I Tried Following A Soap Art Tutorial


The thing is I feel like with other following tutorial videos, it’s a little more relaxed? It’s a little more like, ‘Oh, maybe I have that, maybe I don’t’ and with this it’s like, “Bitch don’t die.” (Funky Intro Music) Hello friends, and welcome to another video. Today I’m gonna be following a soap art tutorial and attempting to make my own fancy-looking soap. How are we going to do this, you ask? Well buckle up, because after doing a little bit of research, I kinda sorta know and I will be attempting to explain it very shortly. Now for some context, I am a sucker for fancy soap. I love it. I can spend probably a good half an hour circling and smelling those fancy handmade soap displays in Whole Foods or anywhere, really. I don’t even actually prefer using bar soap to like liquid body wash. I just like looking at it, okay? “Look at it!” “Look at It! Look at it!” And don’t get me started on soap cutting, I could watch that ‘ish’ for days. Except when it really seems like they’re about to cut their finger, that freaks me out. So the thought crossed my mind one day, as I stuck my head into a pile of soap ‘ostrich style’, ‘How hard would it be for me to make my own fancy-looking soap?’ So I searched online for soap art tutorials and found a lot of very satisfying footage and a handful of videos that will actually teach you how to make soap. Now there are a fair amount of, like, ‘five-minute-craft-type’ soap pack videos, where you can make cool-looking individual soaps by basically just melting down previously existing soaps and pouring them into molds, but I want to make a whole loaf of pretty, swirly soap from scratch. So thus began my fancy soaping quest. Now before I dive into some of the learnings that I have… learned I just wanted to give a quick shoutout to Wix for sponsoring this video. Now some of you old-timers might remember Wix as the company through which I designed my very reputable website safiyasnewintrosong.com from the, “I bought the first five things YouTube recommended me” video. Yes, that website is still alive, and despite seeing that, they still wanted to partner with us. They’re very nice. Now if you don’t know, Wix is an all-encompassing tool that helps you build, design and host your own website with tons of creative freedom and options for like, every skill level. And you can make a lot of different kinds of websites to suit your needs, too. So in addition to making music-playing, I guess, blogs like I did – will this work? (“Safiya’s New Intro Song” plays) You can also make ecommerce sites, for example. So in the event that I turn out to be like the Beethoven of soap making, I could make my own soap store online and share my creations with the world. Pretty, swirly, smelly creations. Don’t hold your breath though, I’ll probably end up more like the Beethoven, the dog of soap-making but the website will still look good. So if you’re in need of a website, consider Wix, the link will be in the description below. Okay, so back to the soap. So I guess the first question we have to ask when making soap from scratch is, what is soap even made of? Soap in general is made by combining oils which contain fatty acids with sodium hydroxide lye, which is a base and honestly by itself, pretty poisonous. But when you mix those two together… You start a process called: saponification. In which the acids of the oils are broken down by the lye into glycerin and fatty acid salts or these long, ‘sperm-y looking’ molecules, and these little swimmers have a hydrophilic head that is attracted to water and a lipophilic tail, that is attracted to oils. So when you use your bar of soap, the lipophilic tails will grab on to the dirt and oils on your skin, and the hydrophilic heads will hang on to the water that rinses it all away. (The spellings on this one took AGES.) This took me a while to figure out because I haven’t taken chemistry since 2008. So basically, in these soap-making videos, people will combine like an oil-mixture with lye water to make a soap batter, and then they will add colorants and fragrances and to use a myriad of different tools and methods to get some pretty-looking soap. Unfortunately, although there are a lot of these videos that have very aesthetic footage and do outline their process, not a lot of them are like full-on, step-by-step tutorials for beginners… Like me. But thankfully, I stumbled upon this channel called Soap Queen TV, run by this lady, Anne-Marie, who seems to be kind of like the godmother of online soap-art tutorials. Partially because I think she owns her own company called, ‘Bramble Berry’ that sells soap-making