Almost Paradise: A Soap Saga

I’m just going to go ahead and admit something to you right now. I have a problem with patience. Yes, it’s true. That’s what made this soap story into a soap saga. It started with some inspiration from Soaphora and her Chocolate Mint soap which appears to be soap made in a PVC pipe mold embedded in more soap. Simple enough, right?

My vision for the Almost Paradise soap was to make a sandy beach with blue skies and a yellow sun – the sun being the part that had to be made in a PVC pipe mold. Except I had never (successfully) made soap in PVC pipe before.

I went to Lowe’s and picked up some 3/4″ pipe, had two pieces cut it to fit my log molds, and also picked up a wooden dowel that just fit inside the pipe, and some silicone spray. I doused some old t-shirt rags in the silicone spray and pushed them through the pipe a couple of times to try to get it slick inside. Tried to figure out how much soap would fit inside the pipe, then made a test batch of yellow soap. The pipe ended up about 2/3 full.

The next day I tried to get the soap out of the pipe. First, I put the pipe in the freezer for about an hour. Pulled it out, and the soap was still sticky. So I put it back in the freezer – this time overnight. Pulled it out again, tried to push it out with the wooden dowel, and could NOT get that soap to budge! After about an hour, I finally put out an S.O.S. to my soapmaker friends on Facebook. Meanwhile, the soap had been warming back up to room temperature, and when I tried to push it out one more time, it started to move! After a few strong pushes, it finally popped out! That’s when I did my happy soap dance, and got a little too excited (and impatient). I just knew my idea was going to work, so I started working on filling up both of my log molds the way I had envisioned (about 8 pounds of soap each).

I made more yellow soap – this time enough to fill two pipes! Then I whipped up another batch of soap to make the sandy beach. I used my regular soap recipe, and added some rose hip powder and cinnamon to create the look of sand. Scented it with the Almost Paradise fragrance, and plopped it in the bottom of the molds:

Sandy beach soap

The next day, I had my daughters help me out a bit. My older daughter was steadying the soap as it came out of the pipe so it wouldn’t break off. (Well, sort of. Both pieces ended up with a break in the middle. I just had to place them as close together as I could in the mold.)

Had to put all my weight down on that pipe, to try and force the soap out. (My younger daughter is still working on her photography skills.)

After we got the soap out of the pipes, I had my girls spread some lovely gold mica from Brambleberry (yea for garage sales!) over the outsides of the soap to make the “sun” appear a bit more shiny. They were more than happy to help out with this project!

Bright, shiny sun soap!

Next step was to make the blue sky soap. Without even thinking about it, I made my regular soap recipe, added some ultramarine blue with a tad bit of hydrated chromium green, and scented it with the Almost Paradise fragrance. I figured this would work perfectly since the fragrance is non-discoloring. Only I forgot that my regular soap base is NOT very white! I started stirring in the color, and it turned a greyish-green color! I panicked and grabbed some blue mica and started dumping it in, along with some titanium dioxide. It wasn’t improving much, so then I ran to get some freezer paper and line my 3rd log mold so I could at least salvage the soap, because I wasn’t going to pour it over the sandy beach soap and ruin what I had already started. Fortunately, the fragrance doesn’t accelerate trace either and I had time to get it in the mold. So now I have 24 bars of what turned out to be sort of greyish blue soap that smells really good! Here’s a photo of some of the scraps:

Rejected greyish-blue soap

Blue sky soap, take two: I reformulated my soap recipe to make the base a lot whiter by using refined shea butter instead of unrefined (and using a lot more of it), taking out the olive and rice bran oils and increasing the apricot kernel oil. I may have increased the palm kernel oil too. Also added some titanium dioxide to the lye water and used blue mica instead of ultramarine blue. It turned out beautiful!!! I also scooped some soap out before adding the blue mica so I could swirl it back in for some white clouds.

First I put a layer of plain blue soap over the sandy beach. Then I set the yellow sun soap on top, a bit off center. My plan was to swirl in the white “cloud” soap, then pour the rest over the suns. Worked out great until it started setting up on me, and I discovered that I was short about 8-10 ounces of soap:

Almost Paradise soap in the mold

Stay tuned for the unveiling of the final soap, and the end of this soap saga!

Update: Click here to see the Final Reveal!

Page with Comments

  1. fwiw… I always line my pipes to make it easier to get the soap out.
    Can’t wait to see the finished product.

  2. I’m sorry you had the drama, but I couldn’t help but smile… as I, too, am missing the “patience” gene! : )
    I think this soap sounds FANTASTIc, and I can’t wait to see the pics! ~Becky
    p.s. I think your grayish-blue soap is quite lovely.

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