Thursday, March 26, 2015

Licorice & Rose Holly Swirl Cold Process Soap Tutorial

This super-stunning soap was created using the Holly Swirl technique and is scented with Aniseed essential oil and Rose Garden fragrance oil.  The combination is sweet and floral with an undertone of distinct licorice spice!  While those two scents wouldn't be the most likely pair to come to mind they have gotten rave reviews from everyone that has smelled the soap, proving that sometimes the best blends are the most creative!  The Holly Swirl (named after Holly of Missouri River Soap Co) is a technique that involves swirling two colours together in a pot first, then dropping it into a base layer of the soap already poured into the mold, then topping it off with the base layer again.  It creates a wonderful hidden pop of swirl!  This technique is an advanced technique, so make sure you've had several successful batches of soap under your belt before attempting this one. With this technique it's very important that the soap formula is one that's slow-moving (ie. doesn't come to trace too quickly).  Because we have to split up the batch into multiple portions and colour each one it's best to have as much working time as possible, so only use a formula that takes a nice, long time to come to trace, like the one below! 
What you'll need for 1 x 4 lb batch:
202 grams Sodium Hydroxide
500 grams Soft or Distilled Water
500 grams Coconut Oil 76
425 grams Sunflower Oil
200 grams Olive Oil
200 grams Palm Kernel Oil
50 grams Shea Butter
2 Tbsp Cranberry Fibre
2 grams Australian Pink Clay
1 gram Cotton Candy Mica
3 grams Activated Charcoal
Pre-blended fragrance combination of:
30 grams Aniseed Essential oil
20 grams Rose Garden Fragrance oil

Have everything prepared and pre-measured at your station.  Line your molds (our 4 lb Wooden Loaf Mold works best for this style), plug in your stick blender, and have all your whisks, bowls, and spatulas handy.  Make sure you're in a well-ventilated area, and are wearing gloves and safety goggles.  Pour your pre-measured lye into your water and stir with a whisk, making sure you're breathing away from the container.  Continue to stir until no solids remain, then set aside to cool to 110 degrees (or pop it into a cold water bath to rapid-cool).  While the lye is cooling measure your oils into a large glass or plastic container, then heat them up in the microwave or on a double boiler until they are totally liquid.  The key is to get the lye water and the oils to both be right around 110 degrees.  Once they're both there slowly pour your lye solution into the oils.  Stir with a whisk for 15 seconds, then use your stick blender for 15 seconds, alternating between the two until a very light trace is reached. 

Add your fragrance mixture and give a really good whisk for 30 seconds or until confident that everything is mixed together evenly. 

At this point you'll want to separate the soap by pouring about 1/4 of the mixture into a measuring cup, and then another 1/4 into another measuring cup, so you're left with about half the batch of soap remaining in the original bowl. 

 Add your cranberry fibre to the main batch, the activated charcoal to one of the smaller portions, and the pink clay and cotton candy mica to the last portion.  It's helpful to add a bit of water to the powdered colourants first to form a slurry, that way there's no speckling throughout the soap and it will be an even colour. 

Pour the pink soap into the black soap, from far above the soap at first, then coming right close to the surface as you near the bottom of the cup.  The reason why you pour at varying heights is so that the soap reaches all the depths, instead of settling at the bottom or just laying on the top. 

At this point you'll take the main portion with the cranberry fiber and pour a thick layer into your mold.  Then take the black/pink soap and slowly pour it onto the first layer, swishing it back and forth gently to encourage more swirling action.  Remember to pour at varying heights for this part as well!  The higher up you pour the farther down it will reach and the more interesting the swirl will be.   Continue to do this until the bowl is almost empty, but reserve a couple of tablespoons for the top.  Take the rest of the main portion and pour it over the black/pink swirl to fill the mold.  

Take the leftover black/pink soap and do a couple horizontal lines on the top of the soap.

Take a stick or dowel (or end of a spoon) and do little figure 8 or S shapes just on the surface of the soap to make a nice surface swirl. 

Let the soap sit for 24 hours!  Come back to it and unmold the soap by loosening the wingnuts and pulling out the freezer paper.  Then cut into bars and let cure for 4 weeks! 

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