Monday, July 1, 2013

Orange Basil Swirled Hearts Soap



This project included a few firsts for me: a new technique, a new recipe genre, and a new butter.

I decided to try out the Swirled Heart technique. This method has been on my must-do list for a while, and I finally got around to it. (My must-do list is about as long as my arm and it just keeps growing. It is going to take a while to get through it, methinks.) I remember seeing Anne-Marie and Kristy demonstrate the Swirled Heart technique quite a while back, but you know how it goes. You see a new thing and think, "Oh, cool, I'm totally gonna get right on that!" Maybe you even print out the tutorial and file it away in your soaping folder. And then you get distracted with other projects and maybe forget about it for a while. And then one day you're going through your bookmarks or your folder and think, "Whatever happened to ...?" And then you commit to the project and wonder why you didn't do it sooner. The Swirled Heart technique is a fun method, and I definitely plan to utilize it again. (It would be especially great for Valentine's Day!)

Something else that was new for me was not using palm oil. With the exception of my Castile soap and salt bars, my recipes have usually included it. I'm nearly out of palm oil now, so I decided to seek out some palm-free recipes to see if I could do without it. I went poking around the interwebs and found a few that I liked the looks of. The Nova Studio shared three palm-free recipes on their blog. One of the recipes calls for mango butter, which appealed to me because I recently bought some mango butter and was looking for a reason to use it. I've never used mango butter before, but I've heard so many wonderful things about it. Mango butter reportedly has natural emollient and moisturizing properties. Sounds like it should make a pretty luxurious soap!

 Here is the recipe I used, from the Nova Studio's blog post:

~ Olive Oil - 41% ~
~ Coconut Oil - 25% ~
~ Mango Butter - 25% ~
~ Avocado Oil - 6% ~
~ Shea Butter - 3% ~

I was a little bit worried that such a high percentage of mango butter might accelerate trace, but this recipe had a nice, slow trace for me. (A slow trace is important for this type of project, so choose a well-behaved recipe and fragrance oil.) I soaped at around 104 degrees F and had plenty of time to work with the batter. The soap is about a week and a half old now. I tested a bar and the lather is wonderfully soft and fluffy. The soap performs well already, but after about five more weeks of curing time it should be even more amazing!

Orange Basil Swirled Hearts soap
For the fragrance, I chose a 10x Orange and Sweet Basil essential oil blend. (The 10x Orange is nice because it is more concentrated than regular orange EO and therefore sticks better in CP soap.) Choosing a scent is sometimes difficult when I'm gazing into a drawer full of a bajillion fragrance and essential oils. I was trying to decide on both a fragrance and color scheme. I remembered that I had some orange mica from Bramble Berry. I really love the carrot-orange color of this mica, but it appears that Bramble Berry no longer carries it, which gives me a sad. Once I settled on the orange mica, I started thinking about the scent. Orange essential oil is an obvious choice. It turns the soap a light orange, though, and I wanted to do a white layer for my hearts. So, what would go well with orange and not discolor? Basil essential oil. Which means green. Funny how sometimes the fragrance dictates the colors, and other times the colors dictate the fragrance.

Dotting the surface
The bottom layer is an orange and green in-the-pot swirl. I thought about just doing straight-up orange for the bottom layer, but decided that a swirl would be more interesting. After the swirly layer had set up a bit, I drizzled some white soap on top to check it. Then I spooned the white layer on to prevent break-through into the previous layer. The Swirled Heart technique requires plastic squeeze bottles, which I found at my local craft store in the baking/candymaking aisle. I snipped the tips of the squeeze bottles so the soap would come out easier and give me good dime-sized dollops. To make the swirled hearts, I filled one squeeze bottle with about 2-3 ounces of orange soap, and filled another bottle with green soap. I dotted the surface with alternating rows of green and orange, and then dragged a toothpick through the dots to make hearts. 

(Tip: To clean out the bottles, I filled them with warm water right after I was done soaping, gave each one a good shake, and then squeezed the soapy water out. I had to fill and shake the bottles a few times to get all of the soap and residue out.)

The orange soap is scented with the Orange 10x essential oil, and the white is scented with the basil essential oil. For simplicity's sake, I left the small amount of green soap unscented.

Here's a video of the process:


I'm super happy with how this soap turned out! Orange and basil is a fantastic scent combo, and the hearts are so cute. The recipe and the essential oils behaved exceptionally well. 

I'll be trying some more palm-free recipes in the future, but I think that this one is definitely a keeper!

What do you think of the Swirled Heart technique? Have you tried it yourself?

43 comments:

  1. Those are very cute! Its really neat to watch the process of how its done, I love how the hearts came out!

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    1. Thank you, Kristina! I wonder if you could do something similar with nail polish? :)

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  2. So cool, Jenny! I have enjoyed your video, as always, and the soap is sooo pretty! Good job!
    I like the colours and the white base underneath, and I'm sure I would love the scent combo!
    Looking forward to seeing more videos/soaps of yours!

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    1. Oh,no doubt the recipe is soooo luxury,this soap is such a treat!

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    2. Thanks, Maja! The recipe does seem very luxurious - I can't wait until the bars fully cure so I can try them out!

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  3. Jenny, those are lovely! Great job and I really like the video. Thanks for sharing! This technique is also on my (very long!) list of things to try. :)

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    1. Thank you, Linda! I'm glad that you enjoyed the video. Can't wait to see how your swirled hearts turn out when you give this a try - it's such a fun technique!

