I entered my first soap challenge this month with the Soap Challenge Club. The theme of the challenge is landscapes. Any natural scene is accepted and any technique can be used, as long as it is made as a soap loaf and each element of the soap runs the entire length of the soap.
I made two soaps for this challenge, so that I had a choice of which to enter. Both Sunset on the Shore and On Top Of the World qualified, but I chose to enter Sunset On The Shore due to it meeting the more traditional definition of a landscape.
Sunset On The Shore is made with olive oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, avocado oil, and castor oil. I used aloe vera liquid in place of water. With all of my soap bars, how they feel is the first priority. How they look is more of a fun bonus. I try to make my design work with my recipe rather than the other way around. The fragrance is Tropical Blast by Nature's Garden. It instantly transports me to a tropical getaway!
I mixed three batches of soap batter for this soap. Batch one was for the sand, batch two was for the ocean and sun, and batch three was for the sky.
To make the sand, I blended the soap batter to medium trace (just a little thick) and colored it mith a mixture of Mocha, Maya Gold, and Honey Blush from Nurture Soap. With the mold tilted, I poured about 2/3 of the batter into the lower corner. I poured mostly toward the middle lengthwise because I wanted my shoreline to look slightly rounded. I then added a bit more Mocha and Maya Gold continued pouring on top. This was to make the wet sand on the shore darker than the dry sand further away.
After letting the first layer set up, I mixed up batch two. This was split into three colors. I put a very small amount aside for the yellow sun, which I colored with Yellow Neon and Yellow Vibrance from Nurture Soap. The rest was split into two containers. One half was colored with titanium dioxide to make it white. The other was colored with a mixture of Blue Mica from Bramble Berry and Jade Green from Nurture Soap. Keeping the mold at an angle, I poured a thin layer of white on the sand. This was to mimic waves crashing against the shore. I then continued with an ombre in the pot swirl of sorts to make the ocean. I poured a bit of blue into the white, poured a layer into the mold, added a bit more blue, poured another layer, and so forth. I did not mix the white and blue together. I just let them mingle on their own as I worked. The first two pours were done at an angle and the rest were done with the mold level.
To add the sun, I used a dropper to make lines of yellow on top of the ocean, one on top of the other, until it became a semicircle. Next time I make this soap, I may change how I did this. My sun is not quite as round as I would have liked.
Finally, after the first two batches set up, I mixed up the last batch of soap for the sky. I started with a yellow orange. This was made using the leftover from the sun with a bit of Orange Vibrance and Orange Neon from Nurture Soap. I faded that into orange, using the same orange blend. Next, I needed to fade into pink. This didn't go as planned. I used a mixture of Pink Vibrance and Pink Neon from Nurture Soap. Previously, I've used Pink Neon and it cured to orange with my recipe. I've used Pink Vibrance and it has cured to a dark pink. Wanting a bright pink, I mixed the two and hoped for the best. It seems the mix still cured to an orange, so there isn't much of a pink color in my sunset. I'll have to keep searching for a good bright pink that works with the ingredients I like. I have the old version of Pink Neon, so I will need to try the new version and see if it works out better. Last, I slowly added Queen's Purple from Bramble Berry to finish it off the ombre.
Sunset On The Shore is a blast to make. I've made it once before, but it was made with FD&C dyes last time, and I wanted to move to primarily mica colorants to get more vibrant colors with less bleeding into each other. I also updated the soap recipe for this version. I will definitely be making this again, or possibly another similar soap. I'm thinking I need some palm trees and seagulls.
I can't wait until the next challenge! I'll get to teach someone who has never made soap how to make a soap that is hopefully nice enough to win a challenge. Stay tuned...
**Update** This soap won third place in the regular category. 😯😀