Help with getting clean layered stripes...

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gigisiguenza

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I made a batch the other night that came out so so. I planned it thoroughly and it went according to plan, but it's not the pretty soap I had envisioned. I'm looking for advice on how to improve on this, so when I make it again (which I plan to because I think if done right, it will be very pretty) I can get better results. Ok, I will post the problems as I see them first, then the pics of the soap.

TIA for any help offered :)

= Recipe:
10% Castor
10% Olive
10% Sunflower
20% CO
50% Lard
5% SF
Colorants used: Activated Charcoal and Madder Root Powder
Incorporation method: Mixed into glycerin at a 1:1 ratio
Soaping method: CP no gelling
Cold lye water, room temp oils, no FO (I forgot to add it LOL)

= Problems:
1) The batter appeared to be very light trace, but thickened up too quick to pour thinly and evenly, which made it difficult to pour as I went along
2) The colors are dulled (which I know is normal for natural colorants but expected a little more saturation... maybe it's my method?)
3) Teeny tiny drops of liquid on top of the loaf before cutting that had a pink tint to them (it was covered with cling wrap, put in the fridge for an hour after pour to prevent gel, then sat on table to do its thing til ready to cut

= Pictures:
uploadfromtaptalk1441250259150.jpg
uploadfromtaptalk1441250273923.jpg
 
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commoncenz

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I think you're being too hard on yourself and your soap. Those are very pretty!
 

not_ally

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Gigi, I like these, and the layers seem pretty clean, as well. Did you mean to get really level layers? I personally like an uneven layer like this better, it seems more natural. But I know that I posted a thread asking how to do even/straight layers and people gave great responses, I will try to find it if that is what you are shooting for.

Ok, found it, here it is in case it helps answer your question: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=53891
 
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gigisiguenza

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I think you're being too hard on yourself and your soap. Those are very pretty!
Ty commoncenz, appreciate the words of encouragement :) I think I find them so so because they are not what I envisioned LOL. That dull grey was supposed to be much more saturated, almost black, and the pink was supposed to be solid, no flecks or speckles. It's growing on me as I look at it more, but I still see issues, like my crooked layers. Those were supposed to be clean sharp even layers, but I couldn't pour it thinly enough, it got too thick for reasons I don't understand. Tyvm for the compliment :)

Gigi, I like these, and the layers seem pretty clean, as well. Did you mean to get really level layers? I personally like an uneven layer like this better, it seems more natural. But I know that I posted a thread asking how to do even/straight layers and people gave great responses, I will try to find it if that is what you are shooting for.

Ok, found it, here it is in case it helps answer your question: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=53891
NA yes I was shooting for very level, even thickness layers. I've been looking at them for couple of days and they're growing on me. I guess I had a different image in my head and my disappointment comes from not having nailed that vision.

As to the color saturation, maybe if I had gelled it it would have been more intense, but gelling scares me LOL. I'm worried about volcanoes of soap or it not gelling fully to the edge (I don't like partial gel look).

Ty for the link, I will go browse their advice :)

I guess my lack of confidence in soaping is showing via this post because I thought I made mistakes and it wasn't right. Maybe I didn't make any mistakes. Hmmmm. Thinking....

I'm very hard on myself when it comes to meeting my own expectations, can ya tell?
 

commoncenz

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I guess my lack of confidence in soaping is showing via this post because I thought I made mistakes and it wasn't right. Maybe I didn't make any mistakes. Hmmmm. Thinking....

I'm very hard on myself when it comes to meeting my own expectations, can ya tell?
One of the beautiful things about soaping is that sometimes "the soap does what it wants to" and that may or may not give us what we envisioned.

When doing swirls, etc. I have come to appreciate the approach to art outlined by a Native American friend of mine who makes wonderful jewelry. If he thinks that he has made a piece that is perfectly what he envisioned in his mind, he will purposely mar it in some small way. He says he does this for a few reasons:

1. Perfection is reserved for the creator and when a man/woman feels that they have reached perfection, we, as humans tend to be less than humble about the accomplishment.

2. To remind himself that no matter how good a piece of jewelry he creates, there is always room to improve.

3. To remind himself that it's not the finished work that provides him with fulfillment, but rather the joy he finds in the process.

In your case, I don't think it's a fault to strive for perfection. Learn new techniques, practice the ones you think you have mastered ... But, don't get down on yourself if things don't always come out as planned ... "Enjoy the process." It's probably what drew you to soaping in the first place.
 

not_ally

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One of the great things about soaping - at least with respect to design - is that there are not that many real mistakes, you know? I have made some soaps that I really did not like and that other people loved, and vice versa. I kind of like most of my soaps, except for the v. few that would have required rebatching (usually just ended up throwing them out), or as soap on a stick. They almost always do something I do not expect, and it is fun to see what that is!
 
