Confetti Soaps

In a large box in my garage, I’ve been stockpiling the shavings and end cuts left over from cleaning up the edges of my soaps. Since the box of leftovers and scraps was about to overflow, I decided I needed to do something with those things. We’re talking at least 15 pounds of soap here. Not for the faint of heart!

First, I divided up the shavings, some into like colors, and some into like fragrances. And then came the fun part. I spent some time planning out what fun I could have incorporating all those shavings into new designs and new scents.

After lots of weighing and calculating, I had several plans ready to go. The first soap I made was actually two-in-one. I divided a large loaf mold in half with a piece of cardboard, made enough white base soap to fill it, then divided the white soap into 2 bowls. Into one bowl went some Energy fragrance oil along with scraps of pink, orange, and yellow Satsuma soap (similar citrus scents). Into the other bowl, I added Elements of Bamboo fragrance and scraps of green and tan soaps of various earthy scents like Green Clover & Aloe. I poured both bowls into the same mold, one on each side of the divider. Here are the resulting soaps.

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Energy Confetti Soap

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Elements of Bamboo Confetti Soap

Notice that I also got to practice oil and mica swirls on top of these soaps!? ūüôā

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Raw soap with gold mica in oil swirls on top

My next batch of soap was a mixture of lots of bright-colored soap scraps that had been sitting around for quite some time, as well as some pretty recently made soaps. To make sure the older shavings would incorporate into the new soap, I spritzed them with distilled water, mixed, and let them sit to soften for about half an hour before making the new soap. To this batch I added a sample of Black Cherry Bomb fragrance oil, and I colored the base soap an awesome shade of neon pink. I added the shavings to this base, stirred and poured into the mold.

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Other than those pesky air bubbles, I like the results!

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Notice the hot pink swirls on top of the left bar? I experimented with neon pink colorant in oil swirls. Apparently, neon works just as well as mica in oil swirls!

With the remainder of my scraps, I decided to hot process rebatch. It was a hodge-podge of scraps containing some red, black and dark green soaps, but mostly consisting of natural tan-colored soap shreds left from Oatmeal Milk & Honey soap as well as Almond and Vanilla soaps. I put 4 pounds of scraps in a big crock pot on high, added 5oz distilled water, and stirred every 15-30 minutes. After about an hour, the soap seemed a bit dry so I added 2oz of milk and 2oz of water. Some of the larger chunks never melted, while the majority of the small tan shavings did melt. After about 2 hours in the crock, it appeared like the soap was ready to mold. To add more interest, I stirred in some more chunks of red, black, and white soaps, then I added a sample of a different cherry fragrance oil, stirred it all up, and plopped it into my mold.

I¬†thought the cherry fragrance would compliment the strong undertones of Oatmeal Milk & Honey and Vanilla soap scraps, but I was wrong! I also¬†thought the miscellaneous colors would make the soap look more fun and interesting. Wrong again! This one gets the prize for “Ugliest Soap I’ve Ever Created.”

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Is it bad fruitcake or cat vomit? Can’t quite put my finger on it. And don’t want to. Haha!

This rather yucky soap has an awesome lather, though! And with various milk and yogurt soap scraps plus more milk added, it should be extra nourishing.

So what do you do with super ugly soaps that have already been rebatched and still turned out badly???

Just chalk it up as a good learning experience and chuck it, I suppose! Or wear a blindfold and nose-plug while showering. ūüėÄ

Thankfully it was all just scraps anyway. Not like I was ruining a large batch of new oils and butters with a fragrance that I absolutely loved! It’s not a total failure. I have actually had success hot process rebatching other soaps, and I’ve come up with other creative ways to use scraps, like this fun embed soap I made a few months ago.

I didn’t end up using all 15 pounds of my scraps, but I sure used a lot of them! Making confetti soaps was pretty darn fun, and I have enough scraps left to make a few more soaps. Here’s to a new day of soaping.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!¬†

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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.

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The big reveal…Rather underwhelming.

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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!

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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!

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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!

Rebatching My Big Batch

Rebatching soap is something I’ve read a lot about, but I’d never tried it until now. It was never necessary until now!

