My "autumn" soap - some firsts

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Jul 28, 2015
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Portland, Or
So, I got lucky and got to swap some excess soap I had curing (I had WAY more than I could possibly use, which is rare) for a ton of soapmaking supplies. Lots of oils, some loaf molds with cutting guide, lots of EOs, and tons of powdered herbs to use as natural colorants. So I got all inspired to try some seasonal things.

This is my first time using color since I switched from MP to CP, and my first time ever using natural colorants. For my "autumn" soap, I divided the batch into roughly 2/3 and 1/3, using powdered nettle leaf in the 2/3 for a soft green and turmeric in the 1/3 for orange. I know it's touted for yellow, but I found a webpage where someone experimented with natural colors, and she found that if you add more turmeric, it turns a nice orange.

I decided to use the ginger EO - which may have been a mistake. I didn't know how incredibly powerful the smell is. That stuff is *nasty* on its own! And I adore ginger - I love the taste, I love the smell, I'm a huge fan. Like a moron, I still used the regular amount I would of most other EOs and now my soap kind of reeks. I'm hoping that several weeks of curing will tone it down some, but this may be a personal-use only kind of batch.

I had intended to try swirling the colors, and I did everything wrong, lol. I thought you'd need a fairly good trace, to keep the colors from just running and blending - and of course it got way too stiff, especially since I was using palm oil. And on top of that, I layered the colors vertically - a flat layer of green on the bottom, then a flat layer of orange on top of that, then another layer of each... and then realized that there would be no way to swirl that. :problem: I of course found Newbie's tutorial on swirling about 2 hours later.

So, it's just stripey layers. I pried the sides of the mold off yesterday (it comes in pieces) and it's still pretty wet. I sliced it today anyway, and got the bars pried off the base to dry and cure. Honestly, I think the colors came out rather nicely. The scent isn't any more ginger-y, really, but at least it's less offensive. Probably still won't be giving this to anyone, but hey, it was a good learning experience. :smile:


Its still a pretty soap! I love that green - thats nettle? When I used nettle infusion it was super light pastel green that faded to off white in about a week. Did you use an infusion? Or just blend the powder into the batter?
Thanks! For a first attempt, I don't think it's too bad. :)

I just blended the powder in. That's about a tablespoon in roughly 2/3 of a roughly 2 lb batch.

ETA: Just having further thoughts... Nettle makes *such* a fine powder that I'm not too worried about it being scratchy. When I experiment with paprika, I'm definitely making an infusion.

See all those white clumps? For some reason I let myself get distracted when I had SB'd just a bit, and left it to sit while I went to screw with the other mold - and by the time I came back, it was way traced and trying to set up. The SB couldn't even move the batter anymore. So I hand-mixed it as best I could, but obviously I never got it back to a fully fluid state, there are those white chunks. Still, kind of adds to a sort of "rustic" fall look, right?

I'll do better next time...
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They are lovely handmade soaps :)
Thanks for the tip on nettle powder, I'll try it in the batter next time.
Wow, that's an awesome green!

I just did a fall soap the other day and used .25 oz of ginger in 50 oz oils and it's all I can smell! How much did you use?
The EO gives color too? That's fun!

Oh KristaMarie, I used like an ounce. Like I said, didn't think to reduce it even though I could smell how intense it was when I was pouring... I was all distracted and stuff (never a good state for soaping). And I think I assumed that saponification and curing time would reduce the scent drastically (as they generally do) so that it would become something more mellow. It's only a few days old, so I still am holding out hope.
I've not tried turmeric yet, but I got a lovely pale orange color from safflower petals infused oil. I have nettle powder, I should try it for a deeper green. I used spinach powder in the last one for a medium leafy green. I'm about to try my hand tomorrow at madder root :)
Probably. The website I saw was only talking about immediate results, not long term. Just saying not to trust it for orange. :)

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