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Magellan’s Gift™ Handcrafted Soap – Dry Mica Priming of Impression Mats

October 3, 2015
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This is mostly a pictorial about how Magellan’s Gift™ Micro Soap Company uses dry mica to prime impression mats.  This is just a peek for both my customers and soap-makers who follow my blog.  I will try to keep it simple and not bog you down with soap-making language since my following is about 50/50.  One of the questions my customers often ask: what is Mica?  In soap-making the term mica means cosmetic mica. It is skin safe and is often lip and eye safe as well.


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Impression mats for fondant cake icing work perfectly for creating  patterns on soap. These mat are generally used to make fancy cake icing where a special thick icing is rolled onto the mat to create a pattern.  It then is applied to the cake. The mats can be purchased online and at craft stores. This mat is from  I work with 30 bar HDPE divider slab molds; most mats are too small for my molds. Another consideration is the size of pattern. Fondant impression mat are made from food grade silicone which is a plus too. In this picture, I’ve primed the mat with mica, using a dedicated make up sponge.  I’ve tried to apply this as lightly possible, so that only the raised surface has color.

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The dry mica primed mat is placed in the bottom of the mold.

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The soap is made and poured just before what soap makers call “trace.” I want it thin, so the soap stays flat. Amazingly, pouring doesn’t disrupt the design on the mold. My first attempt was painting the mat with mica mixed with oil.  Pouring the soap did cause the design to migrate. Very sad!

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The dividers are placed. Next the mold is covered with wrap and insulated with blankets. This batch also needed a little extra heat, so it was placed on a heating mat to help bump it into becoming hard soap more quickly. Some soap-makers will boost their soap by placing it in the oven on 150 degrees for a time. It is important for your soap to be firm.

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After one to several days have pasted  (dependent on factors: like hardness of the recipe, heat both natural and produced and even the weather) the bottom of the mold is removed and the mat is peeled back. I then allow it to rest a few hours and then push the soap bars out with a pusher – shown later.

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Here is a primed mat for Magellan’s Gift™ The Muse Soap; this is done with many colors of mica. The mica is  worked in very fast with a stiff brush. You don’t want extra, just enough to add a layer of color. There isn’t a need to really stay in the lines. The mats can be primed in advance. The only downside is some of the really bright colors do cling to the mat, which makes clean up time consuming, if you want to use it again without color. This mat is dedicated to making The Muse soap, so any that clings isn’t a problem.

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Here is a great picture of the pusher that helps push the bars out of the mold! The mold, pusher and a cam (not shown, it helps remove the bottom of the mold) are made by Rich Bartko of SoapHutch.




Only 3 more markets to buy soap! I'm taking a break, but will be back in October. Online sales will continue, but there will be a week delay on shipping mid September. I will be back in action with lots of soap and a few new surprises!

So, why not just paint mica on the surface of the already made bars of soap?  The advantage of this method is pouring the raw soap on top of the dry mica causes it to bind with the soap and does not rub off on your fingers. Of course the design will wash off with the first use of the bar. This also is great for the common problem of soda ash that some recipes produce on top of the bars.  Your design is on the bottom!   Mica when mixed with cold process soap losses its sparkle, you keep most of the sparkle with this method. The next blog will be on creating an impression mat with a 3D printer.   Hope your life is filled with warm bubbles!  

Taking a Break – Good stuff to come!

August 30, 2015
Only 3 more markets to buy soap! I'm taking a break, but will be back in October. Online sales will continue, but there will be a week delay on shipping mid September. I will be back in action with lots of soap and a few new surprises!

Dry brush technique for cold process soap – just playing with mica combinations on scrap.

Only 3 more markets to buy soap! Look for Magellan’s Gift™ soaps at Harrisonburg Farmers Market next Tuesday, 9/1, Saturday 9/5 and Tuesday 9/8. I’m taking a break for surgery, but will be back in October. Online sales will continue, but there will be a week delay on shipping mid September. I will be back in action with lots of soap and a few new surprises!  I will post several blogs while I recover on the use of impression mats and 3D printing of little mats for soap impressions.

Wish Away Bubbles™ = Adult Stress Relief!

July 10, 2015
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Wish Away Bubbles™ by Magellan’s Gift™

New Product!

Wish Away Bubbles™ are now available at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market!  Online sales coming soon. The bubbles are a secret recipe made with Eco dish soap and the wands are from my crazy muse who makes me do these things. Many years ago, I was at a seminar for building confidence.  The speaker suggested visualizing a bubble and picturing your fear inside the bubble and then: pop it!

Well, being a soap maker, I had to try my hand at making bubbles. Real soap is great for the skin; detergent is better for bubbles. Eco dish detergent, that has no phosphates and biodegrades, was my choice for the project, but that alone won’t make great bubbles. Here’s where a little chemistry helps and after a few mistakes and some comparing of recipes, I got it. A Eureka moment!

The wands needed to be fanciful and fun. These aren’t for little kids, if you are worried about getting old, these are guaranteed to prevent maturity! Notice, I didn’t say blowing bubbles will keep you from getting old . . .

OK, dip the wand (shell) into the solution and blow gently and visualize your worst fear.  Bubbles will form through the shell, sometimes quite a few, if you have lots of problems.  When the bubble pops – let the fear go!

You can also breathe wishes into the bubble and when it pops say: done deal or, make it so!