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gigisiguenza

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Ty commoncenz I appreciate that and you are very right, I really love the process. I find myself enjoying the artistry in soaping as much as I do in creating an art quilt or working on an in and watercolor piece. Very fulfilling. Ty for the reminder :)

One of the beautiful things about soaping is that sometimes "the soap does what it wants to" and that may or may not give us what we envisioned.

When doing swirls, etc. I have come to appreciate the approach to art outlined by a Native American friend of mine who makes wonderful jewelry. If he thinks that he has made a piece that is perfectly what he envisioned in his mind, he will purposely mar it in some small way. He says he does this for a few reasons:

1. Perfection is reserved for the creator and when a man/woman feels that they have reached perfection, we, as humans tend to be less than humble about the accomplishment.

2. To remind himself that no matter how good a piece of jewelry he creates, there is always room to improve.

3. To remind himself that it's not the finished work that provides him with fulfillment, but rather the joy he finds in the process.

In your case, I don't think it's a fault to strive for perfection. Learn new techniques, practice the ones you think you have mastered ... But, don't get down on yourself if things don't always come out as planned ... "Enjoy the process." It's probably what drew you to soaping in the first place.
 

kumudini

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Very pretty soaps Gigi, I think natural colors are going to be your thing. If things don't go your way ( they don't more often than not), you have learned something, which is not bad at all in my opinion.
It's a bummer that this pretty soap didnt come in a pretty scent.
 

gigisiguenza

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One of the great things about soaping - at least with respect to design - is that there are not that many real mistakes, you know? I have made some soaps that I really did not like and that other people loved, and vice versa. I kind of like most of my soaps, except for the v. few that would have required rebatching (usually just ended up throwing them out), or as soap on a stick. They almost always do something I do not expect, and it is fun to see what that is!
True. I've not had soap on a stick yet (thank goodness) but I'm gonna have to learn to expect the unexpected and appreciate what the soap gods toss at me as an end result lol.

Now a question... would gelling this batch have made the colors more saturated? or would it just have made them darker? I didn't want darker, with the exception of the black.

Very pretty soaps Gigi, I think natural colors are going to be your thing. If things don't go your way ( they don't more often than not), you have learned something, which is not bad at all in my opinion.
It's a bummer that this pretty soap didnt come in a pretty scent.
Vkumundini - Tyvm :) and I'm loving the natural colorants and enjoying playing with ways to use them, enhance them, incorporate them. And I totally sucks I forgot the flippin FO ugh! It was such a pretty scent combo too! My roommate asked me today which scent I used for the last batch because it smells so lovely, like walking through a flower garden on a hot day, where the smells are present but soft. It was Rose by CS and 4 Leaf Clover by NG. I hated to tell her the smell was coming from the rag in the hamper that I cleaned up with because I forgot to put it in the batter LOL. Now she wants a soap scented with these.
 

cmzaha

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I made a batch the other night that came out so so. I planned it thoroughly and it went according to plan, but it's not the pretty soap I had envisioned. I'm looking for advice on how to improve on this, so when I make it again (which I plan to because I think if done right, it will be very pretty) I can get better results. Ok, I will post the problems as I see them first, then the pics of the soap.

TIA for any help offered :)

= Recipe:
10% Castor
10% Olive
10% Sunflower
20% CO
50% Lard
5% SF
Colorants used: Activated Charcoal and Madder Root Powder
Incorporation method: Mixed into glycerin at a 1:1 ratio
Soaping method: CP no gelling
Cold lye water, room temp oils, no FO (I forgot to add it LOL)

= Problems:
1) The batter appeared to be very light trace, but thickened up too quick to pour thinly and evenly, which made it difficult to pour as I went along
2) The colors are dulled (which I know is normal for natural colorants but expected a little more saturation... maybe it's my method?)
3) Teeny tiny drops of liquid on top of the loaf before cutting that had a pink tint to them (it was covered with cling wrap, put in the fridge for an hour after pour to prevent gel, then sat on table to do its thing til ready to cut

= Pictures:
View attachment 16276
View attachment 16277
Your soaps are really very pretty even if they are not what you envisioned. The 10% castor will make a big difference on trace time. Try the same recipe recipe with 3% castor oil and you should notice a noticeable difference in trace time. In my peacock swirl soaps I do not add castor oil for this reason
 

gigisiguenza

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For me, it makes them darker *and* more saturated/deeper. I almost always use micas/oxides/liquid colorants, but I understand the same is generally true with natural colorants as well. See, eg, https://sironasprings.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/sneak-peek-testing-natural-colorants/
Ahhh that's what I thought. I was happy that the glycerin method worked with the natural colorants too. It will save me a ton of calculating for oils when I use the powders directly as opposed to oil infusion.

I will check out the link. TY :)
 

Jstar

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I think they are adorable :) I tried for layers one time...got all my dividers set up, and by the time it was time to pour, the soap decided it was NOT going to do what I had in my head..dividers or no dividers..it actually turned out much nicer than I had planned with the layers..

