Translucent and Opaque soap - how is it done?

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Stephd31

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Hi Everyone,

I have long been obsessed with opaque and translucent soaps together. So I have been working on making translucent soap without burning down the house, but working with everclear does terrify me.

Have any of you done this type of soap? Is it just transparent soap poured on top of cold process soap? Is it melt and pour soap poured on top of cold process soap? Is that even a thing, would they stay together if I did that? I've never worked with melt and pour. OR is it just melt and pour and I'm being duped thinking it has any cold process soap in there at all.

If any of you can guide me on the best technique I would appreciate your help, even if it's just pointing me to a different thread.

Thank you so much!
Stephanie
 

DWinMadison

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Hi Steph. It just so happens I’ve been researching this subject and plan to attempt my first batch tomorrow. In essence, translucent soap is soap that has been suspended in solvents (sugar, glycerine and alcohol are most common).

The kinds of oils used are pretty common but in different ratios than my typical recipe. You need oils that are high in stearic acid make hard soap like tallow and coconut oil a well as high castor to boost the bubbles.

It looks like ratio of 1 part oil to 2 parts total solvents is pretty standard. The vast majority of these are hot process, but I found a cold process (no heat added) technique that I plan to try. I’m brand new to this, so no doubt many on here can steer you in better directions.
 

Susie

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You do know that Everclear is a drinkable alcohol, right? If so, why does it scare you?
 

Marilyn Norgart

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I have been researching this for the last couple of months too. everything I have read says you need to use denatured alcohol and after reading up on that I thought it sounded toxic and stop my research. so what is this? I can use everclear instead?
 

DWinMadison

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I have been researching this for the last couple of months too. everything I have read says you need to use denatured alcohol and after reading up on that I thought it sounded toxic and stop my research. so what is this? I can use everclear instead?
Yes, Everclear 190 proof. I hear they make an “Everclear 150” but I had no problem finding 190.
 

SaltedFig

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I have been researching this for the last couple of months too. everything I have read says you need to use denatured alcohol and after reading up on that I thought it sounded toxic and stop my research. so what is this? I can use everclear instead?
"Everclear" is a strong ethanol that is designated fit for consumption and sold with all of the taxes associated with drinking alcohol.

Denatured alcohol is ethanol with additives to make it unfit for drinking (the "denatured" means to take away, and for this product the ability to drink it has been taken away). Denatured alcohol does not carry the same taxes as consumption alcohol, so it is a cheaper alternative.

Toxicity in denatured alcohol can be quite deliberate, and often includes methanol as an additive, sometimes with a bittering and/or colouring agent as well. There are many things that can be used to denature alcohol, so you would need to be aware of what products have been used for this purpose, to determine it's safety. Ethanol denatured with methanol is called methylated spirits here in Australia - not sure what it would be called where you are. Personally I would NOT use methylated spirits to make translucent soap (methanol is toxic, can cause brain damage and/or blindness and is able to be absorbed through the skin). Isopropyl alcohol is another detanturing additive - this also is not suitable for making translucent soap (it does not make a clear soap in the same way as ethanol).

190 proof Everclear is a good choice of clean ethanol - the cautions around this would be more about it being a strong alcohol. Examples of some safety measures to take when working with ethanol are: avoid breathing in the fumes (you can get drunk on ethanol fumes), wear gloves and glasses (and other ordinary soap making safety equipment) and take extra precautions around flame (do not make translucent soap with alcohol on a gas stove top).
 

DWinMadison

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"Everclear" is a strong ethanol that is designated fit for consumption and sold with all of the taxes associated with drinking alcohol.

Denatured alcohol is ethanol with additives to make it unfit for drinking (the "denatured" means to take away, and for this product the ability to drink it has been taken away). Denatured alcohol does not carry the same taxes as consumption alcohol, so it is a cheaper alternative.

Toxicity in denatured alcohol can be quite deliberate, and often includes methanol as an additive, sometimes with a bittering and/or colouring agent as well. There are many things that can be used to denature alcohol, so you would need to be aware of what products have been used for this purpose, to determine it's safety. Ethanol denatured with methanol is called methylated spirits here in Australia - not sure what it would be called where you are. Personally I would NOT use methylated spirits to make translucent soap (methanol is toxic, can cause brain damage and/or blindness and is able to be absorbed through the skin). Isopropyl alcohol is another detanturing additive - this also is not suitable for making translucent soap (it does not make a clear soap in the same way as ethanol).

190 proof Everclear is a good choice of clean ethanol - the cautions around this would be more about it being a strong alcohol. Examples of some safety measures to take when working with ethanol are: avoid breathing in the fumes (you can get drunk on ethanol fumes), wear gloves and glasses (and other ordinary soap making safety equipment) and take extra precautions around flame (do not make translucent soap with alcohol on a gas stove top).
All you “Nervous Nellies”...
 

