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Coconut and lime MP soap

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 2
 hrs
Yields: 4 bars of soap

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Let your senses take you on tropical vacation next time you shower. This soap is scented with the smooth fragrance of coconut paired with refreshing lime, the perfect combination for island dreams! The layered design of the soap is softened by the crinkle cutter, giving the soap a cool wavy look.

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To make this soap you will need white and clear melt and pour soap base, a green and a blue mica, and the coconut lime fragrance from Candlescience. All the ingredients are available from Pure Nature. In addition, you will need the small square silicon soap mold or another square mold with approximately 500 ml volume, and a crinkle soap cutter.

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ONE: Cut the white melt and pour soap base into small cubes and add to a heat proof Pyrex jug. Heat on high in the microwave in 20 second bursts, until the soap has melted. Try to avoid the soap from reaching boiling point!

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TWO: Add 1/2 teaspoon of the coconut lime fragrance and stir well.

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THREE: Pour approximately 1/3 of the white soap into the mold.

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FOUR: Spritz the surface with 99% isopropyl alcohol. This is to disperse any bubbles, but also to prepare the surface, so that the next layer will adhere to it.

Let the soap cool down and solidify to the point where it will support the next layer, but has not yet completely hardened. Usually this is when the soap is still slight warm and when you gently press on it, it will leave a dent. The soap has to be hard enough so that the next layer will not push through the surface of the previous layer, and yet not too solid so that the two layers will fuse together.

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FIVE: Next, cut half of the clear melt and pour soap base into cubes and place them into another heat proof Pyrex jug. Again melt in the microwave in 20 second bursts until melted.

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SIX: Add about 1/4 teaspoon green mica and stir well. The mica I’m using here is Apple Green Mica from Pure Nature. You don’t need a lot of mica to colour clear soap base, but feel free to add a little more or less until you reach your desired colour.

SEVEN: Add 1/4 teaspoon of fragrance and give the soap another good stir, before carefully pouring it over the white layer. Spritz the soap with alcohol.

Again, wait for the green layer to harden sufficiently to hold the next layer, without it pushing through.

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EIGHT: Re-melt the white soap in the microwave in 20 second bursts and then pour it over the green layer. Spritz with alcohol.

NINE: Cut and melt the remaining clear soap, add 1/4 teaspoon of blue mica and 1/4 teaspoon of fragrance and carefully pour it over the white layer. Again spritz with alcohol.

For the blue layer, I’m using Blue Lustre Mica from Pure Nature, which is one of my favourite blues!

Wait for the blue layer to harden before proceeding.

TEN: Re-melt the remaining white soap and pour it over the blue layer. Spritz with alcohol to get rid of any air bubbles.

ELEVEN: Leave the soap to cool down and harden completely before unmolding. Using a crinkle cutter, cut a thin slice of two of the sides, and then cut the soap into 4 bars. This way you will get 4 bars which are wavy on both sides!

Troubleshooting: Because it’s tricky to get the exact right moment of pouring the layers, they can sometimes separate when cutting. If this happens, you can melt some clear soap base, and brush a thin layer of soap onto each end before sticking them together. Once the ‘glue’ has completely cooled down, you can carefully tidy up the soap using a knife.

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Because melt and pour soap bases contain a high amount of glycerin, they attract moisture and will ‘sweat’ if not wrapped. You can either place them into cellophane bags or wrap them into cling wrap to store them.

Coconut lime MP soap

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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Ingredients

  • approx. 350 g white soap base
  • approx. 300 g clear soap base
  • green mica
  • blue mica
  • Coconut lime fragrance from Candlescience
  • small square silicon mold (500 ml)
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol

Directions

  1. Cut the white melt and pour soap base into small cubes and place in a heat proof Pyrex jug.
  2. Heat the soap base in the microwave on high in 20 second bursts until melted.
  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon of fragrance and stir well.
  4. Pour about 1/3 of the soap into the mold and spray the surface with isopropyl alcohol. Wait until the white soap has hardened sufficiently to hold the next layer.
  5. Cut half of the clear melt and our soap base into small cubes and place in another heat proof Pyrex jug.
  6. Heat in the microwave on 20 second bursts or until melted.
  7. Add approximately 1/4 teaspoon of apple green mica to the soap.
  8. Add 1/4 teaspoon of fragrance and stir well.
  9. Pour the green soap over the white layer, being careful as not to break through the surface of the white soap. Wait for the green layer to harden sufficiently to hold the next layer.
  10. Re-melt the white soap in the microwave in 20 second bursts until melted.
  11. Gently pour half of the remaining white soap over the green layer. Wait for the white layer to harden sufficiently to hold the next layer.
  12. Cut and melt the remaining clear soap.
  13. Add 1/4 teaspoon of magic blue mica and 1/4 teaspoon of fragrance and stir well.
  14. Carefully pour the blue soap over the white layer. Wait for the blue layer to harden sufficiently to hold the next layer.
  15. Re-melt the remaining white soap in the microwave and carefully pour it over the blue layer.
  16. Leave the soap to cool down and solidify completely before unmolding. Then using a crinkle cutter, cut a thin slice of the edges before cutting the soap into 4 bars.
  17. Store the soaps wrapped, either in clear cellophane bags or cling wrap.

