pencil line question

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bumbleklutz

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I just got some micas and charcoal from Nurture Soaps and the micas are so vibrant that I'm just itching to try them out. :grin:

I was thinking about attempting a soap with an activated charcoal pencil line. I've never tried a pencil line before, and I'm really concerned about the layers of soap separating. So...I had an idea. I'm not sure if this would work, or if it's even worth trying; but I'm hoping you guys and gals will chime in with your expert opinions.

I know that people often imbed pieces of MP soap into their CP soap, and they spritz the pieces of MP with isopropyl alcohol to help the MP stick to the CP. Also alcohol is used as a solvent in some recipes for making transparent soap from scratch using HP.

So.. I'm thinking that if I pour the first layer of soap then spritz with alcohol it will slightly "dissolve" the surface of that layer. Then if I apply a thin dusting of activated charcoal, then spritz again and pour the top layer the alcohol will slightly "dissolve" the bottom of the top layer. My thinking is this might help "glue" the whole block together.

What do you guys think? Is this an experiment worth trying, or is it just my mad scientist brain stuck in overdrive again? ... lol :)
 

Seawolfe

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My thinking is that solidifying MP is not the same as CP soap on its way to hardening. MP is just cooling, whereas CP soap is still saponifying - so for that reason I would worry that the alcohol might do something odd to that section, and make pouring a clean layer of soap on top more difficult. When I do pencil lines I just need to remember that less is more, and that complete coverage of the dusting is not beneficial :)
 

earlene

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bumbleklutz, below is my first ever pencil line soap (on the right) that I made about 10 months ago using AC for a pencil line and then did hanger swirl.



I did not use alcohol for the layers of this soap. I used a fine strainer and tapped it lightly to make a fine thin layer of AC on top of the bottom layer of soap. Then poured the top layer atop the AC layer using a spatula to prevent it falling through. The batter of both layers was still pretty much at light to medium trace and no alcohol layer was necessary. I followed with a simple hanger swirl to get the design.

I never did take a photo of the soap after cleaning it up, but you can see that when cutting the soap, the AC did smear a bit in the cutting process. That easily cleans off with a bit of alcohol. Also there was a bit of migration of the AC through the colored portion of the soap, which I think is because I probably used a bit too much AC as it was the first time ever trying a pencil line.

BTW, I use isopropyl alcohol to clean up AC spills on the kitchen counter and it removes all residue very easily, so I suspect it's not the best choice for spraying on top of AC sitting atop soap. But perhaps that depends of which concentration you are using.
 

bumbleklutz

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bumbleklutz, below is my first ever pencil line soap (on the right) that I made about 10 months ago using AC for a pencil line and then did hanger swirl.



I did not use alcohol for the layers of this soap. I used a fine strainer and tapped it lightly to make a fine thin layer of AC on top of the bottom layer of soap. Then poured the top layer atop the AC layer using a spatula to prevent it falling through. The batter of both layers was still pretty much at light to medium trace and no alcohol layer was necessary. I followed with a simple hanger swirl to get the design.

I never did take a photo of the soap after cleaning it up, but you can see that when cutting the soap, the AC did smear a bit in the cutting process. That easily cleans off with a bit of alcohol. Also there was a bit of migration of the AC through the colored portion of the soap, which I think is because I probably used a bit too much AC as it was the first time ever trying a pencil line.

BTW, I use isopropyl alcohol to clean up AC spills on the kitchen counter and it removes all residue very easily, so I suspect it's not the best choice for spraying on top of AC sitting atop soap. But perhaps that depends of which concentration you are using.
Earlene, those bars are beautiful. I love your choice of colors. I'm going to follow your advice, and give it a try. No fancy swirls like yours, but if I can get one color on the bottom and a different color on top with a crooked line in between, and they don't fall apart; then I'm gonna chalk that up as a win. :) Also good to know that the alcohol is good at cleaning up AC as I do tend to make a bit of a mess when soaping.
 

CaraBou

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I also use cocoa powder rather than AC. Much, much less messy! I also second the idea of making sure the pencil line is thin enough to get wetted on top before adding more batter.
 

bumbleklutz

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I do pencil lines fairly regularly using cocoa and get decent results (see pic). I'm trying to mimic veins in rock, so I'm not trying for perfection, however.

Here is a recent thread with some good tips and an explanation of what I do when making a pencil line: http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=61704
DeeAnna, those bars are beautiful. If mine come out half way as nice I'll be happy. :)

I'm going into it armed with the old saying: "Even if the baby is ugly, the parents are still proud." :D
 

DeeAnna

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Good luck! And remember ... we need pics or it doesn't count! :)
 

bumbleklutz

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Ok DeeAnna, here they are. Cut this morning. I'm not entirely happy with how the pencil line came out, but for a first attempt, I'm gonna call it a success. :clap: I was hoping the AC pencil line would be more prominent. Maybe if I had used a color other than blue, it would show up more. FWIW, it's scented with Nurture Soaps Supernova and my inspiration for the design was the term "Dusk to Dawn". Why? Because mine just burned out and now I have to drag out the ladder to change the bulb. My best friend who just saw it however, thought it would be great for Florida Gator fans.
 
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DeeAnna

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Nicely done! If you wanted more contrast between the main colors and the line, then I agree you might want to choose a lighter color for the blue. But I like how the dark pencil line makes the blue and gold blocks more intense and defined. Imagine this same soap without the pencil line -- I think it would not be so dramatic.
 

GeezLouise

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They're pretty. Orange on top and blue on bottom might be an ocean sunrise.
 

bumbleklutz

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They turned out really nice. The colors are so vibrant!
I REALLY like the colors too earlene. They're the vibrant blue mica and electric
orange mica from Nurture Soaps. So, It's only fair that I give a shout out to them. It was my first time using their micas, and I was really impressed with their quality and performance. I had no morphing whatsoever. Very happy with them, and excited to try out some of the other colors.
 

SoaperForLife

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Pencil line with charcoal

I did a lemon verbena soap with a pencil line between the 2 colors and found that the charcoal didn't saponify so when people used the bar, the charcoal would color their face cloths, their hands and whatever else it came in contact with...
 

penelopejane

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I did a lemon verbena soap with a pencil line between the 2 colors and found that the charcoal didn't saponify so when people used the bar, the charcoal would color their face cloths, their hands and whatever else it came in contact with...
Maybe you used a bit too much AC on the line?
I use AC mixed into batter both stick blended and hand mixed and have no problem with it colouring washclothes or hands.
 
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earlene

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I find that AC in soap as a colorant or ingredient to whiten teeth, does color the lather, which in turn colors a wash cloth. But it also rinses out quite easily. When I brush my teeth with my tooth soap, the lather is grey, but it leaves no stains on my porcelain sink. I have bathed with soap colored with AC and tested the rinsing of the washcloth action and it left no stains on a snow-white washcloth. No grey tinge to my skin either. :)

AC doesn't seem to leave stains on anything it comes into contact with, in my experience. Even spilling it on the kitchen counter, which is quite messy, is an easy clean-up with rubbing alcohol. If simply wiped with a cloth, it smears, but I spray rubbing alcohol on it and it wipes right off.
 

SoaperForLife

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It wasn't mixed into the batter for the pencil line. I just sprinkled it on and that was the problem..
 

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