Northern Lights Cold Process Soap

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Skill Level: Advanced
Time: 2 hours
Yield: About 8 pounds of soap

Project Description

This Northern Lights Soap was created by Roxanne of Caprica Soapery. She used the sculpted layers technique on an episode of Meet Your Makers Showdown on discovery+. 

Scrapers are used to scoop out firm soap, leaving behind various designs. The next layer is then poured on top, allowed to harden, and sculpted with the accompanying piece.

For this specific design, we used two tools created by Belinda of Love Your Suds - the mountain and treeline scrapers. You can find more of her scrapers for our 5 lb. Wood Mold here. You can also create your own scraper tools - we have used cardboard wrapped in shipping tape in the past, like in the Love Letter Soap Project

For this project, Roxanne first makes a master batch of lye and oils. Then she splits them into three phases - one batch for each layer. Make sure to have an extra mold handy for the extra soap. 

Additional Information

  • Supplies
  • Instructions
  • Reviews
  • Q&A

Supplies

16 Ingredients
2 Tools
For All 18 Items
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All 18 Items :
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Coconut Oil - 1 lb
Coconut Oil - 1 lb Item#: IB002326
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$7.66
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Deodorized Cocoa Butter Wafers - 1 lb
Deodorized Cocoa Butter Wafers - 1 lb Item#: IB003785
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Castor Oil - 1 lb
Castor Oil - 1 lb Item#: IB002323
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$4.79
Olive Oil - Pure - 1 lb
Olive Oil - Pure - 1 lb Item#: IB002448
$6.99
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$13.98
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Shea Butter - 1 lb
Shea Butter - 1 lb Item#: IB002473
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Sweet Almond Oil - 1 lb
Sweet Almond Oil - 1 lb Item#: IB002355
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Sodium Hydroxide Lye
Sodium Hydroxide Lye Item#: IB002149
$14.99
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$14.99
Backwoods Hike Fragrance Oil - 3.5 oz
Backwoods Hike Fragrance Oil - 3.5 oz Item#: IB004207
$11.68
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$11.68
Black Oxide Pigment - 1 oz
Black Oxide Pigment - 1 oz Item#: IB002545
$3.25
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$3.25
Titanium Dioxide Pigment - 1 oz
Titanium Dioxide Pigment - 1 oz Item#: IB002531
$3.00
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$3.00
Queen's Purple Mica - 1 oz
Queen's Purple Mica - 1 oz Item#: IB002212
$3.25
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$3.25
Stormy Blue Mica - 1 oz
Stormy Blue Mica - 1 oz Item#: IB002242
$3.25
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$3.25
Caribbean Blue Mica - 1 oz
Caribbean Blue Mica - 1 oz Item#: IB002239
$3.25
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$3.25
Kermit Green Mica - 1 oz
Kermit Green Mica - 1 oz Item#: IB002230
$3.25
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$3.25
Raspberry Mica - 1 oz
Raspberry Mica - 1 oz Item#: IB002263
$3.25
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$3.25
Sodium Lactate - 20 oz
Sodium Lactate - 20 oz Item#: IB002095
$6.99
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5 lb Mold With Sliding Bottom
5 lb Mold With Sliding Bottom Item#: IB002134
$65.99
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Silicone Liner for 5 lb Wood Mold - 1 mold
Silicone Liner for 5 lb Wood Mold - 1 mold Item#: IB002820
$25.99
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Instructions

Northern Lights Cold Process Soap

  • Skill Level: Advanced
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: About 8 pounds of soap

Scrapers are used to scoop out firm soap, leaving behind various designs. The next layer is then poured on top, allowed to harden, and sculpted with the accompanying piece.

For this specific design, we used two tools created by Belinda of Love Your Suds - the mountain and treeline scrapers. You can find more of her scrapers for our 5 lb. Wood Mold here. You can also create your own scraper tools - we have used cardboard wrapped in shipping tape in the past, like in the Love Letter Soap Project

For this project, Roxanne first makes a master batch of lye and oils. Then she splits them into three phases - one batch for each layer. Make sure to have an extra mold handy for the extra soap. 

