Basic Knowledge of Cold Process Soap Colorants and How to Use It | Mitchellia Sandra | Skillshare

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Basic Knowledge of Cold Process Soap Colorants and How to Use It

teacher avatar Mitchellia Sandra, Soap Maker and Designer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (50m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Best Colorant for Your Soap

    • 3. How to Choose the Color?

    • 4. How to Make Infused Oil?

    • 5. Making Soap Sample

    • 6. Let's Design Your Soap!

    • 7. The Soap Recipe

    • 8. Layering Technique

    • 9. Swirl Technique

    • 10. Swirl Technique (on Top)

    • 11. BONUS : Soap Painting Technique

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About This Class

What to do if you want to give a message through your handmade soap? Maybe a love message, friendship, or peace message. Or when you want to beautify your soap? Great news, you can fulfill it through your colorant! 

Color is one of the basic sense which we already know well since we are still a kid. We usually choose something based on its color and how it can give an effect on our lives. Same with the soap colorant, it can give you or someone who receives it feel some sort of feeling depends on the soap color and design. You can explore the color and design of the soap as you wish limitless. 

My name is Sandra and this is my second class on soap making class. Here, I will focus on soap colorants and how to design your soap. So hopefully, you will be more confident to make your own design with colorant after finish this class. 

Here, you'll learn about :

  • The color theory and how to choose your color
  • The difference between every colorant
  • How to infuse oil?
  • Making a soap sample
  • How to design your soap?
  • Coloring technique and how to use them?

For the bonus, I will share another soap design technique which you can try too.



If you need some basic knowledge about "how to make your cold process soap", you can access my first class on this link below :

Handmade Soap Making 101 and How to Make Your Own Cold Process Soap


Confetti Effect by Green Screen Wiki

Meet Your Teacher

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Mitchellia Sandra

Soap Maker and Designer


Hi, I'm Sandra, a soap maker and designer. I love experimenting with soap ingredients and design! Creating soaps is a joyful experience, especially when you can give them to your loved ones. And I hope it can be something delightful for you to learn as well, thank you for visiting my profile!

