Yesterday, I made soap. JUST FOR FUN. A lot of times, I’m making a craft for two reasons–for fun and for a writing project. (If you can figure out how to turn crafts into a job, you can have fun all the time!) Well, as it turned out, I’m writing about it anyway, but I didn’t use a new recipe or anything. I made the soap for Christmas presents. I used the Lavender-Basil recipe that was the CITR party demonstration soap. (You can find the recipe here.)
Without meaning to or thinking about it, I did do something different with the recipe. I ground the basil more finely. The soap made at the party came out a beautiful white with basil-green flecks. This time, same recipe, the soap came out green. Very green!
I used the new soap mold I also showed in this post. These soap molds are handmade by CindyP and she gave one to me. I love it. It fits a two-pound soap recipe just right. (All the recipes I post are two-pound recipes.) I love even more that after you take the soap out of the mold (which is easy! yay!) and remove the parchment paper, then you can put it back to slice it. The mold doubles as a cutter (with a guide).
I ended up with nine 4.5-5 ounce bars and one 3 ounce bar. Once I have a chance to experiment a little more with where to place the end of the soap in the guide, I think I should be able to make ten even 4 ounce bars.
Look how green it is!
This is how the soap came out at the party:
Exact same recipe. The difference was in the more finely ground basil. Live and learn! I thought the soap was pretty just with green flecks, but I really love the green color–and it’s natural.
The accidental green got me thinking of all sorts of ways to add natural color to soaps. For browns, use tea or coffee. (Or just make your soap with milk, which also browns soap naturally.) For reds–cherries, beets, or cranberries. For blue, blueberries. For yellow, turmeric or saffron. Other spices like paprika or chili powder for orangey colors. Spinach and all sorts of other veggies or herbs would work for green. You don’t have to put fruit/veggie/herbs/spices directly into the soap as I did with the basil. Just boil the dye “source” –for vegetables and fruits, use just enough water to cover. For spices, use one tablespoon per cup of water. Simmer it down to really concentrate the color into a small amount of liquid. Let cool then strain out fruits/veggies from the liquid. (Pour it through cheesecloth to finely strain out herbs and spices.) Add just a little bit at a time till you get the color you want. (For cold process, you’d do this at trace. For hot process, you’d do it when the soap is finished cooking and right before putting in the mold.)
I can’t wait to do some experimenting!
Update to add: I’m going to try the idea of reserving a bit of the oil (1 ounce), infusing it with the natural dye source, and adding it at light trace. Will let you know how that comes out as I experiment with different colors. Thanks for all the tips!