Posted in Soap Challenges, Uncategorized

Gumball Soap (MP+CP)

The monthly challenges for the Great cakes soapworks – Soap Challenge Club is getting ever more creative with every month.

The last couple of months, I had submitted videos showing the entire process of making the soaps. Last month was especially different with the Collaboration challenge where I made the soap with my Mom.

But I am back to writing here for this month, as this soap took me 2 days to complete!!  The February challenge required us to combine the 2 soap making methods: Cold Process – where the soap is made from scratch using oils and lye, and Melt and Pour – which is exactly as is sounds – you melt a pre-made soap base, add your creativity and pour it into molds.

I have used the homemade translucent soap bases purchased locally from a soaping acquaintance. This is my first official attempt at making MP soaps and I was apprehensive. (I am guilty of having a mental block against MP as I find it “easy” {which it is not} unless you have enough practise, like anything else). I was also never sure of the quality and ingredients used in the bases until I found this supplier.

I decided to take my time and experiment with it, ask help and be prepared for failure. Fortunately I got timely answers from 2 dear soapy sistas who understood where I was going wrong and pointed me in the right direction.

img_20170211_132543I have used mica colorants from Micas and More and Frangipani fragrance oil from Moksha Lifestyle.

I made hundreds of little “gumballs” in almost ten different colours using an ice cube tray. This took about 14 hours and a ton of patience!!!


The next day I was ready to get started. A half sized batch of oils and lye was just right to fill up the 1kg mold. So here is my large bowl of MP spheres, my lye water, hard and soft oils, my shot glass of Fragrance oil, TD and the tools.

All set to start soaping

Now, I’d like to mention the new method I tried this time – the thermal/heat transfer method. This method is where you add the hot lye water into the hard oils, stir till they melt and then add the liquid oils. By the time they are all mixed, the soap is at room temperature which has been my favourite method always. So I can say that the new method worked very well and going forward this is my go-to method…cos this soap has used up the last bit of patience I had in me!!

I stick blended until light trace and began pouring the layers.


I obviously didn’t want this soap to gel, nor did I want to MP layers to sink into the almost liquid CP soap, so popped him right into the freezer immediately… And promptly forgot to  remove it from the freezer for over 24 hours!

No harm done – the CP hardened nicely but I waited another 24 hours before unmolding… and another 48 before cutting. Just to make sure it isn’t too soft to let the MP drag through the soft soap.


The Cut

And it turned out just the way I expected!



Posted in Soap Challenges

Cosmic Mint

When is the best time to make the first Christmas soap other than for the November Challenge?

The Soap Challenge Club November Challenge is the Cosmic Wave by Tatsiana Serko was again quite a challenge. Looks so easy when she shows it, but actually making the design is a different story, as always 🙂

It took me couple attempts to understand the pour. The wavy effect comes with a controlled pour moving the pot quite slowly with the soap batter at a very light trace – just above emulsion but still runny enough to move freely on the mold.


In this soap I have used Titanium Dioxide and a touch of Silver Mica, a mix of red and pink pigments from Majestic Mountain Sage and the bright green is a pigment from a local supplier.

Scented with Peppermint Essential Oil, this soap is ready to welcome the Christmas season and a frenzy of Christmas soaps

Posted in Soap Challenges

Purple Heart – Wood Grain

When you think wood grain, you think brown, beige and black. Once you get a hang of the technique, its probably quite simple to achieve a wood grain soap with these colors – using Natural colorants.


But if you want to be a little hard on yourself, you choose to make a soap using the limited set of soap colors you recently won. (All thanks to the Amy’s August challenge – Dancing funnel)

My choice of colors were random contrasting colors because this was the first time I’ve tried them in soap. I had no idea what the end result would be.

Purple Raspberimg_20161006_094721ry, Rocket Red and Yellow Oxide. Scented with Burnt Wood fragrance.

The freshly poured soap did look vaguely wood-like and I was satisfied.

However, once the soap was cut and the ash removed, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Rich, brilliant purple wood grain!

Would you imagine a tree on the planet Earth with wood grain in these copurple-heartlors? Well, you don’t have to imagine, because apparently they do exist.

