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Boundless Limitations

Sorcery Soap Embeds

I’ve been asked why I don’t use silicone molds. This question is curious to me.

I make all embeds by hand, using tools at times, but mostly molding by hand. I sometimes cannot duplicate, often times I can, but not exactly the identical as the first – often times better. This is why sculptors use molds as well. Sculptors carve the original in clay and mold, through a process, into bronze or the desired metal. Some use a lost wax casting method, where the original is lost, but a silicone mold is made before the loss in order to duplicate.

I do not.

I trust in my boundless creativity. I also know that once my fingers and mind have found the path they will, both, remember forever that path. Because I discovered it, I was not taught.  It was not someone else’s path, but uniquely mine.

When one discovers a path, in the woods or in the creative ethers, it is etched onto that person. This might not be true for all, but it most certainly is for me. It has been that way in all my endeavors. How does one put that on a resume? And, it is a most valuable resource.

When I had my construction company I mentally tracked all goings on and as a way of teaching my replacement, I wrote things down, had systems in place and written handbooks. It still took months to teach someone all that I stored in my mind and being. There was a rhythm, a music in my office that showed me my way every day because the events, the actions that were necessary to keep that business moving forward changed daily, therefore I had to adjust and still not lose the melody. That was the nature of the original question presented, how do I show someone that music? How do I teach someone to feel their own music and apply it to given circumstances?

It seems I’m doing something similar with Sorcery Soap. There is a music in this creative world, one that the seasons or the weather tells me as much as the 4-6 weeks curing time tells me. Once soap is cured, that dictates the next series of events: taking of photos, labeling, adding to the website, wrapping soap, writing ad copy… Eventually shipping. This is the most simple example.

How do you know when to order more soap supplies? When I weight things out this last time it seems I have run completely out of my one ingredient I use most… Shea Butter. When I order by “feel” I have yet to run out. Curious.

Like any good musician who knows their music without seeing the page an artist who knows when to create, what to do next and how to execute that action, soap making has its own music.

If anyone ever does end up working with me, there is a time to go for a hike and a time for a run, a time to sit quietly and muse and a time for much activity. These daily events are as important as molding embeds for a soap that hasn’t fully formed in the mind.

This is the music of my day.

 

 

 

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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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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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Soap Molding Consistency

This video shows the consistency of a pliable soap for soap molding. Make hand molded soap, use fondant tools or push this soap into a mold.

Let this soap cure and it will produce embeds that do not ash.

Please, ask me if you have questions. I’ll do my best to answer you quickly.

You can find me on any social media, I prefer contacting me through Facebook or email. soapwitch(at)sorcerysoap.com

Visit this page for a simple soap recipe .

Soap Molding Consistency

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Make Your Own Embeds

Horse Sorcery Soap

Make Your Own EmbedsNovel Soaps

It is necessary to run risks. We only properly understand the miracle of life when we allow the unexpected to happen. ~ Paulo Coelho “Life: Selected Quotations”

If you want to break out of molds, try your hand (pun intended) at hand molding!

There are many molds on the market for embeds and after a trying many of them, I wanted a larger creative palate.

On one of my many cold process soap failures, I began molding some of that batch. I squished it, mushed it and felt its full textured as it warmed in my hands.

I learned a great deal from touching soap. (If you’re familiar with cold process I shouldn’t have to say this, but… Wait at least 24 hours to work with newly made cold process without gloves. Read Kevin Dunn’s book, Scientific Soapmaking: The Chemistry of the Cold Process on a scientific explanation of saponification.)

All of my embeds and tops are made with cold process. Use your favorite cold process recipe to begin and just pour off a cup to start. I’ve cultivated a particular recipe for soap and its reliable and consistent and of course, top secret.

I generally use my normal hard bar soap base for embeds, but I will make a total batch just for molding, when I need a particular color. This soap is made with a touch of silk which I find helps the smoothness of the embed batch. That’s the only hint I’ll give for now, but if you read my blog you’ll have read many secrets.

The best tool you have, beside your hands, is research, curiosity. Search this site for videos, more blog posts about soap molding, etc. To look for a “how-to” and have someone tell you every detail about how this works, you’ll lose the plot. This is a path of creativity, even if you make what you wanted, it is not the end. Its just the beginning. Its the possibility of seeing the world differently, with a touch more magic.