materials that a lot of people seem to use. And on her channel, She details different techniques, what equipment you should use and how to handle the whole, ‘Lye is toxic and can kill you’ thing. And after watching a lot of her videos, I came across this tutorial of how to make hanger-swirl soap, which for the purposes of this video, checked a lot of boxes for me. It’s colo(u)rful, it’s swirly, and if I saw it at the store, I would definitely sniff it. A-M: I love how each of the hanger-swirls just pulled up the colo(u)rs, gorgeous. So I picked this one, and then ordered everything that she used in this tutorial from her website so we could make it. Yes… Yes, she got me, hook, line,and sinker. Now before we begin, I just want to harp on the fact that lye is a pretty dangerous substance… like, it can burn your skin, it can get really hot and erupt out of its container, and it can even explode if exposed to the wrong thing. So they say to keep kids and pets away from it, try not to get it on your skin, try not to breathe the fumes in and definitely don’t get it in your eyes or eat it. Anne-Marie makes you watch like, four videos on lye safety before she even tells you how to make soap. So just know…it can be bad. So on that note, let’s do this. Okay! So it’s a couple of weeks later after ordering all of our supplies, our many supplies. You don’t need to pan, it looks like a mess. And I think that we have everything we’re going to need now, so we are ready to make our soap. So basically in this tutorial, Anne-Marie makes a soap batter with her oils and lye water, and then separates it out into four different containers. From there, she adds like different colo(u)rants to each one, pours them into a loaf mold, and then uses like, a coated wire to move the colo(u)rs around inside of the loaf to get that hanger or swirl design. So there are like plenty of things we have to do, T: Yes. S: A myriad of steps. This is the first time I’ve ever made soap and in the beginning of the tutorial she specifically states that it’s an advanced technique and I’m like, okay. A-M: If you’ve never made soap before this is an advanced technique. I’m biting off more than I can chew and I know it. So before we really get into it, I just want to prep my hanger tool for future swirling purposes. So essentially, I’m just going to like uncoil it, straighten it out- T: It looks like a shitty wand. Stay focused here. *laughs* and then bend it into kind of like a u-shape. A-M: Make sure that your hanger tool is perfectly sized to fit nicely into your mould. Okay, so we’re going with this as our hanger tool shape T: Looks good to me. So now that that’s done, we can like get into the recipe and start getting our hands dirty, or not dirty because I’ll be wearing gloves. So our first step is to prep the colo(u)rants.
Now, I’m gonna be using the exact same colors as Anne-Marie, in the exact same order. I’m just doing everything exactly as Anne-Marie says. I didn’t go off the books for anything, that’s why we have everything from frickin’ brambleberry.com. T: It is not sponsored by Bramble Berry. S: It’s sponsored by Wix, get it straight. So basically, I’m gonna take sweet almond oil and put 1 tablespoon into each of these four little cups, T: Shot glasses?. S: You probably shouldn’t take shots of them, but you could describe them as shot glasses. T: They’re Teavana sample cups. S: Exactly. R.I.P. Alright, so we’re done with the almond oil, A-M: Then take 1 TSP of each of your colo(u)rants, then place it in those containers on top of the oil. S: Now Anne-Marie specifically says that she goes lightest to darkest like white, yellow, light blue and dark blue. A-M: So that way, I don’t have to rinse my mixer in between colo(u)rs S: So I’m just going with that mentality. There will be no rinsing, in this video. A-M: Next, take your mini-mixer and gently move that powder around. You don’t want to turn on the mini-mixer and then, ‘poof’, have all that powder just go everywhere. S: Whoo! Oh my god. T: Oh you better hold that thing. S: Ah, I have to hold it. T: Yeah. S: Whoa! Whoa, it’s vibrating my hand! T: I think it’s mixed. A-M: Give each of these colo(u)rants a good blending S: Why is it making that, sound? T: It’s plastic on metal, Saf! S: Sounds like a duck. WHHOO! A little powder sprayed- It’ll be okay. This counter has been through a lot. All right, so I’ve got my pigments and now it’s time to measure out our fragrance. A-M: I’m using a tried-and-true fragrance oil from brambleberry.com. This crisp cotton fragrance oil. It smells well, crisp. S: Uh, the crisp cotton fragrance oil smells like a really intense childhood memory