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Fish in a bag with a jelly twist

Difficulty: Beginner
Time: 30 min
Yields: 4 soaps


If you’ve used melt and pour soap before, I’m sure you’ve come across the ‘Fish in a Bag’ soap. It’s basically clear melt and pour soap base, which has been tinted blue, with a little plastic fish, poured in a plastic bag. I’ve made these quite a few times, mostly for kid’s birthday parties and as treats, but today I wanted to do them in a slightly different way, using jelly soap.

Jelly soap is a melt and pour base, which you can purchase from Pure Nature, and is very easy to use and hugely popular with kids. My son loves jelly soap and can’t get enough of it. Jelly soap is exactly what the name suggests: a soap with a jelly like consistency. It wobbles and jiggles and is a lot of fun to play and wash with. Moreover, it’s very easy to work with and turn into fun soaps.

For this soap, you will also need four plastic fish, which are available from most $2-stores, and preferably a mold with cube cavities, although you could use any other shape as well. You will also need 99% isopropyl alcohol and some blue mica. I used Blue Lustre mica from Pure Nature, which is one of my favourite blue micas.

ONE: Estimate how much jelly soap you need. I usually eyeball it, but if you know the volume of the cavities, you can measure it out. If you are using a similar mold as I am – Pure Nature has the 25 cube cavity mold equivalent of mine, which is only a 9 cube cavity – you will need 500 g of jelly soap to fill 4 cavities. Cut the jelly soap into small cubes and place in a heat-proof pyrex jug.

TWO: On a low setting on the microwave, melt the jelly soap. The low setting is crucial. If you have the setting too high, you will risk boiling the soap, which not only leads to overflowing of the soap, but also creates lots of bubbles that are hard to get rid of in the viscous jelly fluid. On my microwave, I use the second to lowest setting, just one up from the defrost setting, and it takes about 10-15 minutes to melt. I take the jug out every 3-5 minutes or so, and give a careful stir, trying not to create any more bubbles, and that’s how I can keep an eye out on how far it is with the melting.

THREE: While the soap is melting in the microwave, measure out 10 ml of 99% isopropyl alcohol in a little container and add 1/8 of a teaspoon of the Blue Lustre mica. Give it a quick stir. I’m using alcohol here, because it will disperse the mica evenly throughout the melt and pour base and, at the same time, the heat of the melted soap will evaporate the alcohol, leaving only the mica behind. It’s a quick fail-proof method of adding mica to melt and pour bases!

FOUR: Once your jelly soap is melted to a thick viscous liquid, measure out and add your fragrance to the soap, and stir well. I’m using 8 ml of Coconut Lime soap fragrance from Pure Nature, which is a nice fresh fragrance and well-liked by kids (and adults). Other popular kids fragrances are pink grapefruit essential oil or a watermelon fragrance. Make sure that the fragrance you are using is a skin-safe (cosmetic approved) fragrance.

FIVE: Add the mica/alcohol mixture and give it a good stir. You might want to pop your soap back in the microwave again for a minute or so, if a skin has begun to form.

You will have to work quickly from now on and be careful, the soap is VERY HOT AND STICKY!

SIX: Pour the soap evenly into 4 cavities of the soap mold and spray with 99% isopropyl alcohol to get rid of the bubbles. Although, some people have said that the bubbles add to the effect in this soap, so it’s up to you if you want them there or not!

SEVEN: With a toothpick or skewer, push a little plastic fish into the centre of the soap. You might have to break through the skin of the soap, if it has begun to form. The soap should be thick enough for the fish to stay in place. If not, use the toothpick to hold it in place and use a new one for the next fish.

EIGHT: Leave the soaps to cool down for several hours before carefully removing them from the mold. Because jelly soap is a melt and pour base, containing a higher amount of glycerin than cold process soap, you will need to wrap the soaps in glad wrap (cling foil) to store.

Please note that this soap has a small toy embedded in it, so it is not suitable for babies and small toddlers – CHOKING HAZARD!

