Mirror Glaze Soap Challenge April 2019

IMG_1365 (3)Hello every one! It’s time for another soap challenge with Amy Warden and Great Cakes Soap Challenge Club.  This month our challenge is to apply a baking technique called mirror glaze to our soaps.  This is a challenge for soap because we needed to keep our batter fluid enough to pour the glaze over the tops of our cakes or small muffins…and then make sure we didn’t scratch or damage the glaze before we got our pictures taken!

All of the colors and glitter that I used in this challenge are from Nurture Soaps who is our sponsor for this month’s challenge.  I love shopping at Nurture Soap’s website and their customer service is superb!  The colors I used in this challenge are: Neon Pink Florescent, Pink Vibrance, Neon Purple, Purple Vibrance, Blue Vibrance, Maya Gold and Shimmer Gold mixed, Neon Green and Alpine Green mixed, Winter White and Titanium Dioxide mixed, Black Oxide (used on the muffins).

The first step was to make the cake and muffins (which were used as a platform to heighten the flower bouquet). Let these set for 48 hours to unmold smoothly.  I used my basic soap recipe but I should have used cheaper oils for this cake as we will never cut it but use it for display…live and learn I guess. (Guess I missed a picture of the round muffins.)

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During the wait, I started working on the flowers for the cake.  I tried piping some but that was a total failure so I used that batch for soap dough.  I already had the sculpting tools from previous challenges and my sister gave me her Wilton fondant kit which made the process very easy.  I made flowers for several days!

Once the cake came out of the mold it was time to start experimenting on the layout.  This took some time as I wanted to keep most of the top clear for the display of the glazing.  The below pictures were taken right after I poured the glaze, while it was still wet.  I saved all of the over-pour for soap dough. It made a beautiful lavender dough.

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Next came the placement of the flowers on the glazed cake.  Wow, this was tedious!  I was so nervous placing the flowers and praying that I didn’t drop one on the glaze.  Alas, I DID drop a jar on the soap and had to hide the mark with the pink lily and swan.

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To finish the muffins I cut into them and added salt crystals covered in mica and glitter (from Nurture Soap of course!) and then I dipped them in the clear melt and pour, also from Nurture Soap, and wished I had dipped them first and not over the salt.  Some of the muffins wouldn’t spin on the sticks and the M&P globed up around the crystals and cracked but overall I am very pleased with the way this challenge went together for me and with my results.

Until next time and happy soaping!

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February 2019 Soap Challenge and SZN News

IMG_0814Hello everyone and thank you for joining us on our blog page.

Life has been kind of crazy for us at Skin Zen over the last year with changes to our focus market.  Things moved very fast as we changed our internal processes to gear up for the new business goals and challenges we faced.  Our increase in production is a direct result of our new Marketing Manager and Director who joined us in 2018, and we are pleased to welcome Shanelle and Dan Mayerhofer on our team. Shanelle and Dan have already implemented great ideas within the company and boosted our business and clientele tremendously since joining our team.  Looking forward to greater things to come for 2019!

It has been several months since I have had the time to make a new soap, so I decided to use the February 2019 Soap Challenge by Amy Warden from Great Cakes Soapworks and dedicate my weekend to creating a new custom soap for a wholesale order (one of five new wholesale orders!)  I am so grateful that Amy was able to bring the challenges back for the inspiration these events provide to soapers which push us to grow and experiment while making our products.

This month the challenge is Glycerin Rivers design and is inspired by soapmaker Clara Lindberg from Auntie Clara’s Handcrafted Cosmetics and her blog posts on glycerin rivers.  I have created glycerin rivers on previous challenges (here and here) but they were not intentional.  When I created the first soap with glycerin rivers I liked the effect they gave my soap, and I thought they complemented the design perfectly (January 2016 Soap Challenge blog for the Circling Taiwan Swirl.

Glycerin rivers are not actually glycerin but are non-pigmented (clear) “rivers” or a crackle-like sections running through your bar. These “rivers” run along side or surround the pigmented sections in your soap. Rivers (or Glivers as Clara likes to call them) must meet specific criteria when found in your soaps:  (a) colored with pigment such as Titanium Dioxide, rather than with mica or lake colorants; and (b) when heat was added to the soap for a gel phase.  Rivers can also be caused when you have a high sugar content in your soap, or some fragrance oils can cause overheating and rivers.  Glycerin rivers cure at a different rate than the “smooth” portions of your bar, causing an uneven or ridged look between the pigmented and non-pigmented sections. I believe the addition of rivers in some bars adds to the overall design which is what we are trying to accomplish with this challenge.