Magellan's Gift ™ Wish Away Bubbles!

Magellan’s Gift ™ Wish Away Bubbles!

Bubble blown with a shell wand!

Bubble blown with a shell wand!

Dry Brush Mica Technique for Handcrafted Artisan Soap

June 21, 2015
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The Muse, a handcrafted soap made with a dry brush mica technique use on an impression mat!

Introducing the The Muse, a handcrafted soap made with a dry brush mica technique used on an impression mat! The scent is created with mints, patchouli and clove essential oils. The bar is enhanced with shea butter and avocado oil. Look for it July 18 at or at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market.

dry brushed mica on impression mat 1It is no secret that I love impression mats for my handcrafted soap. They can be used on the bottom of a mold and peeled off when the soap is firm.  Pesky soda ash which sometime forms on the top of the soap is not a concern for the design on the bottom will become the top of the soap. You can find impression mats where fondant cake icing mats are sold.

I’m working with a 3D printer shop to make custom mats for my soap and a lot of testing is still needed.  So in the meantime, I’ve been working on using color on an impression mat and trying to find the fastest and best way. So far, I like to use a flat stiff art paint brush, dip it dry into mica and use it lightly.

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This is a photo of the mat removed by peeling it back about two days after pouring.

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Handcrafted soap using the dry brushed mica technique on a fondant impression mat

The last picture is of the soap batch ready to go back to a dedicated room for curing. A total of 30 bars of soap are made in what is called an HDPE divider mold. The edges will be beveled after 3 weeks.

May you always be surrounded with warm bubbles!

Lori Curry ~ Magellan’s Gift~ Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap!

The Mints are Back!

May 6, 2015
Magellan's Gift Handcrafted Mint Soaps!

Magellan’s Gift™ Handcrafted Mint Soaps!

The Mints are back! Come by this Saturday to the Harrisonburg Farmers Market and buy something fresh, local and handcrafted for Mother’s Day and Graduations.

Pictured from left to right:

Rosemary Mint Soap is swirled with sea and Australian clay in peacock fashion and is scented with rosemary, spearmint and peppermint essential oils. This is a “be clean” soap enhanced with jojoba oil.

Lavender Mint Soap is softly scented with Lavender, spearmint and a touch of peppermint, expect a creamy lather from this one. The lavender has been increased slightly from the last limited addition batch. This is a natural colored soap for those who like it simple and clean. Lavender Mint Soap is enhanced with macadamia nut oil.

Ocean Mint is swirled with sea clay and sea-foam ultramarine mineral pigment. The scent is peppermint with just a touch of spearmint. Dried peppermint is added for a mild textured shower experience. This one is for those that like the wild cooling tingle of peppermint and the enhancement of macadamia nut oil.

Online sales for the featured soaps will start Friday.

Handcrafted soap available for Saturday, May 9 – subject to rapid change:

Rosemary Mint, Lavender Mint, Ocean Mint, Spirit Tree, Bergamot Coriander Ginger, Summer Spice, The Good Ship Victoria (4 left), Lavender Green, The Tangerman (low stock), Sirens’ Song, Lime Rosemary, Spearmint, Lavender Blue, West Indies Bay, Grapefruit Patchouli, The Mediterranean Salt and Cardamom Rose Geranium.

For those of you that are new to my posts, Magellan’s Gift™ sells handcrafted soaps at the Harrisonburg, VA Farmers Market located across from the Daily News Record at 228 S Liberty street year round. Current hours are from 8 AM to 1 PM.
Online sales –

New – Bergamot Coriander Ginger Handcrafted Soap!

April 16, 2015
Bergamot Coriander Ginger scented handcrafted soap

Handcrafted Bergamot Coriander Ginger scented  soap

The latest addition to Magellan’s Gift™ Micro Soap Company’s line up of fine handcrafted soaps is currently just named after the key essential oils that gives the soap its refreshing scent.  Sales will start this Saturday both online and at the Harrisonburg, Va Farmers Market.


Pot Luck Gardener’s Soap

April 9, 2015
Pot Luck Gardener's Soap

Pot Luck Gardener’s Soap

The life of a soap molecule at Magellan’s Gift™ Micro Soap Company starts with heating, mixing, cooling and swirling. The still liquid soap is formed into bars, a day or two later the mold is removed. The soap is allowed to rest for about four weeks.The final step is to bevel the edges and polish. The remaining edges (from beveling) are carefully labeled for one year as a retention sample. The bars of soap are sold, but the samples have to wait until a magic moment when the soap maker decides that they are over a year old and the mood hits or muse insists.
The soap edges/retention samples are re-hydrated with Magellan’s Gift™ rose geranium distillate or AKA hydrosol. Fragile botanical ingredients like blueberry seeds, rose petals and cornflowers are added, as well as pumice for texture. It is totally based on whim or “pot luck”. Up to 16 plant based oils and butters, some quite exotic like kukui, evening primrose and hemp oil, go into the mix. Clays, oxides, ultramarine and mica color the soap. Vitamin E and rosemary extract act as antioxidants. Do to the large amount of possible ingredients, you should be careful if you have allergies or sensitivities. That said, these are often requested, but only offered once or twice a year.

Lots of happy soap molecules all rolled into a ball!

Lori Curry ~ Magellan’s Gift™ Adventure & Discovery in Fine Soap


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