of a bubble bath. A-M: Really it smells very, refreshing and light. S: Maybe like L’Oreal kids on crack. For some reason, I can’t stop smelling it though. I think I’m trying to get like, all of my curious cat sniffing impulses out of the way cause’ once the lye comes out, we can’t inhale at all. Huff now, puff later. (Soap Life) Alright, so now I set my fragrance oil to the side and now we do some of the dangerous stuff, like combining the lye flakes with the water. Welcome to the danger-zone! So to make our lye water, we need 10 ounces of distilled water, and once we’ve measured that out, it’s time to bring out the lye. A-M: Now, I’m going to suit up for safety. S: So I’m just gonna put my hair up really quick, and then also put on my goggles and my gloves, just to protect myself from most angles. T: You’re also gonna put that ‘Fiends, by Saf’ sleeve down too, right? S: Ayyy’, ayyy’? One of the only things in this video, not bought on brambleberry.com. Ok, so now that I’m suited up for safety I’m also gonna mention that I am in a well-ventilated area with no kids and no pets. Krusty is not here. He will have no part in the soap-making process. In fact, he doesn’t like soap. He’s against it in every way, shape and form. So, let’s open our sodium hydroxide lye, which has been sent to us in this sort of like, dangerous orange bag. It looks like it’s a house being fumigated It’s like don’t open me, unless you want to make a nice fun craft and which case do open me. Alright, goodbye hazmat suit. And then I need four point six ounces. Okay? T: Do it. S: Trying not to breathe in. So after measuring out the lye, I’m gonna stir it into our distilled water with a stainless steel spoon, not an aluminium spoon, that will explode. And the chemical reaction between the lye and the water is gonna make it pretty hot in ‘hurrr’ Alright, so it’s right now at about a hundred and eighty eight degrees Fahrenheit, and we want it to be about 120 degrees. I’m gonna put it to the side right now, and then we’re gonna prepare our oil. So for our oil, we got this quick mix bag that Anne-Marie recommended. ] A-M: It contains a mixture of slow-moving oils to ensure that I have plenty of time to work on my design. S: And it came in a bag of 33 ounces, and we need 33 ounces. So we’re using it all. T: This is mom’s spaghetti. In general for soap-making, you want to have your lye water and your oils be about the same temperature. For this recipe in particular, Anne-Marie recommends that they should both be around 120 degrees Fahrenheit when you mix em’. So basically, I’m just gonna put our oils in the microwave while our lye is cooling down, so the two can become 120 degrees at the same time. T: Boom. S: So this step is kind of just about waiting. I feel like there’s been so much going on, that I haven’t really gotten to geek out about the laser thermometer that I got on Amazon. I was very confused when I first saw Anne-Marie using this, because I thought there was like a needle poking out the top that she was sticking into the liquids, but no, T: It’s a frickin’ laser. S: It’s a frickin’ laser. Alright, our lye water is at about 124 degrees, and our oils are at about 120 degrees, so now it’s time to combine them. A-M: Carefully mix the lye water into the oils, by gently pouring down the shaft of your stick-blender and pulsing the stick-blender off and on. S: Alright, so this is my stick-blender, and basically I’m gonna put it into my quick mix oils at an angle. I think this is called ‘burping it’ to make sure that there’s no air bubbles underneath there? A-M: Make sure that you burped your stick blender. S: And so now I’m going to pour in my lye water, whilst pulsing my stick blender. Alright, so that’s all my lye water. Now, I get to just mix it. A-M: Continue stick-blending until you reach just a that very very thinnest of trace. S: So one term that you hear all the time with soap-making, is this thing called trace, which basically means that your oils and water have emulsified, or in other words, you can’t see any like, streaks in your mixture and it’s not gonna separate back out into water and oil. And people say things like, light trace, medium trace and thick trace to indicate like how long you should blend and how thick your batter should be. Is that trace? T: Eh, I’m not sure yet. Do it for like 20 more seconds or 10 seconds. S: Alright, so light trace should be pretty liquid-y and pourable but it still has to be fully mixed, S: You know it’s trace? T: That’s definitely trace. It’s cake batter. S: Alright, so now I’m going to remove my stick-blender and then put this- My goggles are foggy. Hello. A-M: Now, split