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first time using mini-column mold

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Zing

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Some noob questions here on using my new mini-column mold which I'll use as a moon embed in a loaf mold:
- Does the recipe of the column soap have to be the same as the loaf soap?
- For unmolding time, is there any difference compared to unmolding a loaf mold? More or less or same time? I unmold my loaf soaps after 24 hours if I use sodium lactate.
- Does gelling still happen naturally under towels? Or does gelling need help with a heating pad/CPOP?
- How do you keep it upright after pouring?!
- Any lessons learned? Best practices?
- Is a swirl impossible? Or is is always monochrome?
Thanks, soapy friends!
 

dibbles

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I don’t think the recipe necessarily needs to be the same.
The unmolding time can be longer if the soap doesn’t gel. I stand the column mold in a box or something and stuff towels around it to keep it stable. You will probably need to force gel due to the small volume of soap. I’ve never had it heat up on its own and, well, MN right now...
You can for sure do an ITP swirl.
 

Zing

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You will probably need to force gel due to the small volume of soap. I’ve never had it heat up on its own and, well, MN right now...
What is this strange land I've moved to??!! Where it won't go above freezing for 5 more days??!! It's not even Halloween yet! Just got home from visiting friends outside under a heat lamp covered in electric blankets staying 6' apart. A little nip (or two) of homemade aquavit also kept us warm.

Thanks for the tips. Maybe I'll wrap a heat pad around it and put it into a tall box.
 

dibbles

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What is this strange land I've moved to??!! Where it won't go above freezing for 5 more days??!! It's not even Halloween yet! Just got home from visiting friends outside under a heat lamp covered in electric blankets staying 6' apart. A little nip (or two) of homemade aquavit also kept us warm.

Thanks for the tips. Maybe I'll wrap a heat pad around it and put it into a tall box.
Sounds like a plan. Our CA kids have been here since early October. I was hoping they would remember how wonderful fall is here and be more inclined to think about moving back. One week was nice and then 9" of snow. The toddler is quite enamoured though.
 

cerelife

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I just got my mini-column molds last week from BB! Thanks for the questions as I had some of the same :)
An additional thought/question: I was thinking that I would need to use them in a loaf fairly quickly. Like I wouldn't want to make them a week in advance because they would be harder than the fresh soap and possibly displace the softer soap when I cut the loaf?
But after reading these posts it would probably be fine to make them one weekend and use them the next since I don't intend to force gel phase.
Again, thanks for creating this post since although I've already created recipes in SoapCalc for the mini-columns and the reduced loaf batches to include them I didn't even THINK about the fact that the teeny amount of soap in the mini-columns wouldn't go through gel phase!! Thank goodness for SMF :)
 

TheGecko

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Does the recipe of the column soap have to be the same as the loaf soap?

—> No. A lot of folks use M&P for embeds, but you have to be very careful when cutting them with a wire cutter as they are not made for M&P. I’m not into M&P myself and just use my regular recipe for embeds. I also store my embeds in zip lock bags after making them so they don’t cure.

For unmolding time, is there any difference compared to unmolding a loaf mold? More or less or same time? I unmold my loaf soaps after 24 hours if I use sodium lactate.

—> My mini donuts took a lot longer to unmold...almost a week. I can’t be sure if the problem was due to their size or if my daughter measured something wrong.

Does gelling still happen naturally under towels? Or does gelling need help with a heating pad/CPOP?

—> I’ve only done mini donuts, but I’m reasonably sure because they are too small to generate the heat necessary to gel on their own that I would need to CPOP them.

How do you keep it upright after pouring?!

—> Gal on YT uses a vase she bought from a second-hand shop.

Any lessons learned? Best practices?

—-> Next time I will use a 40% Lye Concentration and insulate them.

Is a swirl impossible? Or is is always monochrome?

—->. I see no reason why you couldn’t do a swirl with defining colorants.
 

dibbles

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An additional thought/question: I was thinking that I would need to use them in a loaf fairly quickly. Like I wouldn't want to make them a week in advance because they would be harder than the fresh soap and possibly displace the softer soap when I cut the loaf?
But after reading these posts it would probably be fine to make them one weekend and use them the next since I don't intend to force gel phase.
If I can’t use an embed right away, I wrap it in plastic wrap (Saran type wrap) to keep it from drying out.
 

GemstonePony

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For my leaf embed, I wrapped the mold in saran wrap to help make sure the batter wouldn't leak around the seams and to give the mold more rigidity. I used a drinking glass to hold it upright, and once it was set I could put it on its side on a wooden tray in the oven to force gel. It did take longer to set up.
In my Autumn Marble I used an ITP swirl for the embed. I used almost the same recipe, but I used Aloe Vera Juice instead of hard cider, and I didn't fragrance the embed.
 
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