I have made quite a few batches of soap so far, and was inspired to join in on the Soap Challenge Club fun over at Great Cakes Soapworks. This month's challenge was combed soap. As I said, I'm new to soaping, and I'm especially new to colorants in my soap. I've had a few, *ahem* learning experiments, shall we say. My first try at coloring soap ended with a soap with three variations on the same tan. My second attempt was OK. But the third, oh, the third was supposed to be a nice Christmasy Red and Green. It ended up orange and purple!! Lessons learned, research completed, new colorants ordered for the challenge!
J (and S) so nicely documented the process for me. Excuse the ridiculously messy counters in the background. I decided soaping was more important than cleaning (which I did do after the soaping fun was completed!) Plus, I ended up using the end of a couple of bottles of oils, so those somehow ended up in the pics too. Also, excuse the messy hair. (That's a story for a different blog, that has nothing to do with crafting and everything to do with the fact that I was not allowed to get my head wet for 12 days!) J seems to think every pic of something I'm doing needs to include the actual person doing said thing.
I started with a basic, slow moving soap batter. I used the recipe provided by the Amy Warden, the club hostess. It was my first soap with lard, but I'm glad I finally tried one! Then I divided out a few small portions for colorants (but no fragrance.) In her example, Amy used five colors. But I hate pink, so I just went with a little more red and called it good.
I scented and colored the majority of the batter, then poured it into my makeshift mold (I chopped up a box that some supplies came in! Feeling pretty thrifty about that one) as a base for the pretty swirls.
Then the fun began! I just layered the colors on, in squiggly lines, until I was out of colored soap batter.
Next comes the combing. With my "fancy" comb.
More lessons learned: Moving the soap to a safe place where it could sit for the chemical reaction to complete, some of the prettily swirled lines got less pretty. Next time (and there will be a next time, this soap is seriously fun, and just "wow"!) I'll plan to leave it in place for a few hours before moving it.
Then the soap had to sit for a day. Once the soap had set up a bit, I could pull it out of the mold and cut it. Here's the result:
The top of the soap has a different texture than I expected. I'm not entirely sure whether this is due to the recipe, or if it's due to the measures I took to avoid soda ash (a white coating on the top of the soap, which I thought would take away from the effect of the combing) I guess more experimentation is in order! I am quickly going to be overrun with soap at this rate!