Saturday, 18 April 2015

Soap Challenge Club - Spinning Swirls

I finally bit the bullet and joined Amy Warden's Soap Challenge Club. You get to make a soap each month with a theme or technique and when I saw the spinning swirls challenge I thought "Hey I can do that" and signed up. What I can't do is follow deadlines correctly so my soap is not in the challenge as I got the dates wrong for posting my photos. However I'm blogging this anyway!

The idea is to pour soap in a faux funnel, where you alternate pouring different coloured soaps on top of each other and then spin the slab to swirl them together. The other thing to do is pour double thick so you can cut each soap horizontally and get the swirls on the inside. My slab mould is pretty big so I didn't want to try and pour double thick the whole thing so I partitioned off a section and lined it with plastic. And that took ages, seriously is there any good, easy way to line a mould? So here's a photo of the liner, first challenge solved!

Although you can see it's still wrinkly! Need to work on that one. I decided to make a lavender rosemary goat milk soap. Ok all my soaps are goat milk soap, but I have been really into lavender and rosemary and I knew it wouldn't accelerate trace. So I thought I would use green clay, pink clay, charcoal and purple oxide and leave some soap white. Then I decided to chuck in a bit of red and green mica to the clays to see what would happen. And then some titanium dioxide for the white bit so it would stay white. So here are all my colours waiting for the soap batter

So I made the soap and was so terrified of over mixing and ending up with gloopy soap that I hardly stick blended at all and then became convinced it was all going to separate out. I added the soap to the colours and the pink went orange and the purple went grey. But I was soldiering on regardless as adding more colour would end up meaning more mixing and then my soap would be too thick to pour!

So I poured my soap, I didn't really have a colour pour plan and had 5 colours so it had very random orders but it turned out really well.

Then time to spin. I am always worried about over swirling soap so I stopped when it looked like this, not everything had swirled but I thought it looked neat. It took alot of spins to get it moving.

The purple looks purple in the photos but at the time it was still quite grey. I then left the soap to set hoping it wasn't going to end up a pool of caustic oil because of under mixing.

A few days later I cut the soap and this is what I got (plus some small soaps with the left over batter). I need to work on my horizontal soap cutting, it was a bit rough in places but is not as bad as it appears in this photo!

And here is the photo that I was supposed to upload so everyone else in the challenge could see:

Kind of rustic and a little uneven (I will probably trim them up better but they are still kind of soft) but I'm really proud of them! The two on the left are from horizontal (inside) cuts and the one on the right was from the top. So what did I learn? Not to panic about purple going grey, it went purple when it set! The pink clay and mica went back to a reddy pink but still kind of on the orange side. And I probably over mix my soaps, this was a good exercise in stick blender restraint! And I'm really happy that I saw a technique and was able to replicate it and have it work! Now to just pay more attention to the dates for the next challenge!