Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Circling Taiwan Swirl and Other Soapmaking

The batter................

Swirl/slide soap.  This is called Hardy Har Har soap.  Ed Hardy blend of fragrance and essential oils.  LOL

Circular Taiwan Swirl in the mold.

 Circular Taiwan swirl.  What I an going for is on the left.  The one in the center is the center cut.  The one on the right is fine, but looks more like a tulip than a lotus flower.  Only one lotus flower is in a log mold and it is an end cut.

The extra batter goes into circular bars.  The swirl turned out nicely.

Most of the soap I made yesterday.

Even though it is too late to enter the January contest for the circling Taiwan swirl soap, I had to try my hand at making the design again.  I used the colors of bright yellow, bright purple, and coral.  I also made some swirled/slide soap with a lovely design.  I used the same colors, but I added white and bright green in larger quantities.  I love the way the colors mingle and create a secret design in the soap until it is unmolded and cut.  In my recipe, I used tallow, coconut oil, sunflower oil, shea butter, and coco butter and used full water with 5% superfat.  This recipe makes a nice hard bar of soap with a lot of great skin nourishing butters.

How I make soap:  I measure out the fats and butters.  Then I heat the fats and mix the butters in with the warm fats.  This melts the butters since they are very hard.  I then blend all of these fats with a stick blender, adding a little titanium dioxide to keep the soap white.  In another container, I combine ice water and lye.  I usually wait approx. 30-45 minutes after I mix the lye water.  This gives it time to cool down, but I can allow much more time If necessary.   Once the time is up, I add the lye water solution into the fat and butter solution.  (The oils are usually room temperature.)  I use a stick blender to blend it all together for a minute or so to emulsification but not trace.  I add the fragrance and blend it for an additional 30 seconds.  ( I used a blend of Ed Hardy fragrance oil, lemongrass essential oil, vanilla rosewood fragrance oil.  Ed Hardy fragrance oil is too strong for me so I have to blend it with other scents.

Now I separate any batter I want to color by placing the batter into container(s), adding color to each container, and stick blending the batter and color for a few seconds.  Now the fun begins.  I prefer to have a lot of one neutral color with a small amount of bright color.  If you remember from my previous posts, the rule of thumb is to keep the soap fairly light in color so the bubbles are not colored which in turn would possibly darken washcloths.  If that happens, I have added too much coloring.  Any number of colors can be added to the design at this time, but the soap starts to set up once it is blended, so too much time devoted to mixing the colors will take away from what time I have left to work the design. This is where I have to rush.   It is best to have containers ready and colors premixed or ready to go before I blend the lye and water solution into the fat solution.  Lately I have been using mica for my coloring, when I don't use herbs and spices.  For my colors, I place approximately 2 teaspoons of mica in a container, add about 1.5 cups of soap solution.  If the color does not evenly spread through the deign it is fine with me.  Dark and light of the same color will add some contrast and interest in the design.  If the fragrance causes the soap solution to set up fast, it will dictate how much time I have to deign my soap.  Floral fragrances tend to make soap set up fast.  Once my design is planned and my colors mixed, I place the mixture into molds.  I usually use silicone so I don't have to line the molds.  If I use a wooden mold, I have to line the mold ahead of time.

I know soap making sounds like a lot of work, but it became fairly simple once I learned how to judge my time and what emulsification and trace should look like.  I usually type my formula into a SAP calculator from Soaper's Choice so I know how much lye and water to use.  I also have a computer program that tells me what cleansing and hardness qualities my formula will have.  At first I preferred to follow recipes or use just one fat such as tallow or lard.  After that, I branched out.

The Circling Taiwan Swirl Soap Method:  Basically the soap loaf mold is divided into 4 sections lengthwise.  In the 4 sections you pour at lease 3 colors of soap batter is poured with one color in each section.  Then the dividers are removed.  A back and forth action from short end of the mold across to the other short end of the mold and all along the mold inching along using a tool such as a skewer or a spoon handle to mix the colors and give them a swirl into each other.  You stick the tool all of the way to the bottom of the mold.  After that step is completed all of the way down the soap mold, you circle the interior mold edges a couple of times with that same tool.  This action makes the swirls start to tilt.  The work is done, so let the soap set up for a day or so before unmolding.  Once unmolded, the soap is cut into chunks approximately 2 1/4 inches thick and then cut across through the center of the chunk, making 2 bars.  A lotus pattern should show up on one end of the soap log.

I hope I explained this so you are able to understand it.  I made soap using this method a few days ago.  You can check it out at: http://custercottage.blogspot.com/2016/01/scrubbie-yarn-and-circling-taiwan-swirl.html

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New grand-baby picture.  She loves spending time with the chickens.  She can imitate the chickens very well.

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