this batch into four different containers. S: Alright, as I’m pouring it out, my mixture is looking a little thick but I’m just gonna go with it and put it in my containers. Anyway, so now all that we have to do is add our pigments to each little, little guy. A-M: Mix in the colo(u)rants completely. I’m gonna do the teensiest cystic blends here. S: Ready? T: Let’s do this. S: Uh oh. T: Eh? T: Teensie? S: Oh no. Tyler, this looks bad. T: Yeah. S: This does not look like hers. T: Okay, so what happens Saf? S: Okay- So…we messed up a little bit. Things didn’t really go as planned here. I think I over-mixed the soap-batter a lot. So, what I thought was like a thin trace, turns out to have been pretty much a thick trace. As in like, it’s not liquid anymore, and from everything I’ve read, once you’ve like, mixed and thickened up the soap, you can’t really go backwards and thin it out again. So, because I went past the thinnest of trace, it’s not really portable anymore. So we can’t make any art. This is a fail, we’re gonna have to do this again. Unfortunately, that means we’re gonna have to reorder everything, wait for it to arrive and then regroup. Okay, so we are back with more ingredients ready to go at the soap again. We’re trying it a second time to see if we can get past the like, combining step. So I’m basically just gonna like, speed through all of the steps, and then we will resume kind of like, figuring it out where we left off? Right when we’re sort of like, mixing the lye water and the oils together, like right now. I have my oil, sort of heated up and I have my lye water like, ready to be combined with the oil. There’s no question that last time, we over-blended it, but after watching a few other videos, about, you know, trace and general like, swirling thingies. In order to get a light trace, I think that we should mix it for like, less than 60 seconds, versus like the few minutes we gave it last time. So, we’re just gonna blend it a little bit. So, what I’m gonna do is, I’m gonna pour down the stick and then once it’s in, I will pulse. T: Oh yeah. S: It needs to be fully mixed. It’s like with no streaks of oil or anything, but that’s it. Then it’s done. Yeah. Alright. I’ll- let’s go with that. T: That’s like the trace. S: It doesn’t look like Anne-Marie’s, but last time it didn’t look like Anne-Marie’s either. I guess that doesn’t mean anything. Alright, bring in the dancing lobsters. So now I’m gonna once again, attempt to pour the mixture into my containers. T: Oh yeah, that’s pouring though, Saf. S: It’s better than last time, for sure. Alright now, colo(u)r. Time for colo(u)r. I feel like I have to go fast this time, because besides the over-mixing last time, I think the longer I waited to pour, the harder it got. See, I guess this is why Anne-Marie doesn’t rinse anything, cause’ she doesn’t have time. What does Anne-Marie say to the god of death? Ain’t nobody got time for that. T: Yeah. S: Because the soap is a-hardening. Now, we do one stick-blend in each container, lightest to darkest. No matter what happens this time, this consistency is definitely less stiff than last time like, it’s pretty liquid still which I think is a good sign. Alright, and now we’re gonna hand mix the fragrance oil in. Just a little bit for each. I’m mixing the fragrances in with a whisk for the first three colo(u)rs, so the trace doesn’t like, become thicker, but for the dark blue container, I’m gonna hit it with the stick-blender again. A-M: That’s because this is my very first layer in my soap, and I want it to be nice and thick. S: I think, because we don’t want any of the other colo(u)rs to like, pierce through the blue. Now, I’m gonna take my loaf mould out, and pour the entirety of the dark blue soap into the loaf mould. T: That looks pretty good. S: I’m just glad it’s pouring. A-M: And then give this mould a little tap on the counter to eliminate air bubbles. S: Alright now, let’s jiggle this bitch. How much you think I’m supposed to jiggle? Is this enough? T: I think you’re good. S: So now that the dark blue’s in, Anne-Marie’s next step is to spoon in the white soap. T: Half of it. S: Half of it. There you go, someone remembers. T: That’s why I’m here. A-M: And just slow and easy does it, you don’t want to get any break through T: It’s kind of making me think the last time we messed it up, a 10 out of 10, because it feels like we haven’t done this perfectly and it’s like kind of looking okay. S: Okay. Listen, this is my first loaf. T: Yeah, you’re like Kim Kardashian, Saf. You’re doing great, sweetie S: So if I’m Kim, that makes you Kris. T: Oh, I’m Kris Jenner, I’ll take that all