Pouring at emulsion

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I'm at it again! I tried 3 colors today and was pretty excited at the trace I achieved for the most part. I mixed French green clay with eucalyptus EO and red Moroccan clay with lavender EO. I soaped at a 30% lye concentration and split the batter into three more or less equal parts when I achieved what I judged to be light trace. In hindsight, I'm not sure it was actually at light trace because when I mixed my clay/EO glop into the batter and stick blended it, that's when I am sure I had light trace. I am fairly confident I had achieved emulsion, but not sure about real trace in the plain batter. The colors behaved beautifully and I was able to pour them into the mold the way I intended. But when I put the plain batter in, it was runnier and wanted to sink through the colors. It started looking kind of muddy as I poured, so I saved the plain until last and then poured it down the middle. It sank through the layers.

My question is, what happens when batter is poured at emulsion instead of trace?
 

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As long as it's emulsified it's fine. Ie; the state of emulsion is such that the oils and liquid have blended so that they won't separate. As I understand it, trace is just a description of a phase of emulsion where the batter has thickened enough that you can trace a line in the top by dripping batter. I'm sure that someone can explain it better than me, though.
 
I think I understand it the way you explained it. Trace is simply thicker emulsion. I'm excited to see what the colors did inside. Now I understand what the big deal is about using a water discount to be able to unmold soap faster. I added liquid to slow down trace and give me time to work with my colors, and it worked beautifully. And now, waiting two days to unmold it is going to drive me crazy!🤣
 
If you pour at too thin a trace. Your colors will blend together. "Muddy" verses keeping separate from each other. I separate for color work. As soon as I reach emulsion. But bring batter to the trace of my liking to pour.
I think that's what I did, separate at emulsion. The two colors came to a nice trace for pouring because I stick blended them in. I didn't blend the plain batter because my batch was small and there wasn't enough white to cover the blender. I felt I couldn't blend it safely without splashing. This morning, I found a smaller container that should make stick blending a possibility. Oh boy, I get to try again!!!
 
I agree with @Ford and will add that I often split the batter even before the emulsion is stable. That gives me a little more wiggle room for whatever extra time and mixing is needed after splitting. In other words, I know I’ll be blending more to incorporate the colors, so by the time colors are mixed and I’m ready to pour, the emulsion will be stable, or I’ll even be at light trace.

I also try to remember which micas tend to make the batter speed up, and mix those last.
 
I agree with @Ford and will add that I often split the batter even before the emulsion is stable. That gives me a little more wiggle room for whatever extra time and mixing is needed after splitting. In other words, I know I’ll be blending more to incorporate the colors, so by the time colors are mixed and I’m ready to pour, the emulsion will be stable, or I’ll even be at light trace.

I also try to remember which micas tend to make the batter speed up, and mix those last.
Thank you. That gives me more confidence to keep trying to find the perfect emulsion for what I'm trying to accomplish. I am learning so much. Thank you all for your invaluable help!
 
I agree with @Ford and will add that I often split the batter even before the emulsion is stable ... I also try to remember which micas tend to make the batter speed up, and mix those last."
Me too, I like to do design work that requires at least three colors and often some extra thing like dividers/pull through discs, so I want to maximize working time, I know that if I divide the batter just before or scarcely at emulsion that will help. Also, mixing accelerating colors last (and waiting to add FO's to them) really helps when you want them to all be at the same trace/thickness when you are pouring them, which can be really tricky when you are doing a pour/design which takes a while. Most often I only use the SB to get to that emulsion/pre-emulsion point and after that I only use spoons or maybe whisks.
 
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Neither science nor art come naturally to me, but somehow, soapmaking is sucking me in. Not even hand washing caustic dirty dishes is deterring me! I just can't thank all you kind people enough for the help you have been! Thanks to you, I'm starting to figure out some of the basics, and having a blast doing it!
 
It took 3 days to harden enough to get it out of the mold, and I should have left it at least another two days. It is soft, but the swirl turned out better than I hoped! I had contaminated the French green clay portion with a tiny bit of Moroccan red clay on a stir stick, and it muddied the green portion badly. I learned a lot with this batch, and can't wait to try again with a few adjustments, now that my mold is finally empty!
 

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