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1. Introduction: Hello again everyone, my name is Sandra and I am a soap maker. Previously, I've taught about handmade soap making 101 on Skillshare which talked about the basics of soap making process. Today, I am going to focus on sharing about soap coloring. It would be amazing to pour all of your creativity borderless through the colorant you have. You even can make a special gift to someone you adore through your soap creation. But there's a lot of colorants that you can use and it's usually a bit frustrating and tricky to get the right one. I have already made some errors in the past and I hope it won't happen too to you. So, in this class, you will learn about the color theory and how to choose your color, the difference between every colorant, how to infuse oil, making a soap sample, how to design your soap? Coloring technique and how to use them? Are you ready to make an amazing soap design? Let's begin now. 2. The Best Colorant for Your Soap: In this lesson, I will introduce you to the soap colorant that available around us. How many of you love to make a cake? or maybe eat it? Cake has so many variants, recipes, and colors too. To please someone to eat the cake, sometimes you add some colorant into it, let's say a rainbow cake. You can use either natural colorant like cocoa powder, or artificial colors like food coloring, as long as the colorant is safe to use and already approved by the FDA. Same with cake, that happens too with the soap colorant. Soap colorants themselves can be divided into natural and artificial colors. Natural colorants are plant-based or natural substances which some of them really common to found around us. Juice or puree, turmeric, and the flower is a part of the plant-based colorant. If you're using clay that means you use natural substances to color your soap. You can use plants of yours in your home, I do the same too. My parents plant a moringa tree in our garden. Sometimes, we harvest its leaves and dried them under the sun. When it dries completely, I took several of them and grind them until it becomes powder. You can search from google what kind of natural color can be used on the soap or you can check it on the website. I will put the link on the class resource. The next one is the artificial color, they are mica and pigments. Mica colors considered natural, but some of them are not. If mica contains FD&C dyes on it, we can't say it as natural. Mica contains with FD&C have a possibility to occurs color bleed which means the color of the soap can migrate to another area of the soap. Pigments created in the lab to prevent any bacteria grow or other things which able to contaminating the colorant. Although they're artificial, they are made from natural ingredients and have the same chemical structure as minerals found on the earth. Okay, how to put the colorant on your soap? For the best color result, you need to disperse your colorant into water or oil. Some colorants are oil soluble and some of them are water-soluble. You need to test it first by putting colorant to the liquid. For instance, you mix red mica with water and you found out the mica can't mix with the water, but when you mix it with the oil, they can mix well. By that experiment, you can know if the red mica is oil- soluble. Besides, disperse the colorant, the other way is by infused oil which I will explain after this lesson. 3. How to Choose the Color?: What color that you like to put on your soap? If you can use more than one color, what is that? Please write that down on the paper. Do you feel satisfied with the color that you choose? Here, we will talk about the basics of color which can inspire you to select the best color for your soap! First, I wanted to ask you, have you ever seen this picture? This is one of my best friends, a color wheel. This will help you so much to determine the best color for yourself. The color wheel consists of three primary colors. three secondary colors, and six tertiary colors. The primary color is the basic color which can't be made from another color. If you mix that primary color, it will give you the secondary color. Then, tertiary colors are colors made from primary and secondary colors. Okay, let's practice together with me. Now, you can take your colorant, like crayons, watercolor, or acrylic paint, or any kind of colorant that can combine well after being mixed. Every color has values too or you can say it as a color gradation. From this color value, you can get a contrasting color to put on your soap, like very dark green with very light green. This is the result of our activities. You can combine another color and make other color values to knowing better about the color combination. Take a look at these color wheels again and divided them in the center. What do you feel after look at these colors? These color categorized as warm colors which always associated with action, energy, and something stand out. On the other hand, these colors categorized as cool colors. By knowing your soap color personality, it can give you an idea, what kind of fragrance and accessories suits with the color. For instance, you make soap with blue and white colors, you can add mint essential oil to add a calm effect. Back to our color wheels, I will share with you about color harmony. In soap making, this knowledge can guide you to choose the color contrasting and the color combinations which you can avoid. On the complementary color, the colors are opposites on the color wheel. For example, the orange and blue color, red and green. We can say, the color combinations provide the contrast of the color. You can use this kind of combinations if you want to have high contrast in your soap design. Next is Analogous colors which are three colors that side by side on the color wheel, like green, yellow-green, and yellow. For me, I will avoid these types of color combination, because it has a big possibility to look same on the soap. But, it still depends on your design. Now, let's talk about contrast. Take a look at these color combinations. Which one of these combinations will look pop out in the soap? and why? So, option A is the best combination for the soap because it has the highest contrast between each other. The contrast makes your soap design become visible and