Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Realization and a Legend

I made my soap for the Soap Making Forum's monthly soap challenge last night.  I am beginning to realize that when I add my fragrance oil after I have already gotten the oils to emulsify that by the time I get my soap batter separated and mixed with the colors that I want them to be that the batter is going to be too thick.  This means I am not getting the swirls to turn out quite as nice as I would like them to and that by the time I am pouring into the mold that it is extremely thick and hard to work with.

At this point, it makes things messy and a little difficult to work with, but if I wish to make some of the more complicated swirls I am going to have to work at thinner trace for the results I want.  This leads me to think that I want to add in my fragrances before I start mixing.  It also means that I will have to gain a little more confidence and determining when the oils and lye have emulsified enough that it is not going to cause separation issues.

Anyways, my little realization aside, I am fairly satisfied with my new soapy creation.  As I have stated before, this month's challenge was "Locale."  For my soap, I chose to use a legend that was born in the neighboring town of Leominster, MA.  The story is told of a man who traveled around the country spreading apples and the apple seed.  Many of you may have heard of the story of Johnny Appleseed as a child, but many may not know that the story was based on a real man named John Chapman who was born in Leominster, MA.

John Chapman actually did not spread seeds randomly around the countryside as many may think he did, but actually built fenced in nurseries for the apple trees where they would be safe from livestock.  He was an early conservationist and cared deeply about the environment and about animals.  (Thank you wikipedia for the information, I am heading to bed or I would cross reference for accuracy and such).

So, as my soap is about Johnny Appleseed, it is scented with Peak's Apple Jack and Peel.  It is colored with chromium oxide (green), titanium dioxide (lightened the base color a bit), and Queen Kathryn mica from TKB Trading.  The picture makes this look rather orange, but it is actually more of a pink that I am hoping will darken closer to red in time.


  1. It might be your recipe that's causing your formula to thicken before you're ready to swirl. My typical formula is 3.8% castor, 26.9 % each coconut and grapeseed, 38.5% lard, and 3.8% shea butter. This formula usually gets me a very slow-moving batter. The only thing that thickens it up more quickly is the FO, if it happens. Also, I've noticed that when my oils/fats are not quite melted all the way (i.e. there's a lump or two still in the bucket), then the soap batter tends to thicken sooner during the blend. I'd use those soaps - they look great :)

    1. Thank you, I am getting more confident with my soaping in general, and may try changing up my recipe a bit and see if I can get slower trace. Right now I am using Olive Oil at 35%, Palm at 30%, 25% Coconut and 10% Castor Oil. I did play with a Shea butter recipe also, and I am trying to remember if I had the same problem with it or not... I don't think I did, but then again, I didn't add any colors to it, just fragrance.