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Friday, April 21, 2017

Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge ~ April 2017 ~ Rustic Soap & Packaging

Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge
April 2017

 The Challenge is to make Soaps with a Rustic appearance and simple rustic packaging. Either Hot Process, Rebatch, or Cold Process techniques may be used. I have never tried either rebatch OR hot Process, so that's what I am going to do for this challenge!

Here is my entry:       "Vacay' Bay"
Vacay' is short for Vacation btw ; )

This was my 2nd effort at this challenge theme. The first attempt went ok, and built up my courage to continue!
 For this batch I rebatched a variety of Soap pieces that I have been saving for quite some time ~ like a year!!!  So really old, and some quite dry. They did not have any sign of rancidity, so I felt safe experimenting with this technique. I figured, why not? They had almost been tossed, so I (and they) had nothing to lose, right?
 I apologize for not having pics of all the prep, I was in a mood to just enjoy the journey without the camera at the time ~ a simple time to just get absorbed in craftyness.
 What I did: 
RESEARCHED!!! Most blogs refer to more freshly made soap being rebatched. However, I saw a pattern, whenever soap isn't fresh and 'moist', soapers would lightly moisten the shaved/diced soap pieces & place in a sealed container. They would be allowed to absorb the liquid for anywhere from 2 - 24+ hours. This was supposed to soften the soap scraps enough to be able to melt down.
My plan: 
 I sorted my scraps into 3 color piles. White, white w/ some brown, & black. All scraps were naturally colored with Clays and Activated Charcoal. All were made with a recipe including Olive oil, coconut, castor oils, and Shea Butter. 
 I diced the scraps into tiny 1/8 to 1/4 inch bits, figuring the smaller the pieces the better absorption of liquid. The colors were placed into separate plastic containers with good sealing lids. I started with 1/4 Cup Kombucha Tea divided between the containers, and shook to coat all the bits & pieces. These sat 24+ hours to soften. I shook them a couple of times just because i could & to make sure liquid didn't sink to the bottom.

It was recommended by several soapers, including our host Amy Warden, to use Yogurt 'after the cook' to help with fluidity. I made sure to have some handy.
I also made sure to have a spray bottle with water handy to spray my soap occasionally during the melt down if things were drying out.
 I wanted 3 distinct colors. The black scraps were the smallest amount, so I added a few of the white pieces to the black. this would lighten up the color so I could add Blue oxide ~ going for Navy blue. Plus it helped equal out the amounts of batter for my layers. 
I used a 3 crock cooker we almost never use otherwise. This allowed me to melt down my soaps & keep the sorted colors separate.  
 This batch will be scented with Crafters Choice "Bay Rum" ~ my first time using it. 
~ No I don't have a brick kitchen! I was under our carport ~ the weather has been fantastic, just perfect for an outdoor soap kitchen! :)

Here's some shots of my color steps ~ 
I used Blue Oxide powder, NOT Indigo in this blue, i didn't catch it soon enough. Yellow Oxide for yellow layer, and Titanium Dioxide to lighten the white. 
 I may have used more water than necessary. The batter melted well enough, though there were stubborn white pieces that stayed more solid. I have more learning to do! 

After the soap scraps were melted as far as they seemed they would go, I added the colors, stirred. Yogurt & Argan oil ~ mixed well, then let sit 5 minutes. I then added the fragrance to each color. 
** Throughout the process, as I checked progress & stirred I would spritz water, to keep too counteract the evaporation.
 Ready to put in the molds !!! Bottom: Yellow. Middle: Blue. Top: White. I expect small white bits throughout, from the dryest bits, but I am absolutely thrilled these soap scraps are getting a new life!!! YAY!

 The batter was still fluid enough I was able to do a simple hanger swirl. 
The packaging was kept simple by layering white denim, cut narrow, topped with a pretty ribbon cut to a matching size. Tied with a little bow to hold them in place. The label is just for the soap name ~ not the ingredients like I would normally do.

A few more finished pics from my 2nd batch .

        ~ BATCH ONE ~

I recently made a special request Soap with Frankincense and Myrrh fragrance. I did not feel the scent came through strong enough, so I chose to try rebatching 4 of the bars & add more scent. This soap was 2 weeks old.
 Here are some of the steps:
 Most of the soap was one color with petals on top, and a simple pencil line. I would cut out the pencil line, and repurpose them as embeds. The petals I would pull off in case I chose to reuse them on these soaps. The rest I cubed up, and used a salad shooter to shred up. I added 1/8 Cup of KT to a ziplock bag, added the shredded soap, shook & let sit sealed while I prepped everything else. The smaller embed cubes, I sealed up separately. I planned on heating them lightly in the oven, to better stick to the melted soap. 

