Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How It's Done: House Of Almonds

Here's a  look in photos of a batch of "House of Almonds" being made.

Make sure your pot of soap is at a light trace. This makes working with the raw soap much easier for playing with layers, splots, drops, or splatters. I always have my ingredients in a see through tray or shoe box, labeled with a sticky note on the inside, and I pop my recipe sheet in there too.

When making your own recipe sheet, make sure to detail all the jugs of soap you'll need, what colors, and how much to reserve for future stages as your batch of soap is built up.

I've poured off some of the base soap into a plastic jug, and here I'm adding rose clay to make the bottom layer a nice pink color.

Incorporate the powder with a spatula first, before moving on to the stick blender. Once you have a smooth batter, pour into the mold.

Wait a little until the layer of pink has set up enough to hold the weight of your next layer. Carefully spoon the soap from your base pot onto the pink, nestling the little dollops close together as you go along. Smooth off with back of spatula to level, ready for the next stage.

Here, I've added some sweet almond oil to a little rose clay powder, and have worked it through to a nice smooth paste with the spatula.

Holding the jug from a height, I'm pouring small individual slops into the batter across the whole layer. Holding the jug high adds weight the the soap, causing it to fall through the white layer. The height of the jug rules the kind of effect you get in the finished soap. Here, I'm going for a tear drop effect, so I need plenty height. I've used about a third of the jug for the drops.

Holding the jug close to the soap now, I'm pouring the batter to finish off the layer. I work in lines to make it easier for spreading out. This is helpful when working with a thickened batter.

Working with the remaining leftovers of all three colors, I'm now building up the top layer in splodges from the spatula. Splodges of dark pink... of white... and then of light pink.

Here, I'm using a bamboo skewer (found in packs in the barbecue section of the supermarket), to twirl, trail, and lift up little peaks. This is the real fun part, and it's very difficult sometimes to stop yourself from playing with all the pretty patterns.

And another batch of "House of Almonds" is born, as the soap sets the mold for 24 hours, sits logged up for 5 days, and then is hand cut into bars and shelved for four to six weeks of cure.


Nitya said...

Great post and lovely pictures of a beautiful soap! The bars look so creamy!

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Thanks so much for taking the time and energy to do such a great post. I learned so much...again. The rose clay made beautiful colors!

Susan Mann said...

Thank you, Nitya.

Donna: So much is learned through the experience of others. Without sharing, so much would be missed.

I want that shop-shed you have on your farm, btw. I could so deck it out with soaps and stuff. :) It's a beautiful place you have there.

Marilyn Schendel said...

Susan- awesome post and beautifully done - made soap today with rose clay-love working with it!

Anne-Marie said...

Such an amazing post, thank you so much for sharing. And the soap is absolutely beautiful!

Susan Mann said...

Hope the post helped you some, Marilyn. How did you work with the clay? Did you make a paste with it first, or add it directly?

Susan Mann said...

Thank you, Anne-Marie. As always, great to see you!

Robin said...

what types of clay did you use, very nice. Thanks for sharing

Robin said...

You mentioned working at light trace but it appears in the pictures it is thick trace? Thanks.
I would love to try this thick textured technique.