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Category Archives: Tutorials

Market Booth Design – Shabby Chic Fabric Garland

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My first Farmers Market of the season is quickly approaching (Wednesday). I’m ahead of the curve since I’ve wrapped all of my soap for the market and unearthed my booth fixings from the storage unit.
As I was unpacking my linen, I realized that my Christmas garland was still attached to the tablecloths. I loved the extra pop of whimsy the garland added to my cozy booth.

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Since it’s no longer Christmas… I decided to make my own year round garland using fabric scraps that I had laying around from some previous unfinished projects.
Starting with the leftover fabric, I folded each piece in half and stacked them on top of each other. I cut down into the fabric about 2 inches. Then continued to cut about 1.5 inch chunks along the folded seam of the fabric. These measurements don’t have to be exact.

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Now for the shabby portion of this garland… Using the precut chunks as my guide, I ripped each piece of fabric into strips.

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Here’s what the pile of strips look like when finished:

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I cut about 9ft of jute string earlier to tie my fabric pieces onto. I knotted off each end to keep the strips in place.
To tie the strips onto the jute, place a folded strip of fabric under the jute. Folded seam at the top.

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Gather the bottom tail of the strip over the top of the jute. Thread the tail through the folded seam.

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With one hand holding the jute, pull the tail down to tie off the strip of fabric.

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Continue tying the strips to the jute until you’ve reached the end. Some finished pics:

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This is a pretty forgiving project. You can space your fabric strips close together or keep them farther apart. Whichever you prefer.
You can use any manner of fabric, ribbon or burlap to achieve the same general look.
I’ll be posting pics of the Market booth with this garland on my Facebook Page on Wednesday!

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How It’s Made ~ Bloom

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How It’s Made ~ Bloom

There are a handful of batches that I lovingly call my ‘Anxiety Batch’. This lovely soap definitely qualifies for that distinction. Floral fragrances are known for acceleration. Combining Honeysuckle and Rose definitely makes this a tricky batch. Why not throw caution to the wind and combine a mica oil swirl and a two toned piped soap rose?

This batch combines two techniques. The prep work consists of the mica oil, the color for the main batch, the rose color and prepping the piping bags for the two toned roses.

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Once the entire batch is brought to trace, I pour out about 3 1/2 cups into the pink mica container and a teeny bit of white soap. These are left unscented and set aside.

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Next I add titanium dioxide to the rest of the batch and hand whisk in the fragrance to *hopefully* slow down the acceleration of the soap. The white soap is then poured into the slab mold.

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Using a pipette, I add vertical lines of mica oil. A good rule of thumb is 1 tsp mica to 1 TBSP oil! it should have the consistency of fresh nail polish.

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Grabbing my skewer, I swirled the mica oil lines from the top left hand corner of the mold using this design:

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UGH! As you can see, my fragrance accelerated. Oh well… Using a tried and true advanced technique 😉 I banged the hell out of the mold on the counter. Moving on… It’s time to add the dividers and move onto the roses.

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Piping soap is easier than you may think but you do need to work quickly once the soap reaches the perfect consistency. I added a total of 0.5 oz of fragrance to the pink and white soap to help speed up trace. I know when the soap is ready to pipe when my spatula stands straight up in the soap without tipping over at all.

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There are two different methods to make a two toned soap rose. The first is taking two smaller piping bags, one pink & one white. Combine those two bags into a larger piping bag with the tip and pipe. I prefer this method but I only had my smaller 12″ bags to work with.
Instead, I took my frosting bag with the rose decorating tip (I used a Wilton 1M) and added four thin lines of white running up the sides of the frosting bag. It may be helpful to see a pic:

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To do this, I put the white soap in a frosting bag and cut a very small hole on the bottom to control the flow of soap. If you’ve never piped soap or a cupcake, put your frosting bag in a tall glass and wrap the top of the bag around the mouth of the glass. This helps stabilize the bag until you’re ready to pipe.
Now it’s time to add the pink soap and start piping! Start with your tip perpendicular to the top of your bar.

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Add a small dollop to get the rose started.

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Staying perpendicular to the soap wrap the tip counterclockwise around the first dollop of soap while applying gentle pressure to the top of your piping bag.

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To finish your rose, stop applying pressure to the frosting bag and pull up quickly.

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Voila! Soap Roses!!! Feel free to practice this technique ahead of time. You can use regular frosting or you can make a small batch of soap and pipe a bunch of roses on wax paper. Sell those beauties if you can since they make a beautiful small bar of soap!
Here’s the final product in the mold.

