September 30, 2019 3 min read
I received this Dark Navy Blue Mica, and I was intrigued. I like to play with dark colors. It’s not that pastels don’t have their place, but I have a soft spot for strong colors – they don’t get a lot of use in conventional soap, so it goes to the artisan soaper to embrace them. I immediately thought of sailor stripes.
I’m not sure why I associate the seaside with mint. Maybe it’s the freshness, an association with summer strawberries or iced desserts? In any case, Mad About Mint Fragrance Oil does not accelerate or discolor, and is a light, pleasant sweet, spicy, mint fragrance that my family really appreciates when they receive them.
Frequent readers will know how I resist excess math. Some is necessary, but I tend to leave it out where I can. For this project, though, I wanted precise, straight stripes, (Spoiler: Mixed success) and this requires some extra measurement. So after mixing my batch, I weighed it. The soap calculator I use does give a total final weight of the batch, but there is some inevitable margin of error, so it is worth the effort to get it precisely right. I divided the batch in half, but also calculated a quarter batch, and got my colors ready.
You can see here, in the bowl, that this navy color is a little less true at the very first. At first mixing, it seems to tend a little to the side of deep teal, but it does develop into a beautiful true navy blue. It’s always wise to mix strong color with the stick blender to get a true, smooth deep shade with it. I gently laid half of the blue on the bottom of the mold, and dropped it on the table to smooth it.
Blend a bit of titanium dioxide in water, with one of these if you have one, and set it aside. Add half the fragrance. I add fragrances by hand, even well-behaved ones, just as a precaution against acceleration.
Using just a quarter of the full batch, I let this settle a bit, and smoothed it. Herein lies the difficulty in perfect, flat stripes. A liquid formula will settle perfectly smooth, but it is difficult to pour on top of it, even more so when you get into multiple layers. I erred on the side of stability for this project, and may have carried it a little farther than I intended. It’s a delicate balance, and every recipe will be different.
With the bottom layers stable, I layered on the last of the blue, and then the last of the white.
Swirls! Reminiscent of waves, this navy shade really lends itself to this sort of watery, swirling, wave shapes. Just a little Castor Oil or Olive Oil blended with the Dark Navy Mica to make a thick liquid poured in lines on top, and then use a tool to swirl the top into wave shapes. I always chill mine, at least while it’s still warm outside, to avoid partial gel. Unmold, and cut.
I think it’s important to show mixed results. I love the way the navy blue turned out. Sometimes the swirl color on the top is more brilliant than the shade of the soap beneath; you can see that isn’t true here. I was really impressed with this mica for the way it stayed very close to the shade I had hoped for. The stripes, on the other hand…
There had to be an error in measurement somewhere, since the bottom blue stripe and the top one are clearly very different. I had a strategy meeting with a co-soaper on this one, and the consensus was that I just made a mistake somewhere with it. The other issue is the smoothness of the stripes. I think I went too far in blending the formulas for stability, thinking I could smooth the layers better than It appears I could. So a more liquid pour would have been an improvement. Having said that, and in the spirit of working with one’s strengths, this would have been gorgeous with a wavy hanger swirl on the inside of the bar. Nurture makes hanger swirl tools for each of its molds; here’s just one.
I’m going to have another go at really straight stripes, but this soap serves as a beautiful display of the navy color, and still keeps a seaside feel in its colors and fragrance.
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|Erin is a writer living quietly in the Appalachians, making soap and writing health care articles and horror fiction. She's obsessed with fragrances and the moods they evoke, and uses her soap to inspire her fiction, and her fiction to inspire her soap. She's probably baking delicious cupcakes right now. Or soaping them!|