Soap Chronicles Vol I. Five things I've learned so far

Crazy Soap Scientist Profile Pic, LOL

What's up Love Buds?

So, I've been soaping for several weeks now, loving it and learning a lot.  It's been a blast, even with some of the awesome failures I have had.  So what have I learned this month when it comes to making soap?

Lesson 1: Swirls are not as hard as I thought

Voodoo Soap ~ 4theloveofbubbles

When using a well calculated, slow to trace soap recipe, the possibilities are endless. I've been swirling my heart out since the blueberry soap fiasco with my first attempt soap making.  The tops of my soaps are swirltastic and the insides are looking swirlicious!

Lesson 2: Know your mold, start small

The above soap came out gorgeous, except for one thing, I didn't calculate the batch properly and was not able to completely fill the mold with my batter, which means the soap had to be cut wider than I wanted to give the same amount of soap.  I'm using silicone molds at the moment because I'm not feeling the lining of wooden ones.  It may be something I need to do if I become a serious soaper, but I'm not crossing that bridge unless I really need to.  *Silicone molds are flimsy and easy to unmold, but if you plan to relocate it from where you made your soap to a different curing location while the soap is still some what liquid, use caution and soap on something sturdy that you can use as a base to relocate the mold (I found a cutting board works well).  I have first hand knowledge of the gut wrenching after effect of creating a beautiful soap and then sloshing it all over the floor trying to put a flimsy mold on the curing rack.

I started making soap using a 40 oz mold I received with my kit from Bramble Berry, but that is way too much soap to experiment with.  I purchased a couple of 1 pound molds as well as some individual soap bar molds so that I can make smaller batches.  By cutting my batches in half, I can make twice the attempts with the same amount of materials.  It makes a HUGE difference.

Lesson 3:  Be up to the challenge

Challenges like the teardrop swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks are great ways to test your skills and try something new.  I wasn't apart of the official challenge, but seeing Youtube videos about it prompted me to make an attempt and I did a pretty good job!

Olive Juice Soap ~ 4theloveofbubbles

Lesson 4: Don't be discouraged

The beautiful creation above was my second attempt at this process.  You can see my first attempt at cold process soap in about seven years here.  My first attempt at a teardrop swirl wound up looking like this:

Femme Fatale ~ 4theloveofbubbles
Now, it still turned out to be a great soap, but the batter seized up on me pretty quickly.  Which brings me to next lesson.... 

Lesson 5: Research, plan ahead and be ready for it to all go left!

If I had refreshed myself on this fragrance oil prior to starting, I would have known it has a tendency to accelerate trace.  Read up on the properties of all of the ingredients you are going to use, plan and prepare.  But, stay calm when something unexpected happens and work with what you got.

I was trying wheatgerm oil in my soap and planned on trying a hanger swirl (which is not something you should plan to do with an unpredictable recipe) - the batter seized immediately, I could barely plop it in the mold and twirl the end of my spatula through the batter a couple of times before the soap set up and the colors were not as vibrant as I wanted, however this soap came out gorgeously.

Pink Bling ~ 4theloveofbubbles

There are several things I've noticed that I need to work on, but that will be a story for the next soap chronicle!  In the meantime, as I produce and cure soap, it will be made available for sale.  The bars will be between $3.99 and $5.00.  Each batch is only 2 to 6 bars of soap and as I continue to say, my journey is about exploration so re-doing batches probably won't happen (maybe for the holidays...we'll see).  I'd appreciate your support as I continue this journey and of course I want your feedback on anything you choose to acquire.  All of my creations can be found here.

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Until next time,

Peace, Love & loads of glorious, gorgeous Bubbles!



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