Fish in a bag with a jelly twist

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • 500 g jelly  soap base
  • 8 ml Coconut Lime fragrance
  • Blue Lustre mica
  • 4 plastic toy fish
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol

Directions

  1. Cut 500 g of jelly soap base into small cubes and place into a Pyrex jug.
  2. On a low setting, melt the soap in the microwave, careful not to bring it to boil.
  3. In a separate small container add 10 ml of 99% isopropyl alcohol and mix in 1/8 of mica. Mix well.
  4. When the soap has melted, add fragrance and stir.
  5. Add the alcohol/mica mixture and stir until all the colour has evenly dispersed throughout the soap. If necessary, place the soap back into the microwave to melt again.
  6. Pour the soap evenly into 4 cavities of the soap mold.
  7. Using a toothpick, carefully push in the plastic fish until it is completely submerged.
  8. Let the soap cool down completely before removing from the mold. Store the soap in a plastic bag or wrap in Gladwrap.

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Ocean Waves Soap

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Yields: 500 g soap

There’s something about waves in the ocean that fascinate me. You can have the most stormy weather and waves crashing about on the surface of the ocean, but go deeper and you’ll find yourself surrounded by the still and calm of the ocean, blissfully unaware of the tempest raging above. I wanted to recreate this in a soap, with the movement of the waves on the surface and just deep blue in the lower part of the soap. The technique I used is simple layering, with a bit of mica dusting between the layers. I created the wave movement with swirling, using my chopstick.

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The micas I used for the blue layers in the soap are Blue Lustre and Iridescent Blue from Pure Nature. I also used a bronze mica for dusting between the layers, and a silver mica for mica swirling on the top of the soap.

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!

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ONE: First, prepare your lye. Weigh out the caustic soda in a small container. Measure the water in a small pyrex or other heat proof glass jug. Then carefully add the caustic soda to the water and gently stir until all the caustic soda has dissolved. Stir in one teaspoon of sodium lactate. Sodium lactate is a naturally derived salt, which I use to make the soap harder. Set the lye aside to cool down in a safe place, while you prepare the other ingredients.

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TWO: Take two small containers. To one container add 1/4 teaspoon of Blue Lustre mica, and to the other add 1/4 teaspoon of Iridescent Blue mica. Add 10 ml of a light weight oil, such as rice bran oil or sweet almond oil, to each container. Stir well to mix the mica and the oil.

THREE: Measure out 20 ml of fragrance, ready for when you need it. I’m using Ocean Breeze here – a lovely, fresh uni-sex fragrance with a bit of a floral, musky undertone.

Next, it’s time to get the oils ready.

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FOUR: Weigh out olive oil and castor oil in a large pyrex jug or pot, and then check if the lye has cooled down to room temperature.

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FIVE: Once your lye has cooled down sufficiently (feels cold to touch), you can carefully add it to your oils, avoiding splashes. Make sure you are wearing protective gloves and goggles! Give the mixture a few quick pulses with a stick blender until you reach thin trace.

SIX: Add your fragrance and give it another stir. The fragrance can cause the soap to accelerate (thicken), so work quickly from here on.

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SEVEN: Divide the soap up evenly in three containers. There will be roughly 175 ml of soap in each container. The containers I’m using here are cheap ones I got from the Warehouse, and although the writing is slowly coming off from use, they’re very handy for doing colour work.

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EIGHT: Take the two small containers with the mica/oil mixtures and give each of them another quick stir. Add each colour to one of the soap containers, and mix well, so that all the colour is evenly dispersed throughout the soap. The third container will be left uncoloured.

Next, we’ll be putting together the soap.

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NINE: First pour the darker of the two blue soaps. That will be the one you coloured with the Iridescent Blue mica. Give it a few taps on the bench to even out the surface and to release any air bubbles within the soap.

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Next, sprinkle some bronze mica over the layer and gently blow on it to spread it over the whole surface of the soap. Be careful, this can get very messy! Don’t worry if it doesn’t spread evenly and you have the odd spot with a bit more mica. This will just add to the effect!

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TEN: Carefully pour or spoon the uncoloured soap over the mica covered layer. Try not to move it too much as not to mix the mica into your white soap. Leave a little white for later use. And again dust the white layer with bronze mica and blow on it to spread it over the whole surface.

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ELEVEN: Add the last layer, the Blue Lustre mica coloured soap. And again, work carefully as not to disturb the mica layer and mix it into the soap.

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TWELVE: Using your spatula, scrape out any remainder soap in your containers and add it to the surface of your soap.

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THIRTEEN: If you haven’t already, mix one teaspoon of a silver coloured mica into 10 ml of lightweight oil, such as rice bran oil. Give it a good stir.

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FOURTEEN: Drip the mica/oil slurry over your soap. It’s ok if you have puddles like I have, as you can see in the photo below. We’ll be mixing it partly into the soap.