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  4. Wonderful soap Jenny - the hearts are so cute -

    greetings,

    Krissi

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  5. Wow Jenny, those are gorgeous! I admire your patience to make all those layers and the hearts. I need smell-o-vision because that sounds fantastic.

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    1. Thanks, Monica! The orange and basil scent combo is really nice!

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  6. I like it, it is so beautiful! You really inspired me to try it myself! Now, I have to update my “to do” list which is already long :)

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    1. Thanks, Gordana! My to-do list is already long and it keeps getting longer. There are so many fun techniques to try!

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  7. beautiful swirled hearts, Jenny! I like the colors you chose to go with the scent blend, which sounds like a lovely combination. :)

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    1. Thank you, Kalla! The colors matched the scent perfectly, and I love how the soap smells!

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  8. Hi Jenny! It is so fun watching you soap :) I´m glad you tried mango butter. It has been my favorite from the first time I tried it. I bet the combination of orange and basil is wonderful. I should also try it. Those small hearts are also sweet :)

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    1. Hi, Marika! Thanks for your comments! I've heard so many great things about mango butter, and I'm really looking forward to trying this soap after it fully cures. And orange and basil are so nice together. I like the little hearts, too - they were fun to make!

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  9. Wow, wow, wow, love it! Gorgeous colors, the scent blend sounds interesting, thanks for the idea! The hearts are so nicely done, Jenny!

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    1. Thanks, Natalia! This was a fun project, and the soap behaved perfectly!

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  10. Beautiful!!! Your hearts are so neat and perfect - I;ve used this technique from Anne Marie's blog and I made a bit of a mess - shaky hands lol. Your soap is lovely

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    1. Thank you, Polly! It is a fun technique. Maybe I'll use it again for a Valentine's Day soap!

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  11. Your hearts turned out really great Jenny, and the soap looks sooo smooth, especially to be palm free! I'll have to bookmark this recipe in my soaping folder. ;)

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    1. Thanks, Laura! From what I can tell, this is a great recipe from Nova Studio. The bars still need to cure a few weeks, but the test wash indicates that it will be a very nice soap! The batter behaved perfectly - it stayed smooth and pourable throughout. I'm glad to have found such a nice palm-free recipe, too!

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  12. Oh, yours turned out so pretty Jenny…I love the fragrances and color combo you chose. I’ve only tried this technique once before (well, twice if you count my class at Otion), but it’s a really fun technique with great results!

    I didn’t realize that the 10x orange turned the soap orange…very interesting! That recipe looks so nice with the 25% mango butter, should make a really lovely soap!

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    1. Thanks, Cee Gee! This is a fun method. How cool that you got to take a class at Otion! In my experience, the 10x Orange EO gives the soap a light orange color. I used to make an Orange Patchouli M&P bar using it, and it always turned a light orange. (My Lavender Patchouli bars didn't discolor, though.) My CP Orange Patchouli bars turned a light orange, too, and I think it's from the Orange 10x. I can't wait to try these bars, especially with all of that mango butter!

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  13. Beautiful swirled hearts! I love the whole mix!

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  14. Looks great! I love the color combo that you choose, it's so summery. I was so sad when we discontinued the orange mica as well, but are still looking for a replacement, so keep your eyes open for new product announcements in the future! :)

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    1. Thanks, Anne-Marie! This technique is a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing your tutorial! And I'm so glad to hear that BB is looking for a replacement for the orange mica. I'll definitely keep an eye out for it!

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  15. Wow, Jenny, those are absolutely lovely!!

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  16. I wish I could smell this one because it sounds delicious. The little hearts are so cute, I should give them a try too. Thanks for the video! Marieke

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    1. Hi, Marieke! Thanks for your kind words. I'm glad that you enjoyed the video! It is a fun technique. I hope you give it a try!

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  17. Orange and basil....sounds like something I would pick myself. Your swirled hearts look really neat! :-)

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    1. Thanks! Orange and basil are really nice together. I am happy with how my swirled hearts turned out, too!

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  18. Cool, so happy you liked the recipe and it was well-behaved, to boot. I looooove mango butter. Now, you've inspired me to try an orange/basil combo. Sounds like the perfect summery scent!

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    1. Thanks, Jen! I think this recipe will become one of my favorite palm-free go-to recipes! This is my first soap with mango butter, and I'm so looking forward to using it after it fully cures. I hope you like the orange/basil scent combo if you give it a try. It is lovely for summer!

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  19. Hi, Where did you get your square soap mold used for this project? Thank you

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    1. Hi, Snoopy Ross! I bought the slab mold from Soap Making Resource: http://www.soap-making-resource.com/slab-soap-molds.html. It's one of their acrylic no-line molds. I have the 3-pound mold, and they also offer a 5-pound mold, too. I really like the mold, and it's great not having to line it! Thanks for reading and watching!

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  20. That is so beautiful, Jenny, and also so artistic! Well done, I feel inspired to try this myself next Valentine's Day :)

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    1. Thank you! I'm very happy with how this soap turned out. This technique would be perfect for Valentine's Day!

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  21. Definitely one of your most beautiful bars, Jer.

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    1. Thanks, Mom! I love how this batch turned out, and the technique is so fun!

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