I have an idea... tell me if it's nuts lol

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gigisiguenza

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All the reading I've been doing about the ways people are using the natural colorants in soap has me thinking about when I used to dye cotton fabric for quilting. It brings it to mind because so many sources have suggested that the best color depth and hue saturation comes from introducing your natural colorants to the lye solution rather than adding them as either oil infusions or powdered at trace, and this reminds me of using different mordants to help set colors in cotton.

Back then, if I was using indigo (for example), I always presoaked my indigo. I would bring a pot of water to near boiling, then fill gallon buckets with the water, add a highly concentrated amount of indigo, and stir it til it distributed. Once all the powder was moistened, I would cap the bucket and leave it alone, stirring it every few hours to redistribute. After a day or two, I would have a very dense, slightly slurry like gallon of what looked like nearly black liquid with sludge at the bottom. That became my concentrate, which allowed me to add as little or as much as I wanted to my dye bath.

I was thinking why can't I do something similar with the indigo for soaping? I would have to strain it before adding my lye, of course, if I didn't want speckles in the soap, but it should work, if my theory is correct. I could create my concentrate, then just use a portion of it as part of my water for my lye solution. This way I don't have to deal with straining active lye solution or waiting for the indigo to steep in the lye solution.

I could do the same for other colors, like madder, alkanet, turmeric, etc. Create my concentrate then use that concentrate as part of my water for the lye solution.

Granted, it means having to more math because I would have to mix each color as a separate batch of soap, but that's not so bad.

Anyone think this idea is nuts? or know it's nuts because there's something wrong with my logic?

I'm eager for feedback, as always, so feel free to tear the idea apart if it's not wise... in the meantime...

I feel an experiment coming ... :)
 

shunt2011

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I say give it a try. I generally do oil infusion with things like alkanet and turmeric. I've not done it in water. I don't see why it wouldn't work. You can just substitute your colored water with some of the water needed for the lye mixture. I don't use a lot of natural colorants so someone may have a reason not to do it.
 

gigisiguenza

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shunt2011 - I was thinking along the same lines. I like the oil infusion method, the colors are very pretty. But I've been looking for methods that give more saturated color and/or more vibrancy from the naturals. I'm gonna try it later today with the indigo. Soon as I posted I went and put some indigo in a quart of hot water to soak lol. Will post pics of course :)
 

Seawolfe

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I would love to find a reliable way to get a nice deep blue from indigo - I've had colors from a solid blue blue to an ooky green using the same amounts & techniques (as far as I could tell), so this might be the way for indigo.

The pain in the butt with water based colorants is the same for oil - you have to make sure that you keep out and then add back the same amount of water to each section of soap batter you want to color. But maybe its not AS critical - you wont (for instance) make that section lye heavy if you dont add the water its missing.
 

OliveOil2

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I have seen many people use colored clays in the lye water, but that would limit you to one color, or separate batches. I have read that adding the clay to lye water stage produces a more vivid color. I'm Looking forward to see what you come up with.
 

gigisiguenza

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Seawolfe - yep I thought of that and my research tells me that there is a distinct reaction between the indigo and the lye that creates the true indigo color. And I'm not going to water discount, I'm going to take my mold volume, determine how much of that volume is going to each color that is using colored lye solution, then treat them like separate batches, so each one comes out accurate. According to the reading I was doing last night, this should work for several of the naturals that are difficult to get real depth of color and saturation from. So my indigo has been steeping since last night, and I'm about to put some madder, some alkanet, and some tumeric up the same way.

Way I figure, it should be no more difficult than running my mold volume through soapcalc to get my water and lye numbers, then dividing those by however many portions I need split out. Let's hope that logic works LOL.

Olive Oil - I'll definitely be taking pics and notes, so when I'm done I can share the results. Would be very cool if this produces the depth without having to gel also.

Depending on what color blue I get from this, I might take it one step further and set the water with the colorant powder to simmer to see if that results in a really deep saturation.
 
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