If I say so myself, I am getting quite good at this soap-making business. Well, sometimes I am. I really love making soap so I am determined to learn from my mistakes. This was my second try at making cylinder pour soap. The first time, I let the batter get too thick, therefore, when I tried to pour it into the mould, it wouldn’t pour. I had to spoon it in. The colours were a bit yuk, too. It ended up with white, grey and green. The grey was a bit weird and the green was a bit “out there”. To make things worse, I used Bramble Berry green tea fragrance oil which I didn’t particularly like. Damn it! I bought a big bottle, too. I will have to mix it with something else.
But it was a great learning experience. Every time I make soap, I write down exactly what I do and what was the effect. Because of that experience, this time I replaced the grey with pink and mellowed the green. Now, I love the colour combination.
If you have never made soap and would like to try, here is a detailed post setting out the steps in some detail. You need to make, at least, one batch with no colour and no perfume so you know how the batter works. You can then let your hair down.
The good thing about soap making is, even when things don’t go as planned, the soap is still perfectly usable.
This time, I made sure that the soap recipe did not move fast. I have read in Anne-Marie Faiola’s book, Soap Crafting, that extra virgin olive oil does not move as fast as pomace olive oil (oil extracted using solvents) and that palm kernel oil accelerates trace. Two good snippits of info worth keeping in mind when choosing your recipe.
Also, choose a fragrance that does not accelerate trace. You want enough time to pour the batter. I chose Bramble Berry fresh snow which behaved perfectly. As I mentioned before, when buying fragrance oils, make sure you understand how it behaves in cold process soap. Many fragrances will discolour your soap and accelerate trace.
Finally, when you mix the batter, stop mixing as soon as you reach a very thin trace. Don’t do what I did the first time I tried this which was mix it until it is nice and thick.
To pour the batter, cut a hole in the base of a plastic cup. Secure the cup (upside down) over one end of the poly pipe. Insert the funnel into the base of the cup.
Here is a photo of what I use to secure the cup – Maus made it. It can be used for circular and rectangular moulds. It has a circle of nails protruding underneath which allows it to sit snuggly around the poly pipe. Smart, hey? Sorry, no underneath photo. It is in Perth and I’m in Bridgetown.
Divide the batter into three equal portions. Colour each portion – or do as I did, colour two portions and leave one white. Add the perfume to each portion and pour a small amount of each portion into the funnel. Repeat, maintaining the same order, ie, white, pink, green, until all the batter is used. To ensure you pour an equal amount each time, count “one, two,” then stop.
For those interested, this is what I did. For the base soap, I used a recipe from Anne-Marie Faiola’s book, Soap Crafting.
- 396g extra virgin olive oil
- 113g coconut oil
- 113g palm oil
- 206g distilled water
- 85g caustic soda
- At light trace, add 2 tsp of titanium dioxide mixture*. Mix in with a whisk.
- Split the batter into 3 equal quantities.
- To one, add 1 tsp ultramarine pink mixture**. Mix in with a whisk.
- To another, add ½ tsp sea clay mixture*** & ¼ tsp chrome green mixture****. Mix in with a whisk.
- The last, leave plain.
- Add 2 tsp Bramble Berry fresh snow fragrance oil to each portion.
- Pour the batter (Maus had the green jug) into the funnel for about 2 seconds each time – white, pink, green – until all the batter is used.
- Once you have poured all your batter into the pipe, put the other end on and wrap your soap in a towel. Leave upright.
- Unmould after 24 hours, using a push stick, and cut into 2.5cm slices.
* Titanium Dioxide Mixture – 1 tsp titanium dioxide to 14 tsp olive oil
**Ultramarine pink mixture – 2 tsp ultramarine pink with 4 x 15mil tablespoons olive oil
***Sea clay mixture – 2 teaspoons sea clay in 2 x 15mil tablespoons distilled water
****Chrome green oxide mixture – 1 teaspoon chrome green oxide in 1 x 15mil tablespoon olive oil
The mixes are all combined with a small battery-operated latte mixer. Remix well each time you use them.