Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Salt Bar Multi Colored Swirl Tutorial by Grumpy Girl

Grumpy Girl's "Acid Trip"

This Acid Trip Soap Bar is NOT a salt bar.
This is what inspired me to ask Sharon for a multi swirl tutorial

When I first saw this bar 2 years ago, I was blown away to the enth degree. How could anyone put that many colors in without making grey? I asked Sharon if she had any hints to share with us and guess what?!?! She offered a SALT tutorial for this type of swirl! I LOVE Grumpy Girl soaps!! I want to thank Sharon, of Grumpy Girl Candle and Bath Company, for sharing this tutorial with us. She is incredibly generous to share such a prized trade secret. Soap makers continue to amaze me with their generosity.

Advanced Soaping
9 Color Salt Bars

70% Coconut Oil
30% Shea or Mango Butter
Lye and water according to your Soap Calc
Salt (Iodized Table Salt equal to the amount of oils in your recipe)
Colors (One or 20, it’s up to you)

Okay, so to begin we’ll gather up the cooled down lye water and melted and cooled oils that we did last night. We’ll also make sure the oven is turned on to the lowest setting you have, generally about 160 to 170 and let it preheat. Also set out the following ...

Slab mold:

As many containers/cups as you have colors.
A little water for mixing ultramarine colors, or oils from the batch for Mica’s.
Colors (I did 9 but you can do as many or as few as you’d like).

Measured out salt
Stick blender/Whisk
Spatulas, sticks for swirling etc.

This is my set up at home, before I begin and how I lay out my work flow. For sake of doing everything together, just pretend the cups are there but they are empty.

I can’t get my mold into the oven since its too large, so I improvised with heating pads and towels I put one heating pad under the bottom of the mold in a towel before we begin. When you get to the step you put your mold into the oven you’ll skip the heating pad step.

Heating pad sandwiched in a towel

Mold on top of it

Set out your cups for color. Add per cup one color up to the number of colors you plan on using. Here you see 9 cups because I like to live on the dangerous side and did nine colors. You can do this colorless if you want to, just omit the scary part later.

I used a mix of ultramarines, select shades and silver mica for this batch. For my mold I used about a tablespoon of each ultramarine and mica powder. You'll adjust your amounts accordingly, but remember you do not want to have colored bubbles in the end result.

Here are all the colors mixed with water/batch oils and ready for soap batter. Put them back to the side, we'll get back to them in a short while. I leave my sticks in so I can stir and not get confused on what stick belongs where. I'm blonde rooted and found this is fool proof if they are where they need to be to begin with. Grumpy likes easy.

Make sure all the lumps are out!

Again, this is my setup when I make soap at home, and how it looks before I begin to mix the lye and oils. It’s a nice work flow for me, but you set up in whatever way is familiar to you. I like having all my colors close to the mold as I begin to add them in a bit later.

I'm a systematic no nonsense soaper, so I try not to stress over the small stuffs and think how you set up the flow is key for this particular multi-color swirl process to go smoothly. You'll have to work quickly, but if you used fragrance oil that doesn't accelerate, you should be just fine.

Remember, it's just soap and if you screw it up, they can't take away your birthday.

Now that your colors are mixed an off to the side, put your gloves and glasses on, roll up your sleeves and get ready to rumble! (Small sip of wine or bourbon if need be to steady the fingers and crank up the ipod!)

I always put my pot of oils into the sink because I always make a mess, but you can soap per your usual method. Here we add lye water slowly. Notice the whisk. I don’t use the stick blender for a multi-color that often, and if I do it’s just in the early process before any color is added.

You can see it’s starting to turn from clear to opaque. Just mix this enough to get everything incorporated well. You want a thin mix through most of the early process.

Add in your fragrance of choice.

I used a total of 5oz of FO for the weight of my oils only not including the weight of the salt. My oils totaled 80 ounces.

