Time: 1 hr
Yields: 1000 g soap or 10 bars
Holly Berry fragrance from Candlescience is known for seizing, but the fragrance has such a lovely delicious Christmas scent, that I really wanted to give this a try and I wasn’t disappointed. This is probably my favourite Christmas soap!
I’ve rated this tutorial as ‘advanced’, but there are several ways you can make it easier for you:
- use a different fragrance that you known won’t accelerate or seize, for example Mistletoe from Candlescience
- leave out the mica lines
- make sure you soap at low temperatures (room temperature)
- have everything prepared
- and work fast! Very fast!
There is a preparation part, which you should do about a week before. A good tip is to do a preparation session for Christmas, where you make a batch of soap and use that to make all your embeds, cut outs, etc.
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: You can either take the leftover soap in the pot from an earlier batch and wrap it in a little glad wrap so that it will cure but not harden. Or I used cut-offs from a soap, which I placed in a little plastic bag to keep soft. A couple of days later, I formed them into little balls with my hands. The soap was cured by then, so using my bare hands was fine. If you are worried, or have sensitive hands, wearing disposable gloves works just as well. I placed the little balls into a small container into which I added about 1 teaspoon of red wine mica. And then just swirl the container around, until all the balls are covered in mica. You will need approximately 30 little balls.
Note there are both large and smaller balls, the larger ones I’m using for this tutorial. The smaller ones will be for a later tutorial.
Preparation is the key to this soap. So make sure you have all the equipment and ingredients all laid out and prepared before you start.
COLOUR PREPARATION: You will need two little containers. To one container add and mix 1 teaspoon of lightweight oil and 1/2 teaspoon of irradiant white mica. To the second container add 1 teaspoon of lightweight oil and 1/2 teaspoon of designer green mica. Also set aside 1 tablespoon of red wine mica into a little container with a small sieve utensil (see picture in STEP FIVE) ready for use.
ONE: Prepare your lye, making sure you are wearing protective goggles and gloves, and set aside to cool. Because this soap will accelerate and/or seize, you won’t need any sodium lactate in this recipe.
TWO: In a separate large Pyrex jug or pot, weigh out the olive oil and castor oil. I am not using any hard oils in this recipe, since I know that the fragrance will accelerate and possible seize the soap, I will need to keep the soap as fluid as long as possible. Hence using only olive oil and castor oil.
THREE: 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 (thin trace).
FOUR: Add the Holly Berry fragrance. I am using a stick blender here, but only for a very quick pulse to mix everything together. As you can see in the pictures, it already started to accelerate. So I suggest to just use your whisk to mix in the fragrance, if you don’t want to risk it, or to keep the stick blending to a minimum.
FIVE: Pour about one third of the soap into the soap mold and then sprinkle the red mica over the top. The easiest way is to use a little sieve like I am using.
Pour or scoop another third of soap carefully over the soap, trying to not disturb the mica too much. You might need to use your spatula to even out the surface. Sprinkle another layer of mica over the soap.
Lastly scoop the last remaining soap into your mold and smooth it out carefully. This will probably be the most difficult part, since your soap will most likely have started to set already.
SIX: Drizzle the white mica/oil mixture over the surface and then using a chopstick swirl and shape the surface of the soap. Because holly is a naturally prickly plant, the jagged and rough surface will accentuate this!
SEVEN: Using the green mica/oil mixture, place some drops onto the surface and using a toothpick, stretch the colour out to make it appear like the leaves of the holly. Add two or three berries (the little red balls) to each leaf and gently push them in a little. Lastly, sprinkle a little of gold or bronze glitter on some of the white parts of the surface.
EIGHT: Leave the soap to set and harden overnight. Soaps that seize or accelerate quickly will harden very quickly as well. The next day you should be able to unmold and cut your soaps into bars. Leave the bars of soap to cure for another 6-8 weeks.
- 750g olive oil
- 50g castor oil
- 100g caustic soda
- 200 ml water
- 30 ml Holly Berry fragrance from Candlescience
- 1/2 teaspoon irradiant white mica
- 1/2 teaspoon designer green mica
- roughly 1 tablespoon of red wine mica
- 2 teaspoon of lightweight oil, i.e. rice bran oil
- approximately 30 little ball embeds
- gold or bronze glitter
- from a previous batch, use the leftover soap in the pot to form 30 little balls of about 1/2 cm diameter each
- add the balls to a container, into which you have added 1 tablespoon of red wine mica, and swirl until all the balls are coated with the mica
- Colour preparation
- First container: 1 teaspoon of lightweight oil and 1/2 teaspoon of irradiant white mica
- Second container: 1 teaspoon of lightweight oil and 1/2 teaspoon of designer green mica
- Measure out 200 ml of water into a heat proof Pyrex jug. Weigh out 100 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. Set aside to cool down.
- In a large Pyrex jug or pot, weigh and add 750g 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 Holly Berry fragrance and still using a whisk, stir until the fragrance has been well incorporated into the soap. SOAP WILL ACCELERATE AND MAY EVEN SEIZE – FROM THIS POINT ON YOU WILL HAVE TO WORK VERY FAST
- Pour 1/3 of the soap into the soap mold and sprinkle a layer of red wine mica over the top.
- Pour or scoop another 1/3 of soap into the mold, careful not to disturb the mica, and even out the surface with a spatula. Sprinkle a layer of red wine mica over the soap.
- Scoop the remainder of the soap into your mold and even out the surface with a spatula.
- Drizzle the white oil/mica mixture over the surface of the soap and, using a chopstick, swirl and shape the surface.
- Place drops of the green oil/mica mixture on the surface and using a toothpick stretch the drops to resemble holly leaves.
- Add 2-3 berries (little red soap balls) to each leaf.
- Sprinkle a little gold or bronze glitter into some of the white areas of the surface.
- Leave to harden overnight.
- The next day, unmold and cut into bars. Leave the bars to cure for another 6-8 weeks.