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How to Keep and Store Soap Dough

Sorcery Soap Dough Puffy Hearts

Saponification and Curing

This question has been asked so many times it needs a clear answer. I have written two books on this subject, Soap Dough and Soap Molding. 

Soap dough is made from cold process soap which saponifies anywhere from 8-36 hours. After all the lye molecules have attached to the fat/oils, the soap is safe to touch. (For those who have purchased either of my two books, see “Fear and Danger: Lye Safety” section) AFTER saponification is complete, lye is no longer active. The process of soap and how ingredients make soap.

After you know the process of saponification the next step is a course of logic – curing. Curing is the evaporation of water used to activate and carry the lye (sodium hydroxide) to the fat/oils. It takes 4-6 weeks to cure soap – for all the water to be evaporated from cold process soap. Evaporation of cold process  soap is equivalent to curing.

The curing process does three things:

  1. Curing hardens the soap bar, because water softens the soap,
  2. Curing enables the soap to be correctly weighed, with the water fully evaporated, you are left with the weight of the actual soap,
  3. Curing shrinks and hardens the bar, so the soap can be correctly packaged. If you want to see how much your soap shrinks during curing, wrap a piece of paper around a freshly cut bar cold process soap as tight as possible and leave it for fully 8 weeks. You’ll see how much your soap shrinks, by how loose the band will be. Not accurate but this experiment will give you a visual of the curing process.

Now that you have a working definition of  “curing” you can see how the next step to maintaining your Sorcery Soap Dough is to keep your soap from evaporation.

How to Store Sorcery Soap Dough

By wrapping your soap dough in plastic wrap, placing it inside a plastic airtight bag or container, your soap dough will maintain its pliability.  So, keep air away from your soap dough and your soap dough will stay moldable for months. Even the best air tight containers will allow some air, and the soap will have a harder form, simply work the soap dough in your hands and your soap dough will soften. It softens from the heat of your hands along with breaking the structure of the soap.

Working this information backward, what keeps the soap pliable is water.

Recap:

  • Cold process soap is made with water,
  • Saponification takes 8-36 hours for the lye to be come inactive, touching soap after full saponification is perfectly safe,
  • Curing i.e. water evaporation takes approximately 6 weeks,
  • Maintaining water in cold process by wrapping in plastic, avoiding air exposure, keeps soap pliable and therefore “SOAP DOUGH”.
  • Sorcery Soap Dough is an ideal recipe I have cultivated that produces a smooth, pliable and moldable dough. 
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Knowing Your Self is Knowing Your Creativity

Crazy Tea Soap

No one can teach you how to be creative. You can copy others. That is not your own creativity. Your own expression is unique to you.

I have written a few books, and each time I start that process I see more about myself, my own journey. Each time I reflect on how I make things, or how to do something, it boils down to the individual.

I can tell you every step of what I do. I can walk you through each tiny nuance of my process, but without the desire to know the self, you will only copy me. And that is okay. However, if your goal, like mine, is to look at what you’re made of, what is inside of you, and then express THAT, it will take more than reading my work. It will take more than making soaps like mine, by your hand.

It will take some soul searching, investigating what moves you. What compels you. What you are attracted to and what inspires you.

To discover these things, I have found I needed to uncover my fears first. I named them, labeled them, and discovered the reality of those fears.

These fears still come up, even after a lifetime of observation. Now, when they raise their heads, I see them differently.

I hope this helps you to understand what I’m doing, what I’m about and aid you on your journey.

Cave of Forgetting

Bhakti Iyata 2013

I went into the cave of forgetting where my monsters live hoping you would stand guard.

I needed you to stand guard, to protect me from completely forgetting who I am. I needed you to witness my journey. My Heroines journey. I knew I would forget who I was: my strength, my power, the very courage it took to go into that cave. I was afraid to disconnect from all that I am.  I went into the cave believing you would stand guard as the reminder of all that I was, all that I am.

