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A newbie's first attempt at a swirled bar (not too bad!)

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I'm on my 6th batch now with shampoo bars that I made yesterday, this time attempting my first swirl. The swirl didn't come out as pronounced and fine detailed as I had wished because the soap batter thickened too quickly while I was adjusting the color. They have an orange scent. I used extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, palm oil and castor oil. A brief test revealed that they lather very nicely! :)



(Photographic note: I wasn't getting such good results in my kitchen using a flash, so I moved outdoors for the above shot. What I really need to do is to make a light box so that I can get rid of the harsh shadows. )
 

Lane

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VERY nice! Way better than my first swirls... How did you swirl them? In the mold or in the pot?

You picture looks great! It would be pretty easy to remove those shadows with a photo editor.
 
G

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Thanks! :) Yeah, I was going to mention, in the mold, with a spoon. Next time I'm going to try a recipe that doesn't harden so quickly. It went from light trace to pudding in less than 5 minutes while I was adding the FO and fussing around with the color. Perhaps I can work on speeding up my ingredient addition too. The powdered mineral pigment was difficult to mix thoroughly in the time given. I'm looking forward to trying that Select Shades liquid colorant, hoping it will mix easier and quicker.
 

SoapyGal

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Those bars are gorgeous!!! If you don't mind my asking -- I'm a total newbie, so please bear with me -- I have a couple questions...

* What did you use for color?
* Are there 2 colors there, or the base color + the perty orange swirl being the only "color" ?
* What is the procedure for swirling?

Thanks so much for any help... some of this stuff seems waaaaaay over my head right now :oops:
 

IanT

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ooooh! looks like an orange- creamsicle! :)
 
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SoapyGal said:
* What did you use for color?
* Are there 2 colors there, or the base color + the perty orange swirl being the only "color" ?
* What is the procedure for swirling?

Thanks so much for any help... some of this stuff seems waaaaaay over my head right now :oops:
If you don't mind the blind leading the blind I'll be glad to help! :)

I mixed the batch to light trace, then added the FO and stirred until blended. Then I poured about half the batter into the mold. That's the yellowish part which bears the characteristic color of olive oil. Next I scooped out about 2/3 cup of the batter and mixed in powdered mineral pigment, stirred it until it was evenly distributed and then returned the 2/3 cup back to the pot and stirred it there until blended.

I then poured the colored batter into the mold on top of the other stuff, using a spoon to deflect the pressure from disturbing the bottom layer. (Actually that is good practice for thinner batter but in my case it didn't make a bit of difference.) By this time it was medium pudding consistency, not good. I ran a teaspoon through it a few times kind of digging up uncolored batter from the bottom and pushing down colored batter from the top. That's it!

Critique: The swirls would be finer and more delicate had the batter been thinner. You want "light trace" if at all possible. Also, I should have pushed the color down to the bottom corners of the mold better. I was worried that it would blend into all the same color, and I'm sure experience will guide me to hit it a bit harder next time.

Don't worry about it being over your head. I made my first batch less than two weeks ago. :) Just think of each batch as a new set of mistakes that you won't ever need to repeat again, and with a few more batches you'll probably get your swirls working too! :)
 

pink-north

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I love the colours. I am trying to make a bar just like that, but my swirl didn't turn out. I am going to make another attempt. When you mix your oils with the lye water, what temperature did you let the solutions come to before you mixed them together?
 

reallyrita

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A Newbie's first attempt at a swirled bar

Wow! These are lovely looking soaps. I am inspired to try a swirl now...will work up the courage as soon as I get back to the soap pot. You are racing through the newbie stage at the speed of light. Congratulations!!!
 
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pink-north said:
I love the colours. I am trying to make a bar just like that, but my swirl didn't turn out. I am going to make another attempt. When you mix your oils with the lye water, what temperature did you let the solutions come to before you mixed them together?
Okay Pink, I don't believe your temperature had anything to do with it (me expounding, and me a newbie, but listen to me). The important thing is how thick your batter is. For delicate swirls and fine details you want just barely traced. My example above accelerated and got to the pudding stage before I could get the color and scenting right.

If you really want to know, I've been shooting for 120 degrees, 120 degrees, for the lye and the oils but I don't think that is a relevant factor. I think 80/80 would probably work just as well, but when you're developing a process you have to pick numbers and hold the numbers constant while you're changing other details. It's the thickness of the pudding that is important, and you want thin for a good swirl. So I believe although I'm not talking from experience, not having had a good swirl yet, you want your batter thin when you swirl it with a spoon or whatever. Next time I hope, for you, for me! :)

The other important thing is to decide whether you want to do ITP (in the pot) or ITM (in the mold). Actually I believe we all have to try both. I also believe that all the experts in this forum have perfected their swirls. It's one measure that separates the newbies from the experts.
 

Sholdy

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That soap looks wonderful!

I didn't attempt swirls for the longest time, and now I'm hooked! For some reason, I like USING the swirled soaps more - go figure.

