Brush Embroidery Technique: Painting your Soap Top

A while ago I saw a post with a soap that had created a brushed embroidery look top.  It was designed like a flower. I thought it was cool and wanted to try it.  Did some research online to see how it was done for cookie/cake decorating.  Gathered some pictures for inspiration and set about attempting to make my own.

I decided to make a black and white soap.  I knew I wanted something that contrasted so black and white seemed like the best choices.

tools

I didn’t put any fragrance in the white as I wanted to make sure it didn’t get too hard that I couldn’t brush it.  It ended up being too soft/liquid-y on me in the end ha.

What I learned: 1) I definitely need to work with the consistency on the next attempt.  You don’t want the soap too hard that a paint brush can’t spread it, but if it’s too soft you can’t get any definition.

2) Doing an intricate/small design on a batch that will be cut into bars is hard. I was trying to make the designs (flowers and hearts) small so that you see them or part of them on each bar.  It didn’t work.

brush top designs

3) You need very little soap to make it spread. I ended up have to remove a lot of soap build up from my brushes.  I kept creating dots that were too wide to spread.

4) Create little dots to spread out rather than one long line of soap.  It creates a prettier effect.

What I turned it into: You can see in the above picture the small designs weren’t working.  At that point I decided to just start covering the edges to see how it looked.  I found it was creating a REALLY cook textured top!  I decided to just cover over what I’d done and cover the whole top with brush strokes.

You can see that the bottom left hand corner has the nicest dot/brush strokes.  I need to work on that.  It’s really quite pretty and if the whole top had looked like it it would have been neat.

Final top: Here’s what it ended up like once I covered it all.

brush top1

And then I decided to try adding a hint of mica dusting.  I had a couple spots that got a little too much mica (oops).  Not the end of the world.  It’s kind of pretty. I want to see how it all looks when it’s cut.

brush top

The results: It’s actually quite pretty.  I like it enough that I’m going to continue to play with the technique.

brush top2

Attempt 2: I won’t even bother with pictures because it really doesn’t have anything that even looks like brush strokes. I couldn’t get the soap batter to thicken and I got impatient so I thought I’d try it as it was.  Bad idea.  You need your batter to be thick (the portion you’re going to “paint” on top of the soap.)  That revelation led to attempt 3.

Attempt 3: Here I was bored with one color so I tried to gradient the top (as I had did a gradient for the actually soap).  I let the soap I was going to brush get harder, but still not hard enough. I also realized that the past two batches my tops had still been rather soft and that was causing problems. I couldn’t get that brush definition (even with a thicker batter) because my paint brush kept poking through and pulling up the base soap’s batter.

brushtop1

gradient3

As you can see, it’s a pretty soap, but lacks the clear brush strokes that my first attempt had.

Attempt 4: I let the batch set up so that it had the thickness of my very first attempt (which just happened to be luck as I used a fragrance that moved quickly).  I also waited (and waited and waited) until the soap I needed to pipe was pretty darn thick.  It’s hard to be patient! I had to go off and do something else and come back to this soap almost an hour later before I could do the top.  It was worth waiting for everything to set up though! I was finally able to brush it.

gingertea5

gingertea2

One thing I realized is that if I go around the edge of the mold and work my way in I will end up having trouble getting the middle to have any sort of definition.  It’s definitely better and the bar look pretty overall.  After I finished this batch I thought about trying a cross stroke pattern.  I thought it might be easier and give me more of that brush look.  So, yup you guessed it that was attempt #5.

Attempt 5: This is the last one.  I’ve played around enough that I have a good idea what to do in any future attempts and at this point it’s just going to take practice to get it “perfect” (or at least to the point where I’m happy).  With that in mind I tried cross hatching this one to see how that turned out.

berrypunch3

berrypunch5

There are a lot of different options obviously.  It took me some time to figure things out.  I think from time to time using this as a change from my typical tops could be fun.  Now it’s time to move on to playing with a different technique!

 

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3 Responses to Brush Embroidery Technique: Painting your Soap Top

  1. Denise Snow says:

    Wow. My favourite is #5. That looks pretty enough to put it on the “face” of a bar of soap. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Anne-Marie says:

    Those all look so great. Painting soap is so fun and frustrating at the same time =)

  3. Audry says:

    I REALLY like the yellow and purple one (#3) and I actually like that the brush strokes aren’t defined

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