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JuneP

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The other day, I asked about mixing colorants and someone wisely suggested that I start a soap coloring thread. So here it is!

I'd love to know what type colorants people use and prefer and how they mix them. I've seen people mixing oxides, pigments, powders and micas using oils, glycerine or water or even what looked like milk to mix their colors. What do you use if anything for the various coloring oxides pigments, powders, etc. the various?

Also this thread is for sharing photos of your work, and sharing the colorants you used in the soap.

This newbie could use a lot of help in this area. :)

For instance, I watched a Your Tube video yesterday where the person said they weren't going to cover the soap, because they wanted to avoid glycerine rivers, which I assume occurs when you add too much glycerine. But, what is too much? Inquiring minds need to know!

Thanks for participating!

June
 
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IrishLass

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Hi June!

I'll help start things off by sharing some of my soap photos and then describe how I achieved the colors:



Above: 2.2 lb. batch of Blackberry Sage. Colored my entire base batter (7 cups worth) with 1 1/4 tsp. TD. The green consists of 1 smidge (i.e., 1/32 tsp) UM Green powder (WSP) mixed with just enough glycerin to disperse the powder, and then added to 1 cup of my TD-whitened batter. The purple consists of 1/4 tsp. Fired-Up Fuschia powdered pigment (BB) blended with 1/4 tsp. Ultraviolet Blue powdered pigment (BB) and mixed with just enough Fractionated Coconut Oil to disperse, and then added to 1 cup of my TD-whitened batter. The 5 remaining cups of my TD-whitened base batter were then mixed with 1/8 tsp Super Pearly White Mica (BB) mixed with a little glycerin first to disperse.




Above: 1.2 lb batch Holiday Sparkle. The gold consists of 1/4 cup uncolored soap batter mixed with 1 pinch (i.e. 1/16 tsp) + 1 dash (i.e. 1/8 tsp) 24K gold mica (OT) mixed in a little glycerin first to disperse. The purple consists of 1/2 cup uncolored soap batter mixed with 1 dash (i.e., 1/8 tsp) Fired-Up Fuschia powdered pigment (BB) + 1 dash (i.e., 1/8 tsp) Ultraviolet Blue powdered pigment (BB) + 1 smidge (i.e., 1/32 tsp) activated charcoal (BB) mixed with a little glycerin first to disperse. The remaining soap batter (3 cups worth) was then mixed with 1 tsp. TD that was mixed with a little glycerin first to disperse.

The Joy stamp was dipped in gold mica before I stamped the soap.

I'll try and add more later.

IrishLass :)
 
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dwolanin

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I'm using pigments for now. Mixing tip I read about are Oxides (O) = Oil
Ultramarines (marines) = water for the liquids that are best for mixing pigments. This tip made it easy to remember. Marines=water, Oxides = oil. I wish i could remember where I read it :/
 

JustBeachy

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I'm back to using Coconut milk in all my recipes. I like to use the 50/50 process. Last weekend I was getting ready to mix the colorants and thought, why not just mix them in the milk. It actually worked out really well. I was using a liquid Blue, Activated Charcoal, and a Yellow Oxide. All three mixed into the CM perfectly. The Oxide mixed in without settling, as did the charcoal. I'm thinking the milk acts as a universal conduit. It has water, so things mix in well, but the fat in the CM also allows for the Oxide to mix in well and stay suspended.

Totally unscientific reasoning here, but it did work like a charm. I'm making at least two soaps this weekend and I'm going to try this method both times again.

If you don't use milk in your soaps, then this won't help obviously. :)

Just noticed the glycerin rivers at the end of your post, while I was looking at Earthen's great list of natural colorants.

Glycerin rivers don't have to be caused by added glycerin. The soaping process will produce it's own glycerin. There is a belief that overheating can create rivers, probably why the video is saying that they weren't going to cover it. I'm more in the camp that it's related to the amount of water you use. I CPOP most of my soaps, and don't have the problem, so I lean more towards the theory of excess water. There's a good test done on this somewhere on the web that I saw a while back. She did a split loaf, with a higher water content on one side of the loaf, but otherwise identical recipes. The heavier water side had lots of rivers.
 
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Earthen_Step

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From my experience with natural colors this is what I can come up with at the moment. I have only done CP soaps, I add most at light trace with my EO blend.

Black Walnut Hull Powder: a nice tan to dark brown depending on amount -- love it, fades some in sunlight.

Cocoa: A nice tan to dark brown depending on the amount -- I like the look of it, but it bleeds a lot if you put much in.

Activated Charcoal: Deep rich black -- a little goes a long way! Bleeds a little in the water.

Safflower Powder: Yellow to orange/peach color with nice little specs -- fades a bit in the sun.

Dandelion Leaf: Dark green with slight brown colors -- fades to brown and loses most it's green in the sun.

Burdock Leaf: Same results as Dandelion leaf, just slightly darker.

