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.

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. (