This month’s soap challenge involved the use of impression mats. We were given the option to either make our own impression mat or use something like a fondant mat. I chose the latter and decided to go with a Valentine’s Day theme using my favorite natural pink colorant. Thankfully, Amazon.com had a pretty fondant mat with hearts. :)
Unlike the past few soap challenges which required a slow tracing recipe, I was able to use a regular recipe for this soap. I wanted the soap to set up quickly so I could remove it without messing up the design of the mat. To help the soap set up quicker, I was supposed to add salt at the rate of 1/2 teaspoon per 500 grams of oils. This really does work well. IF you remember the salt. However, I completely forgot to add the salt to my distilled water. Everything turned out fine anyway. I just let the soap sit for an extra day before attempting to remove the impression mat.
Olive Oil – 30%
Coconut Oil – 25%
Organic Sustainable Palm Oil – 30%
Avocado Oil – 5%
Cocoa Butter – 5%
Castor Oil – 5%
Superfat – 5%
Essential Oils – Sweet floral blend using clear essential oils that wouldn’t discolor the soap
Kaolin Clay – 2 teaspoons per 500 grams of oils
About a year ago, I was experimenting with Indigo Root powder oil infusions in an attempt to get various shades of blue. I accidentally discovered that I could achieve a pretty, delicate pink with a weak indigo root powder infusion that isn’t shaken up before measuring out the oil. No matter how well I seem to strain my indigo root infusions, there is always some powder left that settles on the bottom of the jar. If that gets shaken into the oil (even a weak oil infusion), I get blue every time. I was also using Soap Making Resource’s Indigo Root Powder to achieve this pink. I recently tried BrambleBerry’s indigo root powder, but I got blue no matter how weak I made the infusion. I don’t have any idea why they are different, but I buy both brands now so I can make blue or pink colors. They both make a beautiful blue.
When I make the infusion for my pink soaps, I use a rate of 1 teaspoon indigo root powder mixed into 5 ounces of olive oil. I also cut down on the amount of time I heat the infusion in my double boiler (maybe 30 minutes less than normal). For a blue soap, I use 2 to 3 teaspoons per 5 ounces of olive oil (and I always shake the oil before measuring it out). If you don’t know how to make an oil infusion, Amanda at Lovin’ Soap Studio has a wonderful tutorial on her website.
When your infusion has cooled, been strained, and the oil has settled, your oil will either be a dark magenta pink or a navy blue. If the unshaken oil is pink, you can definitely achieve a pink soap. If it’s blue, you’ll get a blue soap. You’ll see in my video below that my weak infusion is a dark magenta pink.
The next step is figuring out how much infused oil to replace in your recipe. For the light pink in this recipe, I replaced 15% of the total oils with my weak indigo root infused olive oil. I subtract that amount from the olive oil required in my recipe (since my infusion was made with olive oil). The indigo infused olive oil is then added at emulsion or a light trace.
When using this pink colorant, the soap will not look pink at first. It will be more of a beige color that slowly changes to a pinkish beige as the soap gets thicker. You may be able to see that change in my video. After the soap gels, the soap turns a beautiful, light pink color. The color holds well over time, too.
As you’ll see in the video below, I used a fondant mat in the bottom of my mold to create the design on my soap. In order to get the soap to fill and stay inside the impressions without being pulled out, the soap needs to be the right consistency. It took quite a while for the soap to thicken up. I even added some of my essential oil blend and kaolin clay to help it along. In the end, I just had to be patient. I applied the soap to the mat with just a popsicle stick and then scraped the mat clean with a silicone spoon. I was really worried the soap would move when I placed the mat inside the mold, but it was fine. It’s so much fun removing the mat to see how the soap turned out.
Here’s the video showing how I created this soap. I’m still having video lighting problems in my soap room, so I apologize for that.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post!