day, yeah. S: I wanted to be Kris. T: Who doesn’t want to be Kris? A-M: Now, add most of the light blue onto the top of that white. S: My light blue is kind of stuck a little bit like, right on top T: But down below- S: but down below. It’s pretty soft still so- Let’s pour this while it’s still good. T: Oh- Yeah, it’s coming out, Saf. S: This is…no longer liquid. Nevertheless, I’m gonna flatten that down with my little spatula, give it a little jiggle and move on to the white. A-M: Use all the rest of that white soap. S: Yeah, my white is looking pretty chunky, but I refuse to take an L on this. I’ve come too far to turn back now. A-M: Finally, Add all the yellow soap to the top of the white. You may notice that your soap is getting a little thick, if that’s the case just give it a quick mix to get it back to loose and flowing. S: I’m not sure we’re gonna get this back to loose and flowy, but we can probably get it out. Here we go. Here we go. T: Oh, it’s coming, it’s coming. T: U- yeah. S: Okay, I’m gonna get a spoon. I can’t see a thing, there’s so much yellow. T: There is a lot of yellow in here. S: What is this, a Coldplay song? S-sorry. Alright, I think that’s all of the yellow. Wow, my goggles are like, I literally can’t see out of my left eye. T: You’ve been sweating. S: Sweating out of my eyeballs. Whoa. It’s a whole new world out here. A-M: And now, it’s time to use our hanger tool. S: Basically, what I do is, I use my hanger tool that we, a very long time ago measured out to this loaf. Then I’m going to insert it and then kind of like, do like this kind of motion where I like, go up and down and back and forth to um, swirl it…basically. One thing I will say is, that it’s kind of hard to see what Anne-Marie is doing here, because it’s all happening inside of the loaf. A-M: A little bit on the bottom, up but don’t break through the top. Down and over, and up and over. S: Which makes me kind of nervous, but at this point there’s soap in there and we’re just gonna go with it so whatever happens now is just gonna happen. T: You’re doing something. S: It’s feeling thick to me, guys. It does not feel like it’s sort of like- T: Hey, it’s all good. S: I don’t know. T: Did something happen? What was going on in there? S: It feels thick in there. T: Yeah. S: I don’t know if what we got was a desirable result. T: But you’re probably dragging things around. S: Yeah, something happened. I guess we’ll see. A-M: Finally, remember that blue that we reserved? Just take a little bit and drizzle it down the middle. S: My light blue is pretty thick at this point, but I’m just gonna try and like glob some on and then I’m gonna take a little skewer, and try and make a swirly design on top of my loaf like Anne-Marie does. The yellow is so chunky on top, you guys. T: Actually, it looks like the more intricate design. It’s kind of like, “Hey, look at this, is that a rose? Is this like, Baroque? You know? Is that a Rococo piano?” Alright, so with that design on top, this is what I’m gonna be calling my soap loaf I have no idea how it’s gonna come out, the hanger tool felt like it was sort of going through custard, which I’m not sure is ideal, but from here, I can’t tell how it looks inside. So my final step right now is to, spray the top of our loaf with some rubbing alcohol A-M: And, put this soap to bed! S: And then I’m going to leave our soap to like, dry out on a heating pad and underneath a box, to ensure gel phase, which basically means we’re gonna try and keep it hot as it sets, so the colo(u)rs will end up being more vibrant. And then in a couple of days, we will cut our soap mould and see what it looks like. Alright, so we are here 48 hours after putting our soap into the loaf mould, and it is now time to take it out and cut it. T: Ooh! S: And there is the soap. So to take the soap out of the mould, I’m pretty sure I just have to like, tug on these sides and then flip it over. Here we go. Oh we’re out. T: It’s going, yeah. S: Ta-da! Well, it is sort of all over my hands, but it’s out. Alright, that was pretty good. It looks artistic, sort of. The stripes on the sides, leave a little something to be desired. I’m not sure that the layers were very even, I was spooning them in mostly, so that might be the culprit. But I will say that, the colo(u)rs are looking pretty good. The sides are very smooth to the touch, and I am smelling like an overwhelming odo(u)r of crisp cotton fragrance. I did spill it all over the kitchen basically also, so that might be why. All observations of the outside of the loaf aside though, I think like the true test of my soap-making abilities..? T: Prowess? S: Is how this thing