Friday, June 8, 2012

The bold and the beautiful (soaps!)

This past couple of weeks for me have been pretty inspired as far as soapmaking goes. I think it comes from my hunny's new found interest in making soap with me. He is so much more daring than me when it comes to colors and designs. (Maybe because he didn't buy the materials!) But it's a good thing! He's really pushed me to try designs and techniques that I was afraid to try before for fear of messing it all up, resulting in a huge waste of time and material$.

One of the things I have been most excited about is my new vertical (yes, vertical!) wooden mold that I bought from Bramble Berry. This was my most anticipated soaping order to date, and waiting on it to finally arrive at my doorstep was filled with both anguish and anticipation! Now that it's been here for about three weeks..... I've only used  it twice! BUT, that's because I really have to leave the soap in the mold longer with this mold than with my others, more like 3-5 days versus usually only one day. Not only am I making bigger batches in this mold, I guess there is something about the gravity and/or single small opening to air that just makes it all take longer to set up. I have been adding sodium lactate (a liquid salt that helps to produce harder bars of soap, pretty key when using silicone molds in cold process soap) to these batches though so it won't be quite as soft when we unmold.

Photo from

(You can get a good look at the mold here at BB's website.)

We haven't used the divider down the middle yet, just been experimenting with a faux funnel pour on our first two batches, but we're due to have a soapy fun day today, so we'll see what we end up deciding to make!

Some things I love about the new vertical mold:

  • No ash! Only one short end of the loaf of soap is exposed at the open top of the mold, so it's easier to protect the surfaces of the soap!
  • All the bars are perfectly square (err rectangle!) and uniform in size/weight when cut.
  • I don't have to line the mold with freezer paper! 
  • Great insulation from all that wood!
  • Since it's a straight up and down mold, it doesn't take up as much space while sitting up on my table or counter.
  • The design possibilities are endless!
Here's the two faux funnel pour batches we've made using the vertical mold. 

On our first batch (the pink), I poured at a fairly thin trace, and I absolutely LOVE the swirls we got from it! For the second batch, after mixing in the colorants and fragrance oil, I stick-blended each color to a medium trace, aiming for the mod look achieved in the blog post that finally convinced me to buy the mold in the first place. Still though, I didn't get it all the way through the loaf. We noticed that as we first started to fill the mold, gravity seemed to be working against us, pouring from so high up to so far down into the mold just made the colors sink into each other instead of layering on top of each other. The closer to the top of the mold we got, the better it worked for us. Not sure there is really anything we can do to fix that, gravity is gravity. I am too afraid to try a much thicker trace! Either way, I still love every single bar we ended up with, because we made them and they are colorful and smell great!

And speaking of bold new designs, we actually pulled a couple off in our oldie but goodie molds too! Check out our faux funnel pour in my silicone loaf mold, and a two color block soap too. We're loving swirls. :)

Thanks for reading!!


  1. You've been busy, Laura! I love your faux funnel swirl soaps from the vertical mold. (BB's vertical mold is on my wish list.) And the Bamboo Sugarcane and Blackberry Sage look fantastic - I especially love the white swirly in the middle of the Blackberry Sage. How fun it must be to have your hunny make soap with you! I'm glad that you are inspiring each other. Have fun!

  2. Thanks Jenny! You should definitely get it. It's such a great mold!