Chunking Soaps

Chunked soaps are made in at least two stages. The first stage is to make soap in one or more colors and let it harden for a few days. Then you cut that soap into chunks and place in the mold. Next, you make more soap and pour it over the chunks. When you cut the soap, the cross-section of the chunks and the over-pour makes a pretty and unique design in each bar.

By adding texture and color variety to the chunk batch, you add even more excitement to your creation. You can make the chunks in single colors, swirls, and layers. The addition of spices, seeds, or herbs adds even more visual interest.

Starting Out

These projects take some time and planning. You need to make the chunk soap about five days ahead. This is long enough for it to set so that it can be cut into pieces and short enough so it will still bind to the soap poured over it with ease.

Since you'll be working with small amounts of soap for the contrasts, you need to be doubly sure of your measurements. The following recipes are for four-pound batches. You'll make one or two pounds first for contrasts, then the remaining three or two pounds for the over-pour.

For the smaller chunk batches, you'll need to work with higher temperatures than usual. The higher temperature will give you more time for multiple manipulations and will start the batch off with enough heat to help it get through the gel phase.

You will then cut the first part of the batch in the desired shapes. When you cut the chunked soap into pieces, you can get creative and cut them into specific shapes if you wish. Choose molds that will help you create the shapes of the chunks you'd like to make.

Add the chunks to the over-pour, stir carefully and well, then pour the whole thing into the mold. Use a chopstick to be sure that there are no hidden air pockets and that the chunks are placed in the mold where you want them to be.

Chunking Recipes

These recipes are done in stages. They are based on a four-pound oil-based recipe because that size is easy to handle. You can, of course, make the batches smaller or larger. Use any base recipe you want. It is a good idea to use the same base recipe for all stages of the multiphase recipe.

Ginger-Papaya
Ginger-papaya fragrance oil is available at the Scent Shack.

  • 2 pounds of your favorite cold-process recipe, such as Basic Cold-Process Soap, 1-Pound Batch
  • Ginger-papaya fragrance oil
  • Bright papaya orange colorant
  • Leafy green colorant
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  1. Make 2 pounds of soap, scent with the fragrance oil. Divide evenly into two separate mixing cups at trace. Color one-half bright papaya orange and the other a leafy-green.

  2. Pour, insulate, and cure for a day or two. Cut the orange batch into cubes and the green batch into thinner pieces.

  3. Make 2 more pounds of soap, scent with the fragrance oil. Do not color, but add the poppy seeds. Add the chunks to the soap pot and stir carefully to coat all the pieces. Pour at thick trace into mold.

Melon Salad
Cubes of green, pink, and pale orange soap scented with a triple-melon fragrance oil blend, with an off white over-pour.

Part One: Chunks in three colors

  • 2 pounds of your favorite cold-process recipe, such as Basic Cold-Process Soap, 1-Pound Batch
  • Watermelon fragrance oil
  • Cantaloupe fragrance oil
  • Honeydew fragrance oil
  • ¼ teaspoon titanium dioxide
  • Pinch red oxide
  • #8539; teaspoon ultramarine pink
  • ⅛ teaspoon chromium green
  1. Make a 2-pound batch, add watermelon fragrance oil, cantaloupe fragrance oil, honeydew fragrance oil, and titanium dioxide and divide it equally into three mixing cups.

  2. Mix 1 tablespoon of batter with each colorant and stir back into the rest of the portion. Color one part with red oxide, one with ultramarine pink, and one with chromium green.

  3. Pour into small block molds. Insulate well for 2 days. Unmold and cut into cubes. Let cure for 3 days.

Part Two: Over-pour

  1. Make a 2-pound batch and scent with the watermelon fragrance oil, cantaloupe fragrance oil, and honeydew fragrance oil.

  2. Add the colored chunks from Part One to the pan and stir well, coating all the surfaces.

  3. Pour into mold. Use a chopstick to get rid of any air bubbles and arrange the chunks the way you want them.

  4. Insulate well and let sit for 48 hours. Unmold and cut into bars as desired.

Confetti Soap

An easy and visually appealing version of chunking is called confetti. Instead of cutting the contrasting colors into big pieces, shred them with a cheese-grater, using the side with the largest holes. Fold the shreds into the base color rather than pouring the base color on top. The look is reminiscent of pointillism.

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