SMF April 2022 Soap Challenge - Straight Line design

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szaza

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Welcome to the April 2022 SMF Soap Challenge! For this month’s challenge, you will make soaps using a Straight Line design. This is a fun technique that I have been intimidated by for a long time, but actually looks more difficult than it is.

Please read the general rules (there have been some changes lately, so really, PLEASE READ THEM) and the challenge specific rules below and let’s have some soapy fun!

SMF Challenge General Rules

1. To enter you must have been a SMF member for at least one month and have a minimum of 50 posts at the time the Challenge is posted (sorry but no exceptions on this). Supporting Members can enter immediately, the time and post requirements are removed.

2. The only members eligible to vote are those with their names on the sign-up list - regardless of whether or not you have submitted an entry. The sign-up list will be posted in this thread.

3. This month’s voting will be password locked. Passwords will be sent by private message (via SMF conversations) to registered participants ONLY, so please check your messages when the voting begins.

4. A separate entry thread will be created and this is where you will post photos of your entry soap. Please do not post photos of your entry until the entry thread is opened. Post pictures of your entry soap in the challenge entry thread only.

Non-entry photos are always welcome and may be posted in the general challenge thread. The challenge thread should be used to upload pictures of any of your challenge attempts (other than your entry) where you can ask for advice and discuss the technique with other members, and provide helpful hints you learned along the way.

5. Your soap must be made after the monthly challenge has been announced.

6. In the spirit of advancing our soap making skills, all members who sign-up for a SMF Challenge do so with the expectation that they will make every attempt to make a soap for the challenge. Writing about your experience in the challenge is encouraged. By doing so, each participant has a better knowledge of your process when voting. We do understand that sometimes things come up in our lives and interrupt our plans, however, signing up with no intent to participate and only to vote is not in the spirit of the challenges and is not allowed.

7. Please add your name to the sign-up list if you wish to participate (you don’t have to enter a soap at the end if you don’t feel happy with what you have made), but please do post your experiences in the main Challenge thread and be prepared to be encouraged to continue trying.

8. Constructive criticism is welcomed, but please keep your comments polite.

* * * *
Competition entries must be uploaded to the separate entry thread before the closing date.

  • The entry thread will open on April 18 at 11:59pm GMT (Please follow the challenge specific rules as to what you need to enter).
  • After the closing date on April 26 at 11:59pm GMT the winning entry will be chosen using Survey Monkey. Voting will be open from April 27-29 and the winner will be announced on April 30. There is no prize attached to this challenge.
  • If you fail to make the challenge deadline, you are still welcome to upload pictures of your soap onto the general challenge thread, but your entry will not be eligible for voting. We always love to see anything you have created.
  • Even though there is no prize, this is still a competition. If your entry is deemed not to fulfill the general rules or the rules specific to the challenge in any way, then you will be given the opportunity to amend your entry. If this is not possible, your entry will not be included in the voting.
  • All the challenge mods reserve the right to have the final say on whether a soap is eligible for voting.

* * * *
Specific Rules for this Challenge


1. The challenge this month is to make soap using a Straight Line design. This means you’ll pour a layer of soap and wait for it to set up enough to support the next layer, to create perfectly straight lines. You’ll need to make a minimum of 3 layers to enter, but if you can, I’d encourage you to go for more layers (you’ll be asked to judge each other’s soaps based on the amount and straightness of the layers)

2. You may use any method you choose to make your soap, EXCEPT Melt and Pour! Cold process (CP) or cold process/oven process (CPOP) is the method that will work best.

3. You may use any mold you choose.

4. Your lines may be straight or slanted

5. You must use at least two colors (obviously). Using uncolored batter for one of the colors is acceptable.

6. The individual layers should be one single color (no extra techniques within the layers).

7. Your layers can have different thicknesses.

8. You can either make individual batches of soap for each layer with a (relatively) fast moving recipe (so you don’t have to wait too long for the layers to set up), or make one big batch with a slower moving recipe and divide out smaller portions for the layers. The first seems more intimidating, but I’ve found it to work better (and faster) than the latter.

9. For your entry photo you can choose your favorite bar or bars from your batch. If you choose to include more than one photo of your soaps in the entry thread, please post the photo you would like to have used for the voting survey first.

* * * *
Tips:


1. Make sure your layers are made with enough batter so you can still stick blend them safely. I think some people use a mini mixer for small layers – so that’s also an option if you have one.


2. Choose your recipe based on the approach you’ll be taking (one slow moving big batch vs multiple faster moving small batches)


3. Be aware that big batches of soap generally trace faster than smaller batches


4. This is a technique where you can use accelering fragrance oils (but you don’t have to). If you use one big batch of slow tracing oils, you can add the fragrance just before pouring to make the soap set up faster (but don’t forget it in one layer..).