I needed you to yell from time to time, or whisper, “I remember you. I will not forget while you face your fears.” I wanted to hear your voice tell me who I was with you. I wanted you to be bigger than the monsters I was going to face. I wanted you to be more clear, more stable, more honorable. To stand there in the light, holding the tether that kept me bound to you, giving it a tug from time to time to make sure I stayed connected. To make me remember in the cave of forgetting, who I was, to that world and to you.

In that darkness where my soul forgets who I am; where I forget so easily the second the light is no more and the darkness is all there is, I needed to be reminded that I am courageous, bold and brilliant and that I am made from light.

The pressure of the darkness was so great that my heart hurt profoundly, my chest grew tight and small, squeezing you from me and all the love with it. In that darkness, where no light exists, I craved the experience of light. I craved you.

The deeper I went, panic began to envelope me. I feared I’d never find my way back to you.

I believed the whisperings of my monsters, that I was not worth standing guard for, that I was on my own, alone with them. They were my truth in that darkness.

My monsters told me many dark things. They told me you were not strong enough to remember for both of us. They told me they would be with me forever. They told me the only thing real was fear, not love, not commitment, not honor. Not you. They told me that you did not care enough to tug on the rope. They told me you had walked away… And then, they said the thing I feared the most, that you never existed.

I wanted a simple act to remind me I was connected to the world, connect to you.

The darkness engulfed me and was my reality. My breath, my love was squeezed from my body and I believed them.

I grieved you, feeling my heart was broken forever. I embraced them, the monsters. If fear is all I have I will learn my fears. I will become the best at understanding them, mastering them and ultimately befriending them. What else is there? You are gone.

In that cave where no light exists, when I sat still and quiet, listening to my breath, the cold wrapped its arms around me. I sat still in acceptance.

Then, I felt something. A flicker in my chest. It was not a feeling for you. You had abandoned me. You let me go and I could feel your lack of presence. I sensed the flicker in my chest that reminded me of love.  I let the flicker course through my body and remembered the feeling of light on my skin. I remembered what love felt like in my heart and my belly began to burn.

My skin grew brighter. I grew brighter. The monsters shielded their eyes and ran deeper into the cave. I chased them. I had to chase them as far as necessary to tame them or kill them.

I ran hard into the darkness. The farther I ran, the more they morphed into various forms confusing me until I dropped to my knees, heaving and exhausted, tears flooding my eyes and sobs wracking my body. My knees hurt from the hard rocky floor.

I heard them  stir. I could see them return, begin to take shape. As they came closer many vanished like vapor, and the steam of them warmed me and kissed my skin. I felt hugged from a deeper place than I had known.

Those that were left came up like beaten dogs wanting to be tamed. The wolf-like monsters approached me with heads and tails down and put their muzzles on me. I petted them and told them they served me well.

I fed them from my hand, and they grabbed the gifts and ran off into the darkness. I could hear their teeth snapping. I knew they could tear my flesh and dig into my chest after my light, but we had made a truce.

I amplified my courage and allowed my shadows-emotions to dissipate, stood and walked in the general direction, back along the trail, where I remembered the light. I walked and walked over rocky ground, feeling the loss of the rope I thought had tied us together. 

I smelled the air for a sign of you. Coldness filled my nose but not your scent.

I stumbled and fell down. When I stood I saw the dimmest of lights and moved toward it.

I got close and took a big breath and stepped into the painful light. Through squinting eyes I saw you. You had not left your post. You stood holding the limp rope with the cleanly severed end in your hand. You thought I cut it. You thought I wanted to be free of you. You were scared for me but wanted to support me on my journey the only way you knew. So you waited, holding the severed rope.

I was shocked at the clean cut end of the rope.  Was it my monsters who had cut it before I tamed them? No matter they were mine to train, I hold myself accountable. I didn’t conquer them soon enough before I lost you. It was my responsibility to keep them in check, to protect my end of that rope.

