Embedded Heart Tutorial

April 14, 2016

I first made this soap in 2012 and it’s been a favorite of my customers (and myself) ever sense.  It’s a pretty easy soap design (just takes a bit more time than a typical batch of soap to make).

For the sake of this tutorial we’ll do a 2.5 lb batch of soap.  You can scale this up to a 5lb or 10lb if you want.

Recipe

Oil(s) Selected   –  2.5lb Batch
Castor Oil  – 1.40 oz
Avocado Oil  –  1.40 oz
Coconut Oil (76 Degrees) – 5.60 oz
Olive Oil  – 9.80 oz
Palm Oil  – 5.60 oz
Cocoa Butter –  4.20 oz
4% Lye Amount   –  3.90 oz
Water  – 8.25 oz
Yields –  41 oz

Additional Supplies

  • Heart Embed Mold
  • Loaf Mold
  • Colors (3)
  • Fragrance/Essential Oil

DAY 1

Since this design is using embeds it will be a two day process to make this batch of soap.  We first need to make the embeds, let them harden over the next 24 hrs, and then make a second batch of soap.

I get my heart molds from Bramble Berry, but any heart mold you have will work.  Each mold holds approximately 4.5oz of soap.

  • 2.5lb Batch – you’ll need 1 heart mold
  • 5lb Batch – you’ll need 2 heart molds
  • 10lb Batch – you’ll need 3 heart molds

For such a small amount of soap (4.5oz) I recommend just taking it from another batch of soap that you’re making.  Or, as I do, I plan out all the different embeds I want to use for a series of soaps and make a batch and separate it up to make the required embeds.  That allows me to get my embeds done all in one day.

I typically use white for my hearts and then two contrasting colors for the layers.  Because the heart is such a small amount of the overall soap in the finish bar I don’t usually add a fragrance to my heart.  This ensures that I also get a pure white heart because the fragrance can’t mess with the color.

Let your heart harden for 24 hours and then unmold.

1 embeds

DAY 2

Now we’ll begin the actual batch of soap.

Step 1

Make your batch of soap.  You make use the recipe above or your own recipe.  Once your oils are melted and cooled and your lye solution is ready mix them together to reach a light trace.

Step 2

Separate out 12oz of soap and set aside. This is going to be the top part of our soap.

Step 3

In the remaining mixture in your pot add the color you want to use for the base. Mix well.

2-firstlayer

Step 4

Add your fragrance to the base mixture.  Once it’s thorough incorporated pour the base into the mold.

Note: I add the fragrance to each portion separately.  I need the base to set up—to hold the heart embed—but I need the top to be fluid enough to pour over the base.  Some fragrances can speed up trace too. I want to avoid that for my top layer.  By waiting to add the fragrance it just ensures I have more time to create my design without problems.

Step 5

Once the base has harden up enough to hold the embed(s) gently place it in the mold/soap.

4 embed heart

5 embed

Step 6

Add the color to the top part of your soap. Once thoroughly mixed in add your fragrance.  Gently pour over the heart.  If you pour over the heart then the soap with spread out over the rest of the mold and you can minimize break throughs of the base layer and hence keep and nice clean line.

3 top layer mixing

6 pour top layer

Step 7 (Optional)

Add a mice swirl top.  Premix 1 teaspoon of mica with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil.  Using a dropper/pipette drizzle the mixture over the top of the soap.  Then using a toothpick of skewer makes circle/swirls through the mica lines. (Do not mist top with alcohol.  It was cause the swirls to run.)

8 mica top step 1

9mica top step 2

Note on Colors: I find contrasting colors for the heart and base/top work best, but you can do any sort of combination you desire.

These are some of my finished soap designs I’ve used with the Embedded Heart Technique.

Army Heart

pink heart

raspberry_vanilla (7)

Spiced_cranberry (9)

apple_orchard (11)

black amber lavender

cherry almond1

blackberry sage 1

santa

Then you can take this technique and do a number of variations on it!

pumpkinspice

soap black currant pomegranate

yuzu3passionfruit4

strawberry1

Bamboo (10)

As you can see, I’ve had a lot of fun with this technique over the years!


Inspirational Friday

April 8, 2016

We should all live by this.  Instead of the dictionary defining problem as:

any question or matter involving doubt,uncertainty, or difficulty.

It should define it as:

an opportunity!

Do you agree? I think it would change the mentality of society and how they address and react to problems!

2015-10-01 12.43.09


Wisteria Boulevard

March 24, 2016

Last year when I made my cider soap I did a five layer alternating diagonal design for a 10 lb batch of soap.  It took FOREVER.  I loved the look and wanted to make it again, but I knew I had to do it on a smaller batch of soap.  So, here it is again with just four layers.

WISTERIA BLVD: classic floral fragrance comprises ultra-feminine notes of Wisteria, Rose, Violet and Ylang with undertones of precious woods and tender musks for a captivating and enchanting scent.

Top Notes: Melon, Peach, Coconut, Apple
Middle Notes: Ylang Ylang, Rose, Jasmine, Violet, Wisteria
Base Notes: Vanilla, Musk

I think it turned out really pretty.

wisteria (8)


White Sage & Sea Salt

March 18, 2016

Swirls, embeds, and stamping…three techniques in one soap!  It makes for a lovely soap.

White Sage & Sea Salt: An inspiring blend of fresh sage and trendy sea salt backed by white washed driftwood will transport you to a place of natural harmony.

