I am always interested in trying new techniques so after seeing a few blog posts about Amy’s Great Cakes Soapworks Soap Challenge, I decided to join this month’s challenge. This month, we had to use the column pour technique in a soap design.
This was my first time trying this technique and I may have been a bit over-ambitious for my first attempt.
Two weeks ago, I was in Las Vegas walking through the Bellagio and I saw this display for the Cirque Du Soleil “O” show.
“Wow! These are really cool colors to use in a soap design.” I thought.
I also spotted this poster of the Cirque Du Soleil “O” Zebra characters in a Bellagio gift shop. I became even more excited and wanted to try to mirror the stripes of the Zebras in a soap design.
I was so inspired by the idea that I bought a new slab mold just for the trial. I love this slab mold because all the side panels can be disassembled for easy soap removal.
For the columns, I used these wooden beads shaped like a star and block. I taped sections together and wrapped them in plastic wrap.
Big plans, big dreams………. foiled by heavy trace in 3 out of the 5 colors. 😉
For the soap base, I used slow-moving olive, almond and canola oils along with palm, coconut and palm kernel oils. For the design, I used 5 different colors: yellow oxide, ultramarine blue, ultramarine violet, black oxide and white (titanium dioxide). After mixing in the colorants, I added citrus-smelling “Energy” fragrance oil to the soap mixtures.
The white and violet mixtures were at light trace and flowed easily on the blocks. However, the black, yellow and blue soap mixtures were very viscous and hard to pour on the blocks. I just managed to get all the soap poured in the mold before it became very thick and gloppy.
Mr. Ecoviolet was my photographer for the occasion and after seeing my dismay wanted to help. “OK” I told him. “Take these chopsticks and just make radial lines from where I took out the blocks”.
He nodded in understanding and proceeded to make huge random zigzags and swirls with the chopsticks. Argh!!! I probably should have been more specific about what I meant by “radial lines”.
I did go back and draw lines radiating from where the blocks where in the soap and this is what we ended up with. It doesn’t look like a typical column pour soap but I still think it looks pretty good.
The colors became more vibrant as the soap went through gel stage. Here is the soap after 4 hours of cure time.
After 24 hours, the soap was still very soft. It was very helpful to have a mold with removable panels. Lining the mold with freezer paper also helped with soap removal. I had to be extra careful because it was easy to dent the soap.
All lined up and ready for cure!
Not bad-looking for my first column pour. I want to try the column pour technique again and execute my original vision. I was probably just too slow in getting things mixed, staged and ready to go.
I am still happy with the outcome and the scent is amazing. I also can’t wait to see the other challenge participant soaps out there!
It looks awesome! And I love Cirque de Soleil. 😀
Very nicely done :). I thought it just happened to me (with the soap being soft). I guess it may be this technique that causes the soap to do something different.
Thanks! Interesting to hear that you had the same experience too. My soap was very soft after 24 hours but now is nice and hard a couple of days later.
Fantastic!! I love your inspired Cirque de Soleil soap!
Thanks Amy! And thanks for the video and setting up the challenge!
Those look wonderful! 🙂 also saw your almond biscotti soap too. I know what u mean by foiled by heavy trace. All these designs i have in mind are always foiled by either heavy, or super thin trace that refuse to thicken. But seriously, BEAUTIFUL first attempt!
Thanks fellow soap engineers! I see that this will take more experiments to figure out. I am happy with the initial outcome though. I’m sure that if I pass these out as stocking stuffers and don’t mention the backstory, family and friends will be blown away by my artistic genius (tee hee)! 😀
Fantastic!! I love your Cirque de Soleil inspired soap! Sometimes ultramarines act a bit like clays and can speed trace. However, you said the violet was still workable, and it’s an ultramarine too, so…??
Thanks Amy! Interesting comment about the ultramarines. Maybe the violet behaved because I didn’t add too much fragrance (it was a smaller portion of the soap batch and I just eyeballed a splash of fragrance). Seems like with the addition of both the ultramarine and fragrance, that things started moving fast.
Beautiful! It’s hard to tell that you a problem with some of the colors thickening up faster than the others.
Thanks Silvia! It seemed to flow out a bit after the pour. I had some doubts during the process but it worked out in the end!
That is a stunner! I love the design you ended up with on top 🙂
Thanks Dianne! It was surprising but I am happy it worked out.
Those are gorgeous colours and the design turned out beautifully for a blooper!
Thanks Gail! I am so happy that this came out!
Wow, the colours you used are gorgeous! Beautiful soap!
Thanks Natalia! I am so happy that it came out in the end.
well done, great color combo and swirl.
Thanks! I also love your offset block idea. I have to give it a try!
Cirque du Soleil are my favorite shows to go see live. I love that you drew inspiration from it. I also think it is super creative how you used 2 different blocks. Nicely done! 😀