Thursday, November 15, 2012

Frankincense Swirl Soap

Frankincense Swirl Soap

Take a look at my newest adventure.  This is a very special soap for Christmas.  It is Frankincense Swirl soap.  This is not my normal soap.  Usually I do what is called Cold Process soapmaking.  With cold process Soapmaking, you melt oils, add lye water, and stir it till it starts a chemical reaction called Saponification.   Then the soap has to cure for about a month or more before you can use it.  For this Frankincense soap, I wanted to try incorporating Melt and Pour soap in my normal Cold Process soap batch. I was actually thinking of a special way to make this soap and was wondering if melt and pour would work in cold process soap.  I liked the idea of the melt and pour looking like actual Frankincense resin.  Then I saw this blog post from Amy from Great Cakes Soapworks and thought I'd give it a try.  

Melt and Pour soaps are completely different from regular cold process soaps.  They are usually the very pretty soaps that are see through or translucent.  You can buy it unscented and uncolored in a large chunk, chop it up, melt it in a microwave, add some color and fragrance, then put it in a mold to harden.  As soon as it is solid again, you can use it.  My grandkids love to make Melt and Pour soaps.  It is a fun and safe for kids to do with adult supervision.  And they love the creative aspect of choosing their own colors and scents.  They often put so many sparkles and glitter in their soap, that it is scratchy to use. But they are always very proud of their melt and pour creations.  

Me making the Cold Process portion of soap.
I like Melt and Pour.  I like it because it is pretty and fun to do with my grandkids.  But my skin prefers the benefits of a good old fashioned cold process soap.  So that is why I normally only make traditional cold process soap.  I think it is healthiest soap available.  For this soap though, I wanted to try using melt and pour soap as a decorative element in my normal cold process soap.

Mixing in Colorant
I added a touch of warm red mica to the entire scented batch, then seperated out a little bit of raw soap and added more.  I wanted some darker swirls of this lovely color.

This may be a good time to mention, that if you ever decide to try melt and pour soap, It is a good idea to not buy it at the craft store.  The craft store melt and pour soaps are full of detergents and not very good for your skin. Get your melt and pour soaps from a reputable soap making supply company.  Look online and you will find some good options.  I like Majestic Mountain Sage in Nibley, Pine Meadows in Provo, or Bramble Berry in Washington state.

Raw Cold Process Soap and melted Melt and Pour soap

 The melt and pour soap is in the container on the right.  It melts at a higher temperature than the cold process soap is made at.  I was wondering how the temperature differences would affect the melt and pour soap.  I was worried the cooler temperature of the cold process soap would harden the melt and pour soap before I had time to make it all pretty in the mold.

Layering the melt and pour soap over the cold process soap
I really had no idea of what to expect.  So I just started layering.  
More Layering 
I did many layers, and then swirled it with a bent wire hanger a few times.  It felt strange because the melt and pour was much harder than the cold process soap, and wanted to stick to the hanger.  I was a bit nervous that I had messed up the layering and left all the melt and pour glumped together.  So I left it at that, and finished it off with just the cold process soaps on top.  

Notice, I do not have a nice picture of the finished soap in the log mold.  My very hot and handy photographer (my husband) had to stop taking pictures for a bit and help me with a soaping emergency.  This Frankincense soap was only half of the soap batch I was making.  The other half was a super yummy smelling Allspice soap I was trying to make.  I forgot the Allspice fragrance oil is a fast mover and started seizing up in the pot!!  We had to frantically glop it and beat it into a mold before it was too hard to do anything with.  By the time we got it in, we forgot about taking a picture of the lovely swirling I had done on top of the Frankincense soap. So I will just show you another picture of the finished product.
 This was a fun experiment.  I think I will occasionally use Melt and Pour soap as a decorative element in my Cold Process soap from time to time.


  1. So pretty, Katrina!! I love how you think. The M&P definitely looks like what I would think real frankincense resin looks like! :)

  2. Katrina I love the color and the swirl in your bar! Each technique varies some for each of us and we teach each other. Lovely soap!

  3. Very pretty and what a good idea to use a spoon to ladle the m and p in! More of a dainty look with that technique.

  4. Wow, Katrina, I see Frankincense in that soap. Wonderful! This really is a neat concept. The earth is so beautiful and your soap reflects what is beneath our feet. I know, I know, Frank comes from a tree, but I can dream. :)

  5. Thanks everyone. I am also happy with how they turned out. I just love the frankincense fragrance also. It is a very warm and relaxing fragrance, kind of like baby powder, but a little bit more woody. Now to figure out how to label them. I have limited room on my label. It may be a bit crowded with the melt and pour ingredients also.

  6. thanks for the info on the melt and pour to do with kids, may have to try that one day!! loving the chapstick u sent!!!

  7. These are so beautiful! Thank you for the beautiful soaps you sent me. They smell fabulous.