(My new fancy soap- looking like the galaxy soap on the outside, just not especially "outerspace" on the inside like I wanted)
(Post baking and 24hr heated curing. Looks promising...)
Since we moved into a space that has a basement and larger kitchen, making soap really is so much easier. I now have space to mix the lye without leaving it in a bucket in the parking lot (can we say breaking bad, Meth making?) and a place to safely cure my soaps away from the cats... as opposed to on top of our bookcases.
Which was smelly. And kinda ugly looking to have soap all over every single high surface in our 700 square foot abode.
Now all my supplies have their own shelf in the basement AND I even have a basement sink to rinse out my lye bucket (everyone needs one!). That said- I was VERY successful at soap making in my tiny apartment. If you'd like a primer on basic soap making check out my original blog post: "DIY Beautiful Soap Bars: Surprisingly Easy."
Recently I have discovered a local soap maker (whom I went to school with!):
Her soaps have amazing names (like "The Dude" and "Pon Far"), look fantastical and have lovely scent combinations. She sells them at Alderney Landing Market, 1st Sunday of every month and I will guarantee you that I will be stopping by the first of June to pick up a few!
Looking at her soaps I was inspired. It's been a while that I've been meaning to try something a bit more fancy, more ambitious with my soap making. I wanted my soap to be pretty like hers!
Sadly, I didn't come as close as I would have liked (another reason to go check out her soaps!), but I did manage to create something a bit more fancy and cooler than your average
bear soap. I promised a friend to post the recipe and how I did it: so here it goes!
(The Inside of Mud Pie Soap: rich chocolate colour with some sparkly bronze seepage, as if the Diva sparkle just can't be held within!)
Mud Pie Sparkle Soap
Chocolate Black Liquorice Healing Soap:
5 oz coconut oil (natural)
5.5 oz shea butter
16 oz olive oil
5 oz Sweet Almond oil
4.22 oz lye
12 oz of tea water (1/2 cup of David's Tea Read my Lips loose chocolate tea, steeped in 12 oz of water, drained out of the water prior to mixing)
2tbsp of anise essential oil
2tbsp of orange essential oil (for sweetness of scent)
3tbsp of French Green Clay (add with oils prior to lye-water mixture. Stir thoroughly)
1tbsp Bronze Mica (ethically sourced)
(This was my end top swirl result. At this point I was hopeful... until I cut the soap. Then my hopes were somewhat dashed... or dimmed maybe)
Follow the steps in DIY Beautiful Soap Bars: Surprisingly Easy... until:
POURING IN WOODEN MOLD
Pour half of the soap in and STOP. Sprinkle on all of the mica. Cover with the remainder of the soap batter. Using a stick or stirring implement, swirl the mica around, making criss cross eight patterns. Continue as otherwise in recipe.
(this is the swirl I wanted all throughout my soap. Sadly, it only seeped down the sides so the sides end ugly ends look great...)
What you can adjust:
OILS: if you change the oils, make sure you put in the amounts in this Lye Calculator so you know how much lye to use. It definitely changes the nature of the soap, and is very easy to use and will yield the best soap. Cocoa butter would be a nice choice in this soap.
TEA: Honestly, any tea would work. I've used super red herbal tea with great colouring success. Just make sure you use a LOT of tea while steeping if you want the scent to come through. I used a metal strainer to drain out the tea (having steeped it in a mason jar).
(Look closely, you can see the sparkle lines and bronze "seepy" holes!)
(You could leave these two out)
SPARKLE: This was just to try to be fancy. I used mica eye shadow I had purchased from etsy and never used. I also have some loose eye shadow I never use that I want to try next. I would say that if you are using your own eye shadow; please share with others prior to giving this soap away: eye shadow of low quality can have other elements and nasty bits that you don't want on your body or in your soap. I would recommend NOT giving or selling unless you purchase safe, high quality mica. (and still, mica has it's own sketchy backstory of child labour- which is why I probably won't ever purchase mica for soap)
CLAY: Again, this was just to add extra healing and richness to my own personal soap, and I happened to have it around. I didn't seem to change much of the actual curing/mixing process so the 3tbsp amount seems good.
So- as you can see the soap didn't sparkle or swirl internally like I would have liked. But then, I also made it super dark (since I wanted the chocolate smell to come through and wanted it to be a rich dark colour). I will say that initial handling does leave a bronze colour on my hands... that is easily washed away with water. So this sparkle should only be for show, and shouldn't actually colour my body (which is ideal. I wouldn't want to look like a weird sparkly fake tan lady).
Ways to encourage that the sparkle will show: use lighter oils (I believe this is a reason to use palm oil, however it has such an awful rap sheet- causing rainforest deforestation and all, that I just can't bring myself to use it. You can purchase ethically sourced palm oil- so that would be my go to). Other lighter oils- light olive oil (or less olive oil, more shea/cocoa butter/grapeseed oils). Use light essential oils or don't use tea to colour the water.