Don’t believe me? Read more about the Purple Heart or Peltogyne tree

This picture reminds me of the Magical Faraway Tree in the Enchanted Forest! (who else remembers this tree?)

“The trees are prized for their beautiful heartwood which, when cut, quickly turns from a light brown to a rich purple color.” – exactly what my soap did 😉



Moral of the story – Just allow your soap to just do what it wants, because it will anyway! And you WILL love the results!!

Posted in Soap Challenges

Dancing Funnel – Dancing Nemo

Being a very new soap-crafter, I thought I am being overly ambitious and over-confident trying to enter an international soap challenge. However, with support from friends, family and wonderful groups of soapers on Facebook who saw my trials, I was encouraged to just go ahead and submit my entry.

The technique called the Dancing Funnel required us to fill a slab mold with layers of soap circles in at least two colours. One outline colour and one solid colour filling the circle.

This requires us to hand blend the soap batter instead of using the usual stick blender to keep the batter fluid enough to work with. (I recently learned that my great-grandmother used to make homemade soap! While making this soap, I sort of imagined this is how she would have made it in those days before electric blenders.) I loved this method and am going to use it in the future as well. This really helps when we need slow-moving batter to make intricate soap designs.

IMG_20160731_150505When I chose these colours, all I thought was to use bright contrasting colours using all natural colorants. However, once this was completed, I realized that my design resembles Nemo!
Desktop-free-download-clown-fish-wallpapers-HDThis brought back awesome memories of the Scuba diving course that I took this summer. My first ever thrilling dive experience was at a dive-site called the Nemo Reef in the Andaman islands which was teeming with Clown fish.


So getting down to business…This was my third attempt and as we know, third time’s the charm 🙂

I used my slow-moving swirl recipe shown below:

20% Coconut Oil Activated Charcoal
30% Palm Oil French Red clay
20% Canola Oil Kaolin Clay
4% Castor Oil Cedarwood Essential Oil
6% Sweetalmond Oil Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil
20% Sunflower Oil

The tools I used are almost all recycled stuff found at home. The mold is a small cardboard box, lined with a thick plastic sheet. This sheet is cut from the bags in which large online stores package their stuff. My squeeze bottles are empty dish wash liquid bottles. They work just as well as ketchup bottles but the plus was, I had loads of these lying at home!

Since I am entering the All-Natural category, I was particular that the final picture should be taken outdoors with the garden in the backdrop. The weather was perfect to give me a soft diffused natural light.



Here are pics of all my other trials…

Posted in Suffuse recipes

My Favorites

Basic Cold Process Soap

9 oz (255 g) coconut oil
21 oz (595 g) olive oil
9.9 oz (280 g) distilled water
4.1 oz (118 g) lye


Raw Turmeric – Added at trace – add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder per pound of oils to traced soap. Mix well. Results: Turmeric powder is easily mixed in at trace.

Sandalwood paste – hand ground, homemade paste added at trace

Cinnamon / star anise infusion – 15gm ground cinnamon to 125 ml oil infusion

Mint Chocolate –  Peppermint essential oil, cocoa powder (variation: Peppermint Mocha)

Mocha – filter Coffee for lye solution. Cocoa mixed with little oil.

Milk soap –  frozen milk ice cubes for lye solution





Posted in Tips

Natural soap colours

Kasthuri Turmeric (Cucurma aromatica) : Yellow. Not cooking turmeric (cucurma longa).

Red Sanders powder: Maroon

Sandalwood powder: Beige

Carrot/Tomato paste: Orange-Yellow

Spinach/Coriander paste: Light green

Beet paste: Maroon

Spirullina/Algae/Seaweed : Green

Orange EO: light shade of orange

Cocoa powder/Chocolate: Brown

Vetiver powder: Beige

Fenugreek seed powder: Light brown (speckled)

Alfalfa: (use dried, ground alfalfa) gives medium green color (find it here)

Alkanet root: (infuse in oil) produces purple to blue color (find it here)

Annatto: (infuse in oil) produces yellow to orange color (find it here)

Beet root powder: results in squash yellow color; contains antioxidants (find it here)

Black walnut hull: (use dried, ground) adds purple to black specks; good for exfoliating (find it here)