My first attempt to create rivers in my soap is the only soap I made that actually had rivers in the bars. I used my standard moisturizing soap recipe with 38% water.  The colors used were Pink Vibrance Mica, Green Neon Fluorescent Pigment, Neon Orange Fluorescent Pigment (mixed in water), and Titanium Dioxide  mixed with water all from Nurture Soap.

The design was made using a hanger swirl.  I placed the wooden loaf on a heating pad and covered the loaf with several towels. Unfortunately the heating pad I pulled out had a default two-hour timer and auto shut off so I had to keep a timer on to turn the heating pad back on every two hours for six hours which was very frustrating. The loaf was left covered over night without the heat once I went to bed.

Unfortunately I ran out of time to make a better “river” soap but I do love how this one turned out with the clear rivers in the white and between the colors adding additional depth to the soap.

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September 2018 Soap Challenge

IMG_2770Hello to all viewers!

I was so excited to hear Amy Warden, the owner of Great Cakes Soapworks, decided to revive the Soap Challenge Club!!! Thank you Amy for giving us this wonderful opportunity to practice and play soap with our peers and to… “Learn. Make. Share. Repeat.”

This month our challenge design was a mini drop swirl technique.  This technique gives your soap an amazing look of small teardrop shapes suspended within the body of the soap for a beautiful floating bubble effect.  For my first attempt at mastering this technique I used my standard soaping formula that is fairly slow to trace and scented  with lavender essential oil.   Lavender essential oil doesn’t seem to accelerate my soap base much so it was easy to experiment with for new designs.  I wanted to experiment with Halloween colors as well so this soap was made with mica from Nurture Soap in neon green, neon yellow and neon orange, glow in the dark pigment, in the titanium dioxide, and activated charcoal. I set the essential oil in Kaolin clay from Arizona Soap Supply to help hold the fragrance in the soap longer.  Unfortunately this batch didn’t make the cut for the challenge club entry as I over blended the batter and it didn’t get very good drops in the design as well as the heavy glycerin rivers throughout the loaf… so, more practice!  Sorry that a couple of the photos are blurry, I got oil on the camera lens but I do love the little face that was  in the finished bars, what do you think?

My second batch was made with the same oil recipe and a custom citrus essential oil blend.  I again used Nurture Soap’s neon colors but the orange wasn’t what I was looking for (it turned pink!) so this will be another soap for the house.   The “drops” are perfect in this batch though, but unfortunately this loaf was full of glycerin rivers.  I believe I have the technique down now,  and I hope number three will be perfect!

My third batch is a new essential oil blend I designed for the holidays with Sweet orange Chocolate and peppermint YUM!  I don’t know why I decided to try an untested scent on this batch but it worked out fine.  The colors are from Nurture Soap ( identified as “ns” below) and Crafter’s Choice purchased from Essential Depot (identified as “cc” below).  The colors used in this batch are: 24 K Gold mica (cc) and Yellow Gold (cc) combined, the red is Crimson Sparkle mica (cc).  The green is Alpine Green (ns), and I didn’t have a silver so I created some using titanium dioxide, Ivory Lace (cc), Super Sparkles (cc),  Platinum Grey (ns),  and activated charcoal.  I decided to pipe the top of this and used a mica drizzle of red, gold and green but the red didn’t stay blended very well.  I still love the look of this and the fragrance is soooo yummy!

Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of the creation of this soap (which is why I show the pictures from the above batches) but I do have pictures below of the loaf ready to cut and final pictures.  I really love this technique and will be using it again in the future.  I can’t wait to see all of the creative ideas everyone used with this challenge!

 

Impression Mat December 2015 Soap Challenge

The challenge this month from Amy Warden and  Great Cakes Soap Works was using Impression Mats with our soap.  We could either buy a mat or make our own, and the coupon from this month’s sponsor really helped so thanks to Bramble Berry too, for being the sponsor for this challenge.

I decided I needed to buy my mats and hit the internet for anything interesting.  Several of the mats and items I bought will not arrive until after Christmas, but that’s ok, I thoroughly enjoyed working with the mats in this challenge and will again add this technique to my growing skills.  I subscribe to Antie Clara’s blog and love reading about her techniques. Her blog on impression mats was very informative and can be found here.

found some  as it was very similar to painting in my opinion.

