’ve finally made a soap with embeds, I’ve got to get on with it! I have so many cute molds to try out, and so many ideas. And did I mention the piles and piles of ends, scraps, shavings, and uglies that I’ve been storing? So many possibilities. So little time. Thanks, Amy, for another great challenge!


Black Lager Soap

Need some soap for the man in the house? Check this one out!


Black Lager Soap

My husband’s friend asked if I could make soap out of lager, so I came up with this recipe just for him! He even provided the Guinness Black Lager! I’ve made a few batches of beer soap and even champagne soap, but this thick, dark liquid was a different beast.

I began by opening the bottle and letting it sit for two weeks to flatten in the cold garage. It’s been so crazy cold around here that it was almost frozen! I poured the whole beer into a tall pitcher, and the lack of bubbles told me that it was flat enough to make a lye solution. With the pitcher sitting in an ice bath, I slowly added the lye over a period of about 15 minutes. It would fizz a bit with each addition of lye, but it never even thought about volcano-ing. (I think I just made up a new word, only useful for soaping!) By the final addition of lye, the whole solution was the consistency of very dark, very thick syrup. Stinky syrup, mind you! The heat produced by adding the lye makes the sugars in the alcohol almost scorch. Lye solutions are typically stinky anyway, but using black lager made it exponentially worse! My aversion could be due to the fact that I don’t like dark lagers to begin with! My hubby didn’t mind the smell nearly as much as I did.


Black Lager lye solution

As I was slowly adding the lye to the beer, I was also measuring out and melting my oils. I decided to add some local beeswax to this batch of soap to make it harder, therefore longer lasting. I used only 2% wax, but I can already tell a difference in the hardness of the soap (now 4 weeks after making it).

Because alcohol soaps tend to thicken very rapidly, I had planned to let the lye solution and oils cool down before mixing up the soap. However, wax has such a high melting point that it began to solidify in the oils soon after I’d melted everything. I ended up making the soap at high temperatures, meaning it traced very quickly. I hardly used my stick blender at all for this one!


Adding the dark lager lye solution to oils

Working quickly, I split off a small portion of soap and whisked in titanium dioxide to lighten up the color. I poured the deep tan main soap batter into my mold, then added the lighter tan soap on top and made some peaks to form a “head” on this lager soap. I put the soap to bed as usual in my warm oven, but I watched this one closely to make sure the addition of alcohol didn’t make it boil and bubble out of my mold! Again, no problems at all! The soap came to a full gel faster than my other water or milk soaps, but it didn’t crack or volcano in the slightest.


Raw Black Lager Soap


And here’s the loaf of Black Lager Soap the next day. The peaks remind me of meringue. Yum!

After unmolding the soap, the smell of the lager was still quite strong. And it no longer smelled burnt, but was more smooth, much like the original scent of the lager. I was hoping that scent would stick, but I’m finding that it’s dissipating a bit as the soap continues to cure. The lather of this soap is rich and luxurious, and the wax has most certainly hardened the bar.


Check out the striations in the front bar. It looks like the beer is settling, right?! So cool!


Black Lager Soap

I’m grateful for the suggestion and gift of lager that pushed me to make this fun soap! And I’m thinking this definitely isn’t just for men! With it’s rich, creamy lather, this might make a fantastic shaving soap. I’ll test it out and get back to you! 😉