And of course the coveted 4-H Master Showmanship belt buckle for inspiring the ultimate over the top decorations.
This is my second time entering the soap challenge and one important thing I learned from the first time I participated was that I would need a lot of practice. I am not one of those people that amazingly get it right the first time. I didn't want to be making loaf after loaf of soap to learn this technique so I decided to make some soap "scratch paper". I cut up some old bars of soap that I had on hand and I also took some trimmings I had accumulated and made a rebatch loaf with a dark color to practice on. I cut really thin slices so I could get as much practice surface as possible. The pieces in the picture below were further cut into thinner slices.
I now have lots of very thin bars of soap with pretty designs on them. In the soap making 101 tutorial she made thin round bars she called soap cookies. It makes sense to me to make them thin because the design will wash off quickly and the soap will be boring and you will want to hurry up and be done with it so you can break out a brand new pretty bar of soap. I will call my bars soap crackers. I made lots of very nice soap crackers learning how to do this technique.
For my first attempt I used the recipe from the tutorial substituting bee's wax for soy wax. This recipe worked well so I stuck with it. I used a piping bag with the tip cut off. I found that as the soap batter thickened, it was hard to get a round line to come out of the bag. The seam in the bag changed the shape of the opening and the soap came out more like a ribbon so for all remaining attempts I used piping tips. I used mostly Wilton tips number 1 and 2.
I wasn't sure what brush to use so I bought a big variety pack at Michael's plus I already had some. I found that I used quite a variety of brushes for different purposes. Rounder brushes worked well on flowers flatter brushes and tiny brushes worked well on feathers. Flat stiffer brushes worked well to straighten out lines and clean up mistakes.
|Some of my favorite brushes|
|Lots of practice!|
I decided not to try multiple colors at this time. I really like the effect of the white on a dark color. For my final product I made a loaf of soap colored with indigo and scented with eucalyptus, peppermint and menthol crystals. I took one bar and sliced it thin to give me more "scratch paper" closer to the size and shape of my actual bars. When I beveled the edges, I went over them with a plastic scoop to round them like a fondant on a cake but overall the bars are a bit rough and rustic. I wanted my designs to wrap around the edges like I saw on all the cake pictures. I also have designs on both the front and back of the bars.
|All set up to work!|
|The backs of the bars|
|The first one done!|
Overall, I liked the results and this was a fun challenge. I am getting faster with practice which is good because if I ever decide to do this again, I don't think I have the patience to spend hours on just one bar of soap again. I have a large zip lock bag full of left over soap frosting. Someone said it makes good soap dough. Maybe I will need to go check out that tutorial next...