First pull through soap

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Did my first pull through with a kit bought from Wild Plantanica and it was really fun. I fully expected these to be a blobby failure and for there to be a steep learning curve, but I was happy with the results and look forward to getting better and trying other discs/patterns/colors. These are even more fun to cut than normal swirls because each one is so different from the others, the fronts are so different from the backs, etc. The pictures are from two different discs, and are of the whole batch in each case, I realized that I should have taken care to put them in order of cutting to see what the changes were in each soap, but the top left shows the end/most imperfect cuts in each batch.

I used 20% CO, 40% lard, 35% olive, 4% castor. 5% SF, 28% lye concentration. The sat:unsat fat ratio was 41:59. Soaped at about 90F.

The one thing that I think I will be better prepared for next time is waiting for a thicker trace to pour. I was really concerned that I would not have enough time to pour enough color cycles without the soap thickening up too much, so I initially poured at too thin of a trace, I should have waited until it was closer to medium. Other things I might do: increase the lye concentration (see below)/decrease the water amount, soap at a slightly higher temp.
pullthrough 1a.jpg
pullthrough 1b.jpg


With the earliest pours I had trouble getting them centered and circular, which became much easier as the batter thickened. After a couple of those watery pours I actually stopped and waited a little bit (10-15 minutes) for medium trace, shaking the bottles intermittently to help speed trace and keep the batter mixed well.

One interesting thing, I got glycerin rivers! It didn’t bother me because I kind of like them and I hardly ever get them. I guess they should not have been a surprise since I soaped at full water (28% lye concentration) and CPOP’d. Next time I will increase my LC just so I don’t have to wait as long for the right trace which should reduce/eliminate the glycerin rivers.

A note regarding the molds in the kit, which were PVC. After spending some time researching, I was worried (a) that the soap would overheat if I CPOP’d (a number of posts said PVC was susceptible to overheating when gelling) and (b) that I would have a really hard time getting the soap out of the molds. Neither ended up being a problem. ETA: Chass/Wild Plantanica uses a particular type of PVC which is heat safe to a very high degree, (I think) 270F, maybe this is why there are less CPOP/gelling problems, plus no fumes/melting. They are black, so you do have to use a headlamp with them to see into the molds while you are pouring.

I did my normal CPOP procedure – heated to the lowest temp of 170F, turned off oven, left on light, put in soap – and it was fine. Unmolding was also fine. I used sodium lactate and put the soaps in the freezer for an hour after leaving them in the oven overnight (I meant to line with freezer paper and forgot.) I used a couple of tins to push the soap up from the bottom and it came out very easily (in fact after the soap can treatment when I turned one upside down it slid out and got dented on the top :)

I can’t wait to try again and highly recommend the Wild Plantanica discs/kit. The WP owner, Chass, is super fast getting stuff out, is very responsive to questions, just great to deal with all round.
 
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They look amazing! Love your colours. Did you use four colours? I wish my would turn out that nice - but i refuse to use squirty bottles which is probably why they don't. How much ( approx) of each colour do you put in at a time? I wonder if I put in too much?
 
I did use four colors, yellow/black/blue/pink (I think in that order). I tried to get the the blobs about half way across the diameter of the mold. I thought these videos by Japanese and (I think) Chinese soapers were very helpful in that respect.




Why do you hate squeezy bottles so much, Kiwi? I put plastic liners in them and they were so easy to clean that way, I just threw away the bags.

Also I bought silicon straws (from Amazon) like the ones in the videos - rather than using pipettes - and just waited a day, then rinsed them through with really hot tap water. The straws are longer and bigger, so they helped to get right up close to the surface of the soap and I didn't have to squeeze hard at all (important for me because I have had multiple surgeries on both hands and they are shaky and weak.)
 
Why do you hate squeezy bottles so much, Kiwi? I put plastic liners in them and they were so easy to clean that way, I just threw away the bags.
Just the thought of all that fiddling about, and soap waste (residue left in the bags). And that my recipe tends on the thicker side due to soy wax and shea butter. I just use a long funnel that sits nicely over the central pull rod and pour down that directly from my mixing jugs.
 
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Just the thought of all that fiddling about, and soap waste (residue left in the bags). And that my recipe tends on the thicker side due to soy wax and shea butter. I just use a long funnel that sits nicely over the central pull rod and pair unit that directly from my mixing jugs.
I will try this method next time! I used plastic bags last time and then had to cut them open to scrape all the soap batter out. My rod was on the side though. I was wondering what I could do for the center rods.
 
With the bags after I take them out I squish/wring? the leftovers into individual cavity molds. It is not as efficient as being able to scrape the sides of a funnel with a spatula, also a bit messier, but gets most of the soap out.
That's what I do as well! I think next time I might let the soap saponify in the bag and then scoop it out to see if that would work for soap dough. If it does work, there would be no waste (in theory) - unless I don't use the soap dough, which is a real possibility.
 
That's what I do as well! I think next time I might let the soap saponify in the bag and then scoop it out to see if that would work for soap dough. If it does work, there would be no waste (in theory) - unless I don't use the soap dough, which is a real possibility.
Soap dough is a great idea, I keep meaning to make it and being to lazy to have to make a whole batch.

@KiwiMoose, I have a question for you. On a thread here you have some pretty pull throughs with which you've used an impression mat/liner. I assume you just cut that very carefully so that it was a perfect fit (good luck to me on that!) but was it harder getting the gelled soap out of the mold (if you use pvc, I guess if you use silicone you just open up the mold). Any tips on cutting/preparing the liner for use?
 
Not @KiwiMoose and I don't know what she does. I have an acrylic column mold that I've used an impression mat with. It came with an acetate (I think) liner so I just use that and the silicone mat and soap slide right out. I've also used a Pringle's can lined with freezer paper, so that should also work with PVC.
 
@KiwiMoose, I have a question for you. On a thread here you have some pretty pull throughs with which you've used an impression mat/liner. I assume you just cut that very carefully so that it was a perfect fit (good luck to me on that!) but was it harder getting the gelled soap out of the mold (if you use pvc, I guess if you use silicone you just open up the mold). Any tips on cutting/preparing the liner for use?
Yes I just cut it to fit into the PVC tube. My tube is about 35cm long so I use a ruler, wooden spoon handle, or whatever I can find to ensure the edges of the mat meet all the way down the inside of the tube. It's an absolute PITA to get out of the tube, so after banging it on the concrete to loosen it a bit, I get a flat disk (like a jar lid or similar) to place on the bottom of the soap (fitting inside the tube), and a push a broom handle into it. The jar lid stops the broom handle from denting the soap. Easy peasy.
 

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