Guest post by Amber Beltran of A Squirrel & A Scholar Soap Co.
UP FOR THE CHALLENGE!
Hello again beautiful crafters of all things sudsy! I have to admit, I was feeling a wee nostalgic this past week, so I decided to revisit a fun topic we’ve experimented with before! The first guest blog I wrote for Nurture Soap was an article called “The One-Color Challenge”. For that project, I used Nurture Soap’s unbelievably juicy “Blackberry Bliss” fragrance oil and challenged myself to make a batch of cold process soap using one main color to create several color-blends to use within that very same batch. My only exception to this “blending rule” was “Winter White” mica, but all the other colors used within the design were created using “My Red Obsession” mica as the “focus color”. With the help of “My Red Obsession” mica, I was able to create a gorgeous array of different and unique colors to make the batch look as berry-delicious as it smelled!
I had so much fun with that project, I decided to do it again, only with a different mica color this time. Whether you’re still expanding your mica collection, or have so many, you don’t know where to keep them all, one fact remains the same... With just a few different mica colors, a whole world of blending possibilities awaits! To demonstrate this exciting point again (As well as my obsession with creating color blends!), I chose one of my personal “must-have” colors: “Lemon Drop” mica. I’d be honored to have you join me as we take this stunning yellow mica and use it to create even more stunning colors!
MELLOW YELLOW... AND GREEN, PINK & CORAL TOO!
Since this week’s topic is all about color, the recipe itself is entirely up to you! If you’d like to re-create this soap’s design in your own handmade works of art, you can use any cold process recipe that you prefer best. If you’ve just begun your soap making journey and don’t have a specific “go-to” recipe just yet, you’re more than welcome to use the following recipe, which is one I recommend to new soap makers for the following reasons: First, It’s dependable. While you’re still experimenting with which qualities you desire most in your handmade soaps, this recipe will produce a good amount of everything! It’ll produce soaps which are nice and hard when cured, have lovely lather and are delightfully conditioning too! Second, its ingredients are inexpensive, straightforward and easy to obtain. You only need four different oils/fats to make it, and they just so happen to be four of the most commonly used oils/fats in soap making. Third, it’s easy to customize! Don’t have any palm oil handy? No Problem! The palm oil in this recipe can be substituted for lard or tallow. Last but not least, it’s a forgiving recipe! Because of its ratio of saturated to unsaturated fats (hard oils to soft oils), including a higher percentage of olive oil, this recipe is slow-moving, allowing plenty of time to work at your own pace (fragrance oil permitting), even when a slight to moderate liquid discount is employed. The recipe is 45% olive oil, 25% coconut oil, 25% palm oil (Which can be substituted with lard or tallow if desired.) and 5% castor oil. Superfat this recipe at 5%, and if you feel comfortable with liquid discounting, a 33% lye concentration is recommended, which is a ratio of 2-parts distilled water (or alternative liquid) to 1-part lye. Just be sure to run this recipe through a lye calculator whenever any changes or substitutions are made to it. The recipe provided here is calculated for a batch-size of 32oz of oils/fats.
For this color-blending go-around, I went into the project knowing exactly which mica color and fragrance oil I wanted to use. As mentioned, my sights were set on the magnificent “Lemon Drop” mica, and I could hear Nurture Soap’s “Cucumber Melon” fragrance oil calling out my name from my fragrance oil cabinet! “Cucumber Melon” fragrance oil is a duplication fragrance of a scent made widely popular by a well-known bath and body (works- he he!) company, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I experienced this mouthwatering aroma for the very first time. What can I say? The original scent made its debut in the 90’s, and I was the child of self-sustaining hippies who rarely ventured to places commonly referred to as “the mall”! I tell you what though, the first time I smelled Nurture Soap’s “Cucumber Melon” fragrance oil, I immediately understood why this aroma had such a huge following! It’s downright delicious, and takes my nose directly to its happy place!
First order of business was to start mixing “Lemon Drop” mica with other mica colors that would produce the perfect color-theme for this cucumbery-fresh, melony-sweet aroma! When I smell “Cucumber Melon” fragrance oil, certain colors quickly come to mind. Colors like refreshing greens, coral red-oranges, and fruity pinks. True to my artistic style, I wanted to make a batch of soap which would feature soap frosting on top, so I wanted to find a way to incorporate these colors into melt & pour embeds which would embellish that. The first decorative embeds I chose to make would serve as visual representations of cucumber slices, so creating the perfect shade of crisp, refreshing green was a must. I was thrilled to find that precise shade by mixing 2-parts “Lemon Drop” mica with 1-part “Green Vibrance” mica! But what do I mean by “parts” exactly? Well, when blending micas, I’ve found no other tool to be more helpful than Nurture Soap’s .15cc Mini Scoops! They make creating new color-blends (and creating them again, later on) a breeze! All I need to do is keep track of how many scoops of which micas were added, and I’ve got my “parts”! I also like to give each new color-blend its very own name. I find I’m better able to visualize a specific color-blend for future projects if I give it a name in relation to what the color reminds me of. For this specific green blend, I dubbed it “Key Lime”!
For the next melt & pour embellishment, round, “melon balls”, made with Nurture Soap’s Small 9-Ball Silicone Mold seemed the perfect accompaniment for this project, and in my mind’s eye, nothing but a sweet, sugary-type pink would do. My favorite shade for this came from mixing 1-part (or one mini scoop) “Lemon Drop” mica with 2-parts (or two mini scoops) “Lollipop” mica, which is such a fitting name if you ask me! I decided to call this color-blend “Strawberry Daiquiri”.