Red Sandlewood Powder: Peachy Orange i'd call it, and fades some in the light.

Paprikia: Yellow to peachy orange color depending on amount -- This one seems to hold it's color really well from my experience.

Turmeric: Yellow/tanish -- I like to blend this in with browns and tans, it livens the color some. Fades in the sun a bit.

Indigo: Grayish blue -- holds its color decently in the sun.

Annato Seed: Infused olive oil 24 hours before use -- deep orange color that holds up well.
 

JuneP

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Irish Lass soaps

Oh my, they are gorgeous! The lavender and green are so relaxing to look at. Looks like a summer breeze to me. Might be a good soap name.

My next soap as soon as I can un-mold yesterdays, is going to be lavendar and those color of the lavendar and green are so scrumptious that I will try that combination, and maybe add a bit of pink for the grand daughter whose only color seems to be pink! It is such a beautiful spring/summer combination. Really lovely!

I got some lavender buds to sprinkle on top and thought about putting some in the soap, but after seeing those gorgeous colors in your beautiful soap, I think it might ruin if if I put bud sin the body of the soap.

Wonder if it would work to just put some in the bottom third of the white base only, then do a wire hanger swirl above that point. I guess I'll never know unless I try! Right?

June
 

JuneP

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I just love your soap! The joy stamp with using mica is ingenious! And I love the idea of putting a positive word, or an aphorism on a bar of soap. And the etching is another great idea. I've done that in pottery, but of course, it's great in soap as well.. I just never thought of it even though it's so obvious now that I see it! In pottery we call is sgraffito It really adds something lovely and special to your soap.

I'll have to check out my pottery stamps. I have a bunch of them that I made from clay an then bisque fired. Some may be suitable for stamping soap. I'll have to test them in my round molds. Another thing I recently found was some great textured buttons at a charity shop and I think they might work with your gold or other mica colors. I'm amazed at all the creative possibilities with soap making.

June
 

seven

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i love using micas/oxides/pigments, and to be honest, i rarely measure.. just eyeballed them till i got the shade i wanted. this particular soap, the bottom part was using orange liquid colorant. while the top part, the white base is water dispersible TD, green apple mica, shamrock green mica, activated charcoal, and neon orange >>> mixed in oils first, except the charcoal (water).

then, i dipped my soap stamps in gold mica and stamp them (i'm a self confessed stamp addict!) :D

orange butter.jpg
 

JuneP

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Luscious colors and pattern. I'll have to check out soap stamps - another newly learned thing today!

June
 

jules92207

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Beautiful soap, seven! I love the colors. I never think to use two different shades of the same color - nice!
 

IrishLass

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Seven, I just can't get over how gorgeous that soap is! It brings me joy to just sit and gaze at it. :)

Okay, here's another one, June:


Above: 2.2 lb batch Santa's Pipe FO (SweetCakes). The red swirl consists of 2/3 cup uncolored soap batter to which was added 1 dash (1/8 tsp.) + 1 pinch (1/16 tsp.) Colorana Bordeaux powdered mica (TKB) + 5 drops Tomato Red liquid colorant (TKB) which were mixed together with 1/2 tsp glycerin first to disperse. The black swirl consists of 2/3 cup uncolored batter + 1 dash (1/8 tsp.) + 1 smidge (1/32 tsp.) activated charcoal (BB) that was mixed in 1/2 tsp. glycerin first to disperse. The remaining 5 2/3 cup of uncolored batter was blended with 1 tsp. TD + 1/8 tsp Super Pearly White mica powder mixed with about 1 tsp. of my batch water first to disperse.

By the way, this soap happily does not bleed any colored lather at all, although one would think it would seeing as how the colors are so vivid.

Also- although the bars seem to look more yellowish toward their bottoms in this pic, they are actually off-white in real life. My camera lighting skills are not often the best they could be. The red and the black came out true-to-life in the pic, though.

As an aside, I used BCN's Vanila Stabilizer in this batch since this particular FO normally discolors to a medium tan for me. I kept a bar back for observational purposes, and the off-white coloring is still holding true a little over a year later now.


IrishLass :)

Edited to add: June, the decorative 'etching' on the edges of my bars are actually a result of lining my mold with a Wilton's decorative silicone fondant mat (they make for great liners!).
 
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SoapinInAl

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How do you get your edges so nicely beveled? I use a 36 bar mold from brambleberry. I am a beginner soap maker. I bevel mine with a potato peeler :)
 

IrishLass

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How do you get your edges so nicely beveled? I use a 36 bar mold from brambleberry. I am a beginner soap maker. I bevel mine with a potato peeler :)
I cut my soap by hand with my largest kitchen carving knife and then I bevel with a Japanese woodworking tool known as a 1/8" to 1/4" radius plane, made by Kauri. This is the one I have:

http://www.japanwoodworker.com/product/156637/18--14-radius-plane--kakuri.aspx

I actually bought it at Lotioncrafter's of all places about 6 years ago or thereabouts. They billed it as their 'World's Best Soap Beveller' or something like that, and I have to say that it really makes for an awesome soap beveller. It's extremely well-crafted out of hard white oak with carbon steel blades that can be re-sharpened if need be (I haven't had to sharpen them at all in all the years I've had it, btw), and the thing seems to be built to last forever.