If you miscalculate and use enough fragrance oil for the TOTAL weight of the batch, not just the weight of the oils.... you’re going to have seeping bars that are totally oversaturated with fragrance oil.

Add the salt at a slow steady stream while continuing to mix with the whisk slowly. The batch will feel as though it's starting to thicken on you, but think how hard stirring gets when you add flour to cake mix or chocolate chips to cookie batter, same thing. It doesn't move the process that quickly, it just feels like it due to the addition of salt and the resistance of the stir.

You should be at a super light trace and the salt will sink to the bottom at this point.

You want to keep mixing till you get something like thin pudding consistency and the salt starts to suspend a bit in the mixture. It’ll look a little bit like this in the pot if you can notice the faint lines drawn from the whisk.

Keep it moving, but don't let it thicken up too much on you because now we're going to start mixing your colors!

Take an empty cup or ladle and start adding soap batter to each color in your cups. I usually use about 8 ounces of soap mix for each color in this size mold but don’t weigh it out; you don’t have the luxury of that kind of time!

Mold size will dictate how much soap batter you use per color. Make SURE you save enough for the base of the soap and don’t get carried away here. A little goes a LONG way.

All colors with soap batter added, but not yet mixed...

Mix up your colors and leave the sticks in or out. I usually leave mine in till I get ready to add that particular color to the mix.

Colors all mixed and ready and the trace should still be like thin pudding. Don't mix too much when you do this, you can speed up the trace of the colored soap if you're not careful.

Back to your pot now. We're going to do a little bit of an ITP (In the pot) swirl to make sure you get color throughout most of your bars.

Add about ¼ to ½ of each color into the pot in a circular pattern. You’ll be doing a combination
of ITP (In the pot) and ITM (In the mold) swirling for this particular batch.

Remember, pour high to get the colors down into the batter and pour close to get them on top. You want a combo of this method to get the color thru the mix. At this point, you should still have a fairly thin trace.

Use your stick of choice (I used a chopstick) and give it a quick little swirl in the pot. Think minimal here and don't give it more than a quick pass thru. You're going to have grey mud if you play around with this too much at this point.

Pour the pot of oils carefully into your mold. I like having a little bit of a blank canvas of non-color in the center of mine, so I usually try to make sure my ITP swirls push out to the edges of my mold by pouring mainly in the center of the mold.

Be careful and pour slowly and scrape the pot with the spatula when you're done.

Now the fun part! Crank up the ipod just a little bit higher and lets start rolling!

In one direction start adding each color in strips to the base color you just poured. I usually always pour lengthwise. Pour close to the top of the mold, you want to be able to see these colors and not have them sink into the mix but float on top. Each layer will push the last layer further down, so don’t worry.

Remember that the last color or two is what you’re going to primarily see!

Pour the next color the same way, just layering over the prior one in the same direction.

Repeat this with all the colors you are going to use.

End result after adding all of my 9 colors.

Now, take your chopstick or stick and start drawing the stick through from the top edge of the mold running at a sideways angle like so.

Alllllll the way to the opposite end.

Get down to the far corner and reverse it and move back up in the opposite direction.

The end result will look like this.

You can also do some circular swirlies at this point if you’d like to break up the pattern. You have to be careful not to play with the swirling too much or your colors will start to blend and you’ll end up with a totally awesome shade of muted grey.

Cover your mold with either saran wrap or the lid or both. Here I just used the lid.

Put your mold into the oven and set a timer for about 45 minutes to an hour to start, and keep checking back, sometimes it can take up to 3 hours to get a full gel. Gel is really important, but if it doesn’t gel after about 3 hours, no biggie, it’s still soap and they can't take your birthday!

Here I just put the heating pad on the lid and began layering towels over it. You don't have to do this but I do since I can’t get this mold in my oven.

Once your soap sets back up after gel, remove it from the oven and let it cool just to the point of where you can handle it. It should be set up nicely and still be sort of soft at this point but no longer opaque from gel but back to the normal color. Even if it doesn't gel, get it out of the oven within 3 hours or so. Gel or not, it's still soap and I'm just not patient like that.

