Charcoal "pencil" lines - Will it break?!

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meepocow

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Let me just start by just saying how proud I am of this little test bar! There were a lot of things I was trying at once: using an accelerating essential oil blend I made myself (rose geranium with orange and patchouli), pouring layers at trace thick enough to hold a layer but thin enough for straight-ish lines, blending two different colours of batter (1/4 tsp pink kaolin on bottom, 1/8 tsp on bottom), texturing top with a chopstick, and my very first "pencil line" with activated charcoal.

It is a 40% lard bar that cut like a dream with no issues. So creamy and the bars feel solid and uniform. After more research, I now know that AC and mica lines should be on the thinner side so the soap batter can go "around" them to adhere to itself.

My fear now is that I made that AC line to thick and they may break along that line upon use. Any thoughts?
 

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And it looks like we've got another over-achieving "beginner"! Mm-hmm "beginner." Seriously, those are beautiful in their "simplicity." I know how hard it is to get straight lines and layers and that is impressive. The line is on the thick side., I will say. I use a tea strainer and tap until I can just see the batter below. But it's all good -- congrats!
 

meepocow

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OOOOh, I like these! The lines may be a little too thick, but if they break, you have two smaller bars of soap, right? It's all good. :)

And welcome to the lardinator club. It's hard to turn back now. 😁
I accept the piggy props with pride! 🐖

😊 I took your suggestion to keep some thinner off cut samples by the sink to experiment with "for science." What a difference a week or two makes already! It is really neat to monitor and test a bar through its cure.

Very nice looking soap! 😍
Fangirl moment right here!! THE KiwiMoose read my post! 🥰 Feels like I'm soaping with the stars.

And it looks like we've got another over-achieving "beginner"! Mm-hmm "beginner." Seriously, those are beautiful in their "simplicity." I know how hard it is to get straight lines and layers and that is impressive. The line is on the thick side., I will say. I use a tea strainer and tap until I can just see the batter below. But it's all good -- congrats!
Zing, you always contribute the most kind and constructive comments, especially to beginners. Somehow even through text, your patient guidance shines through. 😊 Us newbies really appreciate your encouragement!

I did use the tea strainer method, but I can see I got a wee bit greedy. I shall use you'd "just see the batter below" technique on the next go! 😉 Always an occasion to learn!
 
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Fangirl moment right here!! THE KiwiMoose read my post! 🥰 Feels like I'm soaping with the stars.
:secret: Being the kind and constructive commenter that I am, I will refrain from commenting about a certain Mary Poppins who is practically perfect in every way. And who also purpoted to be a "newbie"back in 2018.
And, hello! Where is our tv show already? Soaping with the Soapmakingforum Stars! You know that thanks to @KiwiMoose we even have a theme song!
- Fan Boy
 
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Marsi

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An alternative to the thin charcoal line cracking problem is to mix your soap batter to the thinnest emulsion (and, to be brutal, for this tiny amount it almost doesn't matter if it splits anyway) ... pour a tiny amount into a small jug (proportionate to your soap loaf size tho ... it will need to be enough to barely cover the lowest layer) and mix your charcoal dust into that ... it thickens quickly, but if you can't pour it you can paint it on.
No cracks ;)

(and ... another gorgeous soap! 😍)
 

meepocow

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An alternative to the thin charcoal line cracking problem is to mix your soap batter to the thinnest emulsion (and, to be brutal, for this tiny amount it almost doesn't matter if it splits anyway) ... pour a tiny amount into a small jug (proportionate to your soap loaf size tho ... it will need to be enough to barely cover the lowest layer) and mix your charcoal dust into that ... it thickens quickly, but if you can't pour it you can paint it on.
No cracks ;)

(and ... another gorgeous soap! 😍)
This is SO genius! It makes so much sense and is probably way less messy. Bookmarking for my next foray lol
 
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Fangirl moment right here!! THE KiwiMoose read my post! 🥰 Feels like I'm soaping with the stars.
OMG! Don't be silly! I'm a regular soaper who makes as many botch ups as the next person. I've had soap on a stick, Mr Blobby soap, The great red mica spill of 2021, and a kiss pour that was more of a .... best not to put that word here. You want to go ga-ga you need to be looking at the likes of @dibbles, @Mobjack Bay, @Jersey Girl, @AliOop, @The_Phoenix, @glendam..... the list goes on. Haven't seen @TashaBird around for a while but she does some cool stuff too!
 

dibbles

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Why isn't there a blushing emoji? Thank you @KiwiMoose, but your creations (soap and otherwise) are lovely.

As for a pencil line, I've had them break apart with too much mica and hold together when I was afraid they wouldn't. It's a fine line (so to speak) between too much and not enough - which can end up looking like a broken line. I don't do many and should practice it to be more confident because I do love the look.
 
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When you look at a bar you don't have to have much charcoal/mica for the brain to see the line. I use mica more than charcoal but I don't aim for the mica to be a solid surface any longer. If the surface is mostly covered with mica then the brain perceives the line.

Usually if a soap is one where the surface sets up quickly I avoid a line on that soap for concern of separation. My goal is for the mica/charcoal to have a "wet" appearance when I get ready to pour the top layer.
 

meepocow

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@dibbles @KiwiMoose @AliOop

Can I just take a moment to say how amazing it is to see people - especially in online communities! - building one another up and giving one another their snaps and props? Just love it. 🥰 There's more than enough sparkle to go around!

Spread positivity!

As another newbie reading all she can, @Marsi brilliant idea, thank you for sharing! @meepocow You are crushing it! So exciting to follow along!
I will admit I've been on a bit of a mad soaping spree. :D

I did my backwards calculations for "when is the drop dead date to make soap, let it cure for recommended time, and test samples before I gift to friends and family for Christmas?!" and landed on.. basically this weekend lol. I want to at least give enough time to allow for testing to ensure bars are not harsh, but will probably still tell recipients to let them sit for an extra week or two into the new year before using!
 
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