Friday, July 30, 2010

Root Beer Float Bar Update

Check it out, we have discoloration! Now this soap really looks like root beer, and it still smells just like it, too!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Root Beer Float Test Batch

It's another beautiful weekend here in Bellingham and I'm making some delicious Root Beer Float soap to put out in the store as a test loaf. We want your opinions! But oh boy, this is like a replay of the Mint Chocolate Chip project where I have to remind myself that this is soap I have created, not a yummy treat to take a bite out of. We have already tested this scent in a small round sample, and it really discolored. I mean like a hockey puck. But the scent is SO worth it!

My plan for this small batch is to do one side colored dark with cappuccino mica and black oxide, and one side colored light with titanium dioxide. We'll see how well the light side holds up over time as it cures.

In my lined two-pound wooden loaf mold, I poured both of my colors at the same time so they met up in the middle. Then I gave the mold a good shake to even everything out. The soap thickens quickly with this particular scent, but by mixing with my rubber spatula just before pouring, I was able to work with a nice thin texture and no mad rush.

Above is just one pass with a reed in a figure-eight pattern. You could leave it like this and it would be very simple and elegant, but I did one more pass in an 'S' pattern to see what would happen:

The cut soap looks great and the fragrance is mouth-watering! The pattern looks a little bit like a cow, but I'm happy with the outcome. Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their weekend!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Private Swirling Class at Otion

Yesterday was so much fun! Sally from Redmond, WA came up to Otion for a private class to learn the art of cold process swirling. She was such a pleasure to teach, and I can't wait to see her future projects!

We used the popular 18 bar birch mold (my favorite), and a blend of Energy, Strawberry and Lime fragrance oils for a delicious summer scent. Since she had never swirled before, we went all out and used yellow mica, hydrated green chrome oxide, ultramarine violet, ultramarine blue, and titanium dioxide pigments.

The soap came out great, but more importantly, Sally left with a ton of information, some simple tricks to make the soaping process go more efficiently and safely, a list of must-have tools that will save her time and energy, and a new found confidence and excitement for her colorful soap making endeavors. Thanks again Sally!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Sun Bars

Take your soap from boring to beautiful in one easy step using a soap stamp!

Here's what you'll need:

A generic bar of soap
Gold Sparkle Mica
Sun Stamp (Follow this link to see our shiny new Sun Stamp! Photos show an older version).
Rubber mallet

Freshly cut bars of soap work best for stamps because the softness is easier to penetrate.

Sprinkle a thin dusting of Gold Sparkle mica in the lid off its jar. Tap the stamp in the lid until it has a generous coating of mica. If you are having trouble getting the color to stick, spray your stamp a couple times with rubbing alcohol and try again.

Center the stamp on the bar and tap with the rubber mallet, starting with each corner. Then give it a good whack right in the middle to set it into the bar. Keep in mind that too hard of hits will start to split the bar, so practice using light taps at first.

Lift the stamp and you're done! The Gold Sparkle Mica leaves a gorgeous shimmer that makes the stamp design really stand out. It couldn't be an easier way to take your soap up a notch! Have fun and see what other results you get with different mica pigments and stamps.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Unique Twist to Vanilla

Looking for a new and exciting vanilla fragrance? Try Vanilla Forest, our duplication of the popular “Vanilla Bean” by Henry Bendel. It’s a musky vanilla laced with Lemon Leaf, Almond Flower and Vanilla Blossom with base notes of Patchouli and sandalwood. I highly recommend this fragrance to those who are already planning for fall projects.

The soap in the photo was made using opaque melt-and-pour, cappuccino mica, and the Guest Botanicals mold, which is also a great wedding favor design!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hello, Nice to Meet You!

If you're wondering who this Kathryn person is who keeps posting on The Soap King, I better introduce myself. For the last year and a half, I have been helping Erik run Otion, Bramble Berry's retail store. I had never made soap before meeting Erik and Anne-Marie, and like many of you, I think I'm addicted now. Playing with color and swirling and of course the unending fragrance options has gotten me to where I am today-- teaching it, and there is always more to learn.

As for my background, I'm really into art, which is convenient since Otion sits next to some of the best galleries in town. I graduated from Western Washington University here in Bellingham with my Bachelor of Arts in Studio Painting and minored in Art History at age twenty in 2007. After college I drove to New York, lived in West Seattle, and traveled around the southwest. Before the economy really tanked, I was a working artist painting murals and selling canvas pieces, also dabbling in wedding photography and other small photo shoots. These days, I am still painting and venturing into the world of stone sculpture. Last month I spent a week sculpting in Abiquiu, New Mexico using hand tools, pneumatics and even a chainsaw. It was amazing! Here is my piece made of Texas Limestone, about 100 pounds:

The following are some of my murals and canvas work from New Mexico, Arizona and Washington State. If you're interested in seeing more, including my first passion-- abstract expressionism painting, please visit my website.

