Swirling with Mica + Glycerin CP Soapmaking
In 2013, I tried my hand at creating mica oil swirls. I love the wispy look of mica oil veining and thought it would be a good fit for my soapmaking style. At the time I was mixing all my powdered colors with a bit of glycerin before adding them to my soap batch. Naturally, when I created my first mica oil mixture I reached for the bottle of glycerin instead of oil. I didn't understand what I had done until the next day when my beautiful swirled soap looked like travertine stone instead of the normal soap.
This is the picture (below) of what I created when I thought I was working with
Mica and Oil.
This was unexpected and I had to figure out what went wrong. I began to review the steps in my head and then realized I had grabbed the glycerin instead of the oil when I pre-mixed the mica. How did that happen? Well for one thing since I was already blending the colors for the main batch with glycerin I also blended the "mica oil" colors I set aside with glycerin as well. Oops! The best designs are created by mistakes.
TIPS TO HELP YOU DESIGN YOUR OWN
- Blend equal parts mica to equal parts glycerin
- Glycerin mica can only be added on top of the soap sparingly otherwise it will pool
- Soap mixture needs to be medium trace to hold the glycerin mica swirl, otherwise it will sink into the soap creating a soupy mess
- Allowing full gel is optimal for glycerin mica swirling to promote the glycerin absorption
- Pre-blend your glycerin mica in advance in small squeeze bottles
- Adding a mica oil vein on top will add to the design of creating a natural stone pattern
- Get creative with natural botanical powders by adding them to your glycerin or oils for an earthy crunchy look
You have completed your inner swirl creation and ready to create an outstanding top swirl.
Add your prepared mica + glycerin mixture to the top of your design. Noticed how lightly I added it. Too much of the mixture here and your soap will not be able to absorb the glycerin later.
Swirl top normally, notice how the mica + glycerin mixture begins to separate? This is the cool part!
Put your soap to bed, let GEL normally (this method doesn't work well with folks who do not like to GEL their soaps). One reason for gel is to be sure the glycerin gets absorbed into the soap. Leaving behind only the indention of mica. I usually leave it for about 2 days before I unmold it.
Here's a close up view
Here's a cut section of this soap
To learn more about creating your own work of art in soap, you should
or if you have never made soap before you can find our e-handouts to our classes which include VIDEO links by CLICKING HERE