pop out! When you add color to the soap, the color can be fade out and look softer than the color you see on the colorant, that's why you need a proper contrast between every color if you want the color really looks clear. So, do you want to change the color that you choose in the beginning of this lesson? If yes, how to choose your soap color? You can test it through your colorant and paper. You can start to draw the primary colors, then draw the secondary color by blending the primary color. You can start to make tertiary colors too. After getting used to mixing these colors, you can start to compare colors using complementary combinations or analogous colors. Compare each color that you make, and see the contrast. You can start to draw color from the dark to the light, like from the dark green to light green, you'll see the values different on each color you make. From these activities. you can be more sensitive to the color that you want to use. 4. How to Make Infused Oil?: Like we talked in the previous lesson, soap color has a lot of various types. So, each of them has its own measurement to pop up its color. You need to disperse it with water or oil depends on the colorant type. One of the unique ways to get a color you want is through infusing your oil. Here, we will discuss more about infused oil and how to make it. What if you want to use herbs or maybe dried flowers to your soap without any residue left on it? Well, you can use infused oil as the answer. Infused oil allows you to get an oil with special properties from the herbs or flowers or powder. Yes, you can infuse powder too into your oil. The infused oil can give color to your soap and especially with herbs or dried flowers, it can give scent and unique properties too into the oil. So how to make it, It has two ways to make the infused oil. You need to use lightweight oil, like sweet almond, olive oil, avocado oil, and chia seed oil. Then, I suggest you use only the dried herbs or flower because any fresh ingredients have the possibility to grow any mold or bacteria on the oil. In my recommendation, please use a glass jar for the infused oil. The question is how many ingredients you can put on the jar? It depends on how much oil you need to your soap. If you want to use it as the main oil on your recipe, just use the measurement result from the calculator. For example, in this recipe, I will use olive oil as the lightweight oil, and I need around 27.6 grams in this batch, then I need to put herbs or another ingredient around 3/4 of total lightweight oil weight and start infused it. After it fully infused and be strained, you can use all of the infused olive oil into your batch, without adding another olive oil. But, if I just want to put the small amount of infused oil, when making the infused oil, I will use these rules, I will put the ingredients 3/4 of the jar, and I will fill the jar with oil slightly below its lid. The first method of infused oil is to let it set aside for about 4-6 weeks. You only need to add the herbs into the jar then pour your lightweight oil. Save it at room temperature. Oh, please make sure to use oil with a long shelf life. After it fully infused, strain them to separate the residue from the oil, then saves the oil to the jar again. The other method is by using a crockpot. By using this, you can use your oil right away after being heated. You can use coconut oil in this method. To make your infused oil, you only need to put your herbs or anything else into your jar then pour your oil. After that, put your jar into the crockpot and fill the crockpot with water until it reaches the lid of the jar. Without close your crockpot, turn on and set it at a warm temperature. I will not use a high temperature because we don't need to boil the oil, right? Let leave it for about 1-3 hours before you can use it in your soap. After that, you can use your strainer to separate the residue from the oil. Oh, here I use a cheesecloth too, so the small residue will still be filtered out. If you don't have cheesecloth, you can use a coffee filter or cotton fabric instead. Now, you can squeeze out the remaining oil. Put the oil on the jar again. Now, look at how different each of the infused oil which I already made. Yes, the color changes depending on the herb that I used in every oil. Because I make three kinds of infused oil. I will label it by writing its name and the date when I make it. For your information, the expired of your infused oil is same as the oil shelf life, or you can check on the website. I will put the link on my class resource. Right now, you already know all of the best ways to use the colorant in your soap. You can choose between disperse it with water or oil, or use it right away, or by infused your oil. 5. Making Soap Sample: Okay, now you already know about soap colorants. Natural and artificial colorants have different color values and yup, the color which you see now will different after becoming a soap. Some of them will have fade color and that's totally normal. So if you are never using a color that you have now, do you have any courage to put it in your soap? For me, not yet. So, what can we do? Okay, the only way to know how the color will turn out is by making soap with it. You don't need to make a large batch anyway, you just need to make a very small batch of soap for every color you want. Here, I will use my ice cube mold to experiment every colorant in each small mold. These are the colorant that I am using, moringa infused oil, moringa powder, indigo powder, pink clay, red mica, blue mica, yellow mica, green mica, orange mica, and purple mica. Because my mold is made from plastic, I need to cover it with baking paper first before I put the soap on it. Actually, I ever put soap without any baking paper on my mold and you know what? I can't unmold it. It's completely stuck and I need to use a spoon to unmold it by force. I really waste my time and ingredients because of that. Back to the topic, you need to prepare your mold, baking paper, and your stationery like a pencil and ruler. Measure your mold by its width, length, and height. Then, cut the baking paper based on the measurement result. Put the paper to the mold and tape its edge. Do it to all of the molds that you want to use. For this soap, I will use this recipe Before combining