Dry fit the embed to the mold, making sure the mold depth and width allows for soap above, below and on all sides of the embed.
Above left: My favorite "web-throwing superhero" didn't fit.
Above right: However, "Tony Stark's" alter-ego was absolutely perfect for this mold.
Measure the mold for volume. For a more accurate measure, be sure to measure the mold with the embed item IN the mold. Once you have your measurement, be sure to dry the embed item completely. If there are crevices where water can hide, you'll need to drain and/or air dry.
Cut 3/4 (or more, depending on the mold and your desired outcome) of your total mold volume from the clear glycerin soap block and cut into cubes.
Place the clear cubes in the microwave-safe measuring cup.
Microwave for 15 to 20 seconds.
Remove from microwave and stir GENTLY and SLOWLY with craft stick.
If still partially solid, place cup on a paper plate and microwave for another 15 to 20 seconds.
Remove and stir GENTLY and SLOWLY with craft stick.
Add fragrance. You CAN use colorant with an embed soap, of course, but keep in mind that the embed is the "star". in order for it to be visible, you'll need to keep colorants to a minimum, especially if the fragrance oil has any color to it. If you choose to use them, use only liquid colorants to maintain clarity, and use them sparingly.
Stir GENTLY and SLOWLY with craft stick and "engage patience". Rapid, vigorous stirring adds air bubbles and the use of embeds increases the chance of air bubble formation.
Continue stirring until color (if used) and fragrance are blended AND continue stirring (so a film won't form) until steam is no longer visible. If you pour still-steaming, melted soap into the mold, chances are good that you will warp the mold.
Spray inside of the mold liberally with alcohol. You want it ALMOST pooled in the bottom of the mold. you should be able to tilt the mold and just see slight unified movement of the alcohol. This is NOT to assist in unmolding, this is to better eliminate air bubbles with your initial pour, yielding a clearer, more transparent soap surface and better visibility of the embed.
Pour the mold about 1/8" deep and STOP! You want the surface soap fairly thin to enhance the visibility of the embed.
Mist with alcohol to remove air bubbles and to aid in layer adherence.
While film is forming, mist the item to be embedded with alcohol. Be sure the item is generously bathed with the alcohol mist on all sides and surfaces.
Once a sturdy film has formed, gently position the embed item FACE-DOWN on top of the soap film.
At 10 to 15 second intervals, re-melt the clear soap still in the measuring cup. Try to NOT heat beyond melting as over-heating can burn and discolor the soap.
Above right: First clear layer poured and misted with alcohol.
Above left: Embed, bathed in alcohol, face-down on sturdy film of first layer.
Above right: Side view of second clear soap pouring; misted with alcohol.
Above left: Bird's-eye view of second clear soap pouring.
As you can see, some of the figurine is still protruding from the clear soap. I could have tried to pour another clear layer, but chose to go ahead with the solid "wall" layer as it would not affect the overall effect.
Stir to dissipate steam. Generously mist the contents of the mold with alcohol and then pour in the clear soap, just until the embed item is completely covered, but leaving the very top of the mold unfilled.
Mist the newly poured clear layer with alcohol to eliminate air bubbles. Several sprays may be needed.
Pour any leftover clear into an empty ice cube compartment of your sturdy ice cube tray.
DO NOT PLACE MOLD IN FREEZER! You don't want clouding with an embed soap.
Peel remnants from the measuring cup or rinse clean in hot water.
Cut 1/4 total mold volume (more or less, depending on mold and how much clear was used) from your white glycerin block and cut into cubes.
Place cubes in clean, dry, microwave-safe measuring cup.
Microwave for 10 to 15 seconds (less soap, less time).
Remove and stir with craft stick.
If still partially solid, microwave for another 10 to 15 seconds.
Remove from microwave and stir with craft stick.
Add fragrance and colorant.
When choosing fragrance for a child, take the age and gender of the child into consideration. For example, boys in or entering puberty may wrinkle their noses at something floral. Bubble Gum seemed a little inappropriate for a "superhero" soap, so I scented my superhero with Rain fragrance oil.
When choosing your background colorant, complimentary but contrasting colors work best. for my superhero soap, for example, I took my cues from his "costume" and went with a gold background (using gratings from a Gold crayon), adding just a little of the Natural Poppy Golden Mica for a more metallic look. I could have gone with a more burgundy background, but the figure would have been lost on it.
Stir to blend the fragrance and colorant. Continue stirring (so a film won't form) until steam is no longer visible. This won't take as long with a smaller amount of soap.
With mold still on a level pouring surface, pour soap onto clear layer until the mold is full.
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 level surface to harden as clear soaps tend to cloud up in the freezer. The hardening process should take about 45 minutes to an hour (depending on the humidity and temperature in your home), so set the timer.
Try peeling remnants from the measuring cup or rinse clean in hot water.
At timer alarm, check soap by gently pressing center for hardness. you may also pick up the mold to see how much warmth is retained. If mold is not cool to the touch or resists releasing, allow to sit for another 20 to 30 minutes.
Once the mold is completely cooled and soap has hardened, invert mold close to, but above, a clean surface and press in center to release. Embeds are generally executed in fairly deep molds, so unmolding may take a little more time and patience.
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.
Regardless what you are embedding, the process is, fundamentally, always the same. What distinguishes your embedded soaps from others will be the imagination with which the soaping projects are executed and from which they are born. Soap making, like virtually every other craft, can be as simple or as challenging as you want to make it. There's a bit of a difference, obviously between imagining a project or product and executing it.
When using clear soap for virtually any application, make sure
that you FIRST spray the mold somewhat heavily with alcohol
BEFORE you pour in the clear soap. This will make the face
of your clear soap infinitely clearer, thus making the soap more
transparent and any embed more visible.
The reason I decided to call this a "Eureka Moment" is because it came to me as I was putting my book together; I'm still learning, too. The pictures below are excellent examples of what a difference this simple step can make. I don't know of any other soap author that has shared this technique, and when I look at the first picture, I'm tempted to try and remove the toy and re-pour the soap. As embeds are further explored, you'll see even more dramatic evidence of the improvement this additional step makes.
Just to clarify, it was not a freezer set that created the cloudiness in the first soap, it was tiny air bubbles. these are more easily seen against the black costume of the second "superhero", but there are fewer of them because of a little residual alcohol in the mold from where I had cleaned it out before making the first pour. That's how I made the discovery! The air bubbles, because of first spraying the mold with alcohol, are virtually non-existent in the third soap.