Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge- Landscape

With cherry blossom season coming up here in Tokyo/Yokohama, I decided my landscape soap challenge submission should include some cherry blossoms! Here is my inspiration photo:
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I chose this particular photo because it looks like the trees are shedding their blossoms and the green leaves are starting to show. This is one of my favorite times to go see the cherry blossoms! It rains pink petals! And everything turns pink. It’s magical :).

I had no idea how I was going to make these cherry blossoms!! I actually have a small half-inch cookie cutter of a cherry blossom but thought it’d be fun to come up with another way to make them without embeds.
So here’s what I did!

PREP

Slow-moving recipe:
50% olive oil, apricot oil, avocado oil, shea butter, castor oil

Cherry blossom fragrance from WSP

Special tools:
Five squeeze bottles
Skewer (to swirl top)

STEPS

MP
1. Made tree trunk/branch embeds using MP soap & cocoa powder. Set aside.
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—————————————-
CP
1. Stick-blended melted oils until emulsified (not to trace!).
2. Divided soap into five squeeze bottles added a pre-made colorant (colorants mixed with a bit of oil) to each (cocoa powder, neon pink, rose clay, green pigment chromium oxide, TD).
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3. Filled log mold half way full with neon pink, rose clay and TD using dots and lines.
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4. Placed MP embeds in mold. These were long enough to be suspended in place by the pressure of ends of the acrylic mold. In other words, the soap was too soft to hold these in place. It definitely needed to be sort-of lodged in place :). The other option would be to wait until the CP thickened.
5. Filled the rest of the mold in the same manner while adding in the brown and green.
6. Swirl top with skewer.

IMG_3723And here we are!IMG_3771-0
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This one has the sunlight coming from the back. You can see that the branches are actually lighter brown.

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Thanks once again to Amy Warden for
hosting the challenges every month. And thanks to readers and soapers for inspiration!

Cafe de Savon Acrylic Molds and Soapmaking Supplies

Cafe de Savon (a popular Japan online soap shop)

Recently I’ve been asked by many soapers about Cafe de Savon’s acrylic molds. Even though translated, Cafe de Savon’s global rakuten shop might be hard to navigate if you can’t read Japanese. So here’s my attempt at helping those soapers who are interested.

LOG MOLDS / LOAF MOLDS

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There’s 3 basic sizes for log molds (first link under each is the full set including the extra plate. And the second, is without the plate. I’d recommend the plate set in order to push out the soap neatly):IMG_3493

1. Cafe mold-

Inside dimensions: 9.8 inches (L) x 2.6 inches (W) x 2.4 (H)

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1081201/?s-id=borderless_browsehist_en

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1081202/?s-id=borderless_browsehist_en

2. Milk mold

Inside dimensions: 7 5/8″ (L) x 2 5/8″ (W) x 3 (H)

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1081203/?s-id=borderless_browsehist_en

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1081204/?s-id=borderless_browsehist_en

3. Tall mold

Inside dimensions: 9.8″ (L) x 1.8″ (W) x 3.3″ (H)

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1101201/?s-id=borderless_browsehist_en

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1101204/

There’s also half size molds of each style. These are great for test batches or making soap for personal use.

1. Cafe half size mold:

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1081206/

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1081208/

2. Milk half size mold:

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1081207/

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1081209/

3. Tall half size mold:

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1120501/

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1120502/

LONGER MOLD

“More type” mold:

(this one is longer than the basic molds above)

15.7″ x 2.4″ x 2.4″

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1110501/

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1110502/

SLAB MOLD

Brownie mold:

6 4/8″ (H) x 6 4/8″ (L) x 2 1/8″ (H)

http://item.rakuten.co.jp/cafe-de-savon/a1131201/

THOUGHTS

I have the milk, tall and brownie mold. I love the milk mold the best :). It’s the widest of the log molds and I fill the soap up all the way to the top to maximize the space. I think the skinny mold produces soaps that feel a bit like guest-size soaps. Still nice to have! The brownie mold is great as long as you’re ok with the size. You can get 4-6 bars decent sized bars depending how you cut. I didn’t care to buy the cafe mold because it was less wide than the milk mold.

