Soap Challenge: Week Three

Here’s your chance to go check out the link-up from last week! So many beautiful milk soaps made with a variety of milks!

For this week, I am joining the beginner class as I have never attempted to pipe soap before. I’ve seen it plenty of times – especially lately. I mean, have you seen these beauties?

Cupcake Soap by Starlet Glam for MTV Movie Awards
Cupcake Soap by Starlet Glam for MTV Movie Awards
Cupcake Soap by Platypus Dreams - Black Raspberry Vanilla
Cupcake Soap by Edens Secret - Sparkling Lime

I watched this video to get some basics before I got started:

And here is what I came up with:

I will admit the reason I haven’t piped soap before now is not because I didn’t think I could do it. I figured my cake decorating experience would come in handy.

No, these are all my objections to making cupcake soaps (and I would really like you all to convince me otherwise):

1. It seems too pretty. Like the customer wouldn’t use it, and this beautiful soap would just sit next to someone’s bathroom sink and collect dust.
2. They are too time consuming to make! Can you really get paid enough for the labor that goes into them?
3. Shipping nightmare: How can you package them to survive the trip to the customer?
4. Impractical to use – unless you cut them in half top to bottom.

That said, I had a lot of fun with this, and I’m still undecided about making more. A couple of tips from Darlene Sandau of Mountain Farms Soap:

1. Make sure the soap is good and thick before piping or it will fall flat.
2. You don’t need to alter your soap recipe – no extra water discounts. I (Amy) normally figure my recipe with SoapCalc and use whatever amount of lye it recommends for my recipe, then double that number for my water amount.

I can’t wait to see what the piping pros come up with!! You can pipe cupcakes, or entire cakes. You can even pipe on top of a soap log. If you are a newbie like me, here are some more ideas from Eden’s Secret to get you started. Or if you need a challenge, check out this hydrangea soap by Newt & Fig. So many creative ideas out there!! I know you can come up with your own special soaps!

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  1. Amy: When I read this line you wrote it confused me: “I (Amy) normally figure my recipe with SoapCalc and use whatever amount of lye it recommends for my recipe, then double the lye amount for my water amount.”

    I always use SoapCalc and follow the lye/water amount. When you say you double the lye amount for the water amount:
    1. Does that mean you use more lye than what is recommended by SoapCalc?
    2. Are you saying you use 2 times the amount of the recommended lye?

  2. @Margo – Guess I better make that more clear. I use the recommended lye amount whatever it is. Say it’s 8 oz. of lye. I take that number and double it and use that amount for my water. So if the recipe calls for 8 oz. of lye, I use 16 oz. of water.

  3. Wow, Amy, I have never heard of water calculations like that before since I use a percent (usually 25% to 35%) of my oils. But, what you say makes sense with my recipes and falls within my range. I feel smarter now. So you generally use a 50% lye solution. I’m so geeked to watch your videos and try this weeks challenge. I think I will make a test batch of cupcakes this week, but may do a log as well. I also think people may think they are too pretty to use. Did you do a swap about 5 years back and get a cupcake? I still have mine! But they could be marketed for birthday parties and such and given away in lieu of cake or as party favors. Seeing a dozen or two cupcakes on a sales table might be enough to draw a crowd. They could be wrapped in plastic bags tied off with raffia and placed in a cupcake display tree. I want to focus on my log soaps with a bit of cakelike soaps for attention. Thank you for this challenge. Just in time, again!

  4. Thanks for the reminder about spraying with alcohol which is something I never knew prior to your videos, even after 7 years! Your cupcakes look nice and I look forward to seeing them from the side and close up. Was your recipe for frosting the same as your normal batch? Did you scent the frosting? Is it recommended to put frosting on the same day as the base, or should it cure for a day or so.

  5. @Tina – A 50% lye solution is the strongest lye solution when you use the same amount of lye and water. The lye is actually 1/3 of the solution, so it’s a 33% lye solution, if you’re trying to do the math. I answered the rest of your questions in my video…it’s all one batch of my normal recipe, all scented, and made at the the same time. I heard that if you don’t frost it at the same time, it won’t stick. Have fun!

  6. WOW another great challenge ~ I love it! I feel the same way about making cupcake soaps; although I have done cupcake bath bombs I haven’t tried them with cold process soap; This will be interesting and can’t wait to try it.

  7. Amy: I want to try the method you mentioned using SoapCalc with my soap recipe (1/3 lye to 2/3 water) when you run your recipe through SoapCalc do you put in a percentage in the SuperFat/Discount area?

  8. @Margo – The 3rd step is where you put your lye concentration. It defaults to the top one, so you’ll have to click in the button for lye concentration, then type 33 in the box. The 4th step is superfat, which defaults to 5% and I usually leave it there unless I’m making a milk soap with extra fats and then I will change it to 4%.

  9. Sorry, I can’t convince you otherwise regarding your objections to piping soap! You can charge extra for them of course, and should, for the extra time they take. However, I found that although they are an attention getter at my table, people say, “Oh, I couldn’t use something so pretty.” (Frustrating!) Packaging and shipping are an absolute pain, and so many of them got damaged from show to show that I no longer make them. Only one customer asks for them, and she says she loves rolling it in her hands until it makes a round soap.

    My compromise is to pipe the top of a loaf. People admire the artistic touch, but it doesn’t keep them from using it. …..Speaking of piping, I have to go make this week’s challenge!
    Amy B´s last blog post ..To-Do list

  10. @Amy B – Ugh, I don’t want to be right about these things… I appreciate your input!! I think your compromise is an excellent one – can’t wait to see what you come up with for the challenge!

  11. Hi Amy =)
    I really enjoyed watching your video.
    Thank you so much for sharing!
    Your cup cake soaps are so pretty!
    Now I wanna make some~

    xo AYU
    AYU´s last blog post ..Dead Sea Salt Soap

  12. Tried pipping soaps just last Friday night. I had no idea that was that this week’s challenge was. Sadly I was unable to get it to work for me then. My batter was messing up on me- loosing its smoothness. If it had been frosting it would have looked like it was separating since the texture looked kinda grainy though it wasn’t. I wonder if it was because some of the batter had started to gel? I may try again and only go for the simplest little puff in the center.

  13. @Michelle – Since these are soap challenges, I think we’re going to stick to soap. Although I’ve been meaning to try some goat’s milk lotion too, so maybe we can compare notes!

  14. @Mesha – Maybe you need to tweak your recipe a bit. Rice bran oil will heat up, and I’m trying to think what else might cause this… Try discounting the water just a bit so the soap sets up faster without waiting for the batter to heat up.

  15. Hi Amy,

    I had so much fun trying this method that today I’m going to do another! I piped a little soon, but hey I learned! LOL
    Your inspiration is wonderful and you are so very generous to share your videos with us. I can’t thank you enough for stirring my imagination.
    Aloha,
    Pam

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