My first 'swirl' turned out more like a glop - base color all around and a sort of glop in the middle...I thought I had swirled quite a lot, and was afraid that swirling too much would blend the colors together. :lol:
 
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Sholdy said:
was afraid that swirling too much would blend the colors together. :lol:

That was my concern too! That's why I didn't swirl some more. I'm sure it would'a looked better with at least twice as much swirling.
 

pink-north

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I must sound like such an idiot :oops: . The reason I ask is that the last 2 batches I made didn't turn out right. And to top it off the swirl didn't take either. Everything looks chalky. I'm thinking to much lye. I was wondering if I was keeping the mixtures too warm. When I mixed the lye with the oils they went to trace very quickly (5 minutes) and that usually doesn't happen.

I will try it again. Hopefully by the end of the week. I am intrigued by your avocado soap. I've been working on an avocado recipe myself. I would like to find a natural green colourant for it as well, but I'm not married to the idea.
 
G

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No you don't sound like an idiot, although you are evidently having some bad luck. That chalky doesn't sound too good. If you're worried about the lye, try the tongue test, moisten some of your soap and work up a little lather and then put your tongue on it. If you get a "zap" then your soap is alkaline, i.e. too much lye. Mine has been okay and hand made soap doesn't taste nearly as bad as store soap. Ask me how I know. ;)

The batch in the OP went to trace in about 2 minutes. I think it's more which oils you use, and the temperature you mix the lye and oils at. What I meant earlier is that the temperature at time of pour wasn't important at least to me. The temperature you mix your lye and oils varies according to who you ask, 80-130 degrees YMMV. I've been using about 120 both, or 100 oils and 120 lye. As long as both are warm it's all going to be the same temperature in a very short time. Also trace depends on if you use a stick blender. (I do.) You can get trace much faster with a stick blender.

But still, I say that the most important thing is to have your soap batter at light trace when you make your swirls. Mine was pudding-like and it wasn't cooperating with my mixing. Had it been thinnner I could have gotten finer detail and more complexity on the swirl.
 

crazyk

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WOW great looking soap.

I have gone into my second batch with avocado, as I love it, and that is the oil that is adding the greeny tinge to the soap.

TIP for newbies: (well I'm still one) but if you are trying a lemon scented soap and want it to be coloured with that greeny tinge I suggest considering the following oils. (that's if you dont want to start using colours yet)

Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Avocado
Olive
Palm Oil
Coconut Oil
Sunflower (only because of its properties)

The Avocado will make it a really nice colour.

Anyway, back onto the swirls, I'm just about to try my first swirl recipe this week and was thinking of doing it like this.

Step 1: Take out 1/2 of the trace from pot and mix in colour.
Step 2: Pour 1/4 of base trace soap into the mold
Step 3: Carefully pour 1/4 of coloured mixture into mould
Step 3: Carefully Pour 1/4 of base trace soap onto the colourd layer
Step 4: Carefully pour 1/4 of coloured mix into mould
Step 5: Swirl carefully with a spatula (but im guessing if it's at light trace it will mix a little when I am pouring the layers.

Thoughts?
 
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crazyk said:
I have gone into my second batch with avocado, as I love it, and that is the oil that is adding the greeny tinge to the soap.
Maybe in your case but not mine. I'm using refined avocado. It's a perfectly clear liquid. The uncolored part of my soap came out the same color as my EVOO soap. It's the EVOO in my bar that gave it the color. YMMV

I'm getting unrefined avocado oil the next time. Some things you want refined, like castor, other things like avocado and hemp oil, I think you want unrefined, well unless you're trying to make something you can artificially color and don't want the competition from the natural color.

crazyk said:
Anyway, back onto the swirls, I'm just about to try my first swirl recipe this week and was thinking of doing it like this.

Step 1: Take out 1/2 of the trace from pot and mix in colour.
Step 2: Pour 1/4 of base trace soap into the mold
Step 3: Carefully pour 1/4 of coloured mixture into mould
Step 3: Carefully Pour 1/4 of base trace soap onto the colourd layer
Step 4: Carefully pour 1/4 of coloured mix into mould
Step 5: Swirl carefully with a spatula (but im guessing if it's at light trace it will mix a little when I am pouring the layers.

Thoughts?
That could work, except I'd take out the word "carefully." Don't be too careful or you won't get much swirl, like I did.
 

digit

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They are beautiful, Lovehound!!!!! I love love love orange.

If you need it tested, I will be happy to do that for you. :lol: :lol: Just send one or three my way. :D

Digit
 

pink-north

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Thanks so much for the info :D . I will keep a better eye on the recipe and the method. I sometimes use a stick blender (which I know speeds up trace), but last time I didn't and I had trace really quick. Anyway I will keep you posted on my progress. I was beginning to lose my soap-making itch. Gotta get it back. :) .
 
G

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I just want to put in my thanks again for the many compliments! I'm looking forward to my next attempt at swirling and hope to have better results and nice pictures to show. :)

I hear that soapers sometimes trade bars and I'll be up for that when my quality has improved to the point that I feel they're worth the expense of shipping. :)
 
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