My first entry in a Great Cakes Soap Challenge! I decided to enter the natural category with a yellowish-green color theme using spirulina, moringa and activated charcoal as the colorants.
I used spirulina and moringa infusions for the solid yellowish-green circle fill and added some of the spirulina sludge and a touch of activated charcoal for a slightly speckled dark outline.
My infusions had been soaking since April and the filtered oil looked a lot like motor oil (infusion in middle jar, moringa sludge right jar, spirulina sludge left jar). I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. The process went smoothly with no trace issues with my recipe of: Sweet Almond Oil Infusion of Spirulina and Moringa Powders, Canola Oil, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Palm Oil scented with an essential oil blend of eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary and anise.
I mixed with the lye solution and oils around 105F in San Francisco where summers are notoriously cold and my soaps generally resist gelling. I even used my stick-blender and added kaolin clay since I am impatient and knew that pouring at too thin a trace would merge into a muddy mix of colors. Even with stick-blending, the first dots and outlines didn’t hold their shape and I had problems with dripping. The color mixing is evident on the bottom layer of the unmolded soap.
With a little fiddling, I discovered leaving some headroom at the top of the squeeze bottle created a vacuum when the pressure was released that helped with the dripping. By the second or third layer the trace thickened enough for me to create defined circles! After about an hour of squirting, I was done. The batter was starting to thicken which caused a bit of a layered effect. I tried to level the layers by tapping the mold but was scared off when the colors started to swirl. My husband’s comment on the soap at this point: pickle slices!
The finished batter was put in the oven at 170F for 45 mins yet still refused to gel. Worried about overheating, I lowered the temp to 120F for another 30 mins. The soap finally took on the translucent vaseline appearance of gelling. My husband’s updated comment on the soap at this stage: zucchini layers!
I wrapped in an old towel and let the soap finish setting up overnight (matching green was total coincidence). The next morning the suspense was killing me and I couldn’t wait to unmold and cut. I was surprised at the effect gelling had in firming up the soap which not only allowed me to unmold faster but created an incredible smooth, almost waxy texture. My ungelled soaps usually have a bit rougher of a surface when cut.
Overall, I’m very happy to learn this technique and love my soaps. Many thanks to Tatsiana at Creative Soap by Steso and Amy Warden’s Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge Club for holding this challenge and sharing the secret of the Dancing Funnel Technique.