Creating Color Variation
Creating color variation in hot-process soap can be a challenge. But it can be done. It takes a bit of planning and coordination, but you can do it easily once you've got the knack. Think of each color as a “sub-batch,” each with its own mixing vessel. Your most useful tools are a stainless steel slotted spoon, a small whisk, and a scoop-shaped silicone spatula. Use your heat-resistant glass bowls and measures to blend the individual colors. You will also find stainless steel soup-spoons and wooden chopsticks helpful.
Experiment with Patterns
Make up the batch and cook to neutrality. While it is cooking, set up the colorants, fragrances, and mixing cups. If the colors and scents vary widely, have separate stirring spoons for each sub-batch.
You can make long strips of color by packing the different colors side by side in ribbons. If you want a pastry-like “Napoleon” effect, you'll then drag a chopstick widthwise through the ribbons. Each batch will, of course, be unique. Stay open to the marvelous variation and unplanned beauty.
Plan out the pattern you want to attempt. If you want large hunks of color, you'll place blobs of colored soap in the mold in the color pattern you like and leave it. If you want to swirl, you can push a chopstick through those blobs in various directions, depending on the effect you want.
Glopping and Swirling
Although it sounds inelegant,
Divide the hot, neutralized soap into as many containers as you have colors. You must work quickly: The cooler the soap gets, the more difficult it will be to incorporate the color evenly. As with other coloring techniques, removing a bit of soap, coloring it, then stirring that back into the rest works best. Once you've incorporated the colors, you're going to glop them into the mold. You will place each portion in a certain way to get the effect you want. The soap will be solid enough to support the portion you place on top of it.
You can make an orderly pattern with the portions of colored soap. Try stripes of one color one way across the mold, and another set of stripes of a different color going the other way.
To make swirls, run a chopstick, spoon, or narrow spatula through the layers. Go randomly or in a pattern, whatever you think will look good. Be sure to make the swirls evenly from bottom to top of the mold. It's easy to miss the bottom of the mold.