I was having a hard time feeling confident over this one. I googled videos and tutorials out there, and there was not much on it. Recently Cee, fellow soaper from Oil and Butter, created a beautiful Leopard Soap - here is the link. I love Cee's soap and she certainly is an inspiration to me, so I studied the video that she has on her blog and admired her soap. I decided to jump in and give it a go.
A couple of things had me at a disadvantaged from the start...
#1: I decided to use milk...Coconut Milk. I found a carton at my local Trader Joe's and was so excited to see it in the fridge section (and not the canned type) that I decided to buy it to use.
The last time I used Coconut Milk my soap turned out a little too soft...It eventually harden up and was actually pretty nice but since then I have been hesitant to use.
#2: I decided to change my recipe. The main recipe I use often mostly consist of Olive Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Kernel Flakes, Castor, and a Butter (sometimes Mango or Shea, and recently I have started to use Cocoa Butter). Sometimes I use Palm but most of the time I leave it out. For this recipe I decided to use Sunflower Oil instead of Rice Bran...and added Palm Oil.
#3: I wasn't feeling confident! :(
So I mixed my oils. Added my lye to the Coconut Milk Ice Cubes (I froze the milk to prevent any parching) and then combined them all. I added my fragrance oil at light trace, a nice soft floral that has behaved beautifully in the past. I noticed that it did took me a little longer than usual to reach a medium trace. I separated my batch into three. One to color white, one for pink, and one for gray.
Everything good so far...but boy was it taking forever to reach thick trace!!! I decided to pour my soap into the ziplock baggies that I was going to use to pipe. I remembered a recommendation from a fellow soaper in the Teach Soap Forum that said to try to stick the soap in the fridge to get it thicker faster. So off they went into the fridge. Well I guess I was not patient enough because I took them out 5 minutes later and it still seemed pretty fluid and going against my better judgement I decided to start piping.
What a mess! I think I cut the corner of the bag too big. The pink was coming out like a fast moving flood! I was having a really hard time controlling the piping with the ziplock bags. I think I should have maybe used plastic piping bags. Then I went to use the gray for the middle and realised...I made too much gray and not enough pink! I was not going to have enough pink to do more than three spots. I added more pink to cover the gray and boy was it going everywhere. I was starting to get pretty frustrated and quickly started to break out in a sweat. I was dressed with soaping safety in mind. Long sleeves and gloves!
Our weather has now turned quite warm, and there I was, breaking out in a heat flash, sweat starting to bead on my forehead and my nose starting to itch. I had soap on the mold, on the table, on my gloves...it was a mess and all I could think of was "IT'S SO HOT and MY NOSE ITCHES!!!"
I quickly covered the three leopard spots with the white colored soap. Added the gray to the top and quickly textured it. Stuck the soap in the freezer, cleaned up quickly and took off the long sleeve shirt :) . Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...
Well fast forward four days later when I tried to unmold the soap from the silicone mold. It looked like it was ready to come out, but once I started to take it out I realised...WOW, this soap is pretty soft...and because I can't seem to have the patience I took the soap out and pretty much ruined the sides. I did wanted to cry...but at the same time I really can't help but laugh at what I get myself into at times. I must say that I am actually happy with how the inside turned out, especially with the challenges that I had. Here is a pic:
I am only showing you the front since the sides are pretty bad...:)
Regardless of my challenges, I HAVE REALLY ENJOYED Amy's soap challenge. A year ago I could not think of finding myself doing this level of soapmaking. The soaping community is pretty welcoming and encouraging and I have learned so much from all my new soapy friends :)
I am really looking forward to future challenges for sure!
Thanks for checking out my blog.