Next up was to create “melon wedge” embeds in the brightest, boldest shade of coral I could come up with. After tinkering around a bit, I found that perfect red-orange hue by blending 1-part “Lemon Drop” mica with 2-parts “Candy Apple Red” mica. This shade reminded me of a sunset I once watched with jaw-gaping awe while on vacation with my husband. I chose to bestow upon it the name of “Caribbean Sunset”!
THE COLORS IN ACTION!
The colors I had envisioned for this project were looking awesome; each one different from the other two colors, yet also related to one another by way of “Lemon Drop” mica! In fact, if micas were people, these ones would definitely be related through one common ancestor! They looked fabulous in Nurture Soap’s Low Sweat, Clear Soap Base, but the true test would be getting them into a batch of cold process soap, along with the incredible scent of “Cucumber Melon” fragrance oil. With my .15cc Mini Scoops in-hand once again, I mixed up more of each color-blend, then dispersed them in a bit of my batch oils at a rate of approximately 1tsp per pound of oils (PPO). I also dispersed 2tsp/PPO “Winter White” mica, which would serve as my main batch color.
Each vibrant color-blend incorporated beautifully into the soap batter, with the “Key Lime” blend initially taking on more of an olive tone in the raw soap. It’s not uncommon for green micas to occasionally do this though, and I was confident this was no different than the temporary color changes other green micas can sometimes undergo. I was sure that lovely tone of olive-green would return to its original upbeat and refreshing shade of citrusy-green as soon as saponification was completed.
I wanted to keep the design of this batch simple, opting to pour a drop-swirl design so that bigger portions of each mica-blend would be distinct and clearly visible once the loaf was cut into bars. I couldn’t have dreamed up a more perfect pour if I tried! “Cucumber Melon” fragrance oil behaves so well in cold process soap, the batter remained pleasantly fluid and workable from the beginning of pour to the end of it! My “Lemon Drop” mica-derived color-blends looked wonderfully vibrant, and even appeared a bit tropical-like when highlighted by “Winter White” mica!
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
If I was going to go ahead and blend up a batch of soap frosting as well, you bet your booty I was going to do it using another fantastic “Lemon Drop” mica blend! This time, I knew exactly how I was going to blend it though, as it’s a color-blend I’ve used many times before and thoroughly love! “Lemon Drop” mica blended with “Winter White” mica at equal parts creates one of the loveliest shades of creamy-soft yellow I’ve ever seen, and is a blend I like to call “Bananas n’ Cream”!
Creating eye-catching shades of color doesn’t just begin and end with micas though! Did you know you can create captivating color combinations with Nurture Soap’s exquisite Enviroglitters too? It’s true! Both complimenting and contrasting shades of Enviroglitters can create dazzling hues of color when lightly dusted overtop cold process soap! In this situation, I knew the contrasting color of “Heart’s Desire” Enviroglitter would make the yellow of the soap frosting “pop”! The opulent, coquettish, pink lemonade-like shade of this breathtaking Enviroglitter magically transformed the banana-yellow top of my soap into a peachy-pink daydream!
From here, all that was left to do was get those custom-colored decorative embeds gently placed on top of the soap frosting, then lovingly put this batch to bed for the night!
A COLORFUL CUT AND MORE CUSTOM-COLOR BLENDS!
Cutting this batch of soap proved to be a colorful success! Each custom-color had been dreamed-up using the same mica color for inspiration, but each one came out uniquely different and beautiful! The “Key Lime” blend returned to its original shade of crisp, bright green; “Strawberry Daiquiri” was definitely pink, but with a twist, and “Caribbean Sunset” turned out as coral-red-orange as that blazing sunset I had once watched as the sun lazily sunk into the sea!
Creating your very own custom color-blends doesn’t have to begin and end with just these three colors though! In preparing for this project, I was awed in my discovery that “Lemon Drop” mica mixes phenomenally well with so many other micas too! Here, I share my 10 most favorite “Lemon Drop” mica blends! In sharing how to create these fantastic colors, in some small way, I hope this helps to inspire you in your next soapy adventure! May these also inspire you to create even more amazing blends! Happy color-blending my fellow, brilliant soap artists!
RECIPES USING NURTURE SOAP COLORS
- “JUST PEACHY”: 3-parts “Oleander” mica, 1-part “Candy Apple Red” mica, 1-part “Lemon Drop” mica
- “BANANAS N’ CREAM”: 1-part “Lemon Drop” mica, 1-part “Winter White” mica
- “SLICED KIWI”: 2-parts “Lemon Drop” mica, 1-part “Lime Appeal” mica, 1-part “Winter White” mica
- “EMERALD CITY”: 1-part “Lemon Drop” mica, 1-part “Tropical Teal” mica
- “DANCING AT DUSK”: 2-parts “Iris Purple” mica, 1-part “Lemon Drop” mica
- “DARLING CLEMENTINE”: 1-part “Lemon Drop” mica, 1-part “Mango Tango” mica
- “KEY LIME”: 2-parts “Lemon Drop” mica, 1-part “Green Vibrance” mica
- “CARIBBEAN SUNSET”: 2-parts “Candy Apple Red” mica, 1-part “Lemon Drop” mica
- “STRAWBERRY DAIQUIRI”: 2-parts “Lollipop” mica, 1-part “Lemon Drop” mica
- “NORI SEAWEED”: 2-parts “Lemon Drop” mica, 1-part “Electric Blue” mica