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!