These ribbon soaps are made perfect for a bright and happy Christmas project, especially if you want some attention attracting soaps for a function. They are relatively easy to make as long as you take your time, measure carefully, and spritz between layers. Fresh Bamboo Fragrance is water white and so fresh and perfect for summer, however if you would like a more citrus scent, Yuzu Fragrance is water white too, which means it won't affect the clarity of the soap.
This tutorial makes three sets of soaps which are detailed below. If you are only making a portion of the tutorial the times will of course be less, and the amount of soap required.
We'll be donating many of these soaps to the Women's Refuge Centre so if you want to make less, just halve all the quantities. I also wanted some shaped soaps for gift packs so used our Contour Oval Mould which are lovely! (The Contour Oval is unavailable but any oval mould works well)
This tutorial is actually fairly easy, it's all about temperature and layering, so if you are new to soaping and want to make them, take it slowly, measure everything and away you go!
Our Coconut Low Sweat Soap is NOT SUITABLE for this project
Pour the soap at between 55 to 65°C (I poured all layers at 60°C). Each layer is carefully measured by weight to ensure they are all equal in depth.
Stirring spoons or spatulas
3 microwave safe jugs - one needs to hold 1 litre or more, the other two 500 - 750ml each
Electronic Scales - if you have them
Isopropyl Alcohol in a Spritzer Bottle - for eliminating bubbles, useful but not essential
What you'll need:
PART ONE - Make the Ribbons:
300g soap for each layer: 2 x red and 2 x green and 1 x white = 1500g for the five layers
This is the breakdown of colours and fragrance I used:
Green Layers - 7 drops Deep Sea Green Dispersion, 2/3 teaspoon Seaform Green Mica - 3g/ml Fresh Bamboo
Red Layers - 30 drops Tomato Red Liquid, 1/8 teaspoon Merlot Mica (3 pigment scoops) 3g/ml Fresh Bamboo
White Layers - soap is uncoloured but is scented - 3g/ml Fresh Bamboo
Pour 1 - Green
Pour 2 - White
Pour 3 - Red
Pour 4 - Green
Pour 5 - White
Pour 6 - Red
Step One: Cut the soap into cubes and weigh each portion, keeping the white and the two lots clear separate. It is important to have a fairly accurate weight to ensure the stripes of the ribbons are even
Step Two: Melts 400g Clear Soap Base in a heatproof jug. Melt on medium/low in short bursts to ensure a thorough melting without boiling. This jug is for 2 layers of green, the first and the fourth.
Step Three: Add the colours and fragrance to the melted soap base and stir well to combine. We used just over 3ml Fragrance per portion of soap for the ribbons. Pour half of the liquid soap base into the loaf mould and spritz with a finishing touch of alcohol to remove bubbles. Allow this to firm up. It just needs to be firm enough to support the next layer without the overpour breaking the through the skin
Step Four: Whilst this is setting up, gently melt the white portion of soap base and add fragrance and stir to combine. This amount is for 2 layers, the second and the fifth layer
Step Five: Spritz the bottom layer with alcohol, and then pour HALF of the liquid white soap carefully over the back of a spatula into the mould. Spritz with alcohol. Allow this to set up (approximately 10 min). Again, it just needs to be firm enough to support the next layer without the overpour breaking the through the skin
Step Six: Now repeat the last two steps using the remaining portions of soap to make a four layer loaf. You will need to gently re-melt this soap as it will have cooled down whilst waiting. Don’t forget to spritz the previous layers liberally with alcohol to get the layers to stick together whilst being cut. Allow this to set for ½ to 1 hour – depending on the temperature. You have now finished making the ribbons slab.
Step Seven: Carefully unmould the soap, and take the knife and slice approximately half the loaf lengthways into strips, approximately 2 – 5 mm thick. I use the thinner slices for curling, and the thicker ones for embeds which are cut wtih cookie cutters.
When cut, carefully curl the strips into the empty moulds as shown in the picture immediately you have unmoulded and sliced them. Set aside the thicker strips ready for the Contour Mould soaps.
Tips: The layers stick together well if the soap is not completely cold when you pour the next layer. They are also more pliable for cutting and bending if they are still slightly warm. As they are not complely cold when being unmoulded, just ease some air into the mould on all sides, and be patient, and the block of ribbon soap will slide out onto the work surface.
PART TWO - Embed the Ribbons and Hearts:
The quantity of Extra Clear Soap for each of the projects is different - you can make one of them or all of them - if you are using the microwave it's best to melt three separate pours. If you are melting the soap in volume in a crock pot one melt will be sufficient - don't forget to add an extra 100g to the crock pot batch.
Small Slab Tray: to make the this you need 1200g clear soap base with 6 - 8g Fresh Bamboo Fragrance
Flexible Loaf Mould: to make the you need 1300g clear soap base with 9 - 14g/ml Fresh Bamboo Fragrance
Contour Mould: to make four heart soaps you need 450g clear soap, so 900g for two sets of soap - with 3 - 5g/ml Fresh Bamboo Fragrance
Step Eight: By now the ribbons will have set in the curls you made. Melt approximately 1200g of Extra Clear Soap Base. Once melted add 8ml Fresh Bamboo Fragrance. It is crucial that you check the temperature of this before pouring over the ribbons. When the soap is 60°C it's ready to pour. Thoroughly spritz all the ribbons, inside and out with Isopropyl Alcohol.
Step Nine: Pour this portion fairly quickly to avoid trapping air bubbles in the log of soap. Spritz with alcohol to remove surface bubbles after pouring.
Step Ten: Leave the soap to cool and set up for several hours.
Step Eleven: Now repeat the previous method for the Loaf Mould
Step Twelve: Slice and allow to dry a day or so before wrapping
PART THREE: Make the Individual Contour Bars with Heart Embeds
We used our Contour Oval Mould regular size to make these soaps.
Step One: Using the thicker strips of ribbon soap, use small cookie cutters to cut out shapes to embed into the mould cavities, I use two per cavity. Then select the embed cut outs you want to use for each pour. Arrange them in the mould first to make sure they are just right
Step Two: Melt the soap base as previously and then add fragrance and stir well
Step Three: Pour half a centimeter of soap in the base of the cavities - I do one at a time, embed then do the next etc - spritz the embeds with alcohol and place into the melted soap. Immediately this is done finish pouring to the top of the mould cavity. Spritz the surface of the soap to remove any little bubbles.
Step Four: Repeat for as many soaps as you are making
Step Five: Allow to cool and set completely and then unmould. I use a mini plastic spatula to break the air lock around the edges of the soap mould and then invert, push your thumbs across the mould cavity and the soap drops out onto the bench
Don’t forget to wrap your soaps!