Ugly Soap = Learning Experience

One of the things I’ve learned in my foray into soap making is that you WILL make ugly soaps – not intentionally, mind you, but you will make them. I have one soap that I wouldn’t even consider sharing with anyone, ever.

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This is a peppermint/rosemary soap I made at the end of August. That batch was cursed from the beginning. The recipe called for way too much of the peppermint leaves, it never got hard and there’s so much peppermint oil in it I could use it as a substitute for Vick’s VapoRub. Seriously, a fail all around.

I went to the Soap Making Forum and started reading about rebatching and confetti soaps and anything else I could find about turning ugly soaps into a usable and, possibly, even pretty soap. Or, at the very least, better looking. Here’s the result of my reading… and learning.

The new, and very much improved, Peppermint Soap.

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I grated up three bars of the ugly peppermint soap, made a batch of coconut milk soap, poured about half the batter into the soap shavings, mixed it well and poured that mixture into the mold. Then, carefully, I poured the rest of the soap batter over the base and made the top pretty. It gelled completely within a couple of hours and, by this morning, was hard enough to unmold and cut.

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That is a much prettier soap than the original soap, wouldn’t you agree? Just for the sake of comparison, here’s a picture with both bars.

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I’m looking forward to trying it in about a month. It still smells very minty but not as strong as the original. I think this will be a great “wake me up in the morning” kind of soap. I just need to practice some patience.

Speaking of patience, I also need to learn patience when it comes to unmolding my soaps from the silicone molds. They do take a little longer to firm up, I find. I’m not sure why, really.

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These are the soaps from the daisy mold. I love them but I did damage two of them by trying to take them out too soon. I should have waited the full 24 hours or longer. Ah well… a couple of uses and you won’t see the flower anyway. And it’s not as if they’re for sale. They sure are pretty, though, and I think the recipe is a good one. We’ll see how it hardens within the next couple of days.

Today, I’ll be trying a new (to me) technique, a feather swirl. John’s out right now, trying to make a tool for that purpose. It uses a hanger (yes, a wire coat hanger) or something a little thicker. I found something that will, hopefully, work but it needs shaping; John’s taken it to his work shop to bend it in the vise they have there. The technique creates a feather inside the soap using 3-4 colours. It’s the October challenge over on the Soap Making Forum and I’ve decided to enter; I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.

Ok, time to stop procrastinating; there are dishes to be done, slippers to felt (yes, I’ve finished the knitting; I just need to stitch them up and felt them), soap to design, a letter to write. Today’s going to be a full day!

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Categories: Contest, Just stuff, Slippers, Soap | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Ugly Soap = Learning Experience

  1. Gerrie Vanderveen

    I love reading your blog. Your soap looks great and I’m glad that you are pleased with how it turned out as well. Although, I thought the “old” soap had a certain appeal to it. Sort of funky!!!

    It’s good to hear that you finally have John’s slippers finished, well the knitting of them, at least. You’ll soon be well on your way to knitting him a new sweater.

    You are inspiring Evelyn and I wished I lived a little closer so I could see you in action making soap, and knitting, and cooking and, and, and. 🙂

    On another note, the things I love best about fall: is the changing of the colours of the leaves, the mist in the early mornings and seeing how the light changes as the sun comes up in the morning and the mist burns off, crisp fall air, and just enjoying this season.

    Have an awesome week!

    Gerrie
    PS By the way – how is your grandson doing? He’s also on my mind a lot.

    • Thanks so much, Gerrie! There are just so many things I want to try! And as long as I’m learning, I’m living.

      You have described those Fraser Valley autumns so well… the mist especially. There are times I miss that fog, believe it or not.

  2. Learning is so much fun, isn’t it? Thank goodness that there is always something new to learn. It keeps us alert and interested in life, no matter what the age. You and John are going to be the best smelling, and cleanest people in all Kalowna. LOL

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