Unfortunately, Lotioncrafters no longer sells it, but you can buy it from the Japanese Woodworker link I supplied above (I think they're located in West Virginia). The selling price seems to be about the same as what I paid for it at Lotioncrafters, which isn't cheap, but considering how well it's made/built to last, it's money very well-spent. They sell replacement blades there, too.

Lotioncrafters still has a PDF picture tutorial online that describes the planer and how to use it for beveling soap and how to adjust it, etc...: http://www.lotioncrafter.com/pdf/soap_beveller.pdf


It's funny, but when I bought it, I had no idea it was a high-quality Japanese woodworking tool. I only found that info out this past year when looking it up for another soap maker.


IrishLass :)
 

SoapinInAl

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I make goat milk soap with coconut Shea palm almond and olive oil. I tried a colorant for the first time tonight. It was awful. It was from tkb in a small dropper bottle. It didn't mix in well at all. I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to colorants. What should I use? ImageUploadedBySoap Making1418001870.220173.jpg
 

JuneP

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Wow!

Wow! What amazing soaps. I'm wiped and getting ready for bed, so I'm coming back here tomorrow to re-read your posts and spend more time admiring these gorgeous soaps!

Irish Lass, just when I was wondering how you got that lovely edging, I came to the bottom of your note. I love that you are all giving us newbies some ideas about mixing colors. We have enough angst out of picking a singular color let alone mixing anything! So seeing your beautiful colors and knowing how you got them will give us more things to try. Thank you so much!

Now I did notice that you mixed some of those micas with glycerine, so did you cover that soap to get it to gel? I'm curious about how much glycerine and/or water has to be in the soap that it would make me decide to not cover it, but refrigerate it instead.

Those of us who are just starting soap making, are probably making each soap so precious, that we're terrified of making a huge mistake. I'm sure this will lessen as we make more and more soaps!

My cheese slicer/soap cutter won't be here for another 3 days or so, so tomorrow I'll be making pate instead of soap. But I've already decided to make a drop swirl with lavender EO next, using a couple of lavender, purples colorants and some pink and maybe a little bit of green to break up those other color, if I can figure out how to get light lime/soft avocado green (the color of the fruit not the skin). !

I have chrome oxide, hydrated chrome, and another green which I believe is chrome as well (they just gave it a new name!)and I have yellow oxide.

Irish Lass, what vanilla stabilizer did you get. I saw the initials you gave but have no idea what company that is?????

Anyone get lime by mixing chrome and yellow oxide????

Thanks again everybody!
Night all!
June
 

IrishLass

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I make goat milk soap with coconut Shea palm almond and olive oil. I tried a colorant for the first time tonight. It was awful. It was from tkb in a small dropper bottle. It didn't mix in well at all. I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to colorants. What should I use? View attachment 10975
SoapinInAl, what's the name of the colorant you used, and how much did you add?


JuneP said:
Now I did notice that you mixed some of those micas with glycerine, so did you cover that soap to get it to gel?
Yes- I covered my soap and stuck it in a pre-warmed 120F/49C oven to gel overnight. I turned the oven off as soon as it reached 120F/49C, by the way. I pretty much gel all my soaps this way, and I actually prefer gelled soaps as opposed to un-gelled soaps. I find that my colors come out much more brilliant/vibrant when soaps are gelled. If left un-gelled, that beautiful red in my Santa's Pipe soap pictured above would have turned out more on the dusty-mauve side (I tried un-gelling my soap with the same color combo once and that's how it came out- dusty-mauve instead of vibrant red).


JuneP said:
I'm curious about how much glycerine and/or water has to be in the soap that it would make me decide to not cover it, but refrigerate it instead.
I'm sorry, June- I'm not sure I understand your question? Can you elaborate? I'm just wondering because neither the glycerin amount nor the water amount have ever been determiners for me as to whether I decide to gel or not.


JuneP said:
Irish Lass, what vanilla stabilizer did you get. I saw the initials you gave but have no idea what company that is?????
I get mine from BCN, which stands for BitterCreekNorth: https://cart.candlesupply.com/Vanilla-Stabilizer-for-soap-pr-20326.html

HTH!
IrishLass:)
 

JuneP

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Question Irish Lass about this swirl

Seven, I just can't get over how gorgeous that soap is! It brings me joy to just sit and gaze at it. :)

Okay, here's another one, June:

PS: What kind of swirl is this? It's so pretty as is everything else about this soap!

June
 
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