ACCESSORIES

Styrofoam cube:

This helps push the soap out of the mold

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1110503/

It definitely helps! You’ll want something to help evenly push out your soap. I’m sure you can just cut out some styrofoam to fit or find something else will help push it out. It was less than $2 so I just bought it and def don’t regret it!

Should I buy the mold with or without the extra plate?

As an example, this “milk type” log mold includes the plate: http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1081203/

And this one doesn’t include the plate: http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1081204/

I’d go with the mold that includes the plate. So after you make your soap and after gel/ or 24 hrs later, you remove the bottom tray (and Saran Wrap), and you place that plate underneath the soap and cube underneath the plate to push the soap out. So the cube isn’t touching your soap when pushing out. The cube pushes on the plate which evenly and nicely pushes out the soap. It’s nice and simple (even if I make it sound complicated)! Pretty much the plate helps not dent or harm your soap while pushing it out and fits perfectly. I included some YouTube videos (not my YouTube videos, videos I’ve found) to help understand the process and to show the products better). (See bottom of the page)

Acrylic mold handles: http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/a1091106/

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They’re suppose to be for the “Milk type” or “cafe type” log molds. Looks like you’re suppose to attach them to each end to help have a better grip while pushing out the soap. I don’t think this is necessary at all but reviewers love them! (See first YouTube video link at the bottom of the page)

Other soaping items that I love :)-

Soap cutter items:

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http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/f3081202/

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/f3090601/?s-id=borderless_recommend_item_en

To mix lye solution: http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/s1091107/IMG_3484

I have a big container with my masterbatch lye solution and use this one to measure out some of the solution for each use. I love the lid! No spillage! 🙂

Alphabet stamp: http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/cafe-de-savon/item/f3140803/?s-id=borderless_browsehist_en

Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge- DNA Helix Swirl

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This month, as part of the Soap Club Challenge, Amy Warden (Great Cakes Soapworks) definitely challenged us with the DNA Helix Swirl technique. Let me tell you, this technique was much harder than it seemed!

PREP
1. Mixed oils together. Olive oil made up 60% of my recipe. The rest included rice bran, macadamia oil, palm kernel oil, coconut oil, and castor oil.

2. Using a mini-mixer, I blended colorants with a bit of oil from my combined oils. Decided to go with the following colorants: TD, green liquid pigment/ chromium oxide, rose clay, purple ultramarine powder, and activated charcoal. I wanted my base/bottom layer to be black (activated charcoal).
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Special tools: Ketch-up or squeeze bottles and chopstick or skewer.

STEPS
2. At thin trace, I divided the soap to color. More than half was colored with activated charcoal for the base. And the rest was divided, colored and transferred into squeeze bottles.
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3. Next, I poured the black colored soap into the mold.
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2. Then, I used the squeeze bottles to lay the rest of the colored soap on top of the base in horizontal lines.
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3. Then, with a skewer, I followed this pattern:
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The results should look something like this:
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4. Finally, the hardest part, in my opinion- the vertical s-like pattern:
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One line at a time, like this (only neater 🙂 ):
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And TADA!IMG_3148-1IMG_3147-2
Well, it’s not perfect! Hehe. I could’ve made my the s-pattern lines more uniform. But, I do like the colors! And using the green on half of mold turned out pretty interesting.
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Next time, I’ll probably play with that idea. Maybe bring in-and-out colors?

Thanks for reading! And a big” thank you” to Amy Warden for hosting a wonderful club challenge every month!!

Can’t wait until the next challenge! 🙂 Until then, I started some dessert soap! Made some pie crust and about to top these donuts off with some icing and sprinkles! 🙂
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Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge- Butterfly Swirl

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This month’s soap club challenge was a tough one- the butterfly swirl! And with the family being sick, I knew I was going to have one shot at this!

Amy Warden from Great Cakes Soapworks demonstrated this technique for us. She also gave us Zahida’s (Handmade in Florida and master of the butterfly swirl) YouTube links. First, we were to lay our soap in the mold by doing a drop swirl. Then, use a hanger or gear tie to swirl.

