Friday, March 6, 2009

Soapy Plaid (Inspired By Soapy Love)

Here's our version...

StPat4
Here's What You'll Need
White and Clear Melt and Pour
Brownie Pan Tray Mold
Shamrock Mold
Colorants (mica)
Fragrance Oil
Rubbing Alcohol
Microwave Safe Bowl (pyrex)
Knife, Paper and Pen

Step 1: First, we need to make 4 thin colored layers to cut our the plaid pattern. Melt just enough soap base to completely cover the bottom of the loaf mold (about 1/8"). Add your favorite fragrance oil and mica before pouring. Let the layer completely cool.

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Step 2: Once the layer has cooled, remove this layer and cut into strips of random thicknesses. We found that cutting with a large butcher knife works the best. Cut them diagonally or straight across. Set the strips aside, we'll use them later.

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Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 for all four colors you want in the plaid design. We used sparkle gold mica, opalescent green mica, shamrock green mica and blue-green mica.

Step 4: While waiting for the layers to set up, this is a good time to make the shamrocks (you might need to make 2 batches). We used opaque melt and pour with green chrome oxide.
Hint: Oxides and micas mix into melt and pour a little easier if combined with a little rubbing alcohol first. This technique will eliminate spots and speckles. The tutorial on using oxides in melt and pour is here.

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Step 5: Grab your brownie pan mold and trace the outside edges of the mold onto a piece of paper. This will allow you to make a blueprint of your plaid design on "dry land" before embedding them into the soap.

Step 6: It's time to start layering! The first layer will be the background layer. Pour just enough soap to completely cover the bottom of the mold (we chose a white background). Let cool completely.
Hint: Most soaps are built from top to bottom (upside down). When you flip them out of the mold then they are right side up. These soaps are just the opposite, the layers go from bottom to top. So the last layer you pour will be the top layer of your soap.

Step 7: While the bottom layer cools, we can set up the plaid design before the embedding step. Set up your strips of soap on the piece of paper with the traced mold on it.
Hint: The plaid design usually consists of two colors each. The colors are semi-random. The top layer should have some gaps so you can see though it to the bottom colors. (You will be left with quite a bit of scraps. Don't worry, we have another soapy project coming up that will put these scraps to good use).

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Step 8: Once you have a plaid layout that you like, and the background layer has cooled, you can finally start to piece your plaid design together layer by layer.

Step 9: Spray the background layer of soap with rubbing alcohol to ensure your layers stick together, then pour a thin layer of clear soap base. Generously spray your cut out pieces with alcohol and place them directly into the clear soap. Finish this layer off with another spritz of alcohol to eliminate any bubbles.
Hint: This layer should consist of two alternating colors. Make sure you have enough clear melt and pour to completely cover the plaid layers. And temperature matters! Keep the overpour temperature below 130 degrees as to not melt the layers.

Step 10: Once the layer has completely cooled, repeat step 9 with your other plaid pieces.
Hint: Again, consisting of two colors. But this time, laying them in the opposite direction of the first plaid layer.

Step 11: It's time to add the shamrocks to the final layer. Pour a thin layer of clear melt and pour, generously spritz your shamrocks with rubbing alcohol and place them in the clear soap. Give it a final spritz to eliminate bubbles. Let harden and cut into bars.
Hint: Remember to put the shamrocks in right side up!

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