In this blog post I’m going to share with you how I make my layered Rainbow soap and give you some tips on how to get perfectly straight layers! It is Pride month and this is a soap that we make every year!
LOVE IS LOVE, and we at Lovin’ Soap celebrate all of the different ways that might look! We stand with our LGBTQ+ community as an ally in the face of hate and nonacceptance. We are so glad to have you as a part of our community. <3
Tips for Straight and Even Layers in Soap
There are a few different ways that you can do this! You can:
- Mix your entire batch to emulsion, divide into containers for each layer and then bring each layer to thick trace as you pour. This works pretty well, but you might not get the straightest layers possible. And you run the risk of your emulsified soap to thicken before you’re ready to pour each layer.
- Create a separate batch for each layer! You can treat each layer as a separate batch. This allows you to make sure each layer is setup before you pour the next layer. This works well, but is a lot of work to create each layer.
- Mix your lye solution and prepare your oils for your entire batch. Then only pour off enough of each to make each layer. This is my favorite method and what I’ll show you below!
Layered Rainbow Soap Recipe
This recipe makes enough soap for two 10″ loaves or a similar sized block of soap. I’m using a silicone slab liner from Bramble Berry that I will cut into two loaves and then into bars. I normally use 2 10″ loaves (from Bramble Berry) but I already had soap in mine when I was ready to make this soap.
Let’s make soap! If you are new to soapmaking, be sure to download our free guide, How to Make Cold Process Soap! Gear up in your gloves and your safety glasses.
Base Oils + Scent
- Coconut Oil – 540 grams
- Shea Butter – 180 grams
- Olive Oil – 720 grams
- Rice Bran Oil – 216 grams
- Avocado Oil – 144 grams
- Scent – 30 grams
- Water – 508 grams
- Sodium Hydroxide – 254 grams
(Affiliate link) Use your favorite fragrance or essential oil blend. I used a happy essential oil blend of orange, litsea, lavender and a splash of peppermint. I used 30 grams total. If you’re looking for a good place to get essential oils, I HIGHLY recommend Appalachian Valley Natural Products. I love their products and their shipping is super fast!
Rainbow Soap Colors
When I pick colors for a rainbow soap, I like to find the most true colored mica and then bump up the intensity by combining the mica with a neon. Every year I do something different, but here is what I used this year! Most of my colorants were from Nurture Soap this year (I specify if it was a different supplier).
- Red – Trial By Fire
- Orange – Pumpkin Head (Mad Micas) + Neon Orange
- Yellow – Love & Sunshine + Full Throttle
- Green – Jade Green + New Neon Green
- Blue – Electric Blue + New Neon Blue
- Purple – Purple Vibrance + New Purple Neon
Lye safety – Prepare lye solution in a well-ventilated area as it does fume. Be sure to wear glove and goggles. Always pour the dry lye into water and never water into lye or it can explode out of your container.
Step 1: Create a lye solution. Weigh the water and lye into two separate containers. Slowly pour the sodium hydroxide into the water while stirring. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside to cool. Your solution will start off cloudy and will clear up as it cools.
Step 2: Prepare the base oils. First, weigh any solid oils and butters into a container and melt. You can melt using the microwave or low heat on a burner. Next, weigh each liquid oil into the melted oils. The liquid oils will cool down the melted oils and leave you with a base oil mixture that is about at the correct temperature to make soap. It might still need to cool down a bit.
Step 3: Weigh your essential oil or fragrance oil into a glass or stainless steel container and add to your base oil.
Step 4: Prepare your mold. If you need to line your mold, line it.
Step 5: Check the temperatures. You should now have a container containing liquid base oils and a container containing lye solution. Take the temperatures using an infra-red temperature gun. Be sure to stir each mixture before taking the temp.
For layering, you want your temperatures to be around 120° F. This will allow each layer to setup quickly without you having to wait long to pour the next one. If your soap is cooler, closer to 80-100° F, you’ll be waiting awhile for each layer to setup. Having my lye solution and oils at 120 allowed my soap to setup pretty quickly so that I could pour the next layer within 10 minutes of the prior. You might have to wait more or less depending on your temperatures and how your fragrance or essential oil effects your soap.
Step 6: Divide your total oils + scent by the amount of layers you want to pour. Same with lye solution.
- Oils – My recipe includes 1800 grams in base oils and 30 grams in essential oil, giving me a total of 1830 grams. Divide that by 6 layers and I get 305 grams.
- Lye solution – My recipe has a total lye solution of 762 grams. Divide that by 6 and I get 127 grams.
Step 7: Pour 305 grams of base oils into a smaller container. Pour 127 grams of lye solution into the same container (or you can pour into another container and then add it to your base oils if you’re afraid to over pour.)
Step 8: Add your color and bring this mixture (your first layer) to light-medium trace. You want it to be fluid enough to create a flat layer. Pour into your mold.
Step 9: Allow this layer to set completely until it is firm enough to pour on the next layer without it penetrating the first layer. With this recipe and using temps of about 120° F, I was able to pour my second layer after 10 minutes.
Step 10: Pour out your next layer’s base oils and lye solution. Mix to trace and pour carefully over your first layer. Pour onto a spatula to help break the force of the soap. You don’t want it penetrating the first layer.
Repeat this process for each additional layer. Your lye solution and oil mixture might cool off a bit. I like to gently heat them up using a water bath and keep them at 120° F. If you let things cool off too much, you’ll be waiting a long time between layers.
Ha! Ignore my bowing mold! I normally use two 10″ silicone loaf molds but they were already filled with soap. And I don’t have a support for this liner as I usually use it as a slab mold and don’t fill to the top. I’ll add that to Benjamin’s to-do list! LOL! The bowing of the mold skewed my layers a bit, but not bad!
Getting straight and perfect layers takes patience! Don’t be in a hurry if you want perfectly straight layers. I’ll be honest and tell you that I did hurry a few layers and you can see that in some of the colors. I have an 11 month old and a 2.5 year and old and sometimes they just need mama! 🙂
Step 11: After 24 hours, you can unmold and cut your soap! I cut this block of soap into two loaves and then into bars.
Step 12: Cure the soap for 4-6 weeks.
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