How I Saved This Soap

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:

Original Exotic Pear soap by Great Cakes Soapworks
Original Exotic Pear soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

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:

Separated black soap
Separated black soap

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!

Top of the second Exotic Pear soap
Top of the second Exotic Pear soap

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:

Damp freezer paper
Damp freezer paper

But the soap actually held together quite nicely!!

Exotic Pear soap remake by Great Cakes Soapworks
Exotic Pear soap remake by Great Cakes Soapworks

It’s not quite as fancy as the first batch, but it’s definitely a close second:

Exotic Pear comparison
Exotic Pear comparison

These soaps will be available at Greatcakessoapworks.com on February 4, 2015.

Page with Comments

  1. wow. I am studying this intently. What we think of as mistakes are such focused learning experiences. Thank Goodness you are waaay past the point of getting disgusted and throwing the whole batch out. I am so proud of you Amy ! lol. So great to have friends who work through their ‘stuff’ outloud and share with us…I am honored to receive your blog updates !
    Laurie/ st louis

  2. Waouww! You have great reactions! And the second soap looks very nice too, even if it is less of a butterfly.
    I am surprised at your misadventure though. I do play around with the amounts of water in my various colours, as I love glycerin rivers, and I try to get some on purpose. I do very small batches, 1 pound, sometimes even less… I never had any problem. My standard water discount is 2:1, so that when I add extra water to a coulour, I hope I remain the 38% limit. But I do not measure it. I use small coffee cups to mix my colours, I have 1.5 oz in each, so measuring the water I add to so little soap would turn me crazy!!
    Is this super friendly fragrance you used called exotic pear? If it also smells good, it is a fragrance worth buying!
    Madame Propre´s last blog post ..Joyeux Noël et bonne année!

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