News & Soap Making

Adventures in Soap Making - Acrylic String Pull Technique January 2, 2020 16:31 27 Comments

It's been quite some time since I added a post to my blog.  Sometimes you just need the right kind of inspiration.

I consider myself to be the artistic sort, I love all sorts of arts and crafts and love to watch others on YouTube for inspiration.  During this past year, I have enjoyed watching fluid acrylic painting techniques and like many others had to try my hand at it using soap instead of paint.

This technique was inspired by the acrylic string pull.  I thought it would make a cool looking top and if you ever have a soap top that does look pretty this would also work to cover it up.

I am using my traditional cold process soap recipe that contains Canola, Castor, Coconut, Olive, Rice Bran, Soybean, Manteca and Sunflower oils. I poured it in a slab mold and oven processed it to gel because I use a big water discount.  The next day I removed it from the mold and proceeded to prepare for the acrylic pour with soap mind you not acrylic paint.

The picture below shows my oils and micas prepared, along with some cotton butcher string waiting for the lye solution to cool.  I used titanium Dioxide (nurture soap), Really Red mica (nurture soap), Blackstar Blue (TKB trading) and Lapis Blue mica (crafters choice).  

For the base or background, I mixed mainly Blackstar blue mica with a little of the lapis blue mica.  I wanted a dark navy blue color.  The titanium dioxide, really red and lapis blue is for the strings.  Each of the strings was approximately 16 inches long. 

Once my lye solution was cooled, I added it to my prepared oils and whisked to emulsification.  Next, I poured off some of the soap batter into the cups with the mica, then added the dark blue mica mixture to the rest of the remaining soap and mixed all well.

The next photos are the base pour.

Once the base color was on, I dipped one string in each of the colored soaps leaving a tail to hold on to.  Red is the first I tried.  I let the soap drip over the cup to get rid of the excess, then starting at the top laid the string in a zigzag down one side. I then pulled the string. I proceeded with the blue starting at the bottom this time making the zigzags opposite from the red I had just done.

I alternated the zigzags with each color, overlapping slightly.

The picture below is the soap design finished.  Now clean up and put it into the oven to gel.

I scraped up the soap batter off the paper and back into the containers.  Not wanting to waste it, I poured it into a silicone mold. This went into the oven as well, but the time in the oven was cut short.  Meatloaf was on the menu for dinner that night and the oven was needed, so I took them out early and covered them.  

The next morning I got a real surprise.

What happened to my lovely dark navy blue background!  It was gray and I was disappointed.  So what happened? At first, I thought this was soda ash, but it is not.  All the other colors are fine and ash-free.  I took a look at the micas I used.  It turns out that TKB Trading's Blackstar Blue is not recommended for cold process soapmaking (the color is not stable in high ph). 

Will I try this again?  Yes.  Will I do it differently?  Yes.

Next time I do this technique, I will bring the soap to a light trace instead of an emulsion.  I will also make sure the micas I use are soap stable so that I do not get any surprises.

Below are more pictures of the cut and the soap leftovers that I put in the silicone mold (I will be using them as embeds).

Please feel free to comment and or ask questions.

Happy New Year!


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