PREP
So, here’s what I used-
Colorants: Activated charcoal, purple ultramarine powder, titanium dioxide, green liquid pigment/chromium oxide, gold mica
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Essential oils: Lavender, lemongrass
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Base oils:
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Special tools: Hanger with thick straw that fits the length of your mold
(It was advised that we use something thicker than a hanger”)
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STEPS
1. At medium-thick trace, I drop-swirled the soap into the mold. Actually, at that point, the soap was pretty thick! It was hard to drop-swirl smaller/thinner amounts. I was nervous about that!
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2. Next, I swirled the soap using the hanger tool.
From a side view of the mold, here’s the motion I used:
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Hmm, maybe the loops were deeper and ran into each other, more like this:
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Hope that made sense! And sorry it’s a little scribble-ly! I used my iPhone to draw that hah!
3. Then, I topped it off with a layer of soap including a swirl of gold mica.
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RESULTS
I had a hard time deciding which was the best butterfly to enter into the challenge. I liked little things about each. But, my brother begged me to submit this one (so I did):
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Here’s the rest of them:
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AFTER THOUGHTS
I was really amazed at how different each bar or “butterfly” looked! Also, earlier I mentioned being nervous about the soap batter getting too thick. But, I think I’m realizing now that thick trace is good! Really wish I had more time to give it another go to try new techniques, colors, ideas, and so on. Oh what fun :)!

Thanks for reading! And thanks, Amy, for giving us this forum to learn and share!

❤
Caroline

Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge- Chopstick Swirl

This is my second time participating in Amy Warden’s Soap Challenge Club. I managed to squeeze in some soap-making despite family visiting from overseas!

This month we were required to use the spoon/chopstick swirl technique. I’ve never done this before but was excited to try!

I decided to test out some new natural colorants- cocoa powder and azuki beans powder! With limited time, I didn’t document the process with photos. But here’s how it went:
1. Chose colorants- TD, azuki beans powder, cocoa, yellow pigment, red pigment.
2. At medium-thick trace I layered the soap.
3. Then, swirled a chopstick in mostly a vertical/up-down motion.
4. Topped it with some gold mica.

Here we are!
Azuki Bean Cocoa Soap
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Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge- Soap Comb

gcc_merrydaysoaps

This is my first time participating in Amy Warden’s Soap Challenge. Woohoo! I’m excited!

soap_comb

The only requirement was to use a soap comb while making soap! After reading and watching Amy Warden’s tutorial, I decided that I was going to, with squeeze bottles, make a freeform design with lines and dots. Then, my plan was to use the soap comb to bring it all together. I wanted each bar to have a unique design.

 

PREP

First, I made a soap recipe that included 60% olive oil to be sure I had plenty of time to swirl/design. The rest included coconut oil, palm oil (sustainable), avocado oil, apricot oil, and a tiny bit of castor oil. This is by far the slowest recipe I’ve ever made! Well, guess it’s not saying much since I’m very new to cold process (although I’ve been making melt and pour for years).

 

Bastille recipe

Then I gathered some squeeze bottles. Check-out the 3-hole bottles I found!

squeezebottles

Next, I made my soap combs- one with the skewers a few millimeters apart and the other about an inch apart.soap comb
(However, I ended up using only the small comb.)

Finally, I decided on the following colorants:
Pink (rose clay)
Black (activated charcoal)
White (titanium dioxide)
Blue (liquid pigment)

 

SOAP-MAKING

So here’s how I started off!
1. I used the 3-hole squeeze bottles to make the black and white lines.Soap swirl step 1

2. Then, with the regular, one-hole bottle, I added some abstract flowers with some splatter/dots along with pink lines.soap swirl step 2

3. This is where the soap comb was incorporated (pictures below). Most of the time, I combed in a downward motion. But also, I went sideways and made a few turning strokes. Then, used a single skewer to touch-up and give certain areas more shape…especially the flowers.
Soap swirl close-upSoap swirl step 3

I absolutely loved every second of this project! Thanks to Amy for hosting such a wonderful, exciting challenge. This really gives us soapers a chance to connect with others as well as be creative within the boundaries. And boundaries, I feel, make us even more creative. 🙂