Sunday, July 1, 2012

Saponification Sunday. Woad is me

My goal was a beautiful pink soap with blue and white swirls in the middle. The end result was sort of kinda just like that, except for the blue and the pink.

I started with Red French clay, Woad Powder and Titanium Dioxide. (Don't you just love those words. Titanium Dioxide? It's like " Holy Titanium Dioxide Batman, those sure are some white boxers you got there!" or "Get back coppers or I'll bomb you with this huge baggie full of Titanium Dioxide, I swear I will!"

I used my basic recipe of Coconut, Olive, Castor and Sweet Almond Oils with Tussah silk and split it in three very unequal ways. Like I have confessed before I am good about measuring oils and lye, the rest is pretty much made up as I go. To one of the three containers of thinly traced raw soap I added the Red French Clay (infused in "some" olive oil), to the next was Woad powder with a little oil and then to the third it was the TD with some hot water.

And I scented the whole batch of soap (before splitting) with Amyris, Sweet Orange, Lemon and Pink Grapefruit Essential Oils.

They all three got really thick really fast. It is always at this point that I start screaming in my head "CODE BLUE, CODE BLUE!" And I start pouring, which then becomes sloshing which then becomes glopping which then becomes slamming and pushing, cramming and jamming.

Soap making is not the genteel sport you may have been lead to believe , created by women with lace bandana's. large silver hoop earring, Patchouli deoderant  and flowy skirts made of hemp cotton. No, it's more like tough chicks with hockey masks, black leather jackets, steel toed boots and jackhammers. And then there are the GUY soapers who mix their soaps in the bucket of their front end loaders.

We make that soap happen even if it says NO.

Overall it came out not as I had planned but pleasant enough. Hey, now there's a great name for a soap company "Pleasant Enough Soap, for those with Mediocre Standards." There were of course a few airholes but my aggressive slamming kept them from turning into sink holes. I did leave a dent in my counter top but when soaping is the topic, sacrifice is at times, unavoidable. After curing for two weeks the pink parts got even darker than in these pics and the blue from the Woad Powder turned black. My swirls were lacking but no one really knows how beautiful the swirls were in my head anyway so for all they know this is just one more well executed bar of true art.

Or not.

Before you ask, kind followers, sadly these bars are all sold. I made them for my niece Jordan's wedding coming up July 13. Yes I plan to make more and if you would like to pre-order just email me at $4 each plus shipping.


  1. I have been searching the net to find real Lead White (I need some for restoration of Georgian stuff) - it's manufacture is banned everywhere, but some folks have stock-piled it. I almost bought a tube from the USA, until I found out they wanted $40 to post it.

    White Lead - believe it or not - was widely used in cosmetics too, up until everyone went mad from it. Us Brits used to cover ourselves in Woad to welcome the Romans, but now we put it in soap like yours.

  2. Very cool that you used woad. I've done quite a bit of natural dyeing and woad is a favorite for blues. Fun how things turn out isn't it; with both fiber & fabric dyeing and soap.

  3. Even though it accelerated trace super fast, I love how it turned out, it's gorgeous!

  4. Pleasant Enough Soap, for those with Mediocre Standards--I like it. It says it all without saying too much. Go for it.

  5. Wow--that came out snarky. Sorry Donna, I was commenting and watching a chicken root through my garden at the same time. Brain did not connect with keyboard.

    I like the way your soap came out. I like your name for a soap company very much too. Seems like it might be a bit too large to fit on the label, though. :)

  6. I think your woad soap turned out lovely, Donna! The swirling is gorgeous and the essential oil combo sounds wonderful.