applying purple
I started out using the Q-tips as Amy did in her video but that didn’t work very well for me. I switched to a small makeup brush the to a small paint brush to apply the mica to the matt and found that was the perfect way to work.  The smaller the bristles the better.  The picture  above shows a small makeup brush and the below image shows one of the small paint brushes.
rubbing tape to pull off excess mica on top
I found that tape worked really well to pull excess mica off the top of the mat and saved me a LOT of clean up.  I used the edge of the paint brush to rub the top of the mat to clean the top.  If I used my finger or a ball of tape, I would pull off mica where I didn’t want, if I fell into a wide spot such as a grape or big leaf.
2nd pealing tape off after rubbing - better
You can see the imprint of the excess mica that would have been on the top of the soap if I had not cleaned it well using the tape.
matt in mold with oils ready to make soap
Here is the mat in my mold, and I am ready to make my soap batter.
Pealing off mat 2
I used  the following micas from Nurture Soap in this batch so I will not be selling this soap: Paradise Purple, Vibrant Purple, Titanium Dioxide, Hunter Green Vibrance Green, Alpine Green, and a custom blend of these greens.  I tried to create shading on the leaves, grapes and vines.  there was a little bleed-through on the purple drop swirl, but i think it came out ok over-all.  The first loaf I made wasn’t as defined in the shading but this second loaf came out better.   In the above picture the mat pealed off really clean during the unmolding.
loaf 2 and frog molds
Here are the two frog molds I painted with mica drying with my challeng soap! My Daughter will love these!
deep angle view
Close up of the shading detail on the leaves and grapes.
cut bars uncleaned
cut bars waiting to be cleaned.
cut bar closeup
Close up
final 2
I used a CPOP process on this soap and will be giving these away to family soon.
Final Photo
Lavender and Vines

 

I scented my soap with a custom blend of essential oils  that has a light “Lavender and Fresh Air” fragrance.  Slightly citrus, floral, and refreshing.  I don’t use micas in my soaps and the swirl in the main portion wasn’t enough color and I lost the color in the first batch but this second bach is great!

This was a really fun challenge, I can’t wait for next month. Thanks Amy!

Alternative Liquid Soap Challenge

Saturday was the deadline for the Alternative Liquids soap challenge hosted by Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks.  this was my first soap challenge and I have to say I am in awe with the creativity displayed in the entries, and amazed at the detailed research provided by these soapers.  There is a ton of reading material to dive into here, and I will be spending quite a few late nights going over all this great information!  I was really excited to participate in this challenge, and quite inexperienced, so I was along for the learning experience, and to soak up all of the wonderful  knowledge from fellow-crafters.

Our challenge this month is really perfect for me as it was an all natural soap. The criteria was: use an alternative liquid instead of plain distilled water; use only natural colorants; and only use essential oil if fragranced.  I posted my challenge entry to my facebook page so this is just for my information and enjoyment, and to add additional pictures of the soap creation process.  I see I need a LOT more research in my soap challenges and will strive to increase my writing to provide more value during the review process.

I created my soap using rose tea, rose kaolin clay, and tussah silk (which I forgot to mention in my challenge entry on FB).  My color was Alkanet root powder infused in olive oil, which I used 2 Tsp. and this was too strong and came out almost black in the finished soap.  I also added 1 Tbsp. rose kaolin clay as a color/texture to my soap and wow did this speed up the trace! The remainder of the soap I left natural.  The alkanet root turned a dark green when added to the soap and I was afraid the bars would come out green but after gel phase the color changed to a really dark purple/black so next time I will use on 1/2 a teaspoon to a batch of soap.

This super creamy bar was an in-the-pot swirl and made using: Rose tea infused distilled water, Sodium Hydroxide, Castor oil, Coconut oil, Mango butter, Rose infused Olive oil, Rosehip oil, and Shea butter. The Essential oil is Rose Absolute and my colorants are alkanet root (infused in olive oil)   and Rose Kaolin clay

Rose oil and hydrosols have been used for centuries to help moisturize and infuse our skin with vitamins and antioxidants.  huffingtonpost.com/emilie-davidson-hoyt/rose-oil-benefits_b_2633703.html

I did additional research and should have listed it in my submission but ran out of time to post my soap before the close of the challenge.  My other sources and research was on the Rose Absolute I used in my soap: Rosa Damascena.  Rose is known for its beauty and cosmetic treatment but is also used to treat burns, rashes and other skin ailments due to its skin regenerating properties based on the Essential Oils & The Definitive Bible; Aromatherapy book by Nerys Purchon and Lora Cantele.

Rose Otto (Rosa damascene) is also known as an aphrodisiac and mild astringent as well as the cell regeneration mentioned above; and is good for all skin types. Rose is especially good for mature and environmentally damaged skin, and powdered petals are used in face cleansers with the whole petals used in facial steams per Stephanie Tourles books The Healing Remedies and Organic Body Care.

I also found where rose and geranium have been used in nerve tonics to help calm and nurture. (The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oil by Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D.)

Rose kaolin clay is a great additive to soap, not only for the color aspect but for the cleaning, absorbing oils, and skin detoxifying properties.  Clays are beneficial in helping your body to remove toxins from the skin because of the ingredient  montmorillonite.  Rose kaolin clay has iron oxide added to it, giving it the red color. (http://benefitof.net/benefits-of-kaolin-clay/)