Remember that triple batch of milk soap that I made a few weeks ago? When I cut the soap, it seemed to be perfectly fine. No big air pockets, no zap, no drying or burning when used on my hands. But after a few weeks of curing, I picked up a bar and found some large crystals that had seeped out of the soap. Since I made the soap, I’ve¬†had this nagging feeling. You know? That gut feeling that something was wrong. I examined every bar and picked out one bar that had a large amount of seeping crystals. I dug into the soap, and sure enough, I found a small pocket of lye. As I had feared from the beginning, there must have been some undissolved lye in the milk when I added it to the oils. Oh, the horror! Soap that can burn your skin! What to do, what to do?

Rebatch! Save the soap!

When I originally made that triple batch of soap, I measured and remeasured, and remeasured again. I am absolutely certain that I used the correct amounts of oils, lye, and milk. The lye simply didn’t get completely dissolved before going into the oils. Since I knew the exact problem, I knew I could save my soap, all TWELVE pounds of it!

I went back to the drawing boards, did some more research, and came across this post about rebatching from the Midlife Farm Wife, an awesome fellow central Illinois soaper. (By the way, Donna is infinitely funnier and cooler than me. You should definitely check out her blog! I’d love to meet her, but we live about 3 hours apart and both have farms to run. Her farm is real with pigs and cows; I’m raising five messy babies on mine.)

Since Donna’s method seemed pretty simple, I decided to try the crock pot to rebatch my soap. Like the good girl that I am, I followed her instructions for my first rebatching experience. I grated up 8 bars of soap, added 4 ounces of milk (about half a cup) and 1 ounce of sweet almond oil to the pot, set it on high, covered, and stirred it all about every 15 minutes.

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Check out that sliver of soap. It’s lighter in the middle where it hadn’t fully dried out yet, and it was much softer. Soap is awesome! Grating it all up is not so awesome…

After about half an hour, the pieces were beginning to melt. Then after about an hour and a half, it was all melted and gloppy. It never fully gelled again like in Donna’s picture, but it seemed to be getting dry and was beginning to burn around the bottom edges.

Rebatching soap

Here’s the gloopy, gloppy soap after about an hour and a half.

I added a tiny bit more milk, making the soap more fluid, and I also added a splash of green apple fragrance. After a good stir, it went into my medium sized mold. The scent is absolutely divine! The original oatmeal, milk & honey scent comes through with the finishing bright notes of apple. I’m calling it Honey Crisp Apple. YUM!

The first batch went extremely well, but it left quite a bit of room in my large crock pot once melted down. For the second batch, I grated up 12 bars and increased the milk and oil accordingly. It took a bit longer to get completely melted, but everything else went just as anticipated. At the end of the cook, I added some more oatmeal, milk & honey fragrance, molded it, and pressed in some bubble wrap to get a honeycomb look.

Since I’d been cooking soap for 4 hours already, I thought I might as well finish it all in one day! For the third and fourth batches, I used both a large and a small crock and cooked it at the same time. Into the small pot went 5 bars grated soap, and another 12 bars went into the large pot again. My arms and shoulders were actually sore the next day from grating all that soap!¬†I added some lavender essential oil to the small pot to get Lavender Milk & Honey soap, very comforting and relaxing. To the last large batch, I added some vanilla fragrance, yielding Vanilla Milk & Honey.

These pictures show the differences in size and shape of some of my handmade wooden molds.

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Small, medium, and large wooden molds filled with rebatched soap. I’m not crazy about the tops, but that’s what happens with most hot process soaps as they’re smushed into the molds.

Bars of rebatched soap

Bars of rebatched soap. From left to right: Honey Crisp Apple, Lavender Milk & Honey, Oatmeal Milk & Honey, and Vanilla Milk & Honey.

Bars of rebatched soaps

See all the pretty speckles in the different soaps? Lots of oatmeal and honey goodness packed in every bar!

I’ve tried out several different widths of molds in an attempt to find my favorite size bar of soap. I think I’ve settled on 3 inches long by 2.5 inches wide by 1-1.25 inch thick. What’s your favorite size?

