BASIC MARBLED MAP BAR (Opaque Soap Base)
If using multiple liquid colorants, have them all at hand.
If using multiple crayon colorants, you may grate each color into a separate tiny pile on a napkin (which tends to be flatter than a paper towel) or paper plate. This gives you more control over how much of which color is used. For a truly random marbled effect, you can put the gratings all in one pile and finger mix. You will need to pass the crayon over the grater only 4 to 6 times per color. As you will be blending the colors in the same soap, washing the grater between colors is not required. If you choose to NOT wash the grater between colors, you will want to grate in a lightest to darkest order. You will only need a pinch or two (total) of gratings per 4-ounce soap.
Cut soap cubes from block.
Place soap cubes in microwave-safe measuring cup.
Microwave for 15 to 20 seconds
Remove and stir with craft stick.
If still partially solid, microwave for another 15 to 20 seconds, placing cup on a paper plate. (Repeat as needed until soap is completely melted.)
Remove and stir with craft stick.
Add fragrance only and stir to blend. AFTER blending in fragrance oil, add crayon gratings.
Unless crayon gratings have been added, continue to stir, watching steam closely. If you are using grated crayon as your colorant, sprinkle gratings in immediately after completely blending fragrance. The soap will still need to be rather hot in order to melt the crayon. With liquid colorants, as the steam STARTS to dissipate, carefully add colorant. DO NOT STIR! Rather, gently pass the craft stick through the colorants in the soap only a couple of times, watching the marbling process. You're NOT trying to blend the color. Also, the pouring process will further mix the colors together.
With mold on a level pouring surface, pour soap into mold until full. As you have not been stir-cooling, a film may have formed on top of the melted soap. If so, hold the film back (with a craft stick) from the pouring soap
Mist with alcohol to remove air bubbles. Several sprays may be needed.
Pour any leftovers into a cube compartment of a sturdy ice cube tray.
Leave soap mold on the pouring surface until a healthy film has formed (about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on room temperature).
Move mold to a level space in the freezer and set timer for 20 minutes. Again, if you use clear soap do not use the freezer set method because it will cloud your soap.
Try peeling remnants from the measuring cup or rinse clean in hot water. Peeled remnants can be put in the same ice cube compartment.
At timer alarm, check soap by gently pressing center for hardness.
If soap is totally firm and cool, remove mold from freezer.
Invert the mold close to and above a clean surface and press in the center to release the soap. Successful release from a deep mold may take both time and practice.
If soap does not readily release, set timer for 10 minutes and return mold to freezer. For a marbled bar using clear soap base, leave the soap in the mold and on the pouring surface to harden. This will take about 40 minutes. Also, if using a clear soap base, crayons are not recommended as they will significantly reduce the clarity of the soap.
Once unmolded, allow soap to air dry until dry to the touch.
Wrap in clear plastic cling wrap or use immediately.
Label and make notes regarding process so soap can be re-created later.
Above left: 3 drops liquid Blue colorant, before marbling.
Above right: 1 pinch crayon gratings, before marbling.
As this page deals with basic marbling, specifics regarding the resulting soaps will be covered with the section on Marbling Creations.
Excellent! As with most techniques, you'll find that mastering marbling can take some practice.
NOT TOTALLY THRILLED WITH YOUR MARBLED SOAP? The following may help:
SEVEN MARBLING TIPS
1. Try using more dramatically different colors. In one soap I marbled, I used various shades of green crayon. The final product simply looked like a slightly streaked green soap. In the next soap, I used green blue, purple and pink crayon gratings and the results were markedly more marbled.
2. Pouring is both a blending and marbling process. If your marbling seems to more closely resemble a solid color, you may have stirred too much. It's easy to forget that the colors blend even further during pouring. That said, you can also use the pouring process as a marbling tool. Pouring your melted, marbled soap in a circular motion with result in a more circular marbling; a back and forth motion, when you pour, will result in "veining" that tends to run from side to side.
3. Make sure you are using a suspension formula soap base. Though marbling can be achieved in non-suspension bases, if your marbling seems to concentrate on either the top or the bottom of the soap base, switching to a suspension based glycerin may give you better results.
4. Refer back to nature. If the marbling is successful but the color seems a little off, step back from the soap and take another look. It may be that the colors you've selected don't visually coincide with the shape of your mold.
5. Remember when using crayon colorants, you will need for the crayon gratings to melt into the base. If the colorant appears too granular, the soap base may have cooled too much before the gratings were added. Timing can be a little tricky with crayon colorants when using the marbling technique. However, the color selection available makes it a worthwhile technique to master.
6. A "less is more" approach usually works best when marbling. Again, look to nature . . . specifically, natural marble. marble is not always streaky all over, sometimes having only a few veins of color. Adding too much colorant can actually detract from the appearance of the final product.
7. You can also marble a colored soap base. This requires that you make your soap base, as you would for a basic bar, adding the "solid" color first. Stir that color to blend the colorant and fragrance and then add you "marble vein" colorants.
Of course there are also several other ways you can achieve a marbled effect in soap making. Those are explored on the next page.
© 2011 NORMA W. THOMAS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.