Calendula: (dried, whole flowers) produces yellow streaks; has healing properties (find it here)

Calendula: (powdered) adds yellow color; healing benefits (find it here)

Carrots: (use ground, raw) produces yellowish orange color; contains beta carotene

Chamomile: (use dried, powdered) produces beige to yellow color (find it here)

Chamomile essential oil, German: (also known as Blue Chamomile) results in light green color (find it here)

Chlorophyll: (use powdered) green color; has deodorizing properties (find it here)

Cinnamon: brown color; can be irritating to some skin types

Cloves: (use ground) brown color; can be irritating to some skin types

Cocoa powder: brown color

Chocolate: (use a melted chocolate bar) brown color

Coffee: (use finely ground) brown to black color; exfoliating, has antioxidants, and removes odors

Coffee: (instant) brown to black; antioxidant and odor eliminating

Cornmeal: yellow color; exfoliating

Blue cornmeal: purplish blue to brown color; exfoliating (find it here)

Elder berries: (use in lye) light brown color; high in antioxidants even though original color has changed (find it here)

Green tea powder: brownish green color; antioxidants

Henna: olive green to greenish brown color (find it here)

Indigo powder: deep blue color; Caution: Stains easily!

Kelp: green color; minerals and iodine in minute amounts (find it here)

Madder root: red to purple color (find it here)

Milk: shades of beige to brown, maybe orange

Moroccan Red Clay: brick red color; draws out impurities in the skin (find it here)

Orange Juice: (use in place of water in lye/water solution) beige to light orange colors; lowers pH of soap

Paprika: gives an orange color

Poppy seeds: black specks; exfoliating

Pumice: gives gray color; good for exfoliating (find it here)

Rose pink clay: produces brownish pink color; draws out impurities in skin (find it here)

Rose hips: (use ground) produces burgundy to brown color; high in Vitamin C (find it here)

Safflower petals: produces yellow to orange color (find it here)

Saffron: results in yellow color

Sage: (use dried, ground) produces green to brown colors

Sandalwood powder: (depends on the type used) red will be brownish red; yellow will be yellow to beige

Spearmint: (use dried, ground) green to brown color

Spinach: (use dried, ground) produces light green color

Spirulina: produces green to bluish green color (find it here)

Tree lichen: (depends on type used) from pink to green to brown

Tumeric: results in yellow color

Wheat grass juice: (use dried) gives green color (find it here)

Woad powder: produces blue shades; Caution – can stain! 

Posted in Tips

Common Soap Making Oil Substitutes

Common Soap Making Oil Substitutes

Apricot Kernel Oil: 
Sweet Almond Oil, Hazelnut Oil
Avocado Oil: 
Chia Seed Oil, Sweet Almond Oil
Avocado Butter: Shea Butter, Mango Butter
Canola Oil: Olive Oil, Rice Bran Oil
Castor Oil: No substitute
Cocoa Butter: Beeswax, Shea Butter, Palm Kernel Flakes
Coconut Oil: Palm Kernel Flakes, Tallow
Coffee Butter: Avocado Butter, Shea Butter
Chia Seed Oil: Sweet Almond Oil, Avocado Oil
Grapeseed Oil: Olive Oil, Hazelnut Oil
Hazelnut Oil: Grapeseed Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp Seed Oil: Avocado Oil, Hazelnut Oil
Jojoba Oil: Meadowfoam Oil
Mango Butter: Avocado Butter, Shea Butter
Meadowfoam Oil: Jojoba Oil
Olive Oil: Rice Bran Oil, Canola Oil, Grapeseed Oil
Palm Oil: Tallow, Palm Kernel Flakes
Palm Kernel Flakes: Palm Oil, Coconut Oil
Peanut Oil: Olive Oil, Canola Oil
Rice Bran Oil: Olive Oil, Canola Oil
Safflower Oil: Canola Oil, Sunflower Oil
Shea Butter: Avocado Butter, Mango Butter
Sunflower Oil: Olive Oil, Safflower Oil
Sweet Almond Oil: Apricot Kernel Oil, Avocado Oil, Chia Seed Oil
Tamanu Oil: Neem Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil

Remember, if you do sub out any oils in your soapmaking, always run it through a lye calculator!