Acceleration!

You know, you can have everything planned down to the wire in soap making, miss one tiny detail and “Whoosh”, all bets are off! It was a beautiful Sunday and I planned to enjoy part of the day making my first of two beach soaps for a shop on the East Coast. I had thought about how I wanted it to look for a week. Planned the design (tall mold), the colors, (aqua and blue micas) and I was pleased with all my ideas. I would create this with olive, palm and coconut oils, use oatmeal on the bottom layer to create a “sand” look. I was ready! I set everything out to the last detail and started the process. It all went beautifully until I added the fragrance oil. Some of you are nodding, I know! Now, I assure you that I read the description of the oils before I use them. Do they discolor in cold process? How is the trace? I even had a brief email exchange with the company, asking about an “ocean” fragrance. I did read that this fragrance “accelerates trace slightly” and made adjustments based on that wording. I would create the lightest trace to offset “slight trace”. Here is the picture of the soap about 45 seconds after adding the fragrance. So now what? I have never seen anything quite like this and I have been making soap for a few years now. Here was an order of soap that I might be tossing entirely, all because “accelerates trace slightly” didn’t quite mean the same thing to me when making soap.. So I quickly poured the bottom layer, glopped in the second layer, PRESSED down the third layer and used a fork to push in the final layer. Trust me, most of these are not soap terms! I turned my oven on to 250 degrees and when it reached that temperature, I turned it off and stuck the mold in the oven and left it, hoping that everything would warm and smooth together. Today, the soap was hard as a brick less than 24 hours after making it. It can be called “rustic ” which is a handy soap making term for soap that doesn’t quite work out like I wanted it to! There are a few holes as there was no way to pound anything out of this and some color variations within color as stirring was not easy. And yet. In spite of it all, soap never ceases to amaze me. So, my point? Read between the lines when buying a fragrance oil. Read the comments because they will tell you more of what you need to know from people like you who make soap. And have fun anyway because sometimes what you get, while not what you planned, is still fun. And it’s soap.

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