Friday, 22 April 2011

Honeycomb Soap - post dedicated to Umeko

Umeko regularly emails me with photos of many things she has been making with our silicone moulds. It's lovely - I like to be able to see what others have been making. Umeko lives in France and makes a lot of soap with melt and pour soap base and more recently also making her own cold process soap.

Melt and pour soap is very simple to use. You literally just melt and pour - adding your choice of colour and fragrance oils. There is a massive range of cosmetic grade fragrance oils available cheaply and in small volumes on Ebay. Melt and pour soap sets in around 30 minutes and is ready to use immediately. We keep a large range of very easy to use silicone soap moulds. Those plastic ones are really difficult to get the soap out of !

Cold process soap is a lot more involved - heating oils and lye and adding caustic soda, then beating until it reaches a trace (kind of like beating double cream) before pouring into moulds. Cold process soap needs left for around a month to cure and then must be tested with litmus paper before it is safe to use.

I do fancy having a go with cold process soap making at some point - but given I've got a toddler who likes to help with EVERYTHING, I don't really want to start skiddling around at the moment with cold process. Still - I've done a lot of work and fiddling around crafting and baking today and yesterday as my car is broken again. Boo hoo.

We've got this new design soap mould coming in a few weeks time. It's a double cell mould to create large bath soaps - one oval and the other rectangular. You will be able to find via this link HERE as soon as it becomes available.

Anyway, I digress. Umeko has just come up with the idea of making a honeycomb type soap and it's a genuis idea if I may say so. I liked it that much, I thought I'd have a go myself !

Basically, to get the honeycomb effect, Umeko simply lined her biggest soap mould with bubble wrap and then poured in the soap base. It came out with outstanding results - have a look at her photo below.

The size of the bar in Umeko's hand is roughly the size of the rectangular bar in our TWO BAR soap mould. Only problem with using a big rectangular wooden box mould to make this in is that you end up with loads of bars all in one go. Great if you are selling it - not so good if it is only for your own use !

Anyway, I melted some SLS Free opaque melt and pour soap base  (about 150g) and added some honey, milk and oatmeal fragrance along with a couple of big heaped teaspoons of locally produced runny honey and a little colouring.

 The darker the honey, the stonger the flavour. The honey I have at the moment is very light. It smelt good enough to eat - but unsurprisingly tasted a bit soapy (I KNOW - I just couldn't resist !!!)

For the first bar, I laid some bubble wrap on the bottom and then poured in the soap base, laying more bubble wrap on top. When it was set, I pulled the bubble wrap off.

As you can see, I could have done with adding a little more colouring and secondly using a NEW piece of bubble wrap rather than stealing a bit from the length Oliver currently has in his toybox for popping. What is is that makes popping bubble wrap so addictive ?

After that, I melted down some transparent melt and pour soap base and added a tiny bit of yellow colouring and some more honey. This was to pour over the top of the opaque base layer. Mine maybe is not so effective as Umeko's - but the transparent layer is sealing in the bubblewrap / honeycomb effect which will make it last longer and not wear the effect away so quickly. The colour shown above is what I used on my finished photo of the soap. The first attempt was a bit too orange.

I poured this over the top of the base layer after removing the bubble wrap. Once the soap was set, I released it from the mould and turned it over to repeat with the other side.

 The base layer took several times longer than normal to set - I actually ended up popping it in the fridge. I can only think that this was due to the bubble wrap causing and isulate layer. Amazing stuff bubble wrap. I've used it a few times in the past to wrap up hypothermic foals. It's literally a lifesaver.

The first attempt - just a bit too orangey on top. Looks ok in the photo - but it's really bright in real life and hides the honeycomb effect too much.

This soap is really yummy addictive. It's also very very slippy ! Ok - soap IS slippy - but I think this is really slippy and can only put it down to the honey. I adore it, it's beautiful to wash with. We've got one as a super big bath soap and I cut the other in half so Oliver can use it too. He loves the soap with "the bubbles in it" - but I've lost count how many times he's dropped it. It's that slippy he can't hang on to it washing his hands and drops his little bar 10x more often than a regular bar !

This is the second (lighter) coloured bar. I think the base layer needs to be a bit stronger coloured though, so I've got another hardening at the moment. This time I've added a little soy sauce to it too which is giving it a really nice caramel colour. I can't wait for it to finish hardening so I can pop it out !

Sarah-Jane Nash - - silicone mould specialists - supplying worldwide


  1. Ok this is really cute and such a fun idea. I've always fancied giving soap making a go. Perhaps one of these days I will and I'd love to start with this one. I'm a sucker for honeycombs, hehe :)

  2. I really enjoyed looking, thanks. I used to make a lot of soap but haven't for a few have inspired me to start again!
    Cheers Jane


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