Making an orange coloured soap with all natural colourants has long been a challenge for me. But in preparation for Christmas this year, I was determined to make another attempt ….. And I’d seen some videos of Tatiana Serko’s cosmic wave soap, so decided to add that challenge to the orange colouring challenge. Hence the two experiments in one soap!
Since I moved to Europe in late 1999, I’ve learned to associate spiced oranges with Christmas. In Sweden a good friend used an orange studded with cloves as an aromatic Christmas decoration, and her entire house smelled fabulous. I believe they’re called Pomander Balls. So this was my inspiration for this soap.
My plan was to use my acrylic loaf mold, and pour a first layer of orange coloured soap with a cosmic wave type pour on top. The rationale was that the lower layer could be at quite a thick trace before pouring, which would allow me to add spicy essential oils and give me the time I would need to add the colourants and blend until I reached a suitably orange shade. The colourants I selected to blend to achieve the orange colour were a yellow ochre from Provence and an Italian pink ochre. I’d previously tried with red ochre, and ended up with a soap that was more brown than orange – so I figured that the pink might be a better bet! As it turned out, I had plenty of time to add small amounts of yellow and pink (even with the spicy EOs) to get the best orange I’ve ever managed. So using the pink ochre worked out pretty well. The colour isn’t a bright, vibrant orange – but it’s definitely orange! So I counted that as a win on part 1 of my experiment.
I didn’t want a stright line between the two parts of the soap, so I used a spoon to create a textured top of this layer (as you can see in the photo below). To maximise the contrast between the 2 layers of soap, I decided to add a faint pencil line using cocoa powder. I really wasn’t sure about this, but decided to go with it.
Next was the cosmic wave pour for the top of the soap ….. For this part of the experiment, I didn’t want the soap too thick – so I’d added all of the EOs to the orange soap. For colours I chose white (a little kaolin), dark gray (some activated charcoal) and yellow (a little yellow ochre). I poured them into a plastic jug, pouring from the sides and alternating colours to get bands or ribbons of colour when doing the final pour. (Apologies for the dark photo – but getting good photos with night soaping is kind of tricky. But I think that you can see the bands of colours!!)
Then I poured the banded soap, which was still at a medium trace, from alternate sides of the end of my loaf mold to created a wavy pattern in the cosmic wave swirl. This part of the pour could not have gone better! The swirl on top of the bar is just stunning – far more pretty than I had dared hope. So the wait to cut the soap and see how each bar looked felt very long indeed!
But it was worth the wait ….. I love how this soap turned out!
And here are some photos of the cut bars:
The cosmic orange soap smells as good as it looks too! I used a blend of EOs, including orange (5-fold), clove and cinnamon.
If I had to make this batch again, the 2 things that I’d consider doing differently would be:
- Leave out the pencil line. It wasn’t needed, because the contrast between the colours was more than adequate.
- I might try to pour from midway down the mold (on the long sides), and alternate between the 2 sides. I’m not sure whether or how this would work, but I thought it might give a slightly different pattern. (Although I would probably just go with the same as I did for this pour, because I really like how the soap looks!!)
Thanks for reading – and happy soaping in 2017!