You will need:

  • 5 lb. Wood Mold with Sliding Bottom
  • Silicone Liner for 5 lb. Wood Mold
  • 743g (26.2 oz.) Coconut Oil (30%)
  • 297g (10.5 oz.) Shea Butter (12%)
  • 124g (4.4 oz.) Cocoa Butter (5%)
  • 743g (26.2 oz.) Olive Oil (30%)
  • 174g (6.1 oz.) Castor Oil (7%)
  • 396g (14 oz.) Sweet Almond Oil (16%)
  • 349 g (12.3 oz.) Sodium Hydroxide Lye
  • 625g (22 oz.) Distilled Water (20% water discount)
  • 120g (4.2 oz.) Sodium Lactate
  • 100g (3.5 oz.) Backwoods Hike Fragrance Oil 
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Black Oxide
  • Raspberry Mica
  • Queen's Purple Mica 
  • Stormy Blue Mica
  • Caribbean Blue Mica
  • Kermit Green Mica

Follow these steps:

FRAGRANCE PREP: Measure 100g of Backwoods Hike Fragrance Oil into a glass container. Set aside. 

COLORANT PREP: In separate containers, mix 1 teaspoon of Raspberry Mica, Queen's Purple Mica, Stormy Blue Mica, Caribbean Blue Mica, Kermit Green Mica, and black oxide into 1 tablespoon of lightweight liquid oil. In a separate container, mix 2 teaspoons of titanium dioxide with 2 tablespoons of lightweight liquid oil.

SAFETY FIRST: Suit up for safe handling practices. That means goggles, gloves, and long sleeves. Make sure kids, pets, other distractions, and tripping hazards are out of the house or don’t have access to your space. Always make soap in a well-ventilated area.

SCULPTING TOOL PREP: Prepare your scraper tool as necessary. Roxanne used two scrapers (the mountain and treeline) from Belinda of Love Your Suds.

1

Slowly and carefully add 349 grams of sodium hydroxide to 625 grams of distilled water and gently stir until the lye has fully dissolved and the liquid is clear. Allow the lye solution to cool. Add 120 grams of sodium lactate to your cooled lye solution to help the bars harden more quickly.

2

Measure and melt 743 grams of coconut oil, 743 grams of olive oil, 396 grams of sweet almond oil, 174 grams of castor oil, 297 grams of shea butter, and 124 grams of cocoa butter in the microwave using 60 second bursts until they are fluid and no longer cloudy - about 100-130° F. Add the Backwoods Hike Fragrance Oil to this master oil batch.

3

For your first layer, measure out 1058 grams of your oil mixture into a separate container. Add 4 teaspoons of your black iron oxide color mix and stir well. Once the color is fully incorporated, add 451 grams of lye solution. Use the stick-blender to mix until you reach a medium trace, and pour into the mold.

4

Wait for the soap to firm and harden. It should be firm enough to hold its shape but thin enough to be scraped out easily. It’s a little hard to know when you have that perfect texture - it typically takes about 7-8 minutes. You can test it every minute or so by scraping a small amount off the very top. It’s better to start scraping out the extra soap sooner rather than later. If it gets too thick, there is no going back.

5

Insert the scraper in the end of the mold furthest from you and begin pulling it toward you. As the scraped soap piles up in front of the scraper, scoop it out with a spatula and place into a separate mold to save it. The first few passes will be a little awkward and messy, but that’s okay! You will make multiple passes to ensure the shape is smooth. It helps to do several passes in one direction, then flip your mold around and work in the other direction as well. If necessary, place soap that has been removed back into the mold to fill in any gaps or low areas. Set the mold aside as you prepare your next layer.

6

Prepare your second layer by measuring out 823 grams of oil mixture from your master-batch. Add 351 grams of your lye solution and stick blend to a light trace. Once your oil and lye are fully mixed to light trace, pour off a small amount of soap batter (about 100 mL) and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of titanium dioxide to your remaining batter and mix thoroughly, and add about a ¼ teaspoon of black iron oxide to the small amount you set aside. Gently pour the small cup of black batter into the white, swirling gently as you pour. Use your spatula and give 2-3 gentle swirls - the goal is to swirl in the black without mixing it too much with the white.

7

Pour your black and white mix into the mold gently, so as not to damage the layer underneath. Give the mold a little wiggle or tap lightly on the counter so that the batter is evenly layered. Wait for the soap to firm and harden, the same as you did with the first layer - about 10 minutes. Once it is firm, repeat the scraping process with the second scraper to shape the mountain peak.