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dibbles

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I have been researching this for the last couple of months too. everything I have read says you need to use denatured alcohol and after reading up on that I thought it sounded toxic and stop my research. so what is this? I can use everclear instead?
Marilyn, we don't have Everclear available to us here in MN anymore.
 

DWinMadison

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I have never tried this (would like to so hopefully sometime soon), but there was a relatively recent thread on doing it without alcohol. Hot process I believe.
I get the idea you could use any combination of solvents including sugar syrup, but I read that those with higher sugar-syrup content tend to sweat and crystalize.
 

dibbles

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Hi Everyone,

I have long been obsessed with opaque and translucent soaps together. So I have been working on making translucent soap without burning down the house, but working with everclear does terrify me.

Have any of you done this type of soap? Is it just transparent soap poured on top of cold process soap? Is it melt and pour soap poured on top of cold process soap? Is that even a thing, would they stay together if I did that? I've never worked with melt and pour. OR is it just melt and pour and I'm being duped thinking it has any cold process soap in there at all.

If any of you can guide me on the best technique I would appreciate your help, even if it's just pointing me to a different thread.

Thank you so much!
Stephanie
If you want to use M&P, I have seen layers done but haven't ever tried it myself. I think there would be some YouTube videos though. If you want to use M&P embeds, I have done that and will upload a picture if I can find it.
Here are some videos on a couple of techniques for using M&P and CP together:

If you are looking to make your own transparent soap, I'm no help but hopefully DWinMadison will have some advice for you soon.
South Pacific Waters CP-MP embeds.jpg
 

Marilyn Norgart

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Here are some videos on a couple of techniques for using M&P and CP together:
I love that bottom bar, there is just something about it......maybe its the feeling I get that if I look at the blue dots I can see the other side---kinda like I can see a light on the other side
 

dibbles

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I love that bottom bar, there is just something about it......maybe its the feeling I get that if I look at the blue dots I can see the other side---kinda like I can see a light on the other side
Thank you Marilyn, that is the soap I made. I used column embed molds with transparent M&P and embedded them into the CP soap. So you can see light coming through the M&P.
 

Stephd31

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You do know that Everclear is a drinkable alcohol, right? If so, why does it scare you?
Just how flammable it is, I really worry about setting my kitchen on fire.

All you “Nervous Nellies”...
That is exactly what I imagine happening!

If you want to use M&P, I have seen layers done but haven't ever tried it myself. I think there would be some YouTube videos though. If you want to use M&P embeds, I have done that and will upload a picture if I can find it.
Here are some videos on a couple of techniques for using M&P and CP together:

If you are looking to make your own transparent soap, I'm no help but hopefully DWinMadison will have some advice for you soon.
View attachment 38918
Wow, those are really beautiful. My head is spinning with ideas.
 
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DWinMadison

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That is exactly what I imagine happening!
It’s nothing to be scared of. Just no open flames and dilute it in your glycerine asap—don’t leave it sitting around uncovered. My planned method is 1) open bottle 2) pour in a measuring cup 3) add straight to the soap at trace 4) drink a shot 5) repeat step 4 every 5 minutes as necessary to achieve desired state of mind.

Wow, those are really beautiful. My head is spinning with ideas.
I know, right?
 
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Stephd31

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Hi Steph. It just so happens I’ve been researching this subject and plan to attempt my first batch tomorrow. In essence, translucent soap is soap that has been suspended in solvents (sugar, glycerine and alcohol are most common).

The kinds of oils used are pretty common but in different ratios than my typical recipe. You need oils that are high in stearic acid make hard soap like tallow and coconut oil a well as high castor to boost the bubbles.

It looks like ratio of 1 part oil to 2 parts total solvents is pretty standard. The vast majority of these are hot process, but I found a cold process (no heat added) technique that I plan to try. I’m brand new to this, so no doubt many on here can steer you in better directions.
This is very helpful, thank you! If you have any pictures after today, please do show and tell! I need to get brave and go ahead with the everclear I've been collecting for making translucent soap. I'd really love to make a full loaf of regular cold process soap and then have a layer of translucent soap on the top. Fingers crossed the layers don't separate.
 

MGM

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Unless you're determined to make CP translucent soap, I'd just grab a few pounds of clear and white M&P (or, just clear and add TD to your clear) and go to town. It's really incredibly easy...my very first soaping project was a M&P "ocean" soap with a "sandy" bottom part and about 7 different coloured layers (poured on angles). As long as you remember to spritz with IPA between layers, it really couldn't be easier. It's very easy to get crystal clear, bright colours; mica sparkles in clear instead of just colouring; straight, even lines and layers are easy; fragrances stay true; and it's all said and done and ready to use in a few hours.
Now, you may eventually prefer the feel of CP, but for the time being, you can get some GREAT-looking soaps. I'm currently doing a bunch of Star Wars and Lego soaps and they're really sharp. Totally different look from CP, but very eye-catching and kid-friendly.
 
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