Can I make a pencil line with white clay?

Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by Mobjack Bay, May 17, 2019.

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  1. May 17, 2019 #1

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    I’m brainstorming on ways to make very thin white horizontal lines in medium to dark grey soap, which would be made in a small tall loaf type mold. The layers don’t have to be perfectly straight. I don’t have the skills (or the time) at this point to pour super thin layers of batter, especially if it means mixing a portion and then letting it set up while I make the next batch of batter. It occurred to me that maybe I could sprinkle white kaolin clay powder in the same way cocoa powder might be used. Has anyone tried this? Or, is there something else I could use for the layer? I don’t have any micas. Thanks!
     
  2. May 17, 2019 #2

    cmzaha

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    You probably could but I do not do pencil lines. Any soap I have ever used (not made myself) has fallen apart at the pencil line after the soap is used for awhile. While some will dispute that, I am only stating my experience with pencil lines. When they became popular I purchased soaps with pencil line from different soapmakers to see how they hold up, and most did not.
     
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  3. May 17, 2019 #3

    amd

    amd

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    I have tried it with white satin mica from M&M. It didn't work, the white kind of absorbed into the layers, so all I had was an occasional sparkle. Maybe clay would work, I would try it with a thinner layer than what you would do mica or charcoal. Clay seems (in my mind) to be heavier than mica, so probably doesn't need a thicker line.
     
  4. May 17, 2019 #4

    DeeAnna

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    I've used cocoa and gold mica to make pencil lines. I like the cocoa better than the mica for making a clear, distinct line. The mica kind of disappears, like @amd said, so only flecks show here and there. I think clay might behave more like cocoa powder than like mica, but I've not tried it to know.

    One key goal I have when doing pencil lines is to always err on using less rather than more. I want the liquid in the soap batter to soak into the dry powder so it looks wet before I make the next pour of soap batter.

    If the powder doesn't become wetted in, oh, maybe 30-60 seconds, I'll use a fork or toothpick to lightly scratch through the dry material to break it up and scatter any dry stuff over the soap batter so it has a better chance of becoming wetted.

    I'd rather have a less than successful pencil line than have the soap break apart, and this seems method seems to work fine for me. (Knock on wood!)
     
  5. May 17, 2019 #5

    madison

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    I never had any success with mica pencil line.
     
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  6. May 17, 2019 #6

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    @cmzaha @amd @DeeAnna - I’m so happy I asked! My initial strategy will be to aim for a relatively light dusting and then wait/check to make sure that the clay absorbs some of the batter before adding the next layer. I think that I might also try to add some tiny clay-free ridges along the length of the soap using a butter knife in order to give the next layer something to grab on to. Hopefully I will be able to do that without disrupting the clay line too noticeably, but it will be fine if there are some small gaps in the line. I’m planning to create the thin lines between somewhat irregular thicker layers and if the clay layers don’t show up, the soap should still be okay. I’m already not a fan of rebatching soap.
     
  7. May 18, 2019 #7

    Claudia Carpenter

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    If youre going to do clay, be sure to spritz before and after with water. I suspect it will split, though.

    I do a white pencil line on an ocean waves soap using TD and some super sparkle mica that works well:
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BNcwFOKgqRL/

    Both from TKB. Besides spritzing with water, leave gaps without the line on the edges.
     
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  8. May 18, 2019 #8

    lucycat

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    I have used clay often, but more as a way to keep the mica from clumping all in one spot. (I usually mix 1/2 tsp of mica with about 1 tsp of clay) I think it works fine but I don't think you will see a white line. The soap absorbs the clay and you won't be able to distinguish it from the soap. I haven't ever had a problem with separation but I agree with the rule less line is best and I want to see the clay/mica absorbed and a wet rather than dry look when I pour the next layer. I also, pour the next layer within a couple of minutes. I don't want the bottom layer to have set up when I pour the top. I just pour the top layer over a spatula to keep it from dropping below the line.
     
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  9. May 18, 2019 #9

    lucycat

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    Claudia, that is beautiful. I am not sure how you made such even looking "waves" but they are impressive.
     
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  10. May 18, 2019 #10

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    @Claudia Carpenter I agree with @lucycat - Pretty soap and great technique.

    So I tried my first plan and then plan B. It quickly became apparent that the light dusting of clay didn’t have enough oomph to produce a visible pencil line. I switched to trying to get the effect I was aiming for by using some thin layers of ITP swirled batter. These layers are (maybe, possibly) interspersed with thicker darker layers. I upped the water content on the white batter in the ITP swirl with the hopes of producing glycerin rivers that might look a bit laminated. Soap temp may be a problem with this last idea. We shall see...

    In order to have time to try to make the details I’m aiming for, I used a very slow to trace recipe. I’m not sure it’s the best strategy and I’m thinking about trying my basic (more PO and CO) recipe the next time. I can be a SB minimalist when necessary! Given previous experiences with the batter cooling down, I started with warmer batter today. I’m still very much a learner and have been sticking mostly with very small batches (1 lb or less), which cool down quickly. At one point one of my portions of batter was down to 77 degrees F and I had to use a water bath to get it back into the 90s. I put the soap in a warm oven with the hopes that a little heat might encourage some glycerin rivers.

    Still learning... and at some point I will try some mica and cocoa for pencil lines. I love the way they look.
     
  11. May 18, 2019 #11

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    @Claudia Carpenter - I just went back and looked at the rest of your soaps on instagram. WOW! I know the blue funnel pour(?) from Pinterest. The Klimt is soap? They’re all fantastic.
     

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