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FIFTEEN: Using your chopstick, swirl the surface of the soap. To create a semblance of waves, I lifted and pulled the soap out with my chopstick in a kind of vertical circular motion.

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SIXTEEN: Leave to cure in the mold for a couple of days. Then carefully remove the soap from the mold and let it harden for another few days, before cutting it into bars. Let the bars cure for 6-8 weeks.

Ocean Waves Soap

  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Before starting, make sure you wear protective goggles and gloves and work in a well-ventilated area, free from any distractions!

Ingredients

  • 375 g olive oil
  • 25 g castor oil
  • 50 g caustic soda
  • 100 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon sodium lactate
  • Blue Lustre mica
  • Iridescent Blue mica
  • bronze coloured mica
  • silver coloured mica
  • Ocean Breeze fragrance
  • rice bran oil or other light weight oil

Directions

  1. Prepare your lye: carefully add the caustic soda to the water and stir gently until all the caustic soda has dissolved. Add one teaspoon of sodium lactate. Set aside to cool.
  2. Prepare your colours: add 5 ml rice bran oil to two small containers. To the first, add 1 teaspoon of Blue Lustre mica, and to the second, add 1 teaspoon Iridescent Blue mica. Mix each container well.
  3. Measure out your fragrance and set aside.
  4. Weigh out the oils in a large pyrex jug or pot.
  5. Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, carefully add it to the oils and using a whisk, stir briskly until you reach thin trace.
  6. Add the fragrance oil, and stir again using the whisk.
  7. Divide the soap evenly into three containers.
  8. To one of the containers add the Blue Lustre mica/oil mixture and to another container add the Iridescent Blue mica/oil mixture. Mix the two containers well to disperse the colour throughout the soap. Leave the third container uncoloured.
  9. Pour the darker of the blue (Iridescent Blue) soaps into the mold, and tap gently to release any air bubbles in the soap.
  10. Sprinkle some bronze mica over the layer of the soap and gently blow on it. Make sure the whole surface is covered with bronze coloured mica.
  11. Next, carefully spoon the uncoloured soap over the mica, trying not the mix the mica into the soap. Tap gently to even the soap.
  12. Again, sprinkle bronze mica over the layer and gently blow on it, covering the whole surface.
  13. Spoon the other blue soap over the layer. Again, try not to mix the mica into the soap.
  14. If you have any soap left in the other containers, scrape it out with a spatula and add it to the top of your soap.
  15. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of silver coloured mica in 1/2 teaspoon of rice bran oil and mix well. Drizzle over the surface of the soap.
  16. Using a chopstick, swirl the surface of the soap, making some wave impressions. Leave the soap to cure for a few days.
  17. Once the soap is firm enough, remove from the mold and let it cure for another couple of days before cutting into bars. The bars will need a further 6-8 weeks to cure.

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Got the blues?

After the long weekend away in Wellington, I really do feel I had the blues the past few days, which is why this post is a little later than usual. It’s a shame really, that we associate blue with feeling down, as it’s such a beautiful colour. Blue is the colour of sunny, cloudless skies, the deep blue sea with all its wonders, and of rare flowers and birds (blue is rather an uncommon colour in nature). So I really do think we do the colour blue a disservice, by calling the blues ‘the blues’.

This week’s micas are called Blue Lustre, Cambridge Blue, Iridescent Blue, and Magic Blue, all from Pure Nature, and the colours they morph into in cold process soap are not quite the blues you expect by seeing the micas. In the picture above, the micas are mixed with a little bit of oil, which usually brings out the colour even more. As you can see, the blues are all very bright and bold. The picture below shows the micas in cold process soap, straight after pouring into the mold. The colours have changed significantly, although they are still all in the blue range of the colour spectrum. The top two colours in particular have changed drastically.

Curing the soap for a week, and the results are quite revealing. The lightest of all the blue micas, Blue Lustre, is still the lightest colour of them all, but has turned into this gorgeous bright blue. It’s one of my favourite micas so far. My other favourite is Iridescent Blue, pictured right underneath Blue Lustre. This one has stayed the most true to its original mica colour. They’re also the colours I used in this week’s tutorials.

Looking at Cambridge Blue, this colour was always in the greyish part of the blue spectrum, and it will initially turn quite grey in cold process soap, and only get back some of its blue after curing. Magic Blue also changes significantly from its original mica colour, and loses most of its boldness. However, it still gives a nice, if a bit toned down, blue to cold process soap.

This week showed how important it is to test the micas before designing your soap. The micas were very similar in colour, with the exception of the Cambridge Blue, but the results in cold process soap show drastic differences between the colours. Which is why I always tell my students in my courses: test the colour in a small sample before you use it for the first time!