looks on the inside. So I’m gonna get a knife and we’ll just chop this thing open. T: Ooooh! Is it nice and firm? S: Ooh, no, actually, it’s kind of soft and nice. Kind of like a block of cheese. It’s kind of stuck at the bottom. Oh, oh, oh, it’s lifting up the loaf. Here we go, Oooooh, alright anything? Oh, okay! I think I’m starting to see something that could be a swirl? There is a hole right there, but it’s almost like a um, a wave pattern. Alright. I’m going back in for more. Oh, oh, oh see, I keep lifting up the loaf with every slice. Ooh, there’s some pattern in there That’s something it looks better than I expected based on how it was feeling. When I was swirling, it didn’t feel right. But it looks like, half-right. T: I think we should just like leave it at Whole Foods and see if people pick it up S: There is a giant hair of mine right there. T: Oh, so we’re not gonna leave it at Whole Foods. S: Yeah. Thankfully, the hair is not like imbued into the soap. It just was laying on top of it, but it was there. As I continue to chop, I think that some of the bars have like a pretty decent looking design. Some of them do have like that ocean wave pattern. Whereas, other ones get a little closer to like the actual hanger-swirl we’re going for. T: Yeah, where it goes up and down? S: Yeah, exactly where it goes up and down. I think for some reason I was much better at going up, and I don’t know why. So now that all of our bars have been cut, basically what we do is we just have to leave it somewhere kind of like cool and dry for a few weeks to cure, just so all of the water evaporates out and leaves you with firm bars of soap. But for our purposes, the soap art is done. So this is pretty much what they’re gonna look like. Okay, so that was me attempting to follow a soap art tutorial. In the end, we made 12 bars of soap that look, okay. I think I’m missing a little bit of a uniformity to my swirl, and I also have a few texture issues with my soap like holes, maybe because our soap batter was getting pretty chunky by the time we put the last few layers into the loaf. So they don’t look quite as nice as Anne-Marie’s. T: She’s the soap queen though! She is the soap queen, and I guess at this point, I am the soap peasant. Besides all that, I do like the top of my soap, maybe even more than Anne-Marie’s. Our top is more like textured sort of like, you know, foam on top of a sea. Sea foam is what I meant to say, and that kind of matches our like, wave-motif, so maybe there was a silver lining to the chonk. In terms of what went wrong to cause the chonk though, I think I underestimated how fast I had to move in like the pouring section to keep all of my soap liquid. Even though we did do a better job with the level of trace to begin with, I think that I spent a little too much time narrating the steps and while I was chatting, the soap was congealing. The only other thing I found really difficult to figure out, was the hanger swirl technique, I think because I can’t really see what Anne-Marie is doing, and I also can’t really see what I’m doing. It’s sort of a crapshoot. Especially because I don’t have a lot of experience working with the loaf mold. Obstacles aside, I did enjoy making this soap a lot, and I would definitely be interested in making more soap now that I have some of the basics down. In fact, because we had some extra ingredients I did try this technique a couple more times and I think I’ve improved on the pouring a lot, but not so much on the swirling. One time I messed it up like really bad and the next time I did better but ended up kind of low for some reason so the swirls are on the bottom for most of the bar, and after rewatching this a few times, A-M: Down and over and up and over. ‘over and then up’ (in slow-motion). S: and still not getting it. I’m quite confused. Sorry Anne-Marie, I’m just a lowly soap peasant. Thank you guys so much for watching and once again a huge thank you to Wix for sponsoring this video. I hope there is someone out there who is actually good at soap-making who could use Wix to make their own store. I would like to buy your soap, please. It’s okay if you’re not good at making soap though. You can still have your own Wix website. I mean, I have one, So, there you go. If you like that video make sure to SHUMASH that like button, and if you want to see more videos like this, make sure to SHUMASH that subscribe button. Here are my social media handles, and a big shout out to “Red” for watching Thanks for watching Red, and I will see you guys a-next time! (Captions by Maryssa Helmi/’ferb’ + Roger Gary)

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