Soap Challenge Club February 2021: The Kiss Pour
The Soap Challenge Club, hosted by Amy Warden, is a group of soap makers who come together to learn new techniques and engage in a little healthy competition each month. Amy shares a tutorial and soap makers have the month to practice the technique, ask questions, share tips, and finally enter a soap for competition. For February, the challenge was a technique borrowed from acrylic pour painting called the "kiss pour". Joanne Watkins was our guest teacher for this challenge, sharing her tips and tricks for applying the kiss pour technique to soap making.
In acrylic pour painting, the kiss pour technique is performed by layering paint of different colors into two different pouring pitchers. The layered paint from these two pitchers are slowly poured onto the canvas simultaneously so that the streams of paint are barely touching, or kissing. This technique can be easily adapted to soap making. Instead of paint of different colors, it is colored soap batter that is layered into the pitchers then poured into a slab soap mold.
The true "challenge" of this month's Soap Challenge Club is controlling the trace of the soap batter. Once oils and lye are mixed to create a soap batter, they are reacting to form a solid soap. The soap maker must be familiar with how to manipulate the soap batter so that they would have enough time to separate into colors, layer into pouring pitchers, then pour into the mold. If the batter is too thick, then the ideal wispy layers don't happen. If the batter is too thin, then the colors mix or even muddle together. You can read more about controlling the trace of soap batter in this previous blog post. Selecting the right colors is important as well. Mixing of colors often happens with this technique, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, red and blue will mix to form purple, but red and green mix to form a brownish gray.
I attempted this challenge one time. I used Joanne Watkin's recipe, except for substituting shea butter with cocoa butter. Her recipe was not all that different from one of my own, except for the higher water content. The higher water content helped to keep the soap batter fluid longer, giving me more time to separate into colors, layer the colored batter into two different pitchers, then pour into my slab mold. I used a rosewood musk fragrance that I was familiar with and knew would not accelerate trace. This is probably the most important part of this technique- the choice of a non-accelerating fragrance. The colors I used were dark blue, medium blue, and light blue alternately layered in one pitcher, separated by a little white between each layer. In the other pitcher I alternately layered purple, dark pink, and light pink, with a little white in between. Here's a picture of the mica colorants I used. Aren't they pretty?