“Mud” soap continued...

Discussion in 'The Photo Gallery' started by Mobjack Bay, May 19, 2019.

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  1. May 19, 2019 #1

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    I had mixed results in yesterday’s attempt to create thinly layered “mud” soap for a series that I described here: https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/mud-soap.74763/

    I don’t like the soap, but I am happy with some of what I achieved within the soap. First, my layers are mostly horizontal, without the dip in the middle. The bottom layer has a good dose of plain old table salt, which produced the mottling I was hoping for. But, it’s heavy handed and I will use less salt the next time. Can you see the poppy seeds I sprinkled into the middle of that layer? (Do poppy seeds hold up in soap? They were sitting nearby...) The black and white layers in this soap are fails, but at least they’re horizontal. I’m hoping to achieve thin, rhythmic layering at some point, maybe using a side pour. For this batch I opted to try making pencil lines with white clay and when I decided that wouldn’t work, I added the white batter on top. It was too thick to spread thinly. The next layer up is an ITP swirl. There is some layering in the top soap that I like. I wish I had skipped the white soap on top.

    02489693-CBA3-4B3D-8C8C-4AC0D6DCC103.jpeg
    This x-ray of mud shows the kind of layering I want to intersperse with the mottled layers. Is a side pour with thin batter the best option?

    F095B7C8-4CA7-4EAC-BBF5-4E2546A5CFD8.jpeg
     
  2. May 19, 2019 #2

    HowieRoll

    HowieRoll

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    I really like it - it's dark and mysterious (I thought your other mud soap was gorgeous, too).

    There is a technique I haven't tried yet but am intrigued by, called Thin Line Design. Amy Warden's Soap Challenge Club recently featured it for their monthly competition, and you can see some of the results here:

    https://soapchallengeclub.com/thin-line-designs-winners/

    The x-ray reminds me of this technique, so maybe it would work for replicating it?
     
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  3. May 19, 2019 #3

    earlene

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    You can get those very thin layers with a Tiger Stripes pour combined with a wall pour and very thin soap batter (just at emulsion). Here's how it turned out for me when I first tried it:
    [​IMG]
    View from the side after cut (loaf cut)

    View from the front of the soap:
    [​IMG]

    I would suggest if you want the blurry look like in your xray photo, a very thin batter will produce it as shown in my photos. My soap batter was just at emulsion and a very slow moving recipe.

    If you want clearer demarcation of layers, a bit more than emulsion, but not much past it, particularly if you have a fast moving recipe.
     
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  4. May 19, 2019 #4

    cmzaha

    cmzaha

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    I love the way it looks, but I am not greatly into definite layers.
     
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  5. May 19, 2019 #5

    Dawni

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    I like it very much even if it wasn't the look you wanted. It's "noisy" but very interesting and looks cool, and it works for me :)
     
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  6. May 20, 2019 #6

    Lin19687

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    I think it looks COOL !
    I would be a bit worried about how scratchy it would be but it looks FAB !
     
  7. May 21, 2019 #7

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    I’m using AC from BB. It’s super fine and many of the reviewers on their website have commented on how messy it can get if you’re not careful. I haven’t noticed any scratchiness in the bits of soap I’ve tried from my earliest batches.
     
  8. May 21, 2019 #8

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    The layers look blurry in the photo I posted because I grabbed it from a low resolution image online. The layers in nature can be quite sharply defined. The clay particles are flat like playing cards and pack tightly under compression as more mud settles on top. More than you ever wanted to know about mud... I like your soap!
     
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  9. May 21, 2019 #9

    Mobjack Bay

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    . I think this approach (and similar to what Earlene did) is what I need to master :)
     
  10. May 21, 2019 #10

    Lin19687

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    Actually it was the Poppy seeds and 'heavy handed' salt that I would think would be a bit scratchy. Course that does depend on each individual.
     
  11. May 21, 2019 #11

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    Oh, sure, I should have caught that :). Good points to consider! The salt in this batch is fine table salt, so maybe a little exfoliating. Time will tell. My previous use of salt was fine sea salt and I can’t feel it in the bits of soap I’ve been testing via handwashing. The poppy seeds are few and far between in the new batch and since they’re round, maybe they won’t be perceived as scratchy? I added them on a whim to mimic tiny rocks!
     
