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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.

Muse dry brush impression mat 001b

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!  

16 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2015 6:43 PM

    This is nothing short of spectacular! Beautiful art and great soap-very special indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. October 8, 2015 5:50 PM

    This technique is so awesome! All of your soaps look beautiful! =)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. November 30, 2015 4:39 PM

    Beautiful soaps, amazing technique! I especially like the one with many colors of mica.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. December 8, 2015 1:42 AM

    First time I”ve seen it done this way, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. January 26, 2016 10:02 PM

    What gorgeous soap!! Wow…. thank you so much for using our Mad Oils micas and sharing with everyone. You are a rock star! Email me, I would love to ask you a couple of questions….. jo(at)madoils(dot)com ❤


  6. Lina permalink
    January 26, 2016 10:39 PM

    Love it!


  7. January 29, 2016 10:24 AM

    Hello, Mrs. Curry, may I ask how you are cleaning tha mat than… I tried several times by alkohol and liquid soap… but the mat is not that cear as it was…
    Thank you for any answer.

    This first soap of this post is my favourite one))) You are fantastic!!! and thank you for sharing.


    • January 29, 2016 12:44 PM

      I have found that some mica colors stick worse then others. Homemade silicone mats also hold color more than commercially made ones. Soaking in detergent for a day or so helps. In my experiments I’ve found that any color left after soaking doesn’t transfer to the next batch. I just starting to create homemade impression mats. The mat for the Muse is dedicated, so it doesn’t matter, but almost all of it comes off with a good soak. Glad you enjoyed the post!


  8. Elizabeth Fischel permalink
    May 19, 2017 4:16 AM

    Thank you for sharing your technique and the source of that fabulous slab mold. Must have one!! Or two, or three!!!


  9. seifeundanderes permalink
    September 20, 2017 10:49 AM

    Thank you for sharing this. Very nice!


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