Mission Impossible - Colours

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penelopejane

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Hi,
Would someone please help me work out how to do colours.
I have just made my 5th batch of yucky brown soap and I have one or two sickly green ones.

I mix the colours in cups first and they look good. Then I mix up my batch and pour the right amount into separate mixing bowls. Then I add the colours and all hell breaks loose. They are never the same colour once I put them in the batter and I try and correct them and they end up yucky brown.

I have this:
http://www.aussiesoapsupplies.com.au/cold-processed-soap-starter-pack.html

and aussie pink clay (which is red at 1 tsp per 2.2 ppo)

I could really use some help. Honestly, I am close to giving up making soap entirely.
 

newbie

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Can you say more about exactly how and when the problem occurs? Is it when you are mixing individual colors or when you are putting them back together for the batch? How are you adding your colors? Directly from the bottles or are you diluting them in water first? What happens right after you add the colors? doesn't it bead up and become difficult to mix in? these and other burning questions.....
 

penelopejane

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This time I kept a little of the water from the lye solution separate and put some in 2 containers.

In one container I mixed some Ultramarine Blue Powder with some pink clay and came up with a nice colour. I only wanted to add this to 100g of batter.

In the other container I mixed 1/2 tsp red clay with a bit of TD so it was sort of pink. Looking good so far.

Then I mixed my batter to a perfect light trace (amazing) and poured 100g of one into the purple. It was ok. Probably too dark. I guess I should have poured the colour into the batter.

Then I poured the pink mixture into the remaining batter. It was sort of yellowy pink. So I mixed a bit more clay into a bit of water still remaining and added it then more, still looking brown added a bit of the purple mix and so it goes. Couldn't figure our how to save it so dumped it into the mold and, yet again I have yucky brown. Poured the purple on top and swirled it in but it can't be saved from horrible.

I was aiming for the attached photo: (vice and velvet don't have to worry about copyright because I am so far from imitating it a judge would laugh them out of court.)

I made the red soap below. 1 tsp Aussie pink clay mixed with 1 tsp water in 2 lbs of oil.

download.png


red soap.jpg
 
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newbie

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One thought I have is that you added too many colors together. It sounds like for the base, you added red clay, TD, ultramarine blue and pink clay. If I read you right, you started adding the purple color to your red clay+ TD, correct? Adding that many different shades can make brown in a hurry.

I don't use clays for coloring but I wonder if there is proportion that makes sense when adding to a pigment. Ultramarines are very clear and clays are very opaque so that may be contributing. Have you tried using just the ultramarines once to see if you can get the shade you want? Vice and velvet's looks like you could get the base with brick red oxide and red clay, maybe just red brick oxide, and the accent color looks black.

I think I would try one color at a time first. Will Kemp has videos on mixing acrylic paints that demonstrates how you can end up with muddy colors with combos you would not suspect would do that. Acrylics are not direct equivalent to micas but the concepts are good. I watched a couple and was jaw dropped at what happened when certain colors were combined (thinking specifically of the purples).

[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiH3k41YY_E[/ame]
[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUc31f0A7CQ[/ame]

Looking at your pink clay soap, I guess clays are not so opaque!
 
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penelopejane

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One thought I have is that you added too many colors together. It sounds like for the base, you added red clay, TD, ultramarine blue and pink clay. If I read you right, you started adding the purple color to your red clay+ TD, correct? Adding that many different shades can make brown in a hurry.
The purple which I mixed from clay and ultramarine turned out ok (it hasn't gelled yet so I don't know for sure) - I don't have black.

Those videos are great, thank you I will watch them over and over. Gosh he makes it look so easy : (

Now that I have calmed down from being a complete snivelling wreck, I guess the question is how do I know how many drops to put in of a colour in the first little mixing cup so it will colour the whole batter that I want to colour?

I know 1 tsp of clay in 2 lbs of oil makes red. So I can play with percentages for that. But if I want to make a different colour and say in 1 tbs of water the colour looks good how do I know how much batter that will colour?

I need to do something better than a bit of this and a bit of that (which is where I am now and it's a disaster) because if I ever get it right I want to be able to reproduce it.

I've tested the bit I make by swiping it on paper and it looks good but when I add it to batter it usually just disappears or is far too bright/dark.
 
