Time: 1 hr
Yields: 1200 g soap or 10 bars
Noel has a special meaning for me. It reminds me of Christmas celebrations of times past. The family Christmas when we would all gather… The real pine Christmas tree, with delicate baubles and candles and a Christmas star on top… The old photographs, which are slightly faded now, but still have that typical golden hue of the polaroids of those times… The typical Christmas scent that lingered everywhere you would go… The sparkling colours and the greens, reds and gold of the decorations… Noel is memories and feelings and smells and colours and Christmas.
All the ingredients used in this soap are available from Pure Nature, my local (and favourite) soap ingredients supplier!
The soap has mica swirling on top, and a green and red swirl within, using a drop swirl or push swirl technique – the colours popping out against the white soap.
There is a preparation part, which you should do about a week before. A good tip is to do all the preparation for Christmas (embeds, cut-outs, etc) in one soap making session, so that you have all the extras ready for your soaps when you need them!
If you have never made cold-process soap before, I strongly suggest you check out the basic cold process soap tutorial first.
Before starting, please read the safety and precautions post, especially since this tutorial requires the handling of caustic soda!
PREPARATION: From an earlier batch of soap, I separated some to make the little stars that I added on top. I poured the soap into a little container, and then when the soap had hardened enough to unmold, I cut it in slices and then used a cookie cutter to cut out the stars. Leave the stars to harden for a couple of days, before proceeding with the rest of the tutorial.
COLOUR PREPARATION: You will need four little containers. To one container add and mix 1 teaspoon of lightweight oil and 1/2 teaspoon of gold abtruse mica. To the second container add 1 teaspoon of lightweight oil and 1/2 teaspoon of shimmer green mica. To the third add 2 teaspoons of lightweight oil and 1 teaspoon of designer green mica. And to the last container add 1 teaspoon of lightweight oil and 1/4 teaspoon of red brown mica and 1/4 teaspoon of red wine mica. The lightweight oil I’m using is rice bran oil, but any other light weight oil will work as well. Set aside for later use.
ONE: To prepare the lye, first measure out the water in a heat proof Pyrex jug. Then, in a separate container (I use a little plastic cup for this), weigh out the caustic soda. Make sure you are wearing protective goggles and gloves. Carefully, add the caustic soda to the water (NEVER THE OTHER WAY ROUND!), and avoiding any splashes, stir until the lye water is clear. Add two teaspoons of sodium lactate, which will help harden the soap and set aside to cool.
TWO: In a separate large Pyrex jug or pot, weigh out the olive oil and castor oil. I am using olive oil, because I want to have a nice white base to contrast with the colours of the drop swirl. Castor oil is my little secret ingredient, and as you may have noticed, I use it in all my soaps. It adds a nice creamy lather to the soap, particular in soaps, such as castile soaps, which tend to have a rather thin and poor lather.
THREE:: Make sure you are still wearing your goggles and gloves. When the lye has cooled down to room temperature, carefully add it to the oils and then using a whisk, stir until the oil/lye mixture has emulsified (does not separate).
FOUR: Add your fragrance. I’m using Mistletoe fragrance from Candlescience, which was the inspiration of the soap. When I first smelled Mistletoe, it reminded me of all the things I mentioned above. It’s such a beautiful, vintage Christmas fragrance.
FIVE: Separate about 1 cup of soap each into two small jugs. And pour the remainder into the mold.
From the colours you prepared earlier, add one teaspoon of designer green mica/oil mixture to one of the jugs with soap, and all of the red mica/oil mixture to the other jug, and stir well. You should now have one jug containing red soap and one containing green soap.
SIX: If your soap is still very fluid, use the drop swirl technique to form a swirl in your soap. From a height of about 30 cm, pour each colour into your soap along the length of the mold, slightly off-centre.
If your soap has thickened, like mine has (because I keep having to stop and take pictures lol), you can cheat using the push swirl, by pouring each colour into and onto your soap along the length of your mold, also slightly off-centre. Then taking a spatula, push the colours into the white soap at an angle. Do this several times along the whole length of the mold until you think you have pushed sufficient colour underneath.
SEVEN: Using the remainder of the colours you prepared earlier, drizzle them over the surface of your soap, and then swirl the top 1/2 centimetre of the soap in a figure-8 motion, to create a nice swirly surface.
Sprinkle some glitter over the surface and place the 10 stars in equal distance into the centre of the soap. There should be one star per bar of soap later when you cut it.
EIGHT: Leave the soap to set and harden. I would recommend gelling the soap, to make the colours more vibrant and pop out. You can do this by placing it in a cardboard box and closing the lid. Or my trick is to put it on top of the hot water boiler with a box over it – but you will need to keep a good eye on it, so that it doesn’t heat. It will also only work if you have an old boiler like we do. The newer ones are too insulated and shouldn’t be warm on the outside.
After 2 or 3 days, check if the soap has hardened and isn’t sticky and soft anymore. Carefully unmold, and leave to dry out for another couple of days before cutting it into bars. The bars of soap will need a further 6-8 weeks to cure, just in time for Christmas!
- 950g olive oil
- 50g castor oil
- 128g caustic soda
- 250 ml water
- 2 teaspoons sodium lactate
- 30 ml Mistletoe fragrance from Candlescience
- 1/2 teaspoon gold abtruse mica
- 1/2 teaspoon green shimmer mica
- 1 teaspoon designer green mica
- 1/4 teaspoon red brown mica
- 1/4 teaspoon red wine mica
- approximately 30 ml lightweight oil, i.e. rice bran oil
- 10 little soap star embeds
- Colour preparation
- First container: 1 teaspoon of lightweight oil and 1/2 teaspoon of gold abtruse mica
- Second container: 1 teaspoon of lightweight oil and 1/2 teaspoon of shimmer green mica
- Third container: 2 teaspoons of lightweight oil and 1 teaspoon of designer green mica
- Fourth container: 1 teaspoon of lightweight oil and 1/4 teaspoon red brown mica and 1/4 teaspoon red wine mica.
- Measure out 250 ml of water into a heat proof Pyrex jug. Weigh out 128 g caustic soda and carefully add it to the water, avoiding any splashes. Gently stir until all the caustic soda has dissolved and the lye water is clear.
- Add 2 teaspoon of sodium lactate to the lye water. Set the lye aside to cool down.
- In a large Pyrex jug or pot, add the 950 g olive oil and 50 g castor oil.
- When the lye has cooled down to room temperature, and making sure you are still wearing protective goggles and gloves, carefully add the lye to the oils.
- Using a whisk, stir until the oil/lye mixture has emulsified.
- Add 30 ml Mistletoe fragrance and stir.
- Separate approximately 1 cup of soap each into two jugs or containers, and pour the remainder of the soap into the soap mold.
- To one container add 1 teaspoon of the green designer oil/mica mixture and stir. To the other container add all of the red oil/mica mixture and stir.
- Drop swirl or push swirl.
- Drop swirl: from a height of 30 cm, pour the green and red soap into the white soap along the length of the mold and slightly off-centre
- Push swirl: pour the soap into and onto the white soap along the length and slightly off-centre, and then using a spatula, push the colours at an angle into the white soap.
- Using the remainder of the prepared colours, drizzle the oil/mica mixtures over the surface of the soap, and swirl the top 1/2 cm of the soap in a figure-8 motion.
- Sprinkle glitter over the surface and place the 10 stars in equal distance along the centre of the soap.
- Let soap set and harden for a few days.
- After 2-3 days, check if the soap is firm enough to unmold. Remove from mold and leave to dry for another couple of days, before cutting into bars. The bars will need further curing for about 6-8 weeks until ready for use.