Friday, July 9, 2010

Soap Techniques: Layering

Layering your soap can make for a pretty design, and is also a good way to achieve a nice-looking soap when if you are using a fragrance oil that moves quickly, because each layer requires a separate trace.

1) Before beginning your batch of soap, weigh your empty soap pot. Write it down on a piece of paper for later.

2) Line your mould and prepare your oils, lye and water as per normal.

3) After mixing your oils and lye water together thoroughly, but BEFORE bringing to trace, weigh your entire soap pot with the raw soap inside. Subtract the weight of your pot from the amount, then divide what's left (what will be your raw soap mixture) by however many layers you would like to make (eg, if doing 3 layers, divide the soap mixture by 3).

4) Pour off the amount of raw soap needed for one layer into a separate pot.

5) Bring the mixture to a light trace, colour and scent as desired.

6) Pour into your mould. Bang the mould on the bench to help spread the soap evenly and to ensure there are no air bubbles. At this point, if you want 'messy' layers, texture the top of the layer. You can also sprinkle some clays or cocoa powder in between at this point to achieve defined 'lines' between the layers.

7) Cover your mould while you trace/scent/colour the next layer so that the mixture in the mould becomes firmer - this will help when you come to pour the next layer.

8) Repeat steps 4-6 for each layer of soap (hint: you may need to quickly wash your stick blender between layers so you don't blend the colours!). If the previous poured layer is still quite soft, gently spoon the next layer over the top so as not to disturb the one underneath.

9) When you're finished pouring all layers, you're done! Insulate for 12-24 hours before cutting into your creation.

Handy Hints:

*If you are using an FO that moves VERY quickly, keep your temps low and don't discount your water for best results.

*For layers with impact, choose contrasting colours, or use dark-to-light colours to achieve a gradient effect.