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Enjoy a few shots of this soap from my first batch of Bloom. (Please note: the base is somewhat different in these first batch pics)

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This bar and more can be found at Baby Duck Soap Co.

How It’s Made ~ Black Raspberry Vanilla

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How It’s Made ~ Black Raspberry Vanilla

I love mantra swirls!! They’re so beautiful and classic looking. It bums me out that when you make a traditional mantra swirl in a loaf mold, the very best part is on the top of the soap rather than throughout the entire bar.

With my Black Raspberry Vanilla soap, I decided to try a slab mold mantra swirl. I use Nature’s Garden BRV and it is wonderful! Easy to work with, nice light fruity scent. It appeals to those who don’t particularly like vanilla or raspberry so it’s pretty perfect.

Let’s get into the making of… I brought my five pound batch to a light trace and whisked in my fragrance. I divided my soap between my four colors: Starlight Cabernet Mica, Violet Mica, Titanium Dioxide and Black Mica. The black mica will only be used as an accent color, hence the small amount in the squirt bottle.

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I added my red, white and purple colors in an alternating ‘S’ pattern and left about an inch worth of soap in the bottom of each of my pouring containers. I use four cup plastic pouring containers for reference. Here’s what the soap looks like before the design:

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Now it’s time to tackle the design. Using the left over soap, I alternate lines of color running vertically through the shortest part of my mold. I alternate the red/ white/ purple throughout the mold. The black soap is then squeezed on either side of the white stripe. When I started pouring this design, my trace was very light. I started by spooning on the stripes until my soap soap thickened up a bit. Then I was able to free pour the rest of the soap.

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Mantra Swirling time! I start in the corner and drag my skewer through the first purple-black-white-black-red block of soap using this swirl:

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This would be an example of the ‘block’ of soap that I’m swirling through (please excuse my messy lines):

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Once all of the soap has been swirled, the end result is this:

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As usual, I hold my breath while inserting my dividers because it would truly suck if I screwed up this design…

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The cut bars:

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How It’s Made ~ Brigadoon

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How It’s Made ~ Brigadoon

Once upon a very long time ago…. I was heavily involved in musical theater. So much so that I even majored in it in college. When I stumbled across Bramble Berry’s Heather & Hyacinth Fragrance Oil, the song ‘Heather on the Hill’ from Brigadoon popped into my head. Inspiration struck and I knew I just HAD to make a plaid soap with this FO and call it Brigadoon.

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Let me preface all of this by saying that I not only pulled inspiration from the musical Brigadoon but also from a plaid soap created by Kevin from Devinely Designs. Seeing his design assured me that it was possible to achieve the look I was after.
For this design, I used the Squeeze Bottle Technique. It’s pretty darn versatile. It starts with transposing a design on wax or parchment paper. I hand drew a plaid design on some parchment. If you’re using wax paper, draw your design on the matte side. You can print up a design from our friend Google and copy it to your parchment paper. Whatever works best for you!

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Once the design was drawn, I flipped the marker side down into my mold so the marker wouldn’t bleed onto my soap. Now I can use those lines as a guide.

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I decided on a combo of greens, yellow and white for my plaid. I prepared my squeeze bottles with an apple green mica, titanium dioxide and a yellow mica. I premixed a Kelly Green mica for the base color. For the squeeze bottle design soap, I prepared a pound of soap ahead of time. I probably only used about 0.2 pounds on the plaid design but I used the rest of the soap for embeds for a future batch. I poured a little bit of soap into each squeeze bottle, shook the bottles until the color was blended then tested the consistency of the soap on a piece of parchment.

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You wouldn’t want your soap to be too runny before squeezing out your design. Using the drawing as my guide, I filled in the design with my colored soap.

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This plaid design will be the top of my soap. The Kelly Green soap will end up being the main background color. I allowed this plaid soap design to set up for about 15 to 20 mins. Prepared my main batter and spooned a little bit over the top of the plaid design.

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Looks like my plaid design is staying put! I lightly poured the rest of the soap on top of the design then inserted my dividers.

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Now the waiting begins… I’ll unmold this in 24 hours, to you it’ll feel like 5 seconds….

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Due to the wrinkling of the parchment and the consumption of way too much coffee…my plaid lines are wonky. My yellow decided to go transparent on me too. I’m not super happy with the final result but next time I’ll use wax paper and see if that will make a difference. Or maybe I’ll freehand the lines… Either way, it smells delightful.