I'm at Otion a lot and am more than happy to help you out with your soap projects or if you need any help with color blending :-) Thanks for reading and have a great weekend everyone. Enjoy the sun, be creative, and make soap!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mint Chocolate Chip

Is the heat getting you down? Cool off with this refreshing new fragrance at Otion: Mint Chocolate Chip. Enjoy the scent of Pure Cane Sugar, Whipped Cream, Chocolate Truffle, Crème de Menthe, Peppermint Candy and Vanilla Brulee. It’s all rounded out with Tonka Bean, Musk and a hint of Butterscotch. Close your eyes and delight in the sweet chocolate and energizing mint!

Simply blend one drop each of lime and brilliant blue Labcolors in an opaque melt-and-pour soap base for the perfect minty green. I made a basic rectangle with black oxide pigment and chopped it up for the chips. It worked great! For the actual bars, I used a variety of scalloped shapes.

Use 4ml of fragrance per pound of melt-and-pour soap. Let the green cool and thicken slightly, but not too much to where you can't pour it. Add a couple cubes of white soap to help the cooling process go quicker. If you put your chips into too hot of soap, the color will bleed out of them and make a gross gray mess and the chips will melt away.

Sprinkle a few of the chips on the bottom of the mold before pouring the green so that you can see them on the top of the bar, and be sure to spray, spray, spray with rubbing alcohol so everything sticks together.

Top it off with a thin light green or white layer to make the colors pop. Don't cover over the chips completely-- we want to see those! Put them in the freezer for up to 20 minutes and you're done. Now try not to eat them.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Slice Embed Bars

Finally! Summer has officially hit Bellingham and I'm feeling like some fresh fragrances and a fun melt-and-pour project are in order. Here are some scents that are perfect for these cute slice embed bars:

Summer Melon Spritzer
Lime E.O.
Lemon Verbena
Orange Valencia E.O.
Grapefruit E.O.
Tangerine E.O.
Citrus Blend E.O.

Start by making an unscented white half round loaf and chop it into thin slices-- this is the embed and is to remain unscented so that you can make multiple different bars using the same embed. Then grab the four in one mold and some clear soap, and begin to make scented layers (4ml of fragrance per pound of melt-and-pour soap base).

For example, I made a lemon and lime double layer bar by pouring a thin layer of yellow soap scented with lemon and then dropped my white slice in it while the layer was still wet. (Remember to spray the embed and wet soap with rubbing alcohol so they stick). Let that layer harden and pour a green layer scented with lime and drop another slice embed into that. Spray between the hard and fresh layers. That's all there is to it!

Take this technique and try all different colors and fragrances. For a quick bubbly boost to your scent, blend Champagne fragrance oil to your melon or citrus and you'll get a lip-smacking soda scent!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Peace, Love, and Soap

Yesterday we had a group come in to use the Soap Bar and they made some pretty groovy Bellingham bus bars with a fragrance blend of patchouli and orange.

Now, patchouli is one of those 'love it or hate it' scents, but I think it's a winning combination for everybody with the orange 10x essential oil. The zesty burst of citrus creates an incredibly invigorating and stimulating scent-- one that is sure to wake you up in the morning.

Plus, our new Peace Mold couldn't be more perfect for this fragrance blend! Maybe with a far out tie-dye design. Can you dig it?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lovely Lotion Bars

Lotion bars are unique and make wonderful gifts. Simply package them in a travel candle tin with some tissue paper and your label on the top!

5 oz. Beeswax
8 oz. Sweet Almond Oil
4 oz. Mango or Shea Butter
2 oz. Cocoa Butter

1. You'll need a microwave safe dish with a handle and spout, a spoon, and molds--my favorites for this project are the little Guest Molds. Try the Guest Sun and Moon, the Guest Mini Dragonfly, or the Guest Bee Soap. Make sure to have a pot holder handy because melting beeswax can get pretty hot! Optional ingredients are color and fragrance (the examples shown are uncolored).

2. Spoon the beeswax into the container and melt in the microwave for 6-8 minutes. I like to do this in couple minute bursts and mix in between to make sure my dish doesn't overheat to the point of breaking.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients once the wax is melted. Let the heat of the wax melt the butters.

4. Add color and/or fragrance. For the recipe above, use 1/4 oz. fragrance and about 1/4 teaspoon of color per recipe. No food color.

5. Pour the melted mixture into your molds. If you don't like the results, you can remelt the entire batch and add more color or fragrance.

Tip: If your balm is very hot when you pour, it is more likely to crack on the tops as it cools. If you start getting cracks, pour at a lower temperature. Wait for 1 hour before moving, then cap, label and use. I like to put mine in the freezer for about 10 minutes to help them pop right out of the mold. Try using the Bug-Be-Gone Synergy Blend with an inspect inspired mold. You'll be a real hit at any outdoor festival or market this summer.