Cold Process Soap, Day Five

Today’s blog is about how to approach color. When coloring a soap we often think, I want half my soap blue and half white in a lovely swirl. In reality the color is nowhere near half the mixture. True mixtures which are half white and half color look too much color and the swirls don’t appear as vividly.

When swirling soaps think CAKE. If you were never taught to do chocolate swirls in a cake, now is the time to learn. Cakes are a much thicker batter than our soap when it goes into a mold, but the concept is the same: primary color (flavor) in the pan, then place spots of color (flavor) in random positions across the top, swirl with the long handle of a round handled spoon. I use a highly technical piece of laboratory equipment called a drinking straw.

Here is today’s recipe:

White Soap
30 ounces weight Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
25 ounces weight Coconut Oil
20 ounces weight Olive Oil
5 ounces weight Mango Butter

30 fluid ounces water
11 ounces weight sodium hydroxide

Blue Soap
6 ounces weight Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
5 ounces weight Coconut Oil
4 ounces weight Olive Oil
1 ounce weight Mango Butter

6 fluid ounces water
2.2 ounces weight sodium hydroxide

1 teaspoon Ultramarine Blue Color

Mix the lye solutions as set aside. Heat the large batch of soap. This took about 8 minutes in the microwave. Heat the oils for the small batch while you are mixing the large batch of soap. I am using a 2 gallon pail to mix the large batch of soap.

Once the white soap is at a light trace I set aside and then begin mixing the blue batch. When the blue soap is a bit thicker than a plain colored soap batch I rinse my blender and go back to blending my white batch. It only took about 10 seconds more of blending and I poured the white batch into my card board box lined with a plastic bag.

Once all the white soap is in the mold, I added the blue soap pouring in random areas. I then used a straw and not only swirled through the mold but also swirled up and down. The up and down action has the straw mixing across the top and dipping down to the bottom in a circular motion like whipping pancake batter with a balloon whisk in the kitchen.

The soap should appear somewhat colored on the top. Allow to rest. You can see this great picture of the soap going through gel phase. Try very hard not to move the soap while it is gel phase, you may lose all of your beautiful swirls.

Let’s fast forward to the time when the soaps are ready to cut. You can see the soaps from all week. These soaps are our shea butter basic soap, then neem oil, then lanolin and finally our peppermint leaves and blue colored swirl soaps. The only soap that we poured this week that was as viscous as heavy cream (in an unwhipped state) was the colored batch we did today. All others were poured at a water-thin viscosity. All had reached trace and none were over mixed.

The soap today was 5 parts of white plus 1 part color soap. Look at the finished soap. Can you see why we chose the ratio of 5 plus 1? Beautiful!

So, let’s recap today:
1) swirling soap includes mixing in an up and down fashion
2) the best ratios of white background to colored soap is a 5 to 1.
3) anything can be used as a mold, including a cardboard box

Happy soaping! Send pictures of your new batches. We’ll share here in the blog. Everyone should try a new batch of soap with this week’s lessons at hand.

Andee
Next week is all about having luscious lips! Join in for the kissable fun!

Blending the large batch of lye solution and melted oils.

Blending the large batch of lye solution and melted oils.

Adding color to the small batch of soap.

Adding color to the small batch of soap.

Starting to mix the color into the soap.

Starting to mix the color into the soap.

Almost completely mixed soap.

Almost completely mixed soap.

Completely mixed soap.

Completely mixed soap.

Pouring plain soap into box.

Pouring plain soap into box.

Plain soap completely in box.

Plain soap completely in box.

Adding more colored soap.

Adding more colored soap.

Starting to swirl the soap with the straw.

Starting to swirl the soap with the straw.

Finished soap.

Finished soap.

Our swirled soap in the gelled phase.

Our swirled soap in the gelled phase.

Unwrapping Monday's soap.

Unwrapping Monday's soap.

Cutting Monday's soap.

Cutting Monday's soap.

Close up of Monday's soap.

Close up of Monday's soap.

Cutting Tuesday's soap.

Cutting Tuesday's soap.

Cutting Wednesday's soap.

Cutting Wednesday's soap.

Thursday's soap.

Thursday's soap.

Close up of Thursday's soap after a few hours.

Close up of Thursday's soap after a few hours.

My cutter is too small for this large block of soap.

My cutter is too small for this large block of soap.

Cutting the manageable bars of swirled soap.

Cutting the manageable bars of swirled soap.

Starting to add colored soap.

Starting to add colored soap.

Emptying the colored soap bucket.

Emptying the colored soap bucket.

Swirling the soap more.

Swirling the soap more.

Soap right after the swirling was done.

Soap right after the swirling was done.

Pulling Monday's soap out of the mold.