I let my soap do its own thing most times :)
 

TwystedPryncess

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Ultimately I am always happy that I made soap, and did not have to throw away the batch. Then I will start to nitpick from there. I am extremely hard on myself in one aspect, so that I learn something, but also I forgive myself, if that makes sense. I totally understand what you mean when you were disappointed that it didn't work out to your vision, but that is just a goal to try again for, and it still came out very lovely. And you made soap! Very pretty soap! Yippee!
 

gigisiguenza

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I think they are adorable :) I tried for layers one time...got all my dividers set up, and by the time it was time to pour, the soap decided it was NOT going to do what I had in my head..dividers or no dividers..it actually turned out much nicer than I had planned with the layers..

I let my soap do its own thing most times :)
I have my Supreme Pizza soap to remind me of that daily LOL. I cringe every time I look at that soap, I think it's hideous. Yet my friend loves it and wants some when it's ready because she thinks it's awesome that it looks like pizza. Believe me, it was most certainly not supposed to look like pizza LOL

Ultimately I am always happy that I made soap, and did not have to throw away the batch. Then I will start to nitpick from there. I am extremely hard on myself in one aspect, so that I learn something, but also I forgive myself, if that makes sense. I totally understand what you mean when you were disappointed that it didn't work out to your vision, but that is just a goal to try again for, and it still came out very lovely. And you made soap! Very pretty soap! Yippee!
TY both :) it will grow on me, I'm sure, and you are very correct that its lack of meeting my vision inspires me to do it again. I'm already planning how to do it again and what to do differently. :)
 

TheDragonGirl

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I had the problem when I started out as an artist (not yet a soaper, I drew and painted and made pottery and things), that I was constantly disappointed in my work, because I always had a very exact image in my mind and I was never able to meet that image- so I learned not to have a sharp image, I learned to sort of just have a general idea of what I wanted, with a lot of leeway for pleasant surprises and now I'm much happier with everything I do :)

I don't know if this will help you at all, but I thought I would share
 

gigisiguenza

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I had the problem when I started out as an artist (not yet a soaper, I drew and painted and made pottery and things), that I was constantly disappointed in my work, because I always had a very exact image in my mind and I was never able to meet that image- so I learned not to have a sharp image, I learned to sort of just have a general idea of what I wanted, with a lot of leeway for pleasant surprises and now I'm much happier with everything I do :)

I don't know if this will help you at all, but I thought I would share
DG - actually, that is quite helpful. I'm an artist also, and if you think I'm hard on myself with my soap, you should see how critical I am with myself about my art. I rarely, if ever, like my work, for exactly the reason you stated - I have an exact image in my head of what I'm trying to create, and when the end result doesn't look like the image in my head, I feel defeated and frustrated by my lack of skill. I'm never critical of other people's work like I am of my own, quite the opposite really, often finding their work inspiring.

It's an excellent suggestion to try and develop a less sharp imagery in my head - to learn to mentally squint a little. Perhaps if I planned less it would help in this. Maybe if I started working on a piece (be it a sketch, painting, quilt, or soap design) when I'm first inspired, when the concept is more nebulous, and refrained from my tendency to plan my approach in minute detail before tackling it, I would be more accepting of the end result, rather than critical, because I would not have a fully formed finished piece in my head I'm trying to duplicate.

Hmmmm. Very good food for thought. Tyvm DG.

Your soaps are really very pretty even if they are not what you envisioned. The 10% castor will make a big difference on trace time. Try the same recipe recipe with 3% castor oil and you should notice a noticeable difference in trace time. In my peacock swirl soaps I do not add castor oil for this reason
Cmzaha - I musta missed your post in my responding, sorry. TY for the compliment btw :)

As to the castor oil... it's been in every recipe I've used and only one rapid traced (the pizza soap and that was the FO, I now know) so I'm not sure if it was the castor or not, but I'll certainly try reducing the %age and see if it helps.

My concern with reducing the castor is poor lathering because of the high lard amount. It's low on OO, so that's not an issue, but I'm worried about poor and or unstable lathering with such a low % of castor.
 

not_ally

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Gigi, if you want to a slower trace I would reduce the castor and add a TB of sugar ppo to add bubbles. I think you would still have nice lather. I've never gone lower than 5%, but I trust Carolyn's advice :)
 

gigisiguenza

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Gigi, if you want to a slower trace I would reduce the castor and add a TB of sugar ppo to add bubbles. I think you would still have nice lather. I've never gone lower than 5%, but I trust Carolyn's advice :)
NA that would work... the sugarcoat accelerate trace?

ETA Ty btw :)
 

kchaystack

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I have never heard that sugar accelerates. It can cause soap to heat up, so you have to watch it if you soap hot, CPOP or use a heater fragrance.
 

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