A picture of ricing, volcanos, separating, overheating

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Nov 6, 2010
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I thought this could be helpful to people, to see what these things looks like.

Ricing, then 2 volcanos, then 2 separating in the mold, and one crack from overheating.

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Aug 1, 2013
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I don't like that it happened to you, but I sure appreciate the pictures for references for newbies. Does anyone happen to have a pic of "soap on a stick" they can post here, also?

Craig- me too! I made a batch of soap yesterday that behaved wonderfully for 5 hours after pouring into the mold, then suddenly I see liquid pooling on the top and that tell-tale graininess poking up through it. I had a flying fit trying to get ice and water in the sink so I could immerse the bottom of that mold before volcano. I now have a partial gel soap that completely ruined my cocoa line. But it cut fine, and partial gel is not the end of the world, so I will live with it.

Mods-It would be wonderful if this were made a stickie so we can just link it for newbies having issues!
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Staff member
Feb 11, 2008
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Right here, silly!
Hi :)
What can we do when we see any of these happening?
Thank you for the pics!

separating in the mold
cracking from overheating
soap on a stick

Re: Ricing: Speaking only for myself, if I see my batter beginning to rice, I beat it into submission with my stick blender, which (so far) has always worked well for me.

Re: Volcanoes: Thankfully, this has never happened to me in all the years I've been soaping, but if it did, I think I'd try to scoop up the volcano-ing mess into a pot and stir it into submission, maybe adding a little water and possibly applying low heat if needed in order to keep it fluid enough to re-pour.

Re: Separating in the mold: I've never had this happen either (so far), but if it did, I think I'd either try stick blending right in the mold or else just dump it out into a pot and stick blend it into submission that way.

Re: Cracking from overheating: If I catch it in the act, I remove my mold to a cooler place and smooth the crack over with a wet (gloved) finger and then babysit it until it cools back down from gel, which has worked well for me in my 100% CO soaps, which are notorious for cracking on me. If I don't catch it in the act, then I either just plane the crack off or try to repair it by rubbing over it with the back of my fingernail. By the way- I found a good trick to prevent cracks from forming in my 100% CO soaps- by placing bubble wrap on top of my soap batter in the mold. Works every time (so far).

Re: Soap-on-a-stick: Emergency HP on the spot....or else I grate it up and use it as confetti decorations in other batches.

IrishLass :)
Nov 19, 2013
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Not a sure fire list, by any means -

Ricing - stick blend like mad. Avoid by looking at ingredients, especially scents

volcanoes - stir and cool. Avoid by soaping colder and/or looking at additives such as sugar & alcohol water replacements

separating in the mold - blend and cool. Avoid by soaping colder or making sure you have a good trace or (if you know how to spot it) emulsion.
Nov 6, 2010
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Thankfully not all these have happened to me. Well, everything but the volcanos have, unfortunately. I found a picture of ricing while I was browsing and thought new people might like to see it. Then I found pics of some other problems we encounter. I do better with visuals so I thought it might be helpful. It's hard to find a single picture that tells the whole soap on a stick story. That one would be best depicted in a video, I think.

Pictures of trace can be helpful too.

First is a picture of light trace. It can be detected before this but is difficult to photograph.

Second is what I would consider about a moderate trace. Kind of pudding-ish, mounds a bit, very workable, can swirl nicely with less risk of colors getting muddy.

Third is pretty heavy trace. This won't pour very well or at all and you'd most likely have to spoon it into the mold. Not completely set but getting there.

The last is a picture of a soap in gel stage. The middle is gelling but it hasn't reached the corners yet.

Different looks of stearic in soap. Spots, rivers, crackle.

Lye pockets in finished soap

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Well-Known Member
Apr 17, 2014
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New England
Whoa momma......what amazing pictures! I wish I had thought to take a pic of some of my brainy soaps. I've experienced ricing a couple of times, and soap on a stick, never a crack, and thank God never a volcano like the one pictured......that was SCARY looking!!! My most common unintended result has been brains, and I've always pretended that it was a design choice......yeah, it's supposed to look like that. LOL The only thing I could find was another example of glycerine rivers, which often end up looking rather pretty.

glycerine rivers.jpg


Well-Known Member
Nov 22, 2014
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Thanks for this thread,it's very helpful. I'm going to put it into a word document and print it out to have on hand in case of issues so I can have some hope of dealing with them.

Is there a shot of emulsion out there so I don't go past it next time?

ETA a link from soap queen pics of 'pre emulsion', emulsion and trace
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