Straight Lines Soap Challenge

This month’s Great Cakes Soapworks Soap Challenge Club hosted by the amazing Amy Warden was all about making straight lines in soap – lots of them!  The tutorial was provided by Toni Watt of White Milk Soap and Candles and was really helpful in giving me the confidance to attempt a line based design.  My inspiration came from it being that time of year when many people are purchasing and putting up a Christmas tree.  I love trees, and especially in the winter I love all the beautiful evergreen trees you can find in so many different shades contrasting with the white snow we get here in Northeast Ohio – White Pine, Blue Spruce, Fraiser Firs, Scotch Pine, Douglas Firs, Noble Fir, etc.,

tree-headers

I wanted to explore different width lines in soap and decided on making a set of graduated green lines in different shades that one typically might find whie christmas tree shopping.  Interspersed with the green lines I attempted equal narrow white lines to represent the snow.

My soap batter was a mix of hard and soft oils with a 60:40 ratio.  In retrospect I probably should have used the recommended 67% hard oils as some of my layers took longer to setup than I would have liked. I used green and yellow oxides and ultramarine blue for my colors combining the green, blue, and yellow in varying amounts to create my four christmas tree colors.  I used a personally crafted blend of essential oils including Frankensense, Peppermint, and Pine.  I’m really happy with this combination as it definitely reminds me of all the great chritmas time smells.

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Getting ready to pour the first layer
SoapMath.jpeg
Soap math – figuring out how much lye to use in each layer.

This technique required using some basic math to determine how much of the lye liquid  to use for each of the seven layers in my design.

The next set of photos shows the pouring of several of the different layers.

One problem I had was even though I waited to add the lye to the oils right before each pour, later layers started to setup faster.  This doesn’t make any sense to me but perhaps I was stirring faster during the later layers and just didn’t realize it.  Another curiosity was that the white layers took a lot longer to get to trace.  I’m wondering if oxides and ultramarines speed up race?

After putting the whole loaf into the oven to “force gel” I was so nervous having never tried ‘oven processed’ before that I literally checked the loaf every three minutes for about half an hour.  Not sure what I was expecting to see, as I didn’t see anything different each time I checked – lol.

Here is the loaf after unmolding the loaf the next day.

Unmolded Soap Loaf
Unmolded loaf – I see some bubbles on the side probably as a result of CPOP in a silicon mold.

Just as I had read on the Internets I experienced bubbling on the sides of the loaf that touched the silicone mold.  Not sure if there is a way to avoid this but I’m going to look into it.  Also my lines are not as straight as I had hoped and I don’t have time to do another try before Saturday.  Nevertheless I know I’ll be trying this technique in the near future because I can see that with some more practice my idea will look fabulous.

And finally some shots of the finished soap. Definitely not straight lines – but I can see the possibilities!

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I know my entry will pale in comparison to many of the fantastic submissions this month. But that’s OK – I’m a newbie soaped on a journey to keep learning this craft one soap loaf at a time.  Look out world, next year my soap is really going to rock!

Another great learning experience – I’m so sad that this is the last challenge!  Thank you Amy for all your work over the years, wish I had started soaping sooner so I could have participated in more of these outstanding events.  Best of luck with your future Amy!

I’m really gonna miss this…

 

13 comments

    • Thank you so much for you kind comment – I loved this process, even if I wasn’t able to execute it technically as well as I would have liked. I’ve already started working on plans for another crack at straight lines! I will truly miss this group that I had the pleasure to be involved with for these past couple of months.

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  1. Wow! This is a really hard challenge for experienced soapers, so you did a great job! Even though the challenges are over you can still learn so much from the archives! Keep pushing yourself and a year from now I’m sure you’ll be proud of how much you’ve learned!

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    • Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I already purchased several of the past challenge tutorials and am looking forward to trying them out. I really like reading the post from all the entries to the past challenges as well – there is so much information there – I love it. I am so addicted to soaping my family thinks its kinda weird – but they do really like the soap I make so it all works out.

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  2. Very nice job, Gwenn! I loved reading about your process and seeing the final soap! Yes, oxides do speed trace a bit. You did a nice job with your different colors and different ratios of colorants for each one. I also wonder if the soap was setting up faster at the end because the oils were getting cooler. Great observations and awesome looking soap for the holidays! I appreciate your participation in the challenges and wish you all the best also. 🙂

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    • Thank you Amy for your comments and feedback. I bet your spot-on with the thought that my oils were getting cooler so they were setting up faster. Another important bit of knowledge to use on my future soap making journey. I have learned so much in just three short months, I so wish I had started soaping sooner so I would have been able to participate in more of the challenges. I’m planning to continue on my own each month using the past challenges – for next month I’m doing the wood grain challenge. Best of luck to you with your new account. I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a terrific new year.

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