Soap Challenge Club May 2021: Column 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 May, the challenge was a technique borrowed from acrylic pour painting called the "column pour". The last soap challenge in which I participated was the kiss pour, also borrowed from acrylic pour painting. Inspiration for soap design is everywhere!
In the column pour, a "column" (or two or three) is placed in a slab mold and thin soap batter is poured over the column. For this challenge, just about anything could serve as a column, but all soap batter that was in the mold had to be poured over the column. For my soap, I chose inverted soda bottles as my columns. I placed two in my mold, held in place with cocoa butter. I melted the cocoa butter and dipped the cut soda bottles into the cocoa butter. I then placed them in my mold and placed the mold in the refrigerator to harden the butter. This worked great for the first half of pouring, but the bottles did detach from the bottom and shift around once about half the soap was in the mold. Next time I would use soap dough to anchor my columns in the mold, just as Amy had done in her tutorial for this challenge.
I kept my batter very fluid by working at room temperature (around 78 degrees F) and mixing only to emulsion before separating the batter into colors. I used 5 colors: bright orange, red violet, black, light green, and white. For the black I used black iron oxide instead of the usual activated charcoal. Activated charcoal can thicken soap batter and I needed this batter to stay as thin as possible for as long as possible. I scented the batter with just a little lemongrass essential oil, which does not accelerate trace. See my previous blog post for more tips on controlling trace of soap batter.