the ramblings of my journey through life, following my passion and enjoying the adventure

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Drop swirl challenge

sunshine~n~breezy is my entry for the monthly Soap Challenge Club. Hosted by Amy from Great Cakes Soapworks, this months drop swirl challenge is a technique that many talented soap makers use with great effect, each cut bar revealing its unique beauty.

After watching Amy's tutorial over and over so many times, making notes, planning, deciding, changing my mind just as many times as the weather, I eventually got on with it.

The recipe I used is my standard recipe of olive, palm, coconut, rice bran and castor oils with avocado butter, fragranced with lemongrass, ylang ylang and patchouli essential oils, and I used yellow oxide, blue mica and titanium dioxide, plus the usual additives of kaolin clay, coconut milk and sodium lactate.

In the tutorial it is suggested to use a recipe that is slow to trace, to keep temperatures of oils and lye solution low (33 degrees Celsius) to allow maximum time to work and a fragrance that will not accelerate trace.

My normal temps for oils and lye solution are in the lower 30's (90° F)  and my recipe is reasonably quick to trace. So I upped the temps to 40° C (104° F) and hoped for some time to swirl.

Wanting to achieve a drop swirl that would go right to the bottom of the mold, I kept the batter at a light medium trace and poured a double pass of each colour from quite a height.

And that is where my challenge inside of a challenge started! You see, I am what you would call being challenged in the "aim and hit" department. I throw a ball, aiming straight ahead and it somehow ends up behind me. Going bowling, people in the next lane end up wishing I would just sit down and quit with this practice makes perfect motto. So pouring batter into tall skinny molds from a serious height, we're talking potential disaster here!

Now I don't mind that my lack of aiming skills provides family and friends with the rolling on the floor laughing knee-slapping kind of entertainment, but this is stepping up to the plate for the mother-of-all challenges, where the objective is to get more batter in the mold than outside of it. I need to score big time here, batter everywhere but in the mold will be taking the "drop" part of this challenge to a lengthy clean up - no laughing matter!

So for the record - with minor spillage - I aimed, I poured, I conquered!

I so enjoyed this challenge and am looking forward to participating again.
Best of luck to each entrant.

Greetings from Cape Town, South Africa.