I’m quite happy with my final products. Even though I didn’t add any interesting bits of colored soap like Donna did, I’m pleased with the simple marbled look of my soaps. The darker bits of soap speckled throughout must be from the honey as it heated and caramelized during rebatching. Dear ol’ hubby likes the looks of these bars better than cold process. After a week of curing, they’re back to being very hard, creating a bubbly, yet very creamy lather.

Rebatched soaps

Not only are they different sizes, but different colors as well. You can already see how much adding vanilla browns the soap. The soap on the far right (Vanilla Milk & Honey) will eventually turn a rich, deep shade of brown.

I hope that I don’t¬†need¬†to rebatch again anytime soon, but I will definitely do this again. This hand milled soap has a look all its own, and the final bars really are very lovely to use. Now that I know that I can do it, I can have some fun trying new scents, colors, and additives that don’t hold up well during cold process soaping. Once again, I’ve found lots more to try! It’s never-ending.

Soaping with Beer = Success!

Well, I now officially have 10 batches of soap under my belt! This week’s Great Cakes Soapworks challenge was to use alcohol in our soap, so I decided to go with beer for my first attempts. ¬†I watched Amy’s video at around 1am, so needless to say, I think I forgot some of the things she said… And when I was planning out my recipe, my internet was down, so I couldn’t refresh my memory! I went for it anyway. ¬†Why not?! I’m finding that I’m much braver than I thought.

For my first try, I replaced the water with cold, flat light beer that I had on hand and used my normal recipe with a 33% lye solution. ¬†Other than the beer causing the lye solution to smell, there really was not much difference at all between this batch and the others I’ve made. ¬†It may have traced a little bit sooner, but certainly not much. ¬†Maybe this is because it was light beer with fewer sugars? ¬†I even separated a bit out to whiten, then layer and swirl for contrast. ¬†It was thicker than I’d like when I poured, but the final product turned out smooth and creamy. ¬†I used the cold process oven process method with this one, cooking the soap at 170 degrees for a full 2 hours and watching it closely to make sure it didn’t volcano. ¬†I left it overnight, then cut into it the next morning. ¬†Success!

Here’s the only problem: I didn’t have any fragrances on hand that I thought lent themselves well to a beer smell, so I decided to make my own essential oil blend (another first) using peppermint, spearmint, and lemon eucalyptus oils. ¬†BIG MISTAKE! I thought that the lemon would bring out the beer smell, not realizing that the beer smell completely disappears! ¬†Plus I didn’t have straight lemon, so I chose lemon eucalyptus, thinking it would be mellow. ¬†SO. NOT. MELLOW. ¬†I only used about one part lemon eucalyptus to two parts each of the mints, but it is so much stronger than the mints. ¬†It actually makes my stomach turn! ¬†It might even repel bugs! ¬†After a few days of curing, the lemon eucalyptus is dissipating. ¬†Maybe I’ll be able to use this after all.

Since I was so disappointed with the smell of my first beer soap and feeling a bit dejected, I had to try again! ¬†My internet was back up and running, so I reviewed the video and other posts about alcohol soaping. ¬†Realizing that I’d done a few things that weren’t recommended, I changed up my recipe a bit and increased my liquids to 38% beer as a percentage of oils (especially since I was doing hot process). ¬†Now knowing that the beer smell goes away, I chose a lovely strawberries and champagne fragrance. ¬†Looking back, I wish I’d tried using champagne instead! ¬†Maybe next time!

Hot processing the beer batter was fun! It certainly didn’t have to cook very long. ¬†I watched carefully to make sure I didn’t get a crock volcano, but never had any signs of one. ¬†After the cook, I added red mica to part of the soap and glopped the two colors in the mold. There are a few small air pockets, but I like the final result! ¬†Smells lovely and has a creamy, bubbly lather.

Strawberries and Champagne Soap, hot processed and made with Beer. Haha! Poor man’s champagne, I suppose!

Now I’ll have to venture into making some other alcohol soaps! ¬†This, like all of the other challenges, was super fun! ¬†I love seeing the beautiful creations of everyone else involved in the challenge. ¬†Check out the other participants’ results here!