all of the ingredients, we need to prepare our colorant first. Take one of the lightweight oil in your recipe, here I will use my olive oil. Then, you need to use it for dispersed your colorant. I will show you my ideal measurement between the oil and the colorant. This measurement is for one pound of soap For the exact amount of each ingredient, you need to measure it based on your recipe. For each color, I will add a small amount of oil and colorant to the soap. Now, using this small container, I will put around 1/8 teaspoon of colorant and 1/4 teaspoon of oil. For these three containers, I want to make the secondary colors using our primary colors mica. Blue and red become purple, red and yellow become orange, then yellow and blue become green. Now I mix the colorant with the oil and combined it well. Do it for all the colorants. I am only using oil to disperse the color because all of my colorants are oil-soluble. Now, let's measure your Sodium Hydroxide and water to make your lye solution. Don't forget to use your safety gear before you work with Sodium Hydroxide. Now, let's mix it together like what you learn from my first class. Please only put the Sodium hydroxide into the water, not the way around. Mix it until all of it dissolved, then leave it until it cools to about 90 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the lye solution and oil together, then mix it using the hand blender. When it reaches a light trace, pour the soap into every small mold. Now, you can start to put your colorant and blend it together until it mixes as well as possible. Great! you did it. All of the colorants already being combined. Let's leave it for about one day for the saponification process. To remember all of the soap colorant contents, I will label each small molds by writing its colorant name. After leaving it for one day, now we can unmold it. You just need to take off the tape and pull the soap by using the paper. Take off the paper from your soap. Do you know, the great things after making this soap sample is I can use it to compare each colorant and determine the best color combination for my future soap. 6. Let's Design Your Soap!: Congrats again to you! You already finished half of our lesson. From now, you will start to design and making your beautiful and cool soap! Yeah, let's start this lesson now! Now, you can start to draw your design on the paper. You can pause this lesson now. Do you feel confused to start? If yes, I will share with you how I start to design my soap. The best way to start it is by collecting some inspiration. You can use Pinterest for it, or maybe through Google. Sometimes, I am using it too when I completely feel stuck. By using Pinterest, you can make a special board and pinned some soap designs that you liked. Let say I named my board "Soap - Gift for Mom". Now, I will search for some soap pictures which I like and save them to my board. After getting some inspiration, I will start to design soap using my colorant. Or you can use a pencil or pen to design them, but I prefer to use colorant because it really helps me out to see how my design looks a bit more accurate. Now, I will put a bit of information too in my design so I won't forget about my plan through this design. I am always writing about the kind of colorant I am using, the color itself, and the technique that I will use. 7. The Soap Recipe: Great! Finally, let's make our design become real! In this lesson, I will show you my recipe for all of the soap which I will make in the future lesson. This is a recipe that I make for oily skin soap. I will use coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, and canola oil. For the superfat, I set it as 5% and I won't use any fragrance to this soap because I just want to focus on colorant in this class. Firstly, you need to prepare all of the materials that you needed around you. Why? Because when your soap already in the tracing process, it can be hardened by itself if you leave it too long. So, it's better to prepare everything first. Okay, in this soap making, I will need gloves, safety goggles, mask, hand blender, easy-pour containers, silicone toolset, soap cutter, digital scale, spoon, molds, plastic squeeze bottle, measuring spoon set, thermometer, and whisks. Because I will just use 1/3 mold for each soap design, I will divide it with corrugated plastic sheets, like this. Measure all of the ingredients that you need in your soap and put it in your container. Please, make sure to not add or decrease the amount of your ingredients. Make it exactly the same as the recipe measurements. First, don't forget to use your gloves, mask, and safety goggles. Take your Sodium Hydroxide and put it into the water, not the way around. Then, mix it until it dissolved fully using the spoon. Leave it until it reached 90 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember, set in a safe place, out of reach of children and pets. Now, you can pour all of the oil ingredients in the same container, except the lightweight oil that you want to use for dispersing the colorant. Great! for this class, I will introduce you to swirl design and layering. Every design will use this lesson recipe, so all of the amounts of ingredients that I use in the next lesson will be the same as this lesson. I will use only three colorants, which are white, blue from mica, and dark blue from indigo powder. Yup! You don't need to have a lot of colors to create a soap creation. Let's go to the next lesson. 