I was so excited last week when I received my new vertical mold from Bramble Berry. (Those of you that follow me on Facebook may remember that I posted this photo there.)It’s a very well-built, sturdy wooden mold that stands on its end. It comes with HDPE plastic liners, and a plastic divider that is held in place by a groove at the bottom and that pin that you can see at the top. It can be used with or without the divider, but the idea is that you can pour two different colored soap batches in each side, then slip out the divider and you have a two-layered loaf. I was also impressed when I realized that I don’t have to fill the mold if I don’t want to. I can make the size of the batch whatever I want: 3 bars long; 6 bars long; or the whole thing, which should make about 14 bars or so, I think.
I finally had some time to try it out last week. I decided to make a smaller batch and to test out a fragrance oil that was new to me (although very popular over at Bramble Berry): Summer Fling. Truth be told, I’ve had a 1 ounce sample of this for a while. I wasn’t thrilled with it when I sniffed it in the bottle. But when looking for something to use for this batch, I did a little research and learned that this fragrance oil had a lot going for it: it didn’t discolor the soap, or cause it to get too thick too quickly (very important when trying a new technique) and it supposedly smelled better in the soap.
Well I can now report that all the wonderful things said about Summer Fling are true! It’s a light floral, with a bit of fruitiness – like pineapple or kiwi. It just smells great, and couldn’t have been easier to work with. I colored one half of the batch with titanium dioxide (for that super-white look) and the other side with a blend of ultramarine blue and titanium dioxide. After pouring each side, I removed the divider and used a wooden dowel to slowly swirl circles in the center.
And here are the six bars that I got!
I really like this mold. But it is different than the horizontal ones that I’m used to. For example, I noticed that this batch had quite a few rather large air pockets throughout the bars. (“Large” is relative; these were small things but larger than I’ve ever gotten before. You can click on the image and get a larger view.) I think it’s because as I was pouring the soap from the top of the mold, it was “plopping” in and trapping some air. Next time I’ll just pour the soap along the side of the mold and that should take care of that.
Also, the liners leaked a tiny bit into the wooden mold. I’m not sure if this is just par for the course, but next time I’ll feel more comfortable pouring when the soap is a bit thicker and that should help it not leak out.
This new orientation really opens up some neat design possibilities. I find myself daydreaming about it. I’ll have to start researching some more scents to try out! 🙂