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  • Writer's pictureTina

I Finally Did It!

My very first attempt at sculpting a 3D soap pumpkin

Dear reader, I have not been this excited about anything soap-related since I discovered I could make fourteen loaves of soap simultaneously. For the past several years, I have been threatening my bib overall-wearing nay-saying husband with the addition of soap dough to our seasonal soap line-up. As with anything new, different, or fun, he put up a fight. However, dear reader, after three years, I have finally conquered the task of making soap dough. Although apprehensive of what lies ahead for seasonal soap creations, The Bibbed Wonder is happy for me.

There is an endless supply of soap dough recipes floating around. It seemed daunting when I first began exploring the idea of making soap dough. However, once I really dug into researching it, I realized that all soap dough is soap that has not hardened. One can create soap dough from any recipe as long as the batter is kept in an airtight container. There is no need for a special recipe, extra ingredients, or a complicated process. Armed with this realization, I approached The Bibbed Wonder with my list of ideas. To say he was not receptive is an understatement.

The Bibbed Wonder calls me the idea factory. He does not say this in a flattering tone. Often, when I approach him with an excellent idea, he will look at me, smirk, and say, "I think you need to write that down, roll it up in a tiny little ball, and stick it in inappropriate places"-only he names the inappropriate place. Sigh. After years of going back and forth about this, I took matters into my own hands. We had some extra soap batter left over when we made our Pumpkin Sandalwood soap. Yes, it smells like autumn in the soap studio. Anyhow, I took that extra bit of batter, put it in a Ziploc bag, and decided to see what would happen. When I thought about it, I kneaded the soap bag, but it was not an exact science. To my delight, I found a soft, pliable, dough-like substance when I checked on it the next day.

I patiently waited while we worked to get our soap duties done. Once we had two batches made, the studio cleaned and prepped for the next day; I took my little bag of soap dough, opened it up, tore off a knob of soap dough, and then proceeded to roll it into a soft, pliable ball. I then danced around my husband like a voodoo witch doctor, hooting, hollering, and singing, "Oh, Yeah! Oh, Yeah! I did it! I did it!" There was much gyrating going on. I believe Abby thought I had gone insane.

The Bibbed Wonder, always a skeptic, asked many nonsense questions, like: How long did it take? How much would I need? Did I plan to use soap dough for everyday soaps? Sigh, he's so practical. However, his practicality was not going to rain on my parade. I conceded to agreeing only to use soap dough on seasonal and special soaps. I also agreed not to make anything that would make shipping difficult. I envision using the soap dough for custom embeds placed inside the soap rather than sculpting 3D figures on top. Communicating this to one twitchy husband and a pinky promise made the process go over a bit easier.

Once the celebrating was done, I sat down to experiment with the soap dough and a clay extruder. Much to my delight, the extruding process is quite simple. The extruder is easy to clean, and there is not a lot of fuss. These are all good things for one of my hair-brained ideas. For one very practical bib-overall-wearing curmudgeon, practicality is essential. I extruded several basic shapes with success. I then sat and sculpted a tiny pumpkin. Although not professional by any means, I thought my pumpkin turned out well for my first attempt. Once the experiment was complete, my husband finally broke into a smile and congratulated me. He could not refrain from reminding me there would be nothing 3D sculpted for on top of the soap, but he did smile.

Now, dear reader, the real fun begins. We are in the process of making fall and winter soaps to take to The Shaker Woods Festival in August. I get to design soaps and use soap dough for these seasonal soaps. The possibilities are endless! There are so many extruding discs to choose from my little brain could explode. I have settled upon fall leaves, pumpkins, acorns, stars, the moon, and snowflakes. However, there are mittens, wellies, hats, goats, animals, and flowers galore. It will be difficult not to buy one of everything. If I am going to remain happily married, I need to curb the ideas and filter the shopping cart. Sigh.

I have a new level of enthusiasm for our upcoming seasonal soaps. It's not that I am not excited about what we do; it's just that sometimes it feels like lather, rinse, repeat in the studio. The new medium of soap dough has me going in a million different directions with what we can achieve aesthecically. I need to settle my creative little brain and think clearly and decisively about what we can reasonably do for the upcoming seasonals. I will keep you posted. Not everyone is excited about soap dough; it's a soap nerd thing. However, I believe I can create new soaps that will dazzle and wow you. At least, that's my goal.

On this very summer-like day, stay safe, be smart, look forward to many new creations, and keep washing your hands.

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