Christmas in July: Grandma's Christmas Mints Soap
Old-fashioned candy is a favorite in our house at Christmas. I am intrigued by the delicate ribbons, colorful stripes, and decorative centers. Since we are thinking of Christmas projects, making soap that looks like Christmas mints seems natural.
I will use our Round Ripple Silicone Mold, which makes disc-shaped soaps with rippled edges. That sounds perfect for a soap that is to look like mints! I’m using Brick Red Color to make the deeper red that is seen in old-fashioned Christmas decorations. The uncolored soap will naturally be off-white. For fragrance, I’m using Peppermint Essential Oil with just a hint of Freckles Fragrance Oil to bring out the sweetness expected in a candy.
Coming up with an idea of how to make the swirls was tough. I turned to videos of other soapers creating designs to find inspiration, and I found it.
Come along and see what you think of this soap.
Here’s what you’ll need:
The recipe is designed to stay fluid long enough to work with the design as well as make a hard bar with good lather. You’ll need 15 ounces of fats for a batch of soap that will fill the Round Ripple Mold.
5.6 ounces Soybean Oil
37.5% Soybean Oil
Before you get started, get prepared to soap safely. Long sleeves, gloves, eye protection, and close-toed shoes are a must. If you have never made cold process soap before, we’re glad you’re here! Please check out this blog post, which is the first in a series on beginning soapmaking. This is not a difficult recipe, but the technique would probably frustrate a beginner, so it would be better to wait until you have made a few batches of soap before trying to work with two colors.
Weigh all the oils into a microwave-safe container; set aside.
Pour about an ounce of liquid glycerin into a small jar or beaker, then add about a quarter teaspoon of Brick Red Color. Mix it well. I used a small stick blender, then I stirred with a rubber spatula to be sure all the glycerin was incorporated. Set this aside.
Weigh the essential oil and fragrance oil into a small glass container; set aside.
Weigh the water.
Weigh the lye.
Carefully add the lye to the water, stirring gently with a spoon. Do this in a well-ventilated area. Once the lye is completely dissolved, set the mixture aside to cool. (Mine was 175 degrees F at this point. I set it on a windowsill so the fumes would go out the window.)
Put the oils into the microwave to melt, using 30-second increments. (My oils were melted in 2 minutes, and the temperature was 179 degrees F.)
Here is your break to clean up your workspace, set out the mold you will use, visit the restroom. Once the oils and the lye mixture are within about 10 degrees of each other and have cooled to about 110-130 degrees F, you’re ready to make soap. (My lye mixture was 113 degrees F and oil 119 F when I combined them.)
Carefully pour the lye mixture into the oils, taking care not to splash. Stir with your flexible spatula, then pulse the stick blender several times to emulsify the soap batter. Because I would be making several pours and blending in color, I was careful only to stick blend to an emulsion. The soap batter was still quite fluid at this point in the process.
Now it’s time to separate one-third of the soap batter. The best way to do this is to weigh the soap batter, divide the weight by 3, and pour off the appropriate amount.
After separating the soap batter, I poured about 1/2 teaspoon of premixed Brick Red Color into the smaller quantity of soap batter, stirring well. I briefly pulsed with the stick blender to ensure the color was well mixed.
Finally, I added the fragrance, stirring by hand.
Time to make the design in the pot. I poured down one side of the measuring cup, alternating white and red, so the stripes were oriented toward the spout. As I poured, I wished I had colored less of the batter red, because I was afraid the soap would be too red. (Anyone else find themselves second-guessing when it’s too late to make changes?) Once all the batter was in the measuring cup, it was time to pour. As I poured into each cavity of the mold, I moved the spout around to make rippled stripes. As the soap batter moved through the very narrow funnel spout, the stripes of red and white became very narrow and close together. It is a neat technique I plan to use again.
Fast forward to the next day, when I got to take the soaps out and see how they look. I already know I need to listen to guidance about how much of the soap to color. One-fifth was recommended to me, but I decided to go with one-third. That was a mistake I won’t make again (hopefully). Even so, I am not totally displeased with the finished soap. It looks neat, even though it isn’t quite what I’d envisioned when I began.
The red mellowed a lot with curing, which I recall from other batches I have made with Brick Red Color. I like the way the ripples in the design echo the ripples in the actual bar. The sharpness of the Peppermint Essential Oil scent is softened by the sweetness of Freckles Fragrance Oil. The combination created a nostalgic and memorable aroma of homemade treats.
Are you thinking of Christmas? What are some of your favorite things that could inspire your next batch of soap or lotion?