If you read my blog post last month you already know that I joined the Soap Challenge Club. The first competition involved a column pour technique which I really enjoyed and will probably incorporate into some of the upcoming decorative soaps. The June challenge was very different. It was called Hybrid Stained Glass Designs. It used both cold process soap for the base and melt and pour soap for the design. It also had us piping soap batter to create the dark lines you see on stained glass. A lot of new stuff this month!
The first thing I did was to settle on my design. After looking at a lot of photos of real stained-glass windows, I decided to create my own design – drawing wavy lines that kind of crisscross to mimic waves of rippling water. I thought it would be intricate enough to be a little challenging but not so overwhelming for my first time out!
I picked a cold process soap recipe that I was confident would be slow moving, giving me plenty of time to pipe the lines without it getting thick and chunky. I’d never piped soap batter before so I was pleasantly surprised how well it went! I freehanded my design then using a toothpick, cleaned up some of the areas that I thought looked a bit messy. Once I was satisfied with the design, it was time to prepare the melt and pour while the piping solidified. I really wanted the finished product to look like water, with lighter blues on top and gradually getting darker as I move towards the bottom. Filling in the separate areas with melt and pour was tedious! I had to move quickly and slowly at the same time. “Quickly” because melt and pour soap cools down quickly and as it does it gets thick making it difficult to pour. “Slowly” because I wanted to get each color in its area carefully without going over the lines.
When each area was filled in and cooled down, we needed to pour a coat of clear melt and pour over the entire slab. This is the only step where I kind of messed up. While pouring the clear, one of the darker sections melted a little then began to mix in with its neighboring section causing the colors in that general area to become muddled. The only saving grace, in my opinion was 1) it only happened in a small area of the slab and 2) it happened between two darker colors so the mistake doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb!
There are two categories in which to enter my soap, they are “pattern” or “no pattern.” For the pattern category, you could trace a design into your soap base. For no pattern, you would create original artwork. Since I created my design and piped it freehand,I will enter into the no pattern challenge category. In accordance with the rules of the challenge, I also need to post a picture of the piping process to show that I did not trace my design (which you can see above). It validates that I have entered my soap into the correct category.
Here’s a picture of my entry “Gentle Waves.”
So, there you have it! Challenge #2 complete! While I found this technique extremely time consuming, I also thought it was very interesting to see how to utilize both cold process soap and melt and pour in the same product. Overall, I am pretty satisfied with the result of my first attempt at this technique. Next up, July: Abstract Art Designs – I can’t wait!!
Very beautiful work, Elaine! You have a very free-flowing, yet precise design. After seeing the final soap, it was fascinating to see your process for drawing it. I wouldn’t have guessed that it started with simple wavy lines. It looks much more complex than that! I’m very happy you enjoyed the challenge! The execution appears to be flawless – if you hadn’t mentioned a mixing of colors with the final clear coat, I wouldn’t have known!