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newbie

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DId they give a usage rate onthe bottles? I know the bottles of pre-mixed pigments I have will say how much will color 10 pounds of soap or something like that. It's a good place to start but I have generally found that I have to use more than they state to get true color. I don't know how concentrated they have made their colors.

In the interest of not adding too much water to your batter, I would start with a very small amount of water in your cups, like a few ml's and then add drops of colors depending on how concentrated they say it is. You can add the few ml's of water + colorant to your batter and if it doesn't look right, have another cup with a few ml's of water in it ready to go, add double the number of drops and add. Keep track. I would first start with pure colors and get the hang of what you have before you get too adventurous.

I have some liquid stuff but I have found I prefer powder. Easier to measure and get strong colors, at least for me. I made a sunset soap once with liquid neons. SOme small amount was supposed to color 10 pounds of soap but nothing happened when I added drops. I ended up squeezing globs of the concentrate into a few ounces of soap to get the colors I wanted! I was so ticked. One of the last times I used it.

I agree about how easy he makes it look. I'm not certain I have gleaned too much at this point but it helps me to know that I could mix two colors that look like they should make perfect sense together and end up with gross mud. At least I know I'm not nuts.
 
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Susie

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Start with one color per batch. Learn how much colorant colors how much soap batter. Write this down. Once you have gotten through all your colorants, you can start mixing and recording those amounts. You take a picture to show X amount of Y and Z colors make this.

But remember that even a plain bar of soap is still better soap than they sell in the grocery store.
 

jade-15

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I agree with Susie - I have a little chart in my folder of recommended rates so I use that as a start point. I find it helpful to know how the colours behave - so far I have only used "what you see is what you get" types.
I've gotten a nice royal blue using that ultraviolet blue, and vibrant red mixing the carmine red with some micas - I will check my notes later to get the usage rates.
Also the colour of your oils will impact - high in olive oil makes a dark base, with a yellow/green tinge so that colour gets added in to whatever you blend!!
 

penelopejane

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DId they give a usage rate onthe bottles? I know the bottles of pre-mixed pigments I have will say how much will color 10 pounds of soap or something like that. It's a good place to start but I have generally found that I have to use more than they state to get true color.
Thank you so much for that. I have gone back to the website of the company who sold the stuff and they do give a recommended rate for their liquids which I hadn't discovered before. So convoluted, sort of hidden. I have to apply some maths to try and work out how much to use!!

Start with one color per batch. Learn how much colorant colors how much soap batter. Write this down. Once you have gotten through all your colorants, you can start mixing and recording those amounts. You take a picture to show X amount of Y and Z colors make this.

But remember that even a plain bar of soap is still better soap than they sell in the grocery store.
This is a good idea. I will try it.
A know a plain bar of castile is lovely. But a plain bar of my recipe is a murky horrible yellowy brown and NEEDS some sort of colour : (

I agree with Susie - I have a little chart in my folder of recommended rates so I use that as a start point. I find it helpful to know how the colours behave - so far I have only used "what you see is what you get" types.
I've gotten a nice royal blue using that ultraviolet blue, and vibrant red mixing the carmine red with some micas - I will check my notes later to get the usage rates.
Also the colour of your oils will impact - high in olive oil makes a dark base, with a yellow/green tinge so that colour gets added in to whatever you blend!!
Jade, I have started to take notes from the original webiste and will add to these as I make more.

Thank you so much for your help. It is so overwhelming at times. :):)
Still doesn't help with mixing colours but at least I now know how much of my colours per kg of mix.
That has been a big help, thank you, I am so sick of wasting oils, and was so upset at my attempts.
 
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Obsidian

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If your base oils are a dark color, it will affect how your added colors turn out. What oils are you using? If you can get your uncolored soap lighter, it will be easier to color.
 

Seawolfe

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Those red clay soaps are pretty!

I am kind of scared of colors still. Which is why I follow Carolyns suggestion of mixing powdered oxides or micas with a little glycerin and adding that to the batter, rather than dumping batter on top of colorant and trusting I used the right amount. I also like to use fail-safe colors like activated charcoal, or even the base color of the soap as one of the colors.
 

dixiedragon

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I have a bunch of tiny disposable cups. I withhold some water from the recipe and blend water and color in the cups, then add that to the soap batter until I get the color I want. I try to do teensy amounts but I do end up throwing away a fair amount of color, which I don't care for. But better that than throwing away soap or rebatching!