The colors do fade and aren't as vibrant as they were going in, but it still looks way cool.

I put gloves on and flip my mold over onto the lid like I was flipping a baked cake out of the oven and remove the liner. It's going to be upside down, but it's all good. Be careful or you could break your slab of soap and I can promise you that you’ll not be happy about it.

If you have dividers, this process is much easier for you because you'll just remove the dividers and clean them up. For those of us using an upland or Misty Creek mold or other divider-less mold, we're going to have to cut them by hand.

Start cutting your bars while they’re hot. I can’t stress this enough. If you wait till they are cool, you’ll have a crumbly mess.

I wear rubber gloves when handling them, first because they’re hot, and second because of the raw soap burns like nobody’s business. You can get a better idea here of the swirl pattern from the back of the soap as seen here.

With my particular batch, I left it on the heating pad and wrapped overnight. They were very warm when I started cutting but had started to cool considerably as I was moving through the process so I didn't get a perfectly smooth edge to them as usual. I should have gotten up a few hours sooner.

If you want to bevel them, now is the time while they're hot. I didn’t bevel this batch. Note how the color is mostly all the way through the batch. This is a good thing as the top part is more for dramatic presentation and it carries through throughout most of each bar.

The end result!

You could polish these with a nice soft cloth if you like, but I personally prefer a more rugged look. My particular bars will be between 8-9 ounces each finished.

Please, please make sure you cure these just like regular cold processed soap. They need a full 4-6 weeks to really be mild and conditioning to your skin, and to bring out that awesome lotiony lather that salt bars are known for.


Unknown said...

What a FANTASTIC tutorial!
Thank You :D

Splurge Sisters said...

Fantastic! I tried this once awhile back and used 12 colours and it turned out wonderfully. I've included the link here:

Amy Warden said...

Thank you, Jo, for asking for this! And huge thanks for sharing your amazing tutorial with us, Sharon!! Your soap is dynamite! The most I've attempted was 6 colors, and I was so scared they would run together that I only swirled in the mold - a little bit. LOL!

Sergio said...

Fantastic. Thank you for sharing. It seems funny.

Erin Napier said...

Jo I actually tried to make these a couple of years ago! Mine didn't quite turn out like Grumpy's though ... I think some practice is needed!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely wonderful! Thanks so much.
And I love, love love the line "It's just soap, they can't take away your birthday!

Awesome! Helps keeps it out of the "I must get it right, what if I screw it up?" waay to serious mode.

So what if I do? They can't take away my birthday! Woo-hoo! Love that line.

Donna OShaughnessy said...

WOW. I'm a new soaper and totally overwhelmed by this tutorial. Therefore I won't try it until tomorrow !

misty - fiercelooks said...

.wonderful post and great detail! thanks, i will try this method in the fall!..they're beautiful!

Theresa said...

I have a question regarding the amount of color you use. Do you measure the amount of dyes according to each individual color or enough of each for the whole batch? I know, I'm not making sense....let's try this another way.

If you are making a 6lb batch of soap and you are pulling out enough soap for 3 colors...say 8oz each. Do you put in each cup enough dye (select shades) to color the 8oz of soap or enough to color the full 6lbs? I can't seem to get very vibrant colors and I'm not sure if I'm just not using enough dye or it's something else.


miss.kitty4 said...

Won-der-full! I didn't knew your blog before, I pass a good moment!
I am far from your technical level!!! but I am learning!

Anonymous said...

it doesn't look anything like the original soap with all the fine lines of colours ????

Kat said...

In response to Anonymous saying it doesn't look like the original - correct. You would get it to look like the original if you didn't do the in the pot swirl at the bottom and layered lines all the way and also did the swirls at the end closer together both ways. Also pouring higher in the slab mold will help as well.