5. The big batch slow trace with accelerating fragrance technique didn’t work for me with EOs even with an FO I had to wait a long time to get everything set up.


6. If your layers don’t set up quick enough you can pop your mold in the oven on low heat.


7. I have found that with a fast tracing recipe, the time I needed to measure and mix all my ingredients was just enough for the previous layer to set up, making it a very streamlined experience without much waiting and a lot less time consuming than I expected.


8. I have found light or medium trace to be the perfect consistency for pouring. If the batter is too thick, you need to bang the soap really hard to make the top of the layer flat. If the batter is very fluid it will need more time to set up.


9. You can pour over a spoon or spatula to make sure you don’t break through previous layers.


10. If you go for slanted layers, be aware you might need to adjust the amount of batter for each layer.




For more inspiration and explanation you can look at these blog posts:
1648987022452.png

December 2017 Soap Challenge"Straight Lines Design"

And for the ambitious soapers:
1648987054781.png

Soap "The universe in the jewelry box"

1648987120994.png

Great Cakes Soap Challenge Club Straight Line Designs Challenge

Or these videos:






This is the result of my own experiment with this technique (this one is made from 5 different batches and the first time I succeeded at this technique):
DSC_0247.JPG
 

szaza

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Please copy & paste the list into a new post, then add your name along with the next appropriate number.

Sign up list:
1.
 

Primrose

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1. Mobjack - time to break out the level!
2. Jersey Girl- This will be fun! Ok…where are you @AliOop? Time to break out that Cheshire Cat!
3. AliOop - I'm here! I'm in!
4. Primrose - did someone say Cheshire Cat??
 
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Sign up list:
1. Mobjack - time to break out the level!
2. Jersey Girl- This will be fun! Ok…where are you @AliOop? Time to break out that Cheshire Cat!
3. AliOop - I'm here! I'm in!
4. Primrose - did someone say Cheshire Cat??
5. Vicki C. - This looks tricky but I’ll try it!
 
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Sign up list:
1. Mobjack - time to break out the level!
2. Jersey Girl- This will be fun! Ok…where are you @AliOop? Time to break out that Cheshire Cat!
3. AliOop - I'm here! I'm in!
4. Primrose - did someone say Cheshire Cat??
5. Vicki C. - This looks tricky but I’ll try it!
6. Heather McClain- hopefully will get my entry in on time this time
 
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Sign up list:
1. Mobjack - time to break out the level!
2. Jersey Girl- This will be fun! Ok…where are you @AliOop? Time to break out that Cheshire Cat!
3. AliOop - I'm here! I'm in!
4. Primrose - did someone say Cheshire Cat??
5. Vicki C. - This looks tricky but I’ll try it!
6. Heather McClain- hopefully will get my entry in on time this time
7. Mx6inpenn - sounds like straight up fun
 
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Sign up list:
1. Mobjack - time to break out the level!
2. Jersey Girl- This will be fun! Ok…where are you @AliOop? Time to break out that Cheshire Cat!
3. AliOop - I'm here! I'm in!
4. Primrose - did someone say Cheshire Cat??
5. Vicki C. - This looks tricky but I’ll try it!
6. Heather McClain- hopefully will get my entry in on time this time
7. Mx6inpenn - sounds like straight up fun
8. Catscankim - I'm in, I love layers
 
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Ok, so I tested out the Cheshire Cat in my first try at the challenge soap. The good news: The Cat is much easier to use than a rolled-up dishcloth, paperback books, and what have you. And it is cute on top of my soap cabinets, from whence it grins down at everyone during all the zoom meetings during my workday.

More good news: I won't be a contender for a prize this month, leaving the field wide open! 😂 Seriously though, I went the accelerating fragrance route, because I didn't have much time to soap (if I wanted to get to bed at a decent hour, that is). Let's just say, that's probably wasn't the best choice for me.... aaaaand there will be zero straight layers in this soap.

Yet more good news: Since this won't be my entry soap, I can post pictures after I cut it tomorrow, so @Jersey Girl will quit nagging me asking me repetitively so sweetly how I like the Cat. 😄

To sum up, if you like doing tilted mold soaps of any kind, it is a nice tool to have.
 

szaza

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@AliOop I actually found that making separate batches was faster than making one batch. Still not sure why that is🤔 I mixed my lye solution each time, so it was very hot and the soap traced faster, but you could also masterbatch both your lye and oils. You can even add your fragrance to your oils already if you only masterbatch for this soap. Then you only have 3 things to add together before blending to trace and pouring. You can still use an accelerating FO so the layers set faster (just be sure you can pour at trace). Hope your next try comes out more to your liking!