I also have a feeling that trying to blend clays with other colorants is problematic. I can't really articulate why. I guess b/c a soap colorant is a man-made substance designed to color soap, and clay is a natural substance that happens to be useful to color soap.
 

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Your base recipe makes a horrible yellow soap? That is part of the problem. If you are starting with murky yellow, every colorant will come out affected by that base. What oils are you using to make it like that? Are you totally in love with your recipe or are you open to trying a different one or a tweaked one? If you are open to changes, post your recipe and we will help you figure out a way to get a whiter base soap.
 

MySoapyHeart

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Hi! I know your soap didn`t turn out the way you wanted, but I actually liked the color of your soap! From where I sit (my monitor) it was a sort of rosy/melon color that looked like a juicy, ripened peach.

Cheer up, this color thing will get easier as you learn more about coloring and what not to mix etc! I paint paintings and have been for 25 years, so for me it is easy to get the color I want by mixing, but it wasn`t like that in the beginning! Had to learn about how colors react to eachother before I got where I wanted.
Ditto on what is said about the baseoils, the darker they are the more difficult it is to get clean and crisp color that is in the range you want it to be.
 

penelopejane

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Your base recipe makes a horrible yellow soap? That is part of the problem. If you are starting with murky yellow, every colorant will come out affected by that base. What oils are you using to make it like that? Are you totally in love with your recipe or are you open to trying a different one or a tweaked one? If you are open to changes, post your recipe and we will help you figure out a way to get a whiter base soap.
I'm making Irish Lass's version of Genny's shampoo soap ( using as a normal soap bar) I use EVOO 40% and Avocado 30%. I like it but I'd like to colour it.

I tried light EVOO but it was no different. Our OO isn't as expensive to as yours in the US, it seems, so it is not an extravagant waste. I buy it on special and it's cheaper than OO. I haven't seem pomace available so can't compare to that.

Should I neutralise the oil colour by adding TD first then add colour?

If I can't do colour I'll just be the Castile queen!!

Those red clay soaps are pretty!

I am kind of scared of colors still. Which is why I follow Carolyns suggestion of mixing powdered oxides or micas with a little glycerin and adding that to the batter, rather than dumping batter on top of colorant and trusting I used the right amount. I also like to use fail-safe colors like activated charcoal, or even the base color of the soap as one of the colors.
Thanks. I can do soild colours it seems
I do pre-mix the colours.
I am going to get some activated charcoal for the January challenge. Grey will be better than brown.
 

Steve85569

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How about solid colour and use a little TD batter for a nice drop swirl in a test batch? Just a thought. I haven't done much colouring as yet either but it's a whole new experience.
 

LittleCrazyWolf

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Can you switch to regular pure olive oil? In my experience, EVOO has a more greenish hue then regular OO which is a light yellow. I used EVOO for my first few batches (no colorant) and I remember the soap was a greenish/yellow. I switched to regular pure olive oil and my base is a creamy off white that looks great with or without additional color. My base is OO, tallow, coconut, avocado, and castor. I've used rice bran oil (which is darker than the OO I use) in place of the OO and the base still comes out a creamy ivory.
 

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What brand of OO are you using? Ive made 100% oo soap thst came out white as. Ive used 4 or 5 different brands from woollies coles and aldi and never had an issue with the colour of my batter.
 

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I would stay away from any kind of EVOO, regardless of the color. You need plain ol regular OO or pomace, both make a lighter soap. For your avocado, is refined? Same goes for the shea?
Adding TD won't cover the darker base colors, it will just lighten it and make any colors you add more of a pastel.
 

penelopejane

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Thank you all for the light bulb moment. I know my Castile starts out bright yellow but it fades to white so I've put the colour of the EVOO out of my mind.

My Shea butter is white but the avocado oil is dark browny green and that is 30% of the recipe so added to the EVOO (Cobram first pressed light) is where the problem is.

So annoying that I can't save it with TD. I can't avoid the avocado so I will get a standard OO and see if that makes a difference when I add the colours. Knowing the dose rate pp is also helpful. (Why don't they write that on the bottles? It's hidden in a secret place on the website). I've been trying to fix a set amount by adding at random and ending up with a disaster each time.

Yesterday's soap has set to a yucky pastel pink (obviously the TD I added in a panic) and the purple has lightened a bit but looks ok. So yet again lesson learned is trial and error is the way to go (such a slow learning process) and try not to panic at the last moment.

Thank you so much.
 

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