Best. Challenge. Ever. Oh my gosh, I can’t tell you how much I loved Amy Warden’s (of Great Cakes Soapworks) latest challenge. For October, we were to make a wood grain soap using either natural or synthetic ingredients.
I chose synthetic. I have a lot of micas so I had a good amount of colors to choose from plus I had gotten a sample of Rustic Escential’s Cedarwood and Patchouli fragrance oil and I thought that would be perfect to try out.
This challenge could not have been timed more perfectly. I had been planning on making a Nutcracker* soap for Christmas and I wanted to make it wood grain. Even though I had never done that before I was going to make an attempt. I often run out of time for doing these challenges. For instance, the month before, even though I was signed up for the piping challenge, my time was taken up trying to finish my website in order to get it launched for an October deadline. But this time I could accomplish two birds with one stone. I could work on trials for my Christmas soap and do the challenge at the same time. Score!
I looked around our house at our various wood furniture as well as the piles of wood in our garage. (My husband does woodworking so there is plenty.) But I finally took inspiration from some tulipwood pictures (which varied considerably) I found on a wood website.I followed Amy’s recipe which worked like a dream. Nice and slow moving, giving me plenty of time to lay down the colors. I used 5 colors from Steph's Micas and More: Shimmer Gold, Shimmer Gold with a bit of Satin White added, Latte, Cocoa Brown with Majestic Purple and Ruby Red added, and Copper.
My first try was done in a small 4 bar slab mold. I tried to CPOP and I watched it carefully. But 30 minutes after I turned the oven off the top was bubbling or getting what looked like pictures I’ve seen of alien brains.Ugh! I took it out and let it cool and after 24 hours I was able to plane the top off and it was lovely. When I cut it the edges were a bit rough and I LOVED how that added to the wood look. (see small picture on right) But since it was not only for the competition but also for Christmas, I went ahead and make it again using a slightly larger slab mold my husband had made. This one turned out exactly as I had hoped!
I am so in excited about this technique. I don’t know if I will get it done before this blog has to go up as I also have quite a few other Christmas soaps to do (yes I know, I’m behind) but I plan to try a weathered grey wood board look and probably scent it with Silver Birch and Vetiver and maybe a yellow oak soap with Oak Barrel Cider! I feel like the possibilities are endless!
Thanks again, Amy for all your hard work on these challenges and for putting together another great one!
*this soap has been renamed for Spring and is now being sold as Tulipwood.