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How It’s Made – Zen Garden

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How It’s Made – Zen Garden

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I’m one of those people who can smell a fragrance or essential oil and see colors and design almost instantly. When I stumbled upon Bramble Berry’s Bonsai Fragrance, I was not only instantly in love with this fragrance but I saw a calm, serene Zen Sand Garden.  Bramble Berry describes this fragrance as:  a Floral Fresh fragrance with Citrus and Pine accords, having some Tropical Fruits and Wood tones on background.

The first obstacle for constructing this batch of soap was figuring out how to make the soap rocks. Thankfully I stumbled across a wonderful soap rock tutorial put together by Amanda Griffin of Lovin Soap.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pics of me making the soap rock batch. Essentially it consists of making about a 2 pound batch of “rock colored” soap with several mica pencil lines. I used Activated Charcoal for my dark grey rock color with Sky Blue Mica and Magic Yellow Mica from the Conservatorie for the pencil lines.

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Once the soap rock batch has saponified, it’s time to make some rocks! I set up my work space with the rock soap loaf, a towel for my newly made soap rocks to relax, a bench knife/ scraper to cut my soap (really any knife will do) and a bowl of water to “polish” my rocks with.  Feel free to wear gloves to form the rocks.  My batch was very mild so I opted not to wear them this time.

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Then I start cutting off various sized slices to make my rocks.

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To shape the rocks, pick up one of the pieces and start mashing and rolling them into rock shaped pieces. Since I’m making a Zen Sand Garden I wanted mostly flatter rocks but threw in some round ones too.

While your mashing and rolling your soap rocks, you’ll notice that the rocks get a bit sticky and semi-jagged looking. Smooth them out by dunking them in water. Then set them on a towel to dry.

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Check out the mica veins!! Pretty snazzy!

Ok step one complete time to make the batch! Using my palm free recipe, I set up my work space. I’ve pre-mixed some Titanium Dioxide, Aqua Pearl Mica and Peak Green Mica. I want to add a pop of color to the base of each bar so I’m going to create a quick swirl in the base of the mold before I pour in my “sand” soap.

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Now it’s time to make the swirl. I pour about a quarter cup of lightly traced soap into the green and aqua colors. I add about a cup of lightly traced soap into the white. I’ll be using the extra white soap to lighten my “sand” batch. Time to swirl!!

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Next I prepare my “sand” batch. I add about a half cup of the white swirl soap to my main sand batch and add a half cup of Ground Apricot Kernel Seed for the sandy texture that I want to create.  Incorporate well with a spatula.

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At this point my batch has started to thicken. I gently spoon the sand batch on top of the swirled base.

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Once all of the sand soap has been added, I give the mold a couple of good whacks on the countertop to even it all out.
Now it’s time to “Rake” my Zen Sand garden. I find that my son’s smaller, lighter plastic fork works best for this task. A regular fork was just a little too heavy and my lines were too deep.
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Using light pressure, I rake the soap towards myself in straight lines.
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Once the entire surface has been raked, I add a bit more interest by randomly raking in figure 8’s and circles.
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At this point, I add in my dividers and randomly add my rocks onto the surface of each bar. This way I don’t have to worry about cutting through any of the soap rocks.
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Voila!! Zen Garden Soap.

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5 responses »

  1. I loved how you walked us through step-by-step on making this! The little details make this soap really stand out….the mica lines, the bottom layer swirl, the texture in the sand soap. Very creative!

    Reply
  2. Fantastic tutorial, thank you for sharing! =)

    Reply
  3. What details! It’s indeed a zen/rock garden!

    Reply

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