Eta: a small word of caution using hot lye solution to speed things up. Be sure your soap doesn't overheat and volcano!! Since I use EO my soaps have a tendency to trace excruciatingly slow, so I felt the need to speed things up, but I'm not sure I'd do that again next time.
 
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Primrose

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Ok, so I tested out the Cheshire Cat in my first try at the challenge soap. The good news: The Cat is much easier to use than a rolled-up dishcloth, paperback books, and what have you. And it is cute on top of my soap cabinets, from whence it grins down at everyone during all the zoom meetings during my workday.

More good news: I won't be a contender for a prize this month, leaving the field wide open! 😂 Seriously though, I went the accelerating fragrance route, because I didn't have much time to soap (if I wanted to get to bed at a decent hour, that is). Let's just say, that's probably wasn't the best choice for me.... aaaaand there will be zero straight layers in this soap.

Yet more good news: Since this won't be my entry soap, I can post pictures after I cut it tomorrow, so @Jersey Girl will quit nagging me asking me repetitively so sweetly how I like the Cat. 😄

To sum up, if you like doing tilted mold soaps of any kind, it is a nice tool to have.

I actually have no idea what the Cheshire Cat is so I’m entirely intrigued by this comment! Curiouser and curiouser …
 
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@AliOop I actually found that making separate batches was faster than making one batch. Still not sure why that is🤔 I mixed my lye solution each time, so it was very hot and the soap traced faster, but you could also masterbatch both your lye and oils. You can even add your fragrance to your oils already if you only masterbatch for this soap. Then you only have 3 things to add together before blending to trace and pouring. You can still use an accelerating FO so the layers set faster (just be sure you can pour at trace). Hope your next try comes out more to your liking!

Eta: a small word of caution using hot lye solution to speed things up. Be sure your soap doesn't overheat and volcano!! Since I use EO my soaps have a tendency to trace excruciatingly slow, so I felt the need to speed things up, but I'm not sure I'd do that again next time.
Thanks, I so appreciate the detailed and clear instructions.

For last night's soap, I actually did make three separate batches. First, I measured out three equal portions of my MB oil mix. Then to start each separate batch, I blended in the mica and an accelerating FO into the cup of warmed oils. Then I mixed my additives in slightly warmed additional water, and measured out my room-temp MB lye solution. Mixing the additional water + additives to my MB lye of course warmed up the solution a tad more due to the reaction of additional water with the lye. The next step was pouring the lye solution into the premixed oil container, and lightly pulsing it.

I repeated this three separate times, mixing up the second and third batches while the previous one was setting up in the mold. By the third and final batch, I was finally smart enough to stop blending just before emulsion. But by then, the first two layers had to be plopped into the mold because they accelerated too quickly.

ETA: and even though the third layer poured well, in the few seconds between turning around to the soap cabinet and pulling out a chopstick, and then turning back to the mold, it had thickened so much that the top had to be textured. Which is fine, but still!

Obviously I should have heeded what you told us in the beginning about accelerating FOs being the harder way to go! If I have time to make another try, I will start this early in the day, so I can use a well-behaved FO instead. Then I would bring each batch to emulsion or light trace so it could be poured before it thickened. Then I would simply wait out the normal time for that batch to firm up before mixing up the next one to be poured. Now, whether I can do all that in the course of my crazy busy days, that remains to be seen. :)
 
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Ok, so I tested out the Cheshire Cat in my first try at the challenge soap. The good news: The Cat is much easier to use than a rolled-up dishcloth, paperback books, and what have you. And it is cute on top of my soap cabinets, from whence it grins down at everyone during all the zoom meetings during my workday.
I actually have no idea what the Cheshire Cat is so I’m entirely intrigued by this comment! Curiouser and curiouser …
I'll join the others and confess I hadn't the slightest idea that you meant a tool and not the actual Cheshire Cat! I read your whole post managing to ignore all the clues, imagining your cute Cheshire Cat-themed soap with the colours from the Disney movie Alice in Wonderland, and I went as far as thinking that this is a brilliant idea for a straight line soap! 😂
 
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Sorry everyone, wasn't meaning to be mysterious. I initially thought that @Primrose had one, too, and was planning to make the challenge soap with that. So yup, it's this thing:

Screen Shot 2022-04-05 at 3.00.57 PM.png


I wasn't planning on getting one ever, but the cost of shipping on the item I did want (The Hercules Cutting Station) was high enough that it made sense to order the Cheshire Cat with it, putting me into the free shipping zone.

If any of you have chickens or goats, you can relate. Soap-supplies math is a lot like chicken math and goat math. Things just... multiply... without any rational explanation. 🤣
 
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szaza

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I'm sorry to hear you had so much trouble with you FO @AliOop. But your result looks beautiful! Can't wait to see what you'll come up with next😊
 

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