Is it possible to use soap like clay? [brainstorming]

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powderpink

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I have this idea about a honey scented soap with a bumble bee embed in it and melt and pour curls scattered around it (in a loaf mold, so each slice is the same).

However, I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out how exactly I'll approach this (see my shoddy reference made with polymer clay/notes in the added image to get an idea of what the heck I'm envisioning (but better) :) ).
So I was wonder if I could pick the minds of SMF for a bit.

I know you can roll "new" soap into balls and such...
But I was wondering if it's possible to go a step further, and use it like you would polymer clay... e.g. making a bumble bee using the cane technique and embedding that into the soap. Or just stacking lots of soap clay sculpted bumblee bees behind one another...My biggest worry is that the soap batter/dough'd be either too sticky, or not sticky enough.

Or should I start thinking about making my own, from scratch, molds for this? That would probably give you the cleanest finish...but also involves (one time) way more work.
E.g.
1. 1 mold for the black body bits (technically that's 3 molds)
2. then a mold that holds the black bits, and lets you poor yellow soap batter in between them...
3. Then a mold for the wings...
4. And finally a square mold in which the wings and bumble bee body come together by pouring white soap batter around it.

Step 1 and 2 could also be combined by making an oval shape and using dividers I suppose.

Has anyone ever tried either (detailed "soap clay" embeds or making your own molds from scratch)?

Which would make more sense? Or is this something I shouldn't even try to attempt ;)

bumblebeesoap.jpg

P.S.:

I won't be attempting this until November/mid October (if I'm brave enough..otherwise next Christmas season). But I feel for a design like this, it's good to think ahead.
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Susie

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It absolutely is possible. Just Google "soap embeds images" then peruse to your heart's content. There are LOADS of pics and ideas on there. Then meander over to Etsy and/or Pinterest for many more hours.
 

earlene

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I think the soap molding might be easier than creating the molds, unless you want hundreds of the bees. Then I'd go for the mold making.

I have made molds. It's fun. I made the mold for the soap I made, then felted that is my avatar. It's made via the silcone caulking mold making method. First you have to have the model (for me it was a decorative glass or acrylic fish), so if you don't have a bee of the size and shape you want, you would have to create that first.

ETA: This would make a great challenge for SMF, I think. Even if not, now that I see the shared recipe on Socery Soaps, I want to try it as a personal challenge. It's also something I could do with my granddaughter. She is a fabulous and meticulous artist and I think she might enjoy this. Thank you, powderpink for bringing it up.
 
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SunWolf

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Wow, that's impressive. I wonder how long the soap will stay pliable in a plastic bag or container. Does anyone use this recipe or have any idea?
I haven't tried it yet, but I'm planning on it tomorrow. I will be making a couple small batches to let our school art teacher play with. Maybe it'll be something he can use with the grade schoolers!

I didn't find anything on how long it will last in a container, either.
 

doriettefarm

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Wow, that's impressive. I wonder how long the soap will stay pliable in a plastic bag or container. Does anyone use this recipe or have any idea?
I haven't tried to make her soap dough recipe from scratch (yet) but I did use some dough she gifted me in this soap: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=60876

The dough was wrapped in cling wrap then stored in a ziploc baggie and it stayed pliable for almost 2 months. I think they key is totally cutting off the airflow so the dough doesn't harden but it is fully saponified.

ETA: Bee at Sorcery Soap is coming out with a book that should include lots more details on this technique. I was asked to be a content editor for the book so as soon as I hear a release date I'll let everyone know.
 
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powderpink

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Thank you so much everyone!

I'd tried entering all kinds of terms in google (I dislike pinterest with a passion so hardly ever look there, sorry) but couldn't find anything about cp soap clay.

I'm now debating whether I should sacrifice some of the olive oil and coconut oil reserved for cooking to try this out tonight :D Seems easier/less costly than making a mold from scratch.

Anyone know how small you can go with soap batches? I always thought 500g oils is the absolute minimum, but if you'd use a precision scale, would it be possible to scale it down to 300g oils?
 

powderpink

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If that works... that just opened up so many doors for me:shock:

testing how different oils work, additives, colours, FO blends....
 

earlene

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Anyone know how small you can go with soap batches? I always thought 500g oils is the absolute minimum, but if you'd use a precision scale, would it be possible to scale it down to 300g oils?
You would need a scale that is accurate to 0.01 or 0.001 grams. They are available and not all that expensive IMO. And a steady hand while pouring out the ingredients.

If you buy one, make sure it has the capacity to handle at least your total weight of container (which you will tare out) plus your ingredients. I once made the mistake of buying one that could only handle a total weight of 50 grams, and that's no good for soap! I later purchased one that can handle 1000 grams total weight with an accuracy to 0.01 grams. The ones that are accurate to 0.001g don't seem to have a high enough capacity for soap making purposes as far as I can find on Amazon. And I think 0.01 grams accuracy is good enough for me anyway.
 

powderpink

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I think it'd be accurate enough too.

I managed to find a few scales that go up to 500g for a reasonable price.
I think one had an accuracy of 0,05g, to me it seems good enough,
since I always superfat at 7%-8% *and* round of to the nearest number for my lye (so if it says 121.63, I'll go for 121 as I'd rather be safe than sorry since there's always a slight deviation in household scales). So I think that should be ok.



Now on to developing a pliable enough soap dough....:mrgreen:
 
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penelopejane

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Now on to developing a pliable enough soap dough....:mrgreen:
You can just reserve some from your regular recipe and test it. I've done it (I didn't have her ingredients but wanted to try anyway). She's right about consistency being important. Too sticky is no good, too dry is no good) after it's been in w plastic bag for a while you have to kneed it for a while to get it back to a workable condition again.
 

powderpink

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I've tried that before...reserving a bit of soap,

but most of her recipes use 20% castor oil. I never go up more than 5% in my recipes, and I don't think I'll ever go up to 20 for regular soap. I really don't mind making a small test batch just to see what happens, though.

I wonder though... if adding something like kaolin clay would help with the consistency.
And if it's too dry/crumbly, whether adding a tsp or so of glycerin, after saponification, would help keep it all together a bit and smooth it out.

Or what if you'd make a really hard soap, like soleseife, grind it up into a fine powder and make a dough out of that/use it to make soap clay that's too sticky less sticky.


So many things to try....
 
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