Handmaking Marbled Soap Using Pantry Spices

Categories: Handmade


Source:  Arcadian Mermaid

I've been making soap for a few years now and I've always wanted to try marbling. The problem I've come across is the fairly limited natural color options... that are safe, cheap and easy to find. Since my primary reason for making my own soap is to avoid synthetic or harsh ingredients, I usually don't add color to my soap. I'm more interested in the way my soap smells anyway. I'd rather have a lumpy brown chunk of soap with a rich herbal scent than a beautifully molded translucent blue bar that smells like a crayon.

There are lots of safe mineral pigments, but other than coloring the soap, they don't really contribute any therapeutic properties. I wanted to color my soap with ingredients that would have beneficial attributes beyond color so I went to my spice cabinet and chose turmeric, clove, and cinnamon. I used just enough turmeric to lend a warm orange tone to the soap, without impacting the final scent of the bars. For the accent color, I used a combination of ground cloves and cinnamon to create a rich dark brown while also adding a gentle warming and exfoliating quality. I scented the bars with orange, clove and cinnamon essential oils to go with the colors and ingredients in the soap.

The soap pictured above is just turmeric marbled into plain, undyed soap. 
Making marbled soap is just like making regular soap, until the last two minutes before pouring the soap into its mold. The key is to work quickly and be prepared, since your soap will start to set after it's gone to trace. Make sure to have all your ingredients and supplies ready before you start!

If you've never made soap before, I recommend trying a couple simple batches first. I have a post dedicated to the basics of soapmaking that you might find useful. In this post, I'm going to breeze over the primary steps of soap making, so if you're not familiar with the process (especially in regards to using lye safely), this post might not be enough to get you started.

Before you begin, get out everything you will need. Clear off a work surface, measure out your ingredients, and double check your recipe to make sure nothing is missing. Soapmaking is time sensitive, so once you start, it can be tricky to stop for a grocery run!

Equipment Essentials:
Kitchen scale
Stainless steel stock pot
Various wood or silicon spoons and spatulas
Kitchen thermometers (one for the lye solution, one for the oil solution)
Safety goggles and gloves
Plastic containers that can hold hot liquid (the lye solution gets hot!)
Soap mold

1 1/2 pounds distilled water
236 grams lye
2 pounds olive oil
1 pound 4 ounces coconut oil
12 ounces palm oil
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ground clove
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
About 2 tablespoons of avocado oil to mix with spices
3 teaspoons sweet orange essential oil
2 teaspoons clove essential oil
2 teaspoon cinnamon essential oil
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