Thursday, September 30, 2010

Floating Leaves Autumn Bars

This project takes embedding to a different level. Normally, you'd use a clear soap base and place the embed inside. We're using an opaque base and using the bottom of the bar as the top, allowing our leaf to pop out! It's surprisingly simple and the end result is gorgeous!

What You'll Need:

Part 1. Leaves

1. Melt about 2 cups of chopped white soap base for the leaves and scent with 4ml Sensuous Sandalwood before adding color.
2. Split the soap into two cups; color one cup with Merlot Mica and the other with Yellow Mica.
3. Make the leaves by pouring both colors at the same time to create a swirl. Let them harden in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Part. 2. Water Background
1. Melt another 2 cups of white soap base and scent with 4ml Sensuous Sandalwood.
2. Color the entire thing with 1-2 drops of Brilliant Blue Labcolor. Add more color for a deeper blue.
3. Fill each cavity of the basic shapes mold halfway. Put in freezer for ten minutes. Leave some blue soap as leftover to be used in the embedding phase.

Part. 3. Embedding
1. Pop out the leaves and keep the blue soap in its mold. Keep in mind the leaves mold makes five bars and the basic shapes mold makes four, so you will have to repeat part 2 for one more bar.
2. Pour a thin layer of blue soap over the hardened ones (make sure to spray with rubbing alcohol first!) You may need to re-heat the leftover blue soap in your dish before pouring.
3. Spray the back of the leaf and place into the wet layer of blue soap in the basic shape mold. Let it harden in freezer for five minutes and you're done!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Soapy Birthday!

There have been some great parties at Otion lately. We can fit up to 12 people upstairs for a birthday and just last week, we had two 12-person parties two days in a row! That's a lot of soap! It's been so much fun celebrating-- I see a lot of familiar faces from people who have come in and used the Soap Bar before, or who have done birthday parties with us in the past.

Look at all these smiley faces. I think they had fun :-)

The party loaf came out great, too. This is made of everyone's extra soap combined into one big mold that gets cut up and shared among the group at the end. Well done girls!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Soaping Up a Winter Wonderland

Silver Spruce is what walking through a cold, snow-covered White Spruce forest smells like – notes of White Spruce are mixed with supporting notes of Blue Spruce and Walnut Tree. The fragrance also has a sprinkling of Cranberries and Hollyberries blended perfectly with notes of Tree Bark and Sap. This complex blend comes off as a sophisticated forest fragrance without wilting at the end.

To create a fun embedded tree soap, use a basic rectangle mold to create a thin layer with clear base colored to your liking. Cut out a tree, place the layer face-down back into the mold with a wet layer of clear soap at the bottom. Make sure to spray with rubbing alcohol so everything sticks together, and back it with white base. Not sure how to free-hand a tree? Start by slicing a line down the center and cut triangles, smallest at top, halfway down and leave the bottom as a line for the trunk. The key to making it look original and tree-like is by adding smaller slices to the triangles to create additional branch shapes. Have fun!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chocolate Lovers Beware!

I'd like to officially welcome you to fall with a delectable new fragrance oil. If you're a chocolate lover you'd better sit down before sampling this scent. It will whisk you away to another place and time. The top note is a nutty almond paired with powdered baking chocolate, creamy milk, powdered sugar and vanilla. It's love at first sniff! Behaves beautifully in cold process soapmaking and discolors to a dark brown, and it is now at Otion!

For Anne-Marie's amazing hot cocoa marshmallow soap recipe, click here!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Straight Into the Soap Bar Hall of Fame

We had a group of six girls under the age of ten come to Otion today to celebrate a birthday and they made some AMAZING bars! In record speed no less. Take a look at some of their first ever soap creations--I'm impressed! Great job girls, you made our job easy :-)

Birthday parties get to reserve the upstairs for a little extra room and privacy for food and presents if they wish. Plus, they get to make what we call a 'Party Loaf,' which is a conglomerate of everybody's extra soap in a loaf mold. It is chopped up and shared among the group at the end. For more information, click here.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Kat will be away next week to work at a stone-sculpting workshop. Maybe she'll share pictures when she gets back!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cranberry Fig Solid Sugar Scrub

We have a new Gift Givers class coming up next month at Otion to prepare you for giving handmade gifts for the holidays. We will make custom lip balm, bath fizzies and sugar/salt scrubs. I'm playing around with a fun solid sugar scrub idea using my favorite scent this season: Cranberry Fig! Anne-Marie has a great post about making sugar cubes on Soap Queen based on Erin Pikor's single use body scrubs.

They are simple to make and super luxurious!