8. Layering Technique: In this first design, I want to make layers with three different colors, blue, dark blue, and white. Because I want to make the layer a bit messy, every colored soap density will not too different from each other. So, what I mean by density? Do you realize when you blend the lye solution with the oil, something change with the batter? Yup! the color absolutely changes and the density of the batter is changed too. As long as you blend that, the density becomes more solid and lumpy. Imagine if you want to make a neat and precise layer of soap, what will you do? I will make the first layer more solid than the other layer so that the other layer unable to get through the first layer. Then, the second layer must be more solid than the third one, but not exceeding the thickness of the first layer. And yup! The third layer is the less lumpy layer. Now, by using the lightweight oil which we already separate from another oil, we can disperse our colorant. Because I will only use one-third of my mold which is around 276 grams of total oil weight, I will only use 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon of colorant. After put them in the small container, mix them well. Now, we can start to combine all of the oil with the lye solution and mix them all until reaching the light trace. Because I am using three colors, I divided my soap batter into three different containers and put my colorant into them. My first layer is the white color, so I blend it again using the hand blender until the batter becomes lumpy, but not too lumpy. So I can get a messy layer on my soap. Now, I pour it into my mold. Pour every batter slowly. The second layer is the dark blue color. I blend it again to make it a bit lumpy and pour the batter. For the last layer, the blue color, I don't want to blend it, I will just pour it into the mold. After leaving it for a day, I will cut the soap using my soap cutter. Yup! The soap result looks different from my drawing, but through it, I can estimate how my soap will turn out and how I can make the design. Lastly, set all soap to the rack and leave it for around one month to finish its curing time. Like I mentioned in my first class, the length of your soap curing time will depend on your soap ingredients. Oh, if you don't like the color on the top of the soap, you can cut it off. Because sometimes, the color won't appear bright like the real color because of the soda ash which happens in your soap. 9. Swirl Technique: Okay! Right now, I want to make this design. Based on this design, I need to swirl my soap after pouring every color on the mold. I will only use two colors in this recipe, indigo and white colors. With this design, I will use indigo powder as the colorant and my DIY hanger to swirl my soap. To make this hanger, you need to measure the length of your soap mold. Make sure, you add more length as a handle. Cut your hanger using pliers or hacksaw. You can bend it before you cut it for the easy way. First, I make my colorant by dispersed all with olive oil. Pour the leftover olive oil into the mixed oil container. Then, pour all of them into the lye solution. Now, we blend it together until it reached the light trace. Okay, what will we do now? Take another pour container and fill it with around half of your soap batter, depending on your own design. Because my design will have white soap in the bottom area, I will pour my soap batter into it first. Then I will combine my dispersed colorant into the other container and mix it until it fully combined. Now, I will pour it above the white soap. Using the hanger, pull it down and up several times in a different position. After you feel it already portray your design, take out the hanger. By using a wooden stick, I can swirl the soap and create a motif on it. Now, leave your soap for around one until two days to finished its saponification process. After leaving it a day for the saponification process, I cut my soap using the soap cutter and look my swirl result. 10. Swirl Technique (on Top): Do you know, you can make a swirl design from the side of your soap too. The good news for you, by this technique, you can make your design a bit more accurate than in the first technique! By my design here, I will use four colors on my soap, white, light blue, dark blue, and blue. First, I will prepare the mold, as I mentioned before, I will just use 1/3 of my mold and I will separate the mold using these two corrugated plastic sheets. As my suggestion, please separate it first before you make your soap. Now you can prepare all of the material that you needed. In this recipe. I will use blue mica, indigo infused oil or indigo powder, moringa infused oil, two paper cup, and a wooden stick. For indigo colorant, I will use my indigo infused oil first, but if the color won't turn out great, I will use the dispersed indigo. Now, I disperse my mica color using olive oil as the lightweight oil. Let's mix it until well blended. Then, we can blend the olive oil together with another oil. Mix the oil into the lye solution and blend it until it reaches the light trace. Pour the soap batter into another container and mix them using the colorant. For making the slightly light blue, I will pour the blue soap and white soap together into the container and blend it well. Now, I pour the soap into my mold. After pouring all of it, I take off the corrugated plastic sheets, and I design the swirl by using the wooden stick. Leave it for one until two days to finish the saponification process. After finishing the saponification process, you can cut it and leave it for the curing time. 11. BONUS : Soap Painting Technique: Marvelous! You already reach our final lesson. Now, you can start exploring the soap techniques or make a new technique! For the bonus, I will show you another coloring technique, you can call it as soap painting. Here, I am already made a white soap. In the soap painting technique, you only need to paint and decorate your soap using mica color. You don't need to combine the mica color on the soap batter. You can do the painting process after your soap being unmolded and before it is cut. Or you can paint it after your soap is cut. For the mica formula, the measurement ratio of isopropyl alcohol and mica is 2 to 1. Firstly, we need to prepare our dispersed mica. I will combine 1/4 teaspoon of isopropyl alcohol and 1/8 teaspoon of mica. Using the paintbrush, I will paint the soap. I usually repainting it two until three times to pop up the color after the first layer dried well. The only downside by using this technique is the paint result will be gone after the soap being used for two-three times. But, yup! It still a good technique to try, right? Brilliant! You did all of this class lesson! I hope this class can give you so much inspiration and guide to create your soap creation. Please, let me know if you want to discuss something or share something with me. Oh, I have some projects for this class, you can select the best one for you, or you can finish all the projects too if you want. It would be great if we can share this together. Thank you so much for your participation. Have a nice day.