|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 have 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. For my soap, I used a highly technical piece of laboratory equipment called a drinking straw.
Here is today’s recipe:
30 fluid ounces water
6 fluid ounces water
1 teaspoon Ultramarine Blue Color
Mix the lye solutions and set aside. Heat the oils for 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 used a 2-gallon pail to mix the large batch of soap.
Once the white soap is at a light trace, I set it aside and began mixing the blue batch. When the blue soap was a bit thicker than a plain colored soap batch, I rinsed my blender and went back to blending the white batch. It only took about 10 seconds more of blending, and I poured the white batch into the cardboard box lined with a plastic bag.
Once all the white soap was in the mold, I added the blue soap, pouring in random areas. I then used a straw to swirl the color through the mold and also 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.
The soap should appear somewhat colored on the top. Allow it 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 all the soaps from the week. These soaps are the 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 unwhipped heavy cream was the colored batch we did today. All others were poured at a water-thin viscosity. All had reached trace, and none was over mixed.
The soap today was 5 parts of white plus 1 part colored soap. Look at the finished soap. Can you see why we chose the ratio of 5:1? Beautiful!
So, let’s recap today:
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.