A few people have asked me how I made the celebratory “Over the Rainbow” soap featured in my previous post.
So here goes…
Firstly, I searched the web for days for ideas as to how I could make the rainbow. I, finally, settled on a method used by a French lady to make polymer clay rainbow pendants. Basically, she rolled out pieces of clay of each colour, layered them on top of each other then draped them over a piece of tubing. She then sliced through the layers to get thin rainbows.
Ok, I was ready to go.
I made a batch of soap and divided it into six cups and dyed the soap in each cup a different colour: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. I poured the raw soap into individual moulds and covered them with glad wrap. I didn’t want any air getting in as I didn’t want the soap to go hard. I left them overnight to do their thing and turn into soap.
The next morning, I checked on the soaps to see how they were going. I took each colour out of its mould and gave it a good knead to break up any bits that might be hardening. I then wrapped each colour in glad wrap and put it into a zip lock bag to finalise the saponification process. I put them in a bag to stop the evaporation of water and, therefore, prevent the soap going hard.
In the mean time, Maus made me two jigs. The first one consisted of a piece of melamine bordered on three sides with wood two millimetres thick and the size I wanted my slices so that when I rolled the soap, each slice would be an even two mils thick and the correct width.
She also made a jig over which to drape the slices of soap. She cut an old piece of vacuum cleaner pipe in half lengthways and then attached it to a piece of melamine. She couldn’t use wood because wood is porous and the sticky soap would stick to it.
After waiting three days, I added white to some of the blue to make pale blue and yellow to the green to make a yellowy green. I now had 8 colours. I took each colour and rolled it into an 8 cm x 4.5 cm x 2 mils slice.
Now that is easier said than done. It took me all night to roll eight pieces of soap. Soft soap is very sticky and does not like being rolled out.
I draped the red over the vacuum pipe after covering the pipe in tapioca flour so the soap would not sick to it. I then scored the red soap, wet it, painted it with wet soft soap and draped the next colour over. I did this for all eight colours to make a 4.5 centimetre thick rainbow.
Then we had to slice the rainbow – that was Maus’ job. She is a much better slicer than me. She tried to slice one piece that night but it was way too soft and collapsed. We decided to leave it until the morning and try again. In the morning, she tried again. This time, she took the rainbow off the pipe to try and slice it but when she cut, it collapsed and fell apart. She tried slicing it on the pipe but when she tried to cut around the pipe, she dragged the colours and pulled the rainbow apart. We decided to leave it until that night.
By that night, the outside of the rainbow was hard (and beginning to crack) but the inside was still soft. Maus cut one slice but then decided to leave it until the next morning. By morning, there was not much left of the rainbow to slice but Maus did her best – I think she saved about 5 slices from my 4.5 centimetre piece of rainbow. Clearly, if I wanted twelve slices, we would have to do the whole thing again. And we did. This time, we left the 4.5 centimetre of rainbow 2 days before we attempted to slice it. Finally, from the two pieces, we ended up with twelve usable slices of rainbow and lots of off-cuts.
I also rolled out some additional red soap and cut out twelve hearts – easy peasy.
I left the hearts and rainbows to dry for a week.
And then Maus said to me, “Do you realise your rainbow is upside down?” (She had been reading an article on the progress of the legislation which showed photos of rainbow flags.) What? I could not believe I copied the only upside down rainbow on the web. What was that lady doing making upside down rainbow pendants?
Oh! Well! Upside down they had to stay. I wasn’t making them all again and, in any event, the legislation was nigh.
Finally, I made a log of white soap. I sprinkled cosmetic glitter on the top of the soap and sprayed it with hairspray so the glitter wouldn’t come off. The next morning, after it had done its thing and was now soap, I sliced the loaf into twelves slices.
I then took one of the precious slices of rainbow and a heart and traced their outline onto the soap. I dug out a few mils of soap within the outlines. I scored the soap and the rainbow and painted the soap in the cut out with wet soft soap and pressed the rainbow and heart into position. I put the soap under a weight and left it to dry.
I left them about twelve hours then trimmed the edges. I sprayed the top half of one side of the soap with alcohol and sprinkled some cosmetic glitter on it. I then sprayed it with hairspray so the glitter wouldn’t come off.
Twelve bars of very slow soap. I am starting the slow soap movement. We obviously need one. 🙂