8

Prepare your final layer by measuring out the remaining 588 grams of oil mixture from your master batch. Add 250 grams of your lye solution. Once your oil and lye are fully mixed to a light trace, separate the soap batter into 5 containers (each will be about 150 mL). Add a different color to each container and mix - 1-2 teaspoons of Raspberry Mica, Stormy Blue Mica, Kermit Green, Caribbean Blue Mica, and Queen's Purple Mica. Using a larger pitcher, pour your colored batter in layers down the side of the large pitcher, taking care to pour on an angle so that the colors layer on top of each other.

After all 5 colors are layered in the large pitcher, gently pour from the large pitcher into your mold, moving the pitcher back and forth along the length of the mold as you pour until your mold is filled. 

9

Allow the soap to harden in the mold for 2-3 days. Gently release it from the mold and cut into bars. Depending on your preference, use a knife or soap shaver to create a smooth and straight top. Allow to cure for 4-6 weeks and enjoy!

Tutorial credits

Photographer: Amanda Kerzman

Northern Lights Cold Process Soap

  • Skill Level: Advanced
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: About 8 pounds of soap

Scrapers are used to scoop out firm soap, leaving behind various designs. The next layer is then poured on top, allowed to harden, and sculpted with the accompanying piece.

For this specific design, we used two tools created by Belinda of Love Your Suds - the mountain and treeline scrapers. You can find more of her scrapers for our 5 lb. Wood Mold here. You can also create your own scraper tools - we have used cardboard wrapped in shipping tape in the past, like in the Love Letter Soap Project

For this project, Roxanne first makes a master batch of lye and oils. Then she splits them into three phases - one batch for each layer. Make sure to have an extra mold handy for the extra soap. 

You will need:

  • 5 lb. Wood Mold with Sliding Bottom
  • Silicone Liner for 5 lb. Wood Mold
  • 743g (26.2 oz.) Coconut Oil (30%)
  • 297g (10.5 oz.) Shea Butter (12%)
  • 124g (4.4 oz.) Cocoa Butter (5%)
  • 743g (26.2 oz.) Olive Oil (30%)
  • 174g (6.1 oz.) Castor Oil (7%)
  • 396g (14 oz.) Sweet Almond Oil (16%)
  • 349 g (12.3 oz.) Sodium Hydroxide Lye
  • 625g (22 oz.) Distilled Water (20% water discount)
  • 120g (4.2 oz.) Sodium Lactate
  • 100g (3.5 oz.) Backwoods Hike Fragrance Oil 
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Black Oxide
  • Raspberry Mica
  • Queen's Purple Mica 
  • Stormy Blue Mica
  • Caribbean Blue Mica
  • Kermit Green Mica

Follow these steps:

FRAGRANCE PREP: Measure 100g of Backwoods Hike Fragrance Oil into a glass container. Set aside. 

COLORANT PREP: In separate containers, mix 1 teaspoon of Raspberry Mica, Queen's Purple Mica, Stormy Blue Mica, Caribbean Blue Mica, Kermit Green Mica, and black oxide into 1 tablespoon of lightweight liquid oil. In a separate container, mix 2 teaspoons of titanium dioxide with 2 tablespoons of lightweight liquid oil.

SAFETY FIRST: Suit up for safe handling practices. That means goggles, gloves, and long sleeves. Make sure kids, pets, other distractions, and tripping hazards are out of the house or don’t have access to your space. Always make soap in a well-ventilated area.

SCULPTING TOOL PREP: Prepare your scraper tool as necessary. Roxanne used two scrapers (the mountain and treeline) from Belinda of Love Your Suds.

1

Slowly and carefully add 349 grams of sodium hydroxide to 625 grams of distilled water and gently stir until the lye has fully dissolved and the liquid is clear. Allow the lye solution to cool. Add 120 grams of sodium lactate to your cooled lye solution to help the bars harden more quickly.

2

Measure and melt 743 grams of coconut oil, 743 grams of olive oil, 396 grams of sweet almond oil, 174 grams of castor oil, 297 grams of shea butter, and 124 grams of cocoa butter in the microwave using 60 second bursts until they are fluid and no longer cloudy - about 100-130° F. Add the Backwoods Hike Fragrance Oil to this master oil batch.

