How to Turn a Fantastic Summer Memory Into Soap
It strikes me as funny that so many soap inspirations come from food. This one is no different.
I have great memories of getting frozen drinks from a local drive-in when we lived in New Mexico. It was our family’s favorite treat on hot summer days. My husband always ordered a lemony slush with strawberries blended into it. It tasted too sour for my liking, but the smell and colors were fabulous!
This bottle of Fresh Strawberry Fragrance has been calling out to me for a while, but I just couldn’t decide what to do with it. While organizing my fragrance oils, I saw Lemon Sugar Type Fragrance, and the light came on. I could almost see the drink cup in my husband’s hand, and I knew what I wanted to do.
CREATING THE FRAGRANCE
The first thing to do was to decide how to blend these two fragrances. The lemon has to be present, but I wanted the strawberry to be at the forefront. I feel like the sharp tang of lemon could easily overpower it.
I began with two drops of strawberry and one of lemon sugar. Then I tried one of each on a different strip. (Make sure you label each strip with the number of drops of each.) I let them sit for a few minutes, then I gently fanned each under my nose. I was surprised that the strawberry in the 1:1 blend was strong enough to detect. However, I liked the 2:1 strawberry : lemon better
One more try, this time with 3 drops strawberry and 1 drop lemon. I walked away for about a half hour this time, wanting to give the top notes time to dissipate and let the middle notes come out.
Surprise! I love the 3:1 blend, which I did not expect. Strawberry seems to mellow quite a bit with time, and though the lemon scent is not as sharp, it is still quite present. I think the blend smells just like the drink as I recall it.
A fragrance blend this fantastic calls for more than a simple uncolored soap. I have been saving a Pringles can for months, wanting to use it as a column mold. The idea of round bars appeals to me.
YouTube is full of soaping videos, so there I went looking for inspiration. What were other soapers doing with column molds? A design that I kept coming back to was just circles of different colors. It was really simple, but it spoke to me. I like the way the rings of color echo the circular shape of the soap.
This technique is achieved by pouring thin soap batter through a funnel into the column mold, alternating colors. The design I saw was only two colors, but I chose to go with three.
I used Rocket Red Day-Glo and Brick Red Colors for the strawberry color. I blended Yellow Oxide with a dash of Blaze Orange Day-Glo color for the lemon color. Because I enjoy trios of color, I left a small amount of the batter uncolored.
For this technique to work best, it needs a fluid batter. I have heard that using lard is the key to controlling trace, so I used it.
Other tips for keeping a nice, fluid batter are to use powdered sugar in the water (1.5 teaspoons per pound of soap) and use sodium lactate added to the cooled lye solution (half teaspoon per pound of oils). I like both additions for a different reason. The sugar contributes to the lather in the finished soap, and using Sodium Lactate helps produce a harder bar.
Here are the supplies and equipment you’ll need to make this soap:
6.3 ounces Olive Oil
1.25 teaspoons Powdered Sugar (added to water)
0.45 ounce Lemon Berry Fragrance Oil Blend
35% Olive Oil
We’ll assume you have a basic knowledge of soapmaking. If you don’t, please see this blog, which is the first in series for beginner soapers.
You’ll want to have both colors premixed and ready to go before you make the soap.
Most of my colors are already mixed with glycerin, but I made the yellow color just for this batch. Yellow Oxide will be the yellow color, but I find it tends to look muddy rather than the lemon yellow I want. I decided to try adding Blaze Orange Day-Glo Color; I put two scoops of Yellow Oxide and one scoop of Blaze Orange together, then I added glycerin and mixed it up well, putting the mixture into a small dish.
To mix the color, I used a palette knife on a sheet of plexiglass this time. Other methods that work well are mortar and pestle or a mini stick blender. The goal is to make sure all the lumps of dry colorant are completely dispersed into the glycerin.
I squeezed about a tablespoon of premixed Rocket Red Day-Glo Color and about 1/4 teaspoon of Brick Red Color into a small dish for my strawberry color.
Now to make the soap batter. The keys to this recipe staying fluid are temperature and amount of mixing.
I melted my oils and mixed my lye solution well in advance so they could come to room temperature. (If you don’t have time to let them sit, placing the containers in a sink or bowl of cold water will help bring down the temperature quickly.) When I mixed my lye solution and oils, both were around 75 degrees.
I used a whisk to mix the oils and lye solution for around 5 minutes. My arm was tired! It helped that I was listening to good music, so I at least could use that as a distraction. The batter had not reached an emulsion, but it was looking close. I used the immersion blender to give it a few bursts, no longer than a count of 5 each time. That quickly, the emulsion happened, and I stopped blending.
I had prepped a Pringles can by cutting off the bottom and lining the inside with freezer paper (waxy side in). Honestly, that was a pain, and it’s unlikely I will try it again. I placed the lid on the top of the can and then put it, lid side down, inside a soap bucket to keep it stable while I poured. The funnel was perched on top, pointing into the can.
I poured about a cup of soap batter into one measuring cup for the uncolored soap. I poured about half again as much into the second measuring cup for the yellow soap. The rest went into a third cup for the pink soap. I knew I wanted mostly pink with the yellow and white to accent; I just eyeballed how much soap batter to put in each measuring cup.
The largest container got a tablespoon of the pink/red color I’d premixed. I whisked it to disperse it, then I gave it a quick pulse with the stick blender to fully blend in the colorant.
I was very cautious with the yellow. Adding too much would produce a darker, muddier yellow. I put in 1/4 teaspoon and mixed it. Still pretty pale, so I added another 1/4 teaspoon and told myself to leave it alone.
Again, I eyeballed adding the fragrance to each cup of soap, stirring with a flexible scraper to blend it fully.
The pour went like this: Pink for a count of five; yellow for a count of three; uncolored for a count of one. Repeat until all soap is gone. I had more pink left at the end, so I scraped all that into the funnel. Then I scraped out the yellow and uncolored soaps together and let them flow into the can.
The soap would need to go through gel phase to make the colors vibrant, so I tossed a dish towel over the top of the mold (still in its supporting bucket) and set it near the woodstove. That is by far the warmest place in the house in winter.
After a few hours, I peeked at the soap and saw it was completely in gel form. Yay! I carefully moved it away from the warm spot and placed it in my soap lab. Unmolding this soap would have been a problem if it was not nice and hard, so I let it sit 48 hours before trying.
To my delight, the soap slid right out of the can with just a little push on one end. I unwrapped the freezer paper and cut it into bars.
I love the way this soap turned out! The fragrance is fresh, sweet, and fruity. The way the circles in the design echo the circular shape of the soap feels very harmonious. The colors are as I had envisioned, and I am particularly thrilled by the brightness of the yellow!
The fragrance blend is intense and delightful. Our Fragrance Calculator shows a strong usage rate for Strawberry is 0.45 ounce for 18 ounces of soap and 0.49 ounce for the Lemon Sugar type fragrance. I went with 0.45 ounce of the custom blend for a strong fragrance in this batch.
Though I like the round soap, it’s unlikely I will use a Pringles can again. I’m going to dig around in the workshop stash of PVC pipe to find the size I want, and I will then make a mold from that. I see more round soaps in my future!
How many of the soaps you make are inspired by food or drinks? I’d love to hear which of your creations came out the best! Please tell us by leaving a comment below.