Top Notes: Lemon, Mandarin, Sage, Sea Salt
Middle Notes: Beach Juniper, Jasmine Vines, Island Gardenia
Base Notes: Weathered Driftwood, Cedar, Musk

I love stamping soap and I do it so rarely I couldn’t help but make another similar design (to Sweet Tea) so I could stamp again.

white_sage (3)


Inspirational Friday

March 11, 2016

Most of you probably don’t know this, but I love to read (and write).  I got my Masters in Creative Writing (simply because I wanted it…not because I needed an Masters Degree for any reason…though I do use that degree now. I teach college English.).  I write (when I find time, which is hard to do these days, but I still try and make sure I’m always writing).

My focus has always been children (middle grade) and young adult historical/time travel/fantasy/science fiction.  I love history and I love mixing the past and the present (hence my love of time travel).  I read all sorts of books (with the exception of horror)!

I’d be lost without my books.  I usually set a goal of reading 50 books a year.  So roughly one book a week.  A good book can take away the troubles of the day, open my imagination, spark an idea, or just be a friend.

What do you like to read?  Do you find solace and inspiration in a good book?

2015-07-22 19.20.39


Creating & Testing a New Product: Shower Tabs

March 3, 2016

Shower tabs have been on my “to do” list since last year.  There are never enough hours in the day or days in the week or weeks in the year for me to get to everything though!  This year I was determined to experiment with them so they went to the top of my list.

It’s been interesting!  I had one recipe I knew would work (a variation from Holly Port’s book Make it Fizz.)  Then started the research. Over the past year I’d had been book marking a bunch of different pages I’d come across on making shower tabs.  From there I did some reading/research and then came up with five different recipes (six technically…but it was very similar to one recipe so I didn’t count it.)

The results were quite interesting.

Test 1: Baking Soda
I didn’t believe in this method from the get go.  I just didn’t think it would get hard enough or stay hard enough to last any significant amount of time in a shower.

First, despite experimenting with different amounts of water I couldn’t get these to hard up.  I tried putting them in the oven too.  Nothing worked.  They just never harden up much.  I could get a couple out of the mold mostly intact, but many ended up like the picture below.  Plus it took very little pressure for me to break them.  I wasn’t convinced they last through even half a shower.  I didn’t even bother testing these.

They were so soft I just broke up the baking soda and reused it in other batches.

Test 1

Test1_in mold

Test 2: Baking Soda/Citric Acid
(Please disregard the misspelled “backing”…my brain apparently wasn’t working when I was making the pictures.)

I did a couple variations of baking soda and citric acid.  This batch I put in the oven (mostly because I was curious to how they respond).  I didn’t think it would work to put them in the oven with citric acid, but I’d read a lot about people doing that.  All I can say: Complete disaster!

They grew and grew and grew.  It was kind of funny actually.  They still work and they’re quite hard, but they do dissolve faster.  In part because I think they’re not dense and water just goes through the entire tab, hence it’s dissolving faster.

Test 2

For your amusement: You can see just how MUCH the tabs grew in the oven. I tried the same recipe (with one minor alteration in Test 3) and as you can see they turned out much better.

Comparison - Test 2 and 3

Test 2 - Oven

Test 3: Baking Soda/Citric Acid
These were essentially the same as Test 2 (one minor change to the recipe).  I didn’t not apply any heat to these.  These are probably my favorite of all the trial ones.  They work well. They seem to last a full ten minutes in the shower (if I control how much water hits them) and they release a good aroma.

Test 3

Test 4: Baking Soda/Citric Acid w/ Oils & Butters

These worked mostly ok.  They were much softer than test batch 3 though and didn’t unmold as well.  Testing wise they work as well as Batch 3 for me, but they are softer and I think they last maybe a tad being less than Test Batch 3…is so insignificant an amount of time that it probably doesn’t matter.  The oils make them more expensive and I’m not sold on them being worth it in a product that basically is being washed down the drain.

Test 4

Test 4 Unmolding

 

Because these were much softer than Test 3 (with the only difference being the oils/butters) I did a second round adding more alcohol to them.  They were a little harder, but still softer than Test Batch 3.

Test 4a ADDED Alcohol

Test 5: Altered Recipe from Make it Fizz

These worked perfectly.  I like them, but I have one major problem with them. They’re SO EXPENSIVE to make (compared to the other four test batches).  I mean like 3-4x more expensive. And I have a hard time using such nice oils in a shower tab.  The oils just go down the drain…and to me that’s such a waste.

Test 5

There you have it.  I’ve got friends testing them for me now to see if they find the same results I do when they use them.  Overall, I think Test Batch 3 is my favorite of them all.


Inspirational Friday

February 26, 2016

Hard worker are words quite often use to describe me.  I don’t know where the work ethic came from (but I’m sure in part from my parents, growing up in the military, and being the oldest child) played a big part in it.

From as far back as I can remember I’ve worked for what I wanted. I’ve been unafraid to work long and hard for it…sometimes at the expense of other things in life.  I’ve wanted many things in life.  When I look back what I realize is all the things I REALLY wanted I’ve worked for and gotten.  I set goals (still do to this day) and I reach them. Sometimes it takes time, but I’ve always been willing to work for what I want and have the patience to wait for the work to pay off.

I guess this quote spoke to me because when I stopped and thought about things I’ve worked for in life that I’ve wanted they’ve all involved working (hard) for it.  It makes me proud though and I get a sense of accomplishment that makes it all the much sweeter when I achieve my goal.

how hard you work


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