In our July Soap Challenge Club, we learned techniques to create soaps to look like natural stones and could enter either the marble or river rock category. This month has been particularly hectic, so instead of skipping out, I tried out a river rock mold because it looked like the most fun. And I hoped it would be less likely to make me overthink the whole process and stress out to squeeze in "just" one more batch. Although now I think I need to make more river rock soap anyway (just five more tries and I'll get the look I want, lol!)
I made two attempts for the challenge. The first batch was unscented and uncolored, except for a little white kaolin clay. I tried a ghost swirl technique to try to get a subtle white on ivory polished stone look. A ghost swirl does not use any colorant at all but instead involves using different water content to create a contrast in color. I did use white kaolin clay but added the same amount to both of my pitchers of soap.
The ghost swirl worked, but the way I poured the soap into the mold did not show off the contrast as much as I wanted. It probably could've used a little more heat in the oven too, but I didn't want to risk overheating the small mold. Once my oven reached the lowest setting (170), I turned it off and then put the soap inside.
For my second attempt and entry, I tried to make a slate river rock soap with hints of natural white. I used indigo-infused olive oil for the gray color and a blend of rosemary, cedarwood, and patchouli essential oils for scent. It seemed like an appropriate earthy and woodsy scent for river rocks. I poured each one a little differently to see what kind of variations I could get. Later I steamed and washed off the soda ash to help the design show through a bit more.
While I don't think they match my inspiration rocks all that much, I think they still look pretty natural.
Here are a couple of the inspiration rocks:
I love how these also fit in with the river-theme of my shop's branding! Plus, my dad has started requesting only round soap nowadays, so I think this is a fun addition to my always-changing collection of limited-edition soap varieties to offer! (Next, how to package them, lol!)