12 Days of Christmas: Snowy Stencil Melt and Pour

With the holiday season comes frosty temperatures and flurries of snow. If frigid weather has you feeling blue, remember…cold weather is the perfect reason to craft inside! This Snowy Stencil Melt and Pour project was inspired by the upcoming snow days, with wintery colors and icy stenciled shapes.

This stencil technique lends itself to a wide variety of shapes and ideas. Super Pearly White Mica was used to create a snow-like effect, but you can also use glitter as seen in the Stenciled Glitter Soap Tutorial and Glittered Sparkle Soap Kit.
[Read more…]

12 Days of Christmas: Scented Beeswax Ornaments

The holiday season will soon be upon us. With only 44 days until Christmas, now is the perfect time to start creating homemade gifts. Starting today, keep your eyes on the blog for 12 days of consecutive holiday inspired tutorials. All the projects are easy to make and even easier to give!

To kick things off, these Scented Beeswax Ornaments are the perfect addition to your Christmas tree. Scented with Woodland Elves Fragrance Oil, these ornaments smell like a fresh pine, clove and juniper. If you have a fake tree this year, these ornaments are a great way to bring the fresh Christmas tree scent inside!
[Read more…]

Cotton Candy Cold Process Soap

This is a fun technique that gives you a surprise whichever way you cut your soap. Using squirt bottles I create a cross-hatch pattern in tones of pink and teal. Although this technique is easy it does take some time and careful attention to your trace. To make a successful Cotton Candy soap be patient and keep your trace very, very light.

To make this soap you will need:

Click here to get everything you need 

Soap Challenge: Mica Topped Cold Process

We’re hooked on the Great Cakes Soapworks Soap Challenges! They’re a great way to practice new techniques and learn from other soapers, and this particular challenge was all about finishing off the soap with a mica swirled top. It’s a relatively simple yet beautiful technique that adds the perfect finishing touch. For the base of the soap we did a simple spoon plop technique, which closely resembles the faux funnel pour. The good thing about the mica top technique is it can used with any cold process soap, no matter what technique was used in the base.

If you’d like to check out our other entries to the Soap Challenge, take a look at our Leopard Spot, Mantra Swirl or Elemental Swirl tutorials.

What You’ll Need:

33 oz. Swirl Quick Mix

4.5 oz. Sodium Hydroxide

11 oz. distilled water

Aqua Pearl Mica

Amethyst Purple Mica

Black Oxide

Titanium Dioxide

1.1 oz. Blueberry Fragrance Oil

1.1 oz. Pineapple Cilantro Fragrance Oil

10″ Silicone Loaf Mold

Click here to add everything you need for this project to your Bramble Berry shopping cart!

Don’t want to buy the Swirl Mix or want to make a recipe up from scratch? I’d recommend at least 60% liquid oils and no more than 40% (total) of solid oils and butters to give yourself a long time to work with this intricate design.

If you’ve never made Cold Process soap before, stop here! I highly recommend checking out our FREE four part SoapQueen.tv series on Cold Process Soapmaking, especially the episode on lye safety. And if you’d rather do some reading, Bramble Berry carries a wide range of books on the topic, including my newest book, Soap Crafting. You can also checkout the digital downloads for that instant gratification factor.

SAFETY FIRST: Suit up for safe handling practices! That means goggles, gloves and long sleeves. Make sure kids, pets, and other distractions and tripping hazards are out of the house or don’t have access to your soaping space. Always soap in a well-ventilated area.

COLOR PREP: Disperse 1 teaspoon of each pigment into 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil. Prepping your colors in the beginning will allow you to work quickly and give you more time to work with your soap. Use the mini mixer to get all those clumps worked out smoothly.

ONE: Slowly and carefully add the lye to the water, and stir until clear. Set aside to cool. If you’d like a harder bar of soap that lasts longer in the shower, you can add Sodium Lactate to the cooled lye water. Use 1 teaspoon of Sodium Lactate per pound of oils in the recipe.

TWO: Melt the entire bag of Swirl Quick Mix and portion out 33 oz. in a large glass container. Once the lye water and the oils have cooled to 130 degrees or below (and are ideally within 10 degrees of each other), add the lye water to the oils and stick blend until thin trace. You can use any standard recipe with this design if you don’t have the Swirl Mix on hand but keep in mind that you need a lot of working time with multiple techniques.

TWO: Split the batch into two equal portions. Eyeballing it is okay! After the split, you should have about three cups of batter per container.

THREE: Add 3 teaspoons dispersed Titanium Dioxide to one cup and 1/2 teaspoon dispersed Black Oxide to the other. Mix the colorant into the batter with a wire whisk or spoon. After the colorant has been incorporated, mix the Pineapple Cilantro Fragrance Oil into the white batter and the Blueberry Fragrance Oil into the black batter.

FOUR: Using a spoon, start with the black soap and plop three spoonfuls into the mold. Do the same with the white soap, layering the spoonfuls on top of the black soap. Repeat this process until you’ve emptied both containers of batter.

SIX: Insert a chopstick or dowel about 1/2 inch into the top of the soap. Beginning in the top left-hand corner, make a figure eight pattern through the soap, working your way across the mold.

SEVEN: Using a dropper, drizzle the Aqua Pearl Mica across the top of the soap. We drizzled the mica in loop-de-loop swirls, but you can create your own design too!

EIGHT: Repeat the process with the Amethyst Purple Mica.

NINE: Once all the mica has been drizzled on the soap, use a chopstick or dowel to make small loop-de-loops across the length of the mold. When you reach the edge, begin your curve again and make a second set of loops under the first.