Pulling Monday's soap out of the mold.

Pulling the plastic wrap off Monday's soap.

Pulling the plastic wrap off Monday's soap.

Monday's soap spaced to dry.

Monday's soap spaced to dry.

Tuesday's soap.

Tuesday's soap.

Close up of Tuesday's soap.

Close up of Tuesday's soap.

Close up of Wednesday's soap.

Close up of Wednesday's soap.

Close up of Thursday's soap, freshly cut.

Close up of Thursday's soap, freshly cut.

Unwrapping the swirled soap.

Unwrapping the swirled soap.

Using a cake spatula to cut the soap into manageable bars.

Using a cake spatula to cut the soap into manageable bars.

Finished cutting the swirled soap.

Finished cutting the swirled soap.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
Cold Process Soap, Day Five, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

23 Comments

  • kathyjane says:

    Beautiful blue swirls!
    I have a question about mixing the soap to trace. I usualy mix my soap until a spoon dragged across the surface of the mixture leaves an indentation that stays,think pudding. Am I mixing to long and what will this do to the final product? So far I haven’t had any problems but I am always looking to improve.

    VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
    • Andee says:

      kathyjane-
      You won’t have any problems with the soap. A more fluid trace makes finer and easier to swirl ribbons of color. If you like what you are getting, keep doing it!.
      Andee

      VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  • Julie says:

    After reading this, I find it absolutely fascinating that you mix the oils with the lye mixture so soon! I have always been “OCD” about temperatures, and feel a bit overwhelemed/confused. Is it okay to always do the mixing without taking the temperatures, as you have been doing this week? If so- I am very excited! Many days I put off making soap because of the time I have to wait (mostly for the lye mixture to come down.) I also have learned that I have been looking for trace to be much thicker than you have pointed out this week and have been waiting too long to pour into the molds. I am usually in a panic to pour my soap into the molds while the mixture has almost hardened in the pot. Thank you!

    VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
    • Andee says:

      Julie,
      Try taking the temperatures immediately before mixing and do the same process we use. Note the temperatures while mixing, it would be handy if you have a secretary to write these things down during the process. Secretaries can be good friends, spouses, kids or even a tape recorder.
      Don’t worry about the temperatures being something specific, just take them so you know what they are. After a week of making soap like we have done, you will start to break your OCD issues of having specific numbers on the dial of your thermometer. I sure am glad we got some photos of the
      thin, fluid mixture we pour into the molds.

      VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  • MB says:

    I am definitely going to give this a try.
    Even though it’s twice the process it will be twice as easy to color and swirl.
    Trying to play “beat the clock” with the one batch method just wasn’t working for my “OCD”.
    I wanted my swirls to be swirly and not…glop…glop…glop.
    Thank You,
    mb

    VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  • sincerelyemily says:

    hi Andee – Can I grease my molds to avoid the plastic wrinkly marks on the outside of the soap? what would I use – olive oil, butter, …..or is lining the mold with plastic the common thing to do amongst soap makers who are pouring into a big plain mold/pan who are cutting into bars vs. pouring into “pretty” shaped individual molds. thanks again, Emily

    VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
    • Andee says:

      You can avoid the plastic wrap but you should consider that the fold lines will disappear after a good hand washing, AND these are test batches. Soaps which are sold are often poured into molds that will have straight sides. For greasing a mold we recommend a thin coating of mineral oil, Vaseline, or a silicone spray that meat grinders use. These are not saponifiable materials. If you use olive oil, butter or some other saponifiable fat, then the process of converting that fat to soap makes it act more like Super Glue than a mold release. We use the plastic wrap because we can make lots of soaps on a given day, not have to rewash the molds, and get each soap out of the mold within seconds. Again, these are test batches.

      Finished soaps for sale are a different story.

      VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  • Julie says:

    Hi Andee,
    I have another question: Do you have a set time table that you use for melting the oils in the microwave? I noticed that for the 16 oz batches, you microwaved the oils for 2 minutes, and for the batch on day five, 80 oz of oils, you microwaved for about 8 minutes. I typically make 40 oz batches- what would you recommend for time? I don’t want to overheat and/or catch my oils on fire….
    Thank you!
    Julie

    VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
    • Andee says:

      Julie,
      No, we don’t have a set time table for melting oils in the microwave. I like to microwave each batch using short increments of time and then stirring. I keep doing that until the oils are completely melted.

      For your 40 oz batch, start with 2 minutes and then check the oils and decide from there. If you are unsure about how much time you need, feel free to microwave in 30 second or 1 minute intervals if that make you feel more comfortable.

      VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  • moirakris says:

    Fantastic information in this series, thanks so much!! I have been wanting to try making cold proccess soap for awhile but I have been scared because I always heard it was so hard to do. I did have a question on weights/scales though. How important is accuraccy here, do I need a scale that does .01 grams? I will just be making 1 lb batches (like your test batches) and not huge amounts at a time
    Thanks again! Moira

    VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
    • Andee says:

      moirakris,
      If you are planing on making lotion in the future, then we do recommend using a scale that has .1 gram readability. If this scale is only going to be used for 1 lb batches of soap, then I don’t see the need for a scale that has the .1 gram readability. I hope this information has helped you.

      VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  • bluebutterflz says:

    Hi,
    I tried using your lavender fields color for the first time in my CP soap today. But I am pretty discouraged cause instead of it turning a lovely purple it turned a murky gray from the very start. Nothing I could do changed it either. What am I doing wrong? I probably ended up adding too much in the attempt to fix it. I added it to the batch after the lye and oils were mixed like I generally do with my natural colorants (Which turn out great) It’s a shame too cause the entire batch minus the gloomy gray color turned out perfect! Have and suggestions?

    VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
    • Andee says:

      bluebutterflz,
      It is gray because too little was used. When you have oils that have their own color, palm and olive oils are common problems, then you need more color to cover. This is a pigment color and you must use enough to cover the other colors. A dye migrates through the product, a pigment will not. If you need to make the color pop out from the yellow oils, then use Titanium Dioxide. This white color makes all colors seem brighter.

      VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  • bluebutterflz says:

    I did use some Titanium Dioxide. I used about 1-1/2 TB of purple color on a 3lb batch of soap and about 1 ts of the Titanium Dioxide. How much would you suggest I use in a future batch?

    In this particular recipe ( a Lavender Cream) I used, goats milk, palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, castor oil, Hydronated soybean oil, deodorized cocoa butter, shea butter, & scent… It smells wonderful though. It would make for a great blog recipe! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
    • Andee says:

      What is the dilution rate of the color?

      Milk, palm and olive will all require extra color to be added.

      When adding color you can plan that what you see in the pot will be darker than the final bar of soap. So before pouring, decide if you want that color or if you want something darker. If you like blueish purples, you can add a bit of the ultramarine blue to the mix. This is like painting a room that has dark colored walls. We need to throw enough paint on the walls so we see only the new color, without enough paint it looks like mud.

      VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  • bluebutterflz says:

    I used about 2 – 2 1/2 TB of glycerin to about 1 TB purple pigment. Mixed well to remove clumps and then added to batch. So it wasn’t diluted much when it was added. Before adding my color to the batch it was a lovely bold purple color and I was disappointed when it’s ending color was a murkly gray with a slightly purple tint to it.

    I guess I just didn’t think I would have to add soo much color to achieve what I wanted. Especially after seeing other recipes using color. Not to mention when I use natural colors I only use a small amount and achieve nice colors. Would adding color to my oils before mixing do anything different? I just want to make sure I get the most out of my pigment. I hate to use soo much that I dye skin or bath tubs,

    VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
    • Andee says:

      Pigments are used at a much higher rate than dyes. You won’t color the bath tub or the skin with a pigment like this. Dyes are another thing. For a pigment, these we use to make swirl bars, it takes much more colorant than a dye.

      VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  • bluebutterflz says:

    Thank you. It’s good to know that. I will remember that in future batches.

    VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  • sandman_max says:

    Is there a way to make a smaller batch of this? Also, I have solid chunk soap colors. How would I use those?

    VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
  • AshleeAlexandra says:

    Hi there,

    I just stumbled upon this notion that you can make your own soaps and now I am hooked! One of the first sites I visited said to only mix lye/water in stainless steal or enamel, as glass can shatter and plastic can melt from the heat process. In all the blog posts and pictures I’ve been seeing here, I see that you use glass beakers and plastic buckets. Is that safe for any recipe? It would make life so much easier than for me to try and find suitable stainless steel containers…

    VA:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
    • Andee says:

      Ashlee,
      We do show mixing in glass beakers that we purchase from a supplier of laboratory grade equipment. Our beakers are made from borosilicate glass, which can withstand thermal shock & chemical attack from acidic or alkaline solutions. We do recommend checking all containers for stress, injury or other potential problems. I have even had a plastic HDPE container begin to melt from a batch of soap! All containers have their weaknesses and as long as the user knows to check for potential problems in all containers that they use, we feel that any containers are fine to use. (As long as they are not aluminum! ;) ) One of the benefits of using the glass beakers is the ability to photograph at different angles instead of only over the shoulder of the soapmaker.

      Doesn’t that make the starting of soapmaking so much easier?

      VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  • Jennifer Gale says:

    There are no links to the oils or colorant.

    VA:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Leave a Reply