Waking up to a white winter wonderland on a Sunday morning got my creative juices flowing. And I knew the time had come to finally try out making gemstone soaps.
The first step was gathering all my micas, because a gem has to be kind of glittering and glimmery, shouldn't they?
If you're wondering what "micas" are, well they are very small mineral particles that reflect the light in a wonderful shimmering manner. They are widely used in all kinds of cosmetics, ranging from lipstick to eye shadow. The mica per se is colorless, but nearly every color can be added to them. You can order a sampler package here.
Next, I took some clear and white melt and pour soap base, cut it into small pieces and heated it up in a stainless steel container on my desk stove. The important thing here is to be a little patient while the soap melts at a very low temperature. Those of you, that are short of time could heat up the base in the microwave. If you're using this method, don't forget to remove the mixture every 30 seconds to give it a good stir.
The next step was preparing the colorants/micas in a silicone mold. As I had decided that I wanted a greenish-blueish coloured soap with golden streaks, I put a small hint of those colours into the different cavities of the mold. After the soap had melted, I added a few drops of fragrance (Palais by The Fragrancy) to the whole batch and poured it into the mold.
Then again, a little patience was needed until these were cooled down and solid. Don't they already look like little gems?
I cut them into little tiny pieces and layered those in 3 cupcake molds. I tried to make a gradient, starting with the lightest blue on the bottom and gradually adding darker bits, while throwing in some golden pieces.
To complete them, I melted some more soap base and poured it into the mold. By doing this, the void space got filled up and everything is sticking together. At some point, I wondered what the result would have been, if I had put the cupcake mold with the cut pieces into a water bath an let them melt. This would be a technique twist that needs further exploration.
... some more waiting ... The cool down period can be considerably accelerated by putting the soap in the freezer though.
And then finally came the fun part: cutting the soap into a gem. I took a big sharp knife, that in itself could be the star of a crime movie. But contrary to our beliefs: the sharper the knife, the less we are likely going to cut ourselves.
Et voilà :
Whilst I have to admit, that they don't have the look I was striving for, I still was quite pleased with the result of this first try. Also, how could I not be happy looking at those sparkling and glittering gems?
So what would I do differently next time?
While the result of this first attempt is ok, I would like to expand my skills in this technique a little bit further, so that the finished soap looks more like a quartz with a gradient and less like a big piece with small pieces in it. I'm seeking something more like this: (By Savon Gemme)
After I had finished the cutting, I took all the soap scraps and reheated them. Out of the cut offs of the 3 soaps I had made, I was able to fill one more cupcake mold.