TEN:  Spray the entire top with 91 or 99% Isopropyl Alcohol to reduce soda ash. Cover and insulate for 24 hours and unmold after 3-4 days, and allow to cure for 4-6 weeks and enjoy.

Soap Queen Lab!Want to hold this soap in your hands? If you’re a tactile and visual learner, we have another way for you to learn. Click here to grab one of these soaps for your very own, complete with a full color instruction sheet, from the Soap Queen Lab Etsy shop.

 

Busy Beeswax Soap Tutorial

This is day three of our Soap Crafting-inspired tutorials, and I’m particularly excited about this one because the result is visually stunning. This soap incorporates real Yellow Beeswax, which gives the finished soap a translucent and shiny texture. It also utilizes a fun spoon plop technique, which is easy to do and results in something that almost looks like an In-The-Pot-Swirl. The fragrance combo of our best-selling Oatmeal, Milk and Honey Fragrance Oil and Black Cherry Fragrance Oil is dessert-like and sweet, and topping this soap off with a little gold mica gives it an elegant look. This is an advanced tutorial because of the beeswax addition so don’t soap this one until you’ve got a few recipes under your belt. It’s worth the wait =)

What You’ll Need:

3.5 oz. Sweet Almond Oil

2.8 oz. Yellow Beeswax

.7 oz. Cocoa Butter

7 oz. Coconut Oil

3.5 oz. Hazelnut Oil

8.75 oz. Olive Oil

8.75 oz. Canola Oil

4.5 oz. Sodium Hydroxide

11.5 oz. distilled water

2 teaspoons Cocoa Powder

Gold Sparkle Mica

10″ Silicone Loaf Mold

Fragrance blend of: 1.5 Oatmeal, Milk and Honey Fragrance Oil and .6 oz. Black Cherry Fragrance Oil

Click here to add everything you need for this project to your Bramble Berry shopping cart! I didn’t put this awesome silicone spoon/spatula combo into the kit but that’s what I used in this tutorial. I highly recommend it.

If you have never made cold process soap before, I highly recommend you get a couple of basic and intermediate recipes under your belt before attempting this advanced recipe. Check out this (free!) 4-part series on cold process soap making, especially the episode on lye safety. Bramble Berry carries quite a few books on the topic as well, including my brand new book Soap Crafting in which you’ll find a ton of great info for new soapers and veterans alike.

FRAGRANCE PREP: In a glass container, combine 1.5 oz. Oatmeal, Milk and Honey Fragrance Oil and .6 oz. Black Cherry Fragrance Oil. Set aside.

SAFETY FIRST: Suit up for safe handling practices! That means goggles, gloves and long sleeves. Make sure kids, pets, and other distractions and tripping hazards are out of the house or don’t have access to your soaping space. Always soap in a well-ventilated area.

ONE: Slowly and carefully add the lye to the water and gently stir until the lye has fully dissolved and the liquid is clear. Set aside to cool. If you’d like a harder bar of soap that lasts longer in the shower and releases faster from the mold, you can add Sodium Lactate to the cooled lye water. Use 1 teaspoon of Sodium Lactate per pound of oils in the recipe.

TWO: Melt and combine the Coconut Oil and Cocoa Butter. Add the Sweet Almond, Hazelnut, Olive, and Canola Oils and the Yellow Beeswax. Heat the mixture until the Beeswax has melted entirely. Melting the Beeswax in the oils facilitates even distribution of heat for optimum melting. This oil wax mixture is very hot – above 160 degrees to keep the wax melted. Be careful removing it from the microwave or stove.

Note: Beeswax has a high melting point and tends to harden very quickly. This is an expert-level cold process recipe, and you’ll need to keep your oils above 170 degrees and work quickly to prevent the mixture from clumping.

THREE: Pour the lye into the oils and stir gently with a spatula or spoon. Switch to a stick blender and gently pulse until thin trace.

FOUR: Split the batch in half. In the first container, add two teaspoons of Cocoa Powder for color. Mix using a spoon or spatula. Leave the other portion uncolored.

FIVE: Add half of the fragrance oil to each of the portions, and mix well using a spoon or spatula.

SIX: Starting with the brown soap, use a spoon to plop three mounds of brown soap across the mold. Follow with three plops of uncolored soap, directly on top of the brown soap. Repeat this process, layering mounds of brown soap on top of uncolored soap, until you fill the mold. Tamp the mold intermittently on the table to eliminate any air bubbles. The Square Silicone Spoon/Spatula combo is ideal for this project.

SEVEN: Once all the batter has been plopped into the mold use a spoon or mini spatula to gently form two small ridges running from end to end in the middle of the mold.

EIGHT: Using a chopstick or dowel (or, in my case a dropper!), make tiny looping swirls on the top of both of the ridges. This will created a nice, swirled texture on the top of the soap.

NINE: To put the finishing touches on this soap, use your gloved hands or a powder duster to sprinkle Sparkle Gold Mica across the top of the mold. Then, gently blow on the mica to press it into the soap batter. Be careful because this part can get messy! Be sure to have 99% Isopropyl Alcohol on hand to clean up any mica spills.

Unmold the soap after 4 -7  days and then allow to cure for 4-6 weeks. Enjoy your busy bee soap!

Soap Queen Lab!Want to hold this soap in your hands? If you’re a tactile and visual learner, we have another way for you to learn. Click here to grab one of these soaps for your very own, complete with a full color instruction sheet, from the Soap Queen Lab Etsy shop.