3

For your first layer, measure out 1058 grams of your oil mixture into a separate container. Add 4 teaspoons of your black iron oxide color mix and stir well. Once the color is fully incorporated, add 451 grams of lye solution. Use the stick-blender to mix until you reach a medium trace, and pour into the mold.

4

Wait for the soap to firm and harden. It should be firm enough to hold its shape but thin enough to be scraped out easily. It’s a little hard to know when you have that perfect texture - it typically takes about 7-8 minutes. You can test it every minute or so by scraping a small amount off the very top. It’s better to start scraping out the extra soap sooner rather than later. If it gets too thick, there is no going back.

5

Insert the scraper in the end of the mold furthest from you and begin pulling it toward you. As the scraped soap piles up in front of the scraper, scoop it out with a spatula and place into a separate mold to save it. The first few passes will be a little awkward and messy, but that’s okay! You will make multiple passes to ensure the shape is smooth. It helps to do several passes in one direction, then flip your mold around and work in the other direction as well. If necessary, place soap that has been removed back into the mold to fill in any gaps or low areas. Set the mold aside as you prepare your next layer.

6

Prepare your second layer by measuring out 823 grams of oil mixture from your master-batch. Add 351 grams of your lye solution and stick blend to a light trace. Once your oil and lye are fully mixed to light trace, pour off a small amount of soap batter (about 100 mL) and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of titanium dioxide to your remaining batter and mix thoroughly, and add about a ¼ teaspoon of black iron oxide to the small amount you set aside. Gently pour the small cup of black batter into the white, swirling gently as you pour. Use your spatula and give 2-3 gentle swirls - the goal is to swirl in the black without mixing it too much with the white.

7

Pour your black and white mix into the mold gently, so as not to damage the layer underneath. Give the mold a little wiggle or tap lightly on the counter so that the batter is evenly layered. Wait for the soap to firm and harden, the same as you did with the first layer - about 10 minutes. Once it is firm, repeat the scraping process with the second scraper to shape the mountain peak.

8

Prepare your final layer by measuring out the remaining 588 grams of oil mixture from your master batch. Add 250 grams of your lye solution. Once your oil and lye are fully mixed to a light trace, separate the soap batter into 5 containers (each will be about 150 mL). Add a different color to each container and mix - 1-2 teaspoons of Raspberry Mica, Stormy Blue Mica, Kermit Green, Caribbean Blue Mica, and Queen's Purple Mica. Using a larger pitcher, pour your colored batter in layers down the side of the large pitcher, taking care to pour on an angle so that the colors layer on top of each other.

After all 5 colors are layered in the large pitcher, gently pour from the large pitcher into your mold, moving the pitcher back and forth along the length of the mold as you pour until your mold is filled. 

9

Allow the soap to harden in the mold for 2-3 days. Gently release it from the mold and cut into bars. Depending on your preference, use a knife or soap shaver to create a smooth and straight top. Allow to cure for 4-6 weeks and enjoy!

Tutorial credits

Photographer: Amanda Kerzman

You will need:

  • 5 lb. Wood Mold with Sliding Bottom
  • Silicone Liner for 5 lb. Wood Mold
  • 743g (26.2 oz.) Coconut Oil (30%)
  • 297g (10.5 oz.) Shea Butter (12%)
  • 124g (4.4 oz.) Cocoa Butter (5%)
  • 743g (26.2 oz.) Olive Oil (30%)
  • 174g (6.1 oz.) Castor Oil (7%)
  • 396g (14 oz.) Sweet Almond Oil (16%)
  • 349 g (12.3 oz.) Sodium Hydroxide Lye
  • 625g (22 oz.) Distilled Water (20% water discount)
  • 120g (4.2 oz.) Sodium Lactate
  • 100g (3.5 oz.) Backwoods Hike Fragrance Oil 
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Black Oxide
  • Raspberry Mica
  • Queen's Purple Mica 
  • Stormy Blue Mica
  • Caribbean Blue Mica
  • Kermit Green Mica

Follow these steps:

FRAGRANCE PREP: Measure 100g of Backwoods Hike Fragrance Oil into a glass container. Set aside. 

