I had a near disaster a couple days ago when I was attempting to re-make the butterfly swirl soap I created for the January Soap Challenge Club. I decided it turned out so beautifully that I would need to have more on hand. Never mind that I thought I’d nearly ruined the first beautiful batch with the portion that I had mixed in titanium dioxide. The added water in such a small amount of soap nearly caused it to separate. You can see a few glycerin rivers in the white parts, but everything managed to hold together:
I remembered that I was going to use super white pearly mica instead of titanium dioxide in the re-make, but I forgot why. I had some raspberry red mica mixed with olive oil left over from the first batch that I wanted to use – which was great! Then I started prepping the rest of the micas and decided I would mix them with WATER. Let me tell you why I like mixing micas with water. Easy clean-up!! So with this in mind, I proceeded to mix the blue, yellow, white and black micas with water. The blue, yellow and white were going to be mixed with just half a cup of soap, and the black was going to be mixed with just a quarter cup of soap. It really wasn’t a lot of water mixed with the mica, but because I was mixing it with such a small amount of soap, it started interfering with saponification almost immediately. I realized my mistake, but it was too late!
I could just barely immerse my stick blender in the half cup of soap. As it started ricing (majorly separating!!), I had to stick blend each one for at least 5-10 minutes before it would hold together. I had already added my fragrance to the entire batch up front, so I was worried that it would start setting up – especially the main soap base that didn’t have any extra water added to it. Fortunately, the fragrance behaved beautifully and I was able to continue to stir the base soap periodically as I was beating the small cups of soap into submission.
The black soap was a lost cause, however. A quarter cup of soap was just too little to be mixed with a blender:
So I mixed up a little bit of black mica with some oil and decided to create a little bit of veining instead. I was really worried by now that I wouldn’t be able to do any drop swirling with the main soap base since it was setting up faster than the smaller cups of soap which were at a light trace. Boy was I surprised!! The difference in texture did affect the way the swirls turned out, but I was just happy I got the soap into the mold at this point!
Today I was able to take the soap out of the mold and cut it. I had no idea how it was going to turn out! You can see the freezer paper I used to line the mold is damp from the extra water:
But the soap actually held together quite nicely!!
It’s not quite as fancy as the first batch, but it’s definitely a close second:
These soaps will be available at Greatcakessoapworks.com on February 4, 2015.