The embed pieces got a dry'ish crust on them. I warmed them too soon! I didn't gauge the time well on how long the shredded soap would take to melt. I spritzed with water to try to 'save' them while they waited. I also spritz with Rubbing Alcohol before embedding... Never done this method before so, hey i'm learning as I go!
*Here are some pics of the melting stages. I used the Microwave method for rebatching. I read up, and felt confident this could work. I was ready to use SMALL amount of time, and watch like hawk!

After melting to a nice smooth texture, I added Alkanet powder, infuse in Argan oil. I added between 1/2 to 3/4 tsp before enough color showed. ~ this is a 1# batch.
 The last pic of of 1 'before' bar, and 2 'after' bars. The embeds seem like they may not be super durable, but time will tell. 

 This has been super fun, and confidence building for me! I have been 'needing', and wanting to try rebatch, and just couldn't make myself do it ~ thus the pile of old scraps!
 So THANK YOU Amy for the inspiration to get me going in this awesome and practicable direction! 
 I plan on trying regular from scratch HP soon as well. It seems much less intimidating now ~ yay.
 Thanks to Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks and all the wonderful Ladies she had helping with the soap jury this time! Kenna Cote, Tatsiana Serko,  Jelena Vasiljeva, and Lori Kimble. :)
. Thank you all!
 I look forward to seeing everyone's entries! 

Have a nice day ~ Eva  :)

 Check out my Etsy Store to see what Soaps are available now!   evassoapbasket.com     


  1. This turned out wonderfully!! I'm so glad you did your research because I learned something new - adding liquid to the dry soap pieces before rebatching!! So simple, yet look how well it worked! I think the tiny little white pieces just add extra texture and interest to the soap. Well done, Eva!

    1. Thank you Amy! I really enjoyed trying HP/rebatch, I don't know why I was so intimidated by it before. I wa able to save these old scraps after all ~ That is why I love these challenges! :)

  2. Both of these came out beautiful - love how you were able to swirl the entry one! Thank you for sharing your tips and experience with it all, helps to know some of the successes people have had for when the rest of us try some of this again. :)

  3. Thank you Nathicana! I was so glad to try HP, i had been too chicken to try it for a long time. I am glad what I learned my help others! I always learn in these challenges from others too :))

  4. I love your multiple crockpot setup! I didn't know they existed! ..and very interesting to add liquid to dried soap before incorporating. Make perfect sense! Great result! I love your design. So creative!

    1. Thank you @chezhelene 😄. The multi crocks are handy for sure! I'm glad my passing on the tip on 'reconstituting' dry soap helped. I was happy to find out my self when I read it...Gotta love soaping blogs! :-)

  5. eva your soap came out great and your blog is full of good information I enjoyed reading it and love your soap :)

    1. Lisa, thank you! This was fun, and I learned so much with this challenge! I'm so happy what I shared was useful for you! 💟🌻

  6. What an amazing design! I typically don't care for the crinkle cutters - as they seem to detract from the design - but in your case, it added a wonderfully artistic and perfectly rustic touch! Thanks for your helpful and informative documentation, too. Beautiful soap. Great job!

    1. Thanks Debi! I agree about the crinkle cutters, I mostly use it on my one color bars to add interest. I have had folks tell me they think the texture helps it lather better interestingly. I'm am so happy to have tried HP/rebatch now, what was I afraid of? 😮 😆

    2. Lather better? Wow - very interesting! Thanks for the info, Eva. I guess I'll be crinkle-cutting my next bars to test that out!😁

  7. Your soaps are lovely, Eva. I bet you're glad you signed up for another challenge. Really well done both on your technique and packaging. The swirl you achieve in your submission soap is very impressive. Congrats :) and that's ane awesome setup you have with 3 crockpots in one – so smart using it to separate the colours.
    – Belinda

    1. Thanks Belinda! I do love these challenges for sure :) I have been pushed to try things I might not have, and love taking in what other soapers share. We have had those crocks for so long, I finally found something I will use them more often for ;)

  8. Really fun design, you put a lot of work into these soaps!

    1. Sara, I thank you! I learned so much, and am so excited to try more :))