Saturday, April 14, 2012

Week 4 of the weekly "Soap Challenge"

This week's soap challenge was making a soap using alcohol. I have previously made a soap using beer so thought I would do something different and use wine. I don't drink wine so can't say I know a lot about it but decided on a Red Cabernet wine. The fragrance oil I used is called "Christmas Cabernet".  Here is the description from the vender: "Cabernet has a classically deep red color and displays a lovely bouquet of berries and oak. A full-bodied wine with good varietal character and power, it offers rich cherry flavors with excellent balance and a long finish. We have combined this lovely aroma with hints of Christmas time, and created our version of Christmas Cabernet. You will want to celebrate when you smell this fragrance!".  It is a really nice fragrance and I thought it would complement the wine soap I am making.
Well now on to the process....I first boiled the wine to get any carbonation out of it, then I let it cool in the refrigerator. After it had cooled I poured it into ice trays and froze it. I weighed out the frozen wine to required amount of ounces for my recipe on my scale, I then remember reading instructions on making my beer soap that I was to weigh the ounces by fluid ounce in a measuring cup, not by a weight. Oh well I was not wanting to wait to make my soap so decided to just use my measured amount by weight on the scale. I was a bit worried that when I added my lye to the wine ice cubes that I could get a "lye volcano" reaction so I put the ice cubes in a large plastic pitcher and slowly poured in my lye and kept stirring it to be sure it would dissolve. Well the lye and wine reacted  just fine, no volcano here. I wanted to add Tussah Silk to my soap, so I added a cotton ball size to the lye and wine mixture, well my lye mixture NEVER got hotter than 85 degrees and would not dissolve the silk. I took the un-dissolved silk out of the lye mixture and added it to my oils and stick blended the silk into the oils, most of the silk dissolved or pulverized in the oils. I then added my lye mixture to the oils and began to stick blend. I blended and blended and blended and nothing was even beginning to look like a light trace so I added the fragrance oil and stick blended some more and still no trace. I am thinking it might be because of the way I measured the amount of wine, but whatever it was I was getting a little concerned. I poured out a small amount of the soap mixture and added it to some titanium dioxide for the swirling and set it aside, then added burgundy oxide to the main soap batter and continued on with the stick blending. Well finally the soap got a very light trace so I went ahead and poured it into my mold, added the swirl color and finished the swirl. I used a heating pad to get the soap warm enough to gel. I am happy to say the soap turned out in spite of everything , and I am happy with it. Another great challenge . Be sure and check out Amy's blog here:  Great Cakes Soapworks  to see everyone's else's great soaps. Next week's challenge is mixing our own fragrance oils or essential oils.

Here is the lye mixing in with the wine ice cubes.

This is the soap batter mixed with the colors.
Looks like catsup and mustard to me.

Ready to swirl the bottom layer.

Now to do the swirl on the top of the soap.

Top swirl finished.

Soap out of the mold.

Cut bars finished.


"BEARly Cabernet"

A nourishing shea butter wine soap


  1. How beautiful, Margo! I have never heard of measuring beer by fluid ounces instead of weight before, but I do know one of the other participants had the same thing happen with the soap not coming to trace, but now I can't remember who it was... Perhaps because it was so cold?? Very intriguing. Your fragrance sounds just wonderful!!

  2. Very interesting! It seems if the alcohol is boiled and is frozen, then you don't get the stink AND have plenty of time to work. Mine got really thick but I did stick blend the heck out of it. :-) It looks great and now I'm positively intrigued with wine soap!

  3. It looks lovely and I glad it worked out for you. I was working with frozen alcohol as well and it took awhile for mine to trace.