Thinking Outside the Box and Embedding Outside the Mold
When embedding items in your soaps, there's no rule regarding placement of the embed or, for that matter, how much of the item is embedded. This occurred to me when I started to embed some sea creatures.
When I was dry-fitting the turtle to the mold, it just seemed so "lifeless" sitting there on the bottom of the mold. With the ridge running along its back, I knew that it would be difficult to balance it in the usual face-down (well, upside-down) position. Then I got a visual of a turtle's head coming out of the water to get a breath of air. That would make things a little more lifelike.
So, I balanced his head outside of the mold in one of the corners of the hexagonal mold. After I was sure he could maintain the position, I made up my soap base. as I had already planned to make a series of the sea creatures soaps, I melted about 10 ounces of the clear glycerin, adding only one drop of blue liquid colorant, a little soap glitter for sparkle and Rain fragrance oil.
With my soap base nearly ready to pour, I sprayed the turtle heavily with alcohol and re-balanced his head in the corner; then heavily sprayed the inside of the mold. With everything coated in the alcohol, I made sure the soap base was cooled to the point that it was no longer steaming and poured in the soap, filling the mold.
Even with the heavy spraying of alcohol on the top surface, the air bubbles seemed to gather in the area of the turtle. Fortunately, in this case, it added to the realism of the effect. Even better, where the alcohol was super-thinly pooled in the bottom of the mold before I poured the soap, it created little swirls in the surface of the soap which, when viewed from above, made the soap appear even more like real water!
Once I saw the completed turtle soap, I could not wait to start on the other sea creature soaps!
The purple dolphin presented particular balancing challenges. A craft stick came to my rescue. I covered the dolphin in alcohol and then propped it up on its flippers. Once the dolphin was secure, I heavily misted the inside of the mold with alcohol and poured the mold with the re-melted clear soap.
After allowing the soap to set for an hour, I gently slid the craft stick from beneath the flippers and unmolded the soap. Though purple is not a realistic color for the dolphin, the effect created by embedding only the tail was really rewarding and the extra alcohol misting kept the soap wonderfully clear. The effect of partially embedding objects made both the process and product a lot more interesting.
Though a bit difficult to balance on the side of the mold, the starfish was also a fun partial embed. Seen first (below, left) in the mold, I also took a picture of the bottom of the soap once it was unmolded (below, right). The transparency of the soap allows both the embed and the touch of glitter to really shine.
No doubt you recognize the figurines in the pictures below: all are memorable Disney creations and these, like the sea creatures, were purchased at a dollar store. Happy with the sea creatures collection, I decided to use the partial embed for these figures as well. To embed them completely, the soap would be far too big for the little hands that will be holding them. Interestingly enough, rather than look like an extension of their gowns (which was my initial intent), the soap as a base to the figurine seemed to shorten their legs and make them more petite. The blue is colored with Sky Blue crayon gratings with a pinch of Wild Blue Yonder crayon gratings and Lavender Ice soap glitter and is scented, appropriate to the princess, with Dreams fragrance oil. The deep rose is colored with 6 drops of Wine liquid colorant and scented with Black Cherry fragrance. The yellow is colored with 8 drops of yellow liquid colorant and scented with Melon fragrance. And, finally, the medium pink soap is colored with 6 drops of peach liquid colorant and scented with Peach fragrance oil. As shea butter opaque glycerin was used in the base, I was able to freezer set all of the soaps and they released readily from the mold.
The "divot" in the peach soap was created by a latent and large air bubble.
As these figures were not a solid piece of plastic, air escaped from around the bottom.
By the time I got to the starfish, I realized that I had not made enough base soap. As there was only one drop of liquid colorant added to 10 ounces of clear soap, I would have had to make another 10 ounces to achieve exactly the same color. Rather than have that much leftover, I elected to add a little more clear glycerin to the remaining base. This, of course, reduced the color saturation of the soap, but the resulting color was even more "watery" than the initial base. As you can see from the pictures, the heavy use of alcohol misting not only increased the clarity of the soap, it also pooled in a way that almost brought a watery ripple "movement" to the "water" soap base. Though it's somewhat subtle, I also like the little bit of sparkle the glitter brings to this particular collection.
© 2011 NORMA W. THOMAS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.