  12. Jun 2, 2019 #12

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    I’m getting some really interesting textures in this soap as it cures. Most would likely want to avoid this, but it works for the series I’m making, which is inspired by the mud at the bottom of the ocean. The bottom layer of this soap had table salt added and is getting bumpier with time. One of the upper layers also has salt, but the texture is more granular. You can’t see it well in the photo, but some the middle layering is developing ridges.

    478E6024-91DA-404B-AA75-F7ACDA32E0C8.jpeg
     
  13. Jun 2, 2019 #13

    TheDragonGirl

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    This is looking super interesting for sure, even ig it wasn't exactly what you were looking for, I think it looks great
     
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  14. Jun 2, 2019 #14

    dibbles

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    If you want your lines to be horizontal rather than curved, I think the thin lines design is the best way to go. Here is a link to the blog post by Tatsiana Serko who used squeeze bottles and a skewer as a guide to keep the lines straight. Here is a link to a video showing how to get the look using a wall pour. There are several other YouTube videos as well. Note the soaps are cut horizontally. These are a couple of tries I made at this.
    Thin Line Leaves.JPG Thin Line Forks.JPG

    I think your soaps are gorgeous - especially the top one.
     
  15. Jun 2, 2019 #15

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    I love your gorgeous soaps!

    I started getting frustrated about making layers and decided to give myself time to gain some experience. I decided that I need a better feel for recipe behavior, trace level and temperature effects before I try the more complicated approaches. It looks so easy in the videos, but of course it takes skill and the knowledge that comes from experience! To date my batter has either been too thin or too thick. Another challenge is that I am using natural colorants, which seem to have a tendency to migrate/bleed or sink in my thin batters, which is not helpful. I’m working it out slowly and really appreciate the suggestions and links :)
     
  16. Jun 2, 2019 #16

    dibbles

    dibbles

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    Thank you. One thing about the straight lines technique I linked is that you want a thin batter, so that might actually work in your favor. You can also try splitting the oils and lye solution before combining and mix them up one at a time. This will give your newly poured layer time to set up without the rest of the batter getting too thick. Using a FO that slightly accelerates helps. It does take longer to do layers this way, though. At least practicing is fun.
     
  17. Jun 4, 2019 #17

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    With all this inspiration, I had to give it another go... here’s a quick wall pour from last night. The recipe is high in palm, which might not be the first choice for pouring, but it was premeasured so that’s what I went with. I have been keeping the temp a bit higher with this recipe, but brought it down to 85F to help keep fluidity. That could be the reasons for the spots. These are cut vertically, but parallel to the long edge of the loaf. I used AC and white clay to get three shades of grey.

    5E7519D6-9C41-47A9-8AFD-CD4EB7F65F63.jpeg
     
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  18. Jun 7, 2019 #18

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    Another test run, with stripes of batter poured into the pouring funnel. My white accelerated because I added extra clay in water at the last minute for the white batter. This is a way to get thin rhythmic layers if I can get a little more control of it. The wider soaps are cut off the end of the loaf. The narrower ones are cut parallel to the long edge of the mold.

    What would happen if I alternated side pouring from one side to the other?

    1C9F63EA-9A7F-4816-9CB1-AABEA882CC1F.jpeg
     
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  19. Jun 7, 2019 #19

    earlene

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    Side pouring from one side to the other will give you a convergence when the two meet. I have not done it with a funnel, but I have done it a couple of ways. One way is to pour from with two pouring vessels at the same time, one in each hand. Another way is to alternate using only one pouring vessel. With the former, the convergence is more striking, I think. But it depends on how quickly your pour, too.

    Here are a couple of videos where alternating with one vessel and the mold is tilted:




    I've done the two-handed method and seen videos utilizing the two-handed pouring, but can't seem to find any right now.
     
  20. Jun 7, 2019 #20

    Mobjack Bay

    Mobjack Bay

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    I’m not looking for a convergence. What I’m looking for is to have the poured layers from one side spread across and “interleaf” with the poured layers on the other side, if that makes sense. If I can get a single pour to spread 2/3 of the way across and then do the same from the other side, theoretically, I should end up with lots of very thin layers down the middle long axis of the soap and possibly a more horizontal distribution of the batter from each pour across the mold. I’m in my car on my phone or I would post a sketch! When you only pour from one side, the weight of the batter on the one side forces the bottom batter to sneak up the other side. That’s a nifty trick, but it’s not what I want for this soap
     

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