COLORANT PREP: In separate containers, mix 1 teaspoon of Raspberry Mica, Queen's Purple Mica, Stormy Blue Mica, Caribbean Blue Mica, Kermit Green Mica, and black oxide into 1 tablespoon of lightweight liquid oil. In a separate container, mix 2 teaspoons of titanium dioxide with 2 tablespoons of lightweight liquid oil.

SAFETY FIRST: Suit up for safe handling practices. That means goggles, gloves, and long sleeves. Make sure kids, pets, other distractions, and tripping hazards are out of the house or don’t have access to your space. Always make soap in a well-ventilated area.

SCULPTING TOOL PREP: Prepare your scraper tool as necessary. Roxanne used two scrapers (the mountain and treeline) from Belinda of Love Your Suds.

1

Slowly and carefully add 349 grams of sodium hydroxide to 625 grams of distilled water and gently stir until the lye has fully dissolved and the liquid is clear. Allow the lye solution to cool. Add 120 grams of sodium lactate to your cooled lye solution to help the bars harden more quickly.

2

Measure and melt 743 grams of coconut oil, 743 grams of olive oil, 396 grams of sweet almond oil, 174 grams of castor oil, 297 grams of shea butter, and 124 grams of cocoa butter in the microwave using 60 second bursts until they are fluid and no longer cloudy - about 100-130° F. Add the Backwoods Hike Fragrance Oil to this master oil batch.

3

For your first layer, measure out 1058 grams of your oil mixture into a separate container. Add 4 teaspoons of your black iron oxide color mix and stir well. Once the color is fully incorporated, add 451 grams of lye solution. Use the stick-blender to mix until you reach a medium trace, and pour into the mold.

4

Wait for the soap to firm and harden. It should be firm enough to hold its shape but thin enough to be scraped out easily. It’s a little hard to know when you have that perfect texture - it typically takes about 7-8 minutes. You can test it every minute or so by scraping a small amount off the very top. It’s better to start scraping out the extra soap sooner rather than later. If it gets too thick, there is no going back.

5

Insert the scraper in the end of the mold furthest from you and begin pulling it toward you. As the scraped soap piles up in front of the scraper, scoop it out with a spatula and place into a separate mold to save it. The first few passes will be a little awkward and messy, but that’s okay! You will make multiple passes to ensure the shape is smooth. It helps to do several passes in one direction, then flip your mold around and work in the other direction as well. If necessary, place soap that has been removed back into the mold to fill in any gaps or low areas. Set the mold aside as you prepare your next layer.

6

Prepare your second layer by measuring out 823 grams of oil mixture from your master-batch. Add 351 grams of your lye solution and stick blend to a light trace. Once your oil and lye are fully mixed to light trace, pour off a small amount of soap batter (about 100 mL) and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of titanium dioxide to your remaining batter and mix thoroughly, and add about a ¼ teaspoon of black iron oxide to the small amount you set aside. Gently pour the small cup of black batter into the white, swirling gently as you pour. Use your spatula and give 2-3 gentle swirls - the goal is to swirl in the black without mixing it too much with the white.

7

Pour your black and white mix into the mold gently, so as not to damage the layer underneath. Give the mold a little wiggle or tap lightly on the counter so that the batter is evenly layered. Wait for the soap to firm and harden, the same as you did with the first layer - about 10 minutes. Once it is firm, repeat the scraping process with the second scraper to shape the mountain peak.

8

Prepare your final layer by measuring out the remaining 588 grams of oil mixture from your master batch. Add 250 grams of your lye solution. Once your oil and lye are fully mixed to a light trace, separate the soap batter into 5 containers (each will be about 150 mL). Add a different color to each container and mix - 1-2 teaspoons of Raspberry Mica, Stormy Blue Mica, Kermit Green, Caribbean Blue Mica, and Queen's Purple Mica. Using a larger pitcher, pour your colored batter in layers down the side of the large pitcher, taking care to pour on an angle so that the colors layer on top of each other.

After all 5 colors are layered in the large pitcher, gently pour from the large pitcher into your mold, moving the pitcher back and forth along the length of the mold as you pour until your mold is filled. 

9

Allow the soap to harden in the mold for 2-3 days. Gently release it from the mold and cut into bars. Depending on your preference, use a knife or soap shaver to create a smooth and straight top. Allow to cure for 4-6 weeks and enjoy!

Tutorial credits

Photographer: Amanda Kerzman

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