This month is the first month I’m officially taking part in the Great Cakes Soapworks Soap Challenge Club. Last month, I tried out the wood grain challenge, but was unfortunately too busy to get everything cut, planed and pretty to take photos and enter it in the challenge.
However, I was on the ball for November! I was heading on holidays on November 5, so I created my first try on Halloween while the husband was handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.
Because the technique name is Cosmic Wave, my mind immediately went to “space”. I searched for photos of galaxies and the like, but a lot of them were the same old “purple/blue/pink on a black background with some stars”. I had a feeling that would be a bit too common, so I kept looking until I came across this photo:
Pretty unique, right?
So now that I had my photo, I was ready to choose my colours! I went with a navy blue base (per my photo), which I achieved by mixing about one teaspoon of Blue Vibrance (from Nurture Soap) with tiny bits of black oxide until I achieved the desired deep blue. For my accent colours, I chose green, yellow, orange and red (Lime Appeal, Firefly, Mango Tango and Really Red! from Nurture Soap, respectively), of which I used about a half teaspoon each.
For my wood grain soap, I had used a large recipe in my 18-bar slab mold, but felt that this was way too much soap for what was essentially an experiment. So this month, I used my slab mold again, but divided it in half using a piece of cardboard, and used a significantly smaller soap recipe.
The recipe I decided to use was the very basic soap recipe from Anne-Marie Faiola’s (of Soap Queen and Brambleberry fame) first book, Soap Crafting: Step-by-Step Techniques for Making 31 Unique Cold-Process Soaps. The recipe is basically just a combination of palm, coconut and olive oils with your lye water and fragrance/colour. When I added my lye water to my oils, I made only a few pulses with my stick blender (a maximum of five) to ensure my trace would remain thin enough for the technique. I mixed it a few more times by hand to be sure it was emulsified, and mixed each colour into the soap batter by hand.
I decided to go with Tatsiana’s first pour technique, and found a fair amount of success using that. Unfortunately, the mold I used had quite high sides on it, so I had trouble getting the pattern/colouring all the way to the edge in some spots. This is what my soap looked like just after pouring:
I then stuck it in the oven with the light on overnight, and pulled it out the next day (about 24 hours later). The soap was soft, crumbly and had cracked like a desert!
I basically gave up hope that I was going to be able to enter the challenge this month, but we ended up coming home from holidays early, so I was able to try a second time last night (November 11). I used a different recipe this time, based on the one I used for my wood grain soap, but tweaking it a bit to be slightly similar to Tatsiana’s recipe for the challenge (if that makes any sense). What I ended up with was: 20% palm oil, 25% coconut oil, 10% canola oil, 32% olive oil, 5% palm kernel flakes, 3% castor oil, 5% shea butter, with 33% water as percent of oil weight and 5% SF. I used the same colors in basically the same amounts, and went on to try for a second time…
I initially thought my trace was a bit too thick, but it turned out okay! I left the soap overnight (after liberal application of isopropyl to prevent soda ash) and my hubby helped me cut it just now! It’s still quite soft, so it’s not the prettiest it can be, but I’m pretty satisfied with the results. Can’t wait to clean it up a bit more once it hardens/cures further!
Thanks so much for reading everyone! I look forward to seeing everyone else’s entries, and good luck!