Soap Challenge – Week 1

Thank you to everyone who has shown interest in the weekly soap challenge!! We have nearly 50 soapmakers who are planning to join us – nine are newbies, 24 are intermediate, and 16 are pros. (Some of you claim to be intermediate, but I know better!!)

The challenge for this week is to create beautiful soaps with in-the-pot swirls. Here is the video tutorial (if you want to skip to the intermediate-pro version, it starts around 9:35):

A couple things about formulating your soap:

1. You are free to use any soap recipe that you like!

2. If you decide to use cocoa powder for your swirl, I recommend mixing it with a bit of oil (it won’t work with water) before adding it to the soap. It will clump if you add it without dispersing it first! Two teaspoons of cocoa powder per cup of soap will yield a dark chocolate brown.

3. Ultramarines and oxides are also great choices. Usage rate is much less than other colorants – 1/4 tsp. per cup of soap will give plenty of color! Some are water soluble, some are oil soluble. This varies from supplier to supplier, so the only way to know which is which is to test them yourself. If it works in water, I would go with water. It doesn’t change the outcome of the soap as much.

4. Clays are water soluble and usage rate varies, but you can start with half to one tsp. per cup of soap.

About sharing your work at the end of the week:

1. Be sure to take photos of your finished, cut soap! If you have a blog, please post about your soap challenge. If you like to make videos – even better!

2. I will post on Saturday with photos of my cut soaps and a linky deal where you can add the link to your blog post and a brief description. It will show a thumbnail of your photo (you can choose which one if you have more than one), and we can click over to your blog to read about your soap.

3. If you don’t have a blog, you can still upload a photo into the linky deal directly from your computer!

4. The linky deal will open at 6am CST each Saturday.

If you have any questions about the challenge, please post your comments on this post. (If the screen goes white or gives an error message when you submit your comment, don’t worry, I still got it! I have some sort of bug that needs fixing!) And for those of you who like to be able to plan ahead, here is a schedule of the next four weeks:

Week 2: starts March 25 – Milk soap
Week 3: starts April 1 – Piping Cold Process Soap (you’ll need decorating tips and a bag!)
Week 4: starts April 8 – Making soap with alcohol
Week 5: starts April 15 – Mixing your own essential oil or fragrance blends