My journey had nothing to do with you. You were the catalyst. You where the movie screen of my projection, and for that I am grateful. Even if you are now gone.

 

 

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Sorcery Soap Dough Molding Soaps

Sorcery Soap Dough Molding Soap

There is much to learn from soap, every day, every batch and every new project.

The consistency of soap dough is important.

When I make soap to mold with fragrance oils, I can see how the fragrance oil reacts to my recipe. Some times it appears more transparent, stickier or has an odd consistency.

Some soap is ultra smooth, and those, generally, do not have fragrance in them. Do not misunderstand, this is not desire to discount fragrance oils. Of all people, I’m not that woman. I love fragrance oils.

Buy Sorcery Soap Dough

Sorcery Soap Apron and Soap Dough

To be clear, I am saying that I can see more deeply how the fragrance oils behave when squishing, mashing, and squeezing soap through my fingers, inasmuch as a baker can feel her bread dough. Some molding soaps have more resiliency or can be stretched and pulled, just like dough, where as others, it is simply too sticky to preform in the same way.

I see more about each batch by examining the soap in this way, than I did by just making bars and using them.

What I’m looking for: 

I want to see a dough that is pliable, and doesn’t cause cracks. A soap dough that is wet enough to mush and mash, but not so much so that I have to use a lot of corn starch to avoid sticking. Too much corn starch can cause white spots of pocket corn starch.

See this video for more help:

Most of my molding soap no longer has scent added to it and each batch it better than the last.

If you have questions, please email me at bee@sorcerysoap.com

I’m more than happy to try and help!

See our Cultivated Silk, Custom Fondant Kits and Cookies Cutters at: Sorcery Products™

All our products ship within 12 hours (weekend not included) and arrive in days.

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Making Black Birds Pie

Making Black Bird Poison Pies

There was extra from my Honey Bee Soap, which has sodium lactate. SL is not great for molding soap, but usable. It causes little hard areas that take a lot of time to mash up. I used it because its also scented with Honey and that with the combination of Poison Pie, a mysterious fruit blend, is intoxicating. I like the irregularities of the pie dough and turned out ideal.

For more tools and resources: Read this… 

If you have questions about hand molding soap, ask here or write to me directly.

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Trust Yourself. Trust Your Soap.

Trust Yourself. Trust Your Soap.

Weeks ago I made soap acorns, getting in the Autumn spirit and all. I was inspired just to see if I could make soap acorns. I made them without a peep of an idea of what I would do with them. I just wanted to see if I could make them.

Acorn and Leaf Soap
Acorn and Leaf Cold Process Soaps

Once I made the acorns, I tried to incorporate them with other designs, but they weren’t a good fit. I was distressed for a second and then moved on to other things I was inspired to make toadstools, snails, baby gnomes.

For some reason, weeks later, I was ruminating on those acorns and remembered I’d made maple leaves and painted them for UnDead Soap. I liked that soap, the leaves stood out for me.

So, today I searched acorn and leaf images. It wasn’t a blinding flash of inspiration, just a gentle nudging toward answering the question, “I wonder if I can make oak leaves too”.

I gathered my variety of golden colored soaps, which I have a few, flattened it with a rolling pin and began drawing them out free-hand with a small sculpting knife.

This is what I came up with (see image).

As I made these leaves the rest of the soap took shape in my imagination. I can’t wait for these to dry so I can paint them, and then begin making the soap that will go along with the acorns and leaves. I can now see the soap in my mind.

So often my designs are created like this, where I have a piece of the seemingly incongruent soap and grab it, make that part and then later the design unfolds and manifests in my imagination. This process, I’m learning to trust. You should see my soap lab, bits and pieces of this and that, nothing making sense to the logical mind.

I’m learning about my own creative process. I’m learning to trust myself, and trust my expression. I hope the same for you… I hope you trust those little nudges and small attractions to all things that help you express yourself and delve deep into your own creativity.

Trust yourself, trust your soap and most of all trust your imagination.

Bhakti “Bee”