On occasion I receive messages asking how to mix soap dough colors.
Ideally it is preferable to make the soap dough with the color mixed into the oils before lye-water is added. I use soap stable micas; some from TKB Trading, Nurture Soap Supply and a few other places.
First try making the basic colors, or primary colors – red, blue and yellow. With these prime colorsthe secondary and tertiary colors can be made. Having white soap dough will give tints of any of these colors.
Here is a video sharing when soap dough has not been made properly and what it looks like when it has been made properly.
As public as I am, I enjoy my privacy. My privacy contains certain things I hesitate to share, for no other reason but because it feels unreasonable. Until now I have not wanted to share my soap recipe preferences and this will help to explain…
I would like to offer insight to how I work. When I choose to understand something I look to those that have experience and prefer crafts-people who go so far down the rabbit hole that they become experts in that area, seeing things that are not most obvious to others.
Lately, it has come to my attention that my opinion on the recipes of “A Soap Recipe Book of Light and Shadow” might be helpful. I didn’t offer my opinions in the book because I wanted you to choose what you were most attracted to, what ingredients were most accessible in your area and those that would suit you without being influenced by me.
Once you understand fully the terms of saponification and curing, you can see how any soap recipe can be made into soap dough. With that said, there is an ideal balance between soft and hard oil and butters that make for a wonderful soap dough.
After making thousands pounds of soap dough a new awareness has bubbled to the surface.
The first recipe in “A Soap Recipe Book of Light and Shadow” is a very basic recipe. The castor oil can be exchanged for soybean oil with success. I believe there must always be the most basic recipes, one that is reduced to the most essential elements, before we build on that core.
My third and all time favorite recipe is #17. This recipe has my two favorite ingredients, Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter and I adore this recipe. It provides a perfect bar and even more perfect soap dough. If you want just one recipe do try this long time coming, hard earned recipe.
Now, I want to let you know I love all these recipes, each one is my child. I have used each recipe for bars of soap and soap dough, some for their slow trace properties and others for their stout behaviors. I would not have offered them if I found them inferior in any way. I culled the those recipes that weren’t up to snuff and reliable. I have books and books of recipes that didn’t make the cut. All the recipes in “A Soap Recipe Book of Light and Shadow” are tuned and sound, sing a song and each amount exact.
Now, on to the next book… Which I’m working on at this moment (ok, not this very moment, but in the in-between spaces of life). The next book, a Complete Book of all things Soap Dough (not a real title but a focus) I will have written out details of how to create soap cookies, glittered soap creations, basic soap dough shapes, unique Sorcery creations and more soap dough recipes with exotic oils and butters to add to your collection of soap recipes.
Also, there will be a huge dose of inspiration. This part is much more delicate and takes my own authentic inspiration in order to convey. One cannot convey what one does not understand, posses or fully comprehend or it will certainly fall short.
When working with soap, use a muslin bag filled with corn starch to keep the soap from sticking to the work surface and itself. Too much corn starch will leave your soaps looking powdery so use with frugal care.
Spraying tools with 91% alcohol will keep cutters and plungers from sticking.
Spraying with water will make soap dissolve. Remember how soap behaves in the shower?
Once removed from the sealed container, soap will begin evaporation and curing.
Be patient with yourself, if you want to make embeds by hand, it will take time to learn.
This is a basic recipe, created with easy to access ingredients at your local grocery.
In this video there are two different colored soaps: one is colored with cocoa powder and the other is colored with Mad Oils Gold mica.
Both of these soaps are cold process. The brown soap has a 34% water discount, whereas the gold has a 38% water discount. The brown is much smoother and less sticky, while the gold is a bit stickier. For these soaps stones both are fine, and the stickier gold soap is harder to work with, but effective for adherence.
Taking about equal parts of both colors and blending them together helps to create an appearance of stone. I use these little rocks for Koi Pond Soaps. I’m not trying to create a realistic stone, but one that conveys the idea of a stone.
The other interesting appearance is the gold with the full water recipe contrasts against the solid opaque nature of the brown giving a gleam, or a slight translucence effect. This effect is difficult to see in the video.
Don’t worry about making them perfect, this is one time that having your soap look a little rough is to your advantage. 🙂
I’m more than happy to help you, if you have any questions. I have recipes here, that are wonderful for soap molding, more videos and how-to’s.
*In the video I’m spraying with 91% alcohol to smooth and dry the soap stones.
I have included a video, however, I didn’t have a recently cured loaf so I tried to show the motion of how to cut a loaf of soap.
Some things to remember:
(I cut from right to left.)
Place your recently unmolded soap on plastic wrap and then lay it inside your miter box. When you need to move the entire loaf, pull the plastic wrap and the soap won’t be marred on the bottom.
Make a cut mark on the top of the miter box with a maker, to ensure uniform slices. There are hash marks, but hard to see.
Spray both sides of the spackle knife with alcohol, this helps the knife slide through the soap.
Hold the spackle knife (some call it a putty knife, but I see those as much smaller) in your right hand and line it inside the opening on the miter box.
Keeping your loaf of soap flush with the right side of the miter box (or left if you’re left handed), eye up the other side, rock the knife toward to the other side of the miter box slot.
Wipe spackle knife off in between cuts. Use a very clean knife for less clean up on individual bars.
If you don’t rock it, and just bring the knife down like a guillotine the soap will not be consistent. Also, hold the bar steady with opposite hand, because the pressure of cutting will move the entire loaf.
It is an exercise in concentration, however, it pays off. For $15 for the knife and box you’ll have crisp even bars every time, without the expense.