  • Up to 1 part carrier oil (jojoba, sweet almond, avocado, etc.)
  • 3 parts white sugar
  • 4 ml of fragrance per pound of mixture
  • I used the Celtic and Fall Leaves single cavity flexible molds, which are also great for lotion bars, soap and bath fizzies!
  • Color is optional. Merlot mica was used in this example.
  1. Melt soap base and stir in carrier oil, fragrance and color.
  2. Pour sugar into melted soap and oil while stirring. If it hardens quickly, simply re-heat in microwave.
  3. Pour or spoon into molds. Place molded cubes in freezer for ten minutes, de-mold and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Revealing the Beauty of Your Soap

Yesterday, Nadeen from Maine spent a whole day of learning with us at Otion! Check out Anne-Marie's Soap Queen blog post with more pictures. One of the many projects that were made included an advanced swirl cold process batch using the 18 bar Baltic Birch mold. We used Woodland Elves fragrance oil, copper sparkle mica, green chrome oxide, opalescent green mica, and ultramarine oxide pigments.

Everything was ready to go; oils weighed out, lye cooled, colors lined up, scent portioned, swirl pattern planned. What we didn't expect was a sudden acceleration of trace at the last moment! When you're doing a multiple color swirl, a thin and fluid soap consistency makes for perfect patterns, so a thick mass of color was less than desirable. But hey, this was a private class in a controlled environment-- so bring it on! Let's see how far we can go with thickening soap in a pinch. I was glad Nadeen was able to experience acceleration and the bars turned out great!

Above shows a powdery white chalk-like substance on the surface (yes, fall is near, but we don't want frost on everything just yet). This is called soda ash-- I refer to it more as evil fairy dust, but really, it's pretty harmless stuff and more of an eye-sore than anything. Soda ash is usually a result of leaving your soap uncovered and can be avoided by placing a layer of Saran Wrap or freezer paper (shiny side down) on the surface of the soap after it has been poured. Some believe adding beeswax to the recipe or spraying rubbing alcohol on the surface of freshly poured soap helps prevent it.

I like to trim the thin layer of soda ash off the surface of my bars to reveal the beautiful color and swirl underneath. The little extra time and effort is worth it, particularly if you are using a divider mold like the Baltic Birch 18- bar, which basically cuts the soap into bars for you. I love how they turned out, and the scent is incredible! Perfect woodsy holiday soap-- and we still ended up with a fun color design even with acceleration. Thanks Nadeen!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

September Cold Process Class

Lucky me, I got to teach an awesome group of brand new soapers the art of cold process--making soap from scratch using lye. We had a lot of fun and they created beautiful bars with vibrant colors, swirls, and exfoliating additives!

This is our second batch. Everyone left with four bars of custom scented and colored soap.

One of the best parts--adding color and fragrance!

Nancy is pouring the lye into the oils. She brought her own lavender essential oil and ground up lavender buds to experiment with.

Beautiful swirls!!

Well done! Keep an eye on our website for the next class listing. Bring a friend, or surprise someone like one of the students did today. She had no idea she was coming to a soapmaking class! It was a blast-- thanks everyone!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Soap Bar Groups are the Best!

Yesterday we celebrated a birthday at the Soap Bar! The girls made lots of amazing soap masterpieces-- many of them were pros and had already been to Otion. I think everyone used glitter :-)

They had dinner and present plans later and were such a small group that we managed to comfortably fit everyone around the table downstairs. You can reserve the upstairs for official birthday parties at $15 a person, which allows more privacy and space for cake/snacks/presents, and the group gets to also make a "party loaf." Check it all out here.

Thanks for celebrating with us!

More New Fragrance Testing

Once in a while, I'll get some pretty crazy results when testing new fragrances in cold process soap. I just had to show you this latest batch of scents that caused major discoloration. The one on the upper left couldn't decide what to do-- it immediately turned bright orange as I mixed it in the cup, and after about 5 to ten minutes later it started fading while a dew formed on the surface. It eventually went to a natural beige color by the next day. Crazy! Good thing we test all our scents first before they hit the shelf.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Top Fall Etsy Finds

Welcome to September! Time to grab a chai tea and start thinking about fall soap projects, and what better venue for inspiration than the creative world of Etsy. Here are some of my top pics for fall soap projects (it was hard to pick just five!):

Cranberry Orange Marmalade Handmade Shea Butter Soap by LotionsandPotions

Set of 4 Autumn Calla Lily Soaps On A Stick by enchantingsoapfavors

Country Pumpkin Pie Soap with Pumpkin Puree and Brown Sugar by BubblesUpByBethieB.

Green Soap with a Fox (Felted Celestial Waters Soap) by SoFino.

Small Red Caramel Apple Soaps by KcSoapsNmore.

Bramble Berry also carries a great fall fragrance sampler kit that contains 1/2 ounce bottles of the following scents:

• Red Apple
• Arabian Spice
• Sandalwood Vanilla
• Pumpkin Spice
• Almond (Cybilla)
• Chai Tea (Cybilla)
• Cranberry Realistic
• Mayan Gold
• Earth Musk
• Turkish Mocha
• Ginger Pear

Have fun and enjoy the sun while it's still here!