Happy accident and the ever elusive and persnickety Indigo...

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Well-Known Member
Jul 11, 2015
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I think I found a way to use the indigo and get a successful true blue!

I was setting up my water for my batchlets, one of which would be colored with indigo, so it needed separate lye water. The plan was to use the indigo infusion I'd made weeks ago that was boiled and simmered down to be more concentrated. I was just gonna add a pinch more of the indigo powder to it, to help boost the color, since it worked on my butterfly swirl attempt, but the color was too pale and thin.

But I got distracted by a phone call and when I came back, I grabbed plain water instead, added the lye, and only after I started stirring did it occur to me what I had done. So I said screw it and tossed a healthy half teaspoon of indigo powder into the container with the half dissolved lye crystals and stirred it up.

Right away the indigo did it's weird smell thing and turned deep dark green. I was worried I'd messed up the lye solution because I realized too late that now I would have no way of telling if all my lye had been dissolved. But kept on stirring, figuring if need be, I could clean the drain and start over LOL.

Much to my surprise, not only did the lye dissolve, so did the indigo. I mean it nearly liquefied, breaking down immediately to such a fine substance that it was impossible to see it without really looking for it. Even while I was stirring, I couldn't feel any grit on the bottom of the container. So I let it sit and cool and grabbed an old nylon knee high, figuring I was gonna need to strain the lye solution into the oils.

When I went to pour it, however, there was virtually no sediment at all. Just a rich denim blue solution. It was already turning blue in the batter by the time I got the batchlet to emulsion. So I poured a small portion of it into a teeny container to cure separately. If it stays true to color, I'm engraving the method in stone on a tablet on my wall over my dining room table (where I soap) so I can remember to use it again.

I've got my fingers and toes crossed that it stays true and that the final soap doesn't bleed blue or stain. :)

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I haven't done it myself, but have read many times that dissolving indigo in the lye water is the way to go. Must try it soon. Good luck with yours. Looking forward to photos
I haven't done it myself, but have read many times that dissolving indigo in the lye water is the way to go. Must try it soon. Good luck with yours. Looking forward to photos

TY, I knew I hadn't come up with anything new, but am still jazzed I found a method that worked. I've read a few instructions but I either misunderstood or I've been doing it wrong up til now, because I was dissolving the indigo in water to soak for a while before using that indigo water for the lye solution. Never got any real color out of it, just a pale tinting. Only method that worked before this attempt was simmering the indigo in water for a while to heat it up and letting it simmer long enough to evaporate some of the water and concentrate it. That method did yield me better color but it was still very light, not any real depth.
I finally got around to popping my little indigo tester out of the mold and cutting it. I have to say, this is a pretty true denim blue. Very happy with the results. Now to see if I can duplicate it reliably in the future LOL

Here's the pic. I think the little dots are indigo blooms where tiny pieces of the indigo in the batter swelled up and created little splotches. Will have to perfect this, but it's promising :)

Without a doubt a perfect denim blue. Is that the shade you wanted? You mentioned a half teaspoon...how big was your batch?
DG - TY, I am very happy with it :)

rparmy - I was shooting for something a little lighter, but I'm very ok with just having achieved a true blue LOL. As to the size, it was a batchlet, so it was 3.04z of water and 1.12z of lye, which was added to 8z of oils. I didn't use a measuring spoon, but it was about a half teaspoon.