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Tips for this technique, anyone?

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mzimm

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I couldn't get this soap off my mind since newbie posted it last week in the "browsing soap pics" thread, so I decided it will be my next soap attempt sometime next week. Having done a gradient soap somewhat successfully with straight lines and a thin pourable batter, I was wondering about how to achieve this more mountainous look. I'm guessing the batter must be quite thick and perhaps the layers somewhat sculpted with a spoon. Is that the idea? Anything else to know before I start?

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TeresaT

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I would do it in mini-batches. It looks like that has five layers. So, I'd weigh everything for my batch then divide everything in 5 (including the lye solution). Pour my first layer at a thick trace, sculpt it with a spoon and then let it set up. Go with the next layer and do the same thing until I get to my top layer. That is what I did for my "mica madness" soap. It took a long time to do, but the layers were definitely separated from each other with no blending or streaking. And the batter was still soft enough for each subsequent layer to form a bond (I didn't use any alcohol spray). The soap is not falling apart so far. I've used an end piece a few times to test it out. I've seen this soap and really want to try it out myself using purples and pinks. I've got an amazing photo of a sunset that has those colors. I just need to figure out how to blend colors better than what I'm doing now to be able to pull it off. But, there's no failures as long as it saponifies. It's soap. It'll get me clean. Right? (BTW: I've never done a gradient/ombre so I'm not sure what the normal technique is.)
 

BlackDog

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I just did a gradient soap using an accelerating FO - it would work great for an application like this. As you color each layer, you mix in the FO to only that portion. That portion sets up fast, so you can texture it and move onto the next.

I used three bowls - one that I made the plain batter in, one with the colorant in it (as I poured more in each time, the color became lighter), and then the third once the color was mixed in, I weighed into a smaller bowl to mix fragrance and pour (leaving some batter in the color bowl).
 

penelopejane

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I just did a gradient soap using an accelerating FO - it would work great for an application like this. As you color each layer, you mix in the FO to only that portion. That portion sets up fast, so you can texture it and move onto the next.

I used three bowls - one that I made the plain batter in, one with the colorant in it (as I poured more in each time, the color became lighter), and then the third once the color was mixed in, I weighed into a smaller bowl to mix fragrance and pour (leaving some batter in the color bowl).

That seems a simpler way (except I only buy FOs that behave perfectly according to reviews). So was your plain batter mix whitened with TD or would that just produce pastel colours?
Madly searching out your soap pic I think you posted...found it inPhotogallery.
Oh yes yours was a salt bar too! How adventurous. It is really beautiful.
 
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BattleGnome

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Pretty sure I've seen a Soap Queen post/video for this technique. If I'm remembering right she had a thick trace and molded with a spoon. (As everyone else has been saying)
 

BlackDog

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That seems a simpler way (except I only buy FOs that behave perfectly according to reviews). So was your plain batter mix whitened with TD or would that just produce pastel colours?
Madly searching out your soap pic I think you posted...found it inPhotogallery.
Oh yes yours was a salt bar too! How adventurous. It is really beautiful.
Thank you! I didn't use any TD, but since my salt bars are 80% Coconut, the soap is fairly white to begin with. If I were using a regular recipe with more Olive oil, I might try adding some, depending on what color I was making the gradient.

Since there was the most color in the bowl at the beginning, the bottom layer is the darkest. Then the pastel hues just naturally happen as there gets to be less and less color in the bowl.

ETA: I did reserve some batter for the top layer and didn't color it at all. Did a mica line and then poured the white layer to finish it off.
 
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mzimm

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I've seen people use cardboard cut outs to form the mountains.
I think they've sprinkled a tiny bit of white mica between the layers on this one.
It will be drops (if using liquid dispersion) of difference or 1/8 tsp at most difference between the colour intensities if using powdered pigments don't you think? They would have used TD to get the colour differences too wouldn't they?

I'd really like to try it too but I dont have any TD or white mica.
I like the cardboard cutout idea! I think I'll give that a shot. And I'm definitely going to try a light dusting of mica, I think that's how they got those ridge lines to pop.
 

mzimm

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mzimm

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I just did a gradient soap using an accelerating FO - it would work great for an application like this. As you color each layer, you mix in the FO to only that portion. That portion sets up fast, so you can texture it and move onto the next.

I used three bowls - one that I made the plain batter in, one with the colorant in it (as I poured more in each time, the color became lighter), and then the third once the color was mixed in, I weighed into a smaller bowl to mix fragrance and pour (leaving some batter in the color bowl).
Where are those accelerating FO's when you need 'em?! Usually I'm trying to avoid a thick trace, so now that I'm trying to achieve it, what do you want to bet the batter will stay thin forEVER?
 

penelopejane

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Thanks houseofwool. I have one attempt in the oven, using the method in the link above. I will let you know if it works out.

Unfortunately I used EVOO and my UM blue (that I have used successfully before) turned green/khaki : (
I am off to the shops tomorrow to buy some light OO.

Just realised I have salty sailor which is an accelerating FO and I will try this with salt tomorrow.
 
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mzimm

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To all, and particularly penelopejane---I just received the June GreatCakes Soap Challenge info, and interestingly enough, the technique is "Sculpted Layers" using cardboard or plastic cutout shapers. She also uses TD mixed with pearlized mica sprinkled on each layer after spritzing with water. How timely! I may have to take several passes at this, because I'm not sure I can get the sprawling randomness of the mountains with a cutout. We'll see.
Penelopejane, I'll be interested in your how Salty Mariner + salt worked for you. My experience with that combination was almost-not-quite soap on a stick!
 

penelopejane

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Here is my first attempt. I am seriously disappointed with the texture of the soap. I used 31% lye concentration and SB a lot which are the only things I did that were different from my usual batches. One step forward 10 steps back. :(

I used the method in the link above. In 400g of mix I used 1/8 tsp AC and 1/8+1/4 tsp Ultramarine Blue in 5ml water. There are 6 layers. I should have started a little bit darker.

The colour was green when I put it in the oven but 12 hours later it went back to blue again :)
Of course I discovered the slowest recipe I have ever used. I think it was because the instructions said "do not use a slow moving recipe". :(

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