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Tutorial: Rainbow Ombr√© Soap with Bramble Berry’s LabColors

I’ve been wanting to harness the powers of bleeding soap colorants for sometime now, so I decided to snag myself a set of Bramble Berry’s LabColors to create a stunning rainbow ombr√© soap.

Rainbow Ombre Soap Recipe & Tutorial
Rainbow Ombre Soap Recipe & Tutorial with LabColors

This recipe is one of my favorite palm-free soap recipes using babassu oil and¬†coconut oil together. If you don’t have babassu (it is pretty expensive), you can replace the¬†babassu oil with mostly coconut oil and a little shea butter.

It is sized for my Uber Kate mold from Soap Hutch (11″ long by 2.5″ wide by 4″ tall loaf cavity – poured to about 3.25″ depth).

You can also use it in a 10″ Bramble Berry silicone mold, like most of my other tutorials, but you’ll get thinner layers. Or simply resize it using a lye calculator – whatever works for you.

Soap Recipe Used

  • 9¬†ounces Apricot Kernel Oil
  • 8 ounces Coconut Oil
  • 7 ounces Rice Bran Oil
  • 6 ounces Babassu Oil
  • 5 ounces Shea Butter
  • 3 ounces Castor Oil
  • 5.23 ounces¬†Sodium Hydroxide
  • 10.62 ounces Distilled Water

I buy most of my soaping oils from Soaper’s Choice (Columbus Foods).

Fragrance Oil Blend Used

  • 20¬†grams¬†Energy Fragrance Oil
  • 25 grams¬†Kumquat Fragrance Oil
  • 15¬†grams¬†Champagne Fragrance Oil

These fragrance oils are from Bramble Berry, but you can use any fragrances or essential oils your heart desires.

Colorants Used

To get the most out of playing with LabColors, I bought the small set of 12 LabColors, the set includes all of the colors I used in this tutorial and a few more. I do not seem to have any luck with using the Royal Purple LabColor on it’s own, so I use a blend of LabColors to hit on purple.

  • Red Layer:¬†1¬†mL diluted Fuschia LabColor,¬†1 mL diluted Red LabColor
  • Orange Layer:¬†2 mL diluted Orange LabColor
  • Yellow Layer:¬†2 mL diluted Canary LabColor
  • Green Layer:¬†1 mL diluted Lime LabColor,¬†1 mL diluted Emerald LabColor
  • Blue Layer:¬†1 mL diluted Brilliant Blue LabColor,¬†1 mL diluted Blue Mix LabColor
  • Purple Layer:¬†1 mL diluted Royal Purple LabColor,¬†1 mL diluted Brilliant Blue LabColor,¬†1 mL diluted Red LabColor
  • On top:¬†Gold Sparkle Mica

The Gold Sparkle Mica is also from Bramble Berry, but I sometimes use Sister Golden Hair Surprise from Mad Oils Рany gold mica works!

PREP WORK:¬†Weigh out your soaping oils. I like to add my fragrance¬†to my main soap pot so I can’t possibly forget it¬†later.¬†Make up your lye solution, too!

If you haven’t already, you will need to dilute your LabColors. The usage rates listed above are already diluted LabColors, diluting at the strongest recommended rate (small bottle in 4 ounces of distilled water.) If you need help diluting your LabColors, SoapQueen.com has a great tutorial right over here.

I put each designated layer’s¬†LabColor blend in it’s individual measuring cup, so I could easily mix the raw soap into the color.

Dilute and measure out your LabColors
Dilute and measure out your LabColors

GET STARTED: Add your lye solution to your soaping oils. Stick blend until barely emulsified, and then split the batch into six parts: one for each color. Completely mix in the diluted LabColor into your soap using a spatula.

Split the batch and stir in the diluted LabColor
Split the batch and stir in the diluted LabColor

As you’ll notice, LabColors are not exactly a “what you see is what you get” kind of colorant. The blues and purples tend¬†to be muted and grey when added to cold process soap, but look great once saponified.

Just make sure to purchase high pH designated LabColors (all the colorants in the small set are high pH safe!)

What the diluted LabColors look like in raw soap
What the diluted LabColors look like in raw soap

LAYER IT UP: Starting with the purple soap, get pouring! Completely empty each measuring cup as you go, and use a spatula to even out layers and prevent the layer you are pouring from breaking the layer beneath it.

If you want perfectly straight layers, you can stick blend each color to a light to medium¬†trace before pouring and then tap your mold on your work surface to even out each¬†layer. Somewhat straight is good enough for me, though! ūüėČ

Pour each layer of the rainbow soap, starting with purple
Pour each layer of the rainbow soap, starting with purple
Use your spatula to floodfill each layer of the rainbow soap
Use your spatula to flood fill each layer of the rainbow soap
Smooth our each layer before pouring the next one
Smooth our each layer before pouring the next one

FINISH IT UP: Texture the top as you please! For this particular rainbow soap batch, I used a spoon and dragged to the middle from the outside. Spritz the top with rubbing alcohol when it loses the sheen of wet soap, and cover with plastic wrap to help keep the ash monsters away.

Texture the top of the rainbow soap with a spoon
Texture the top of the rainbow soap with a spoon

After 24 hours, paint the top of the soap (still in the mold!) with gold mica using a synthetic nylon brush. I like to spritz the top of the soap (after dusting it with mica) with rubbing alcohol to help it stick. If you do that, be careful not to use too much alcohol and let it dry before removing it from the mold.

Remove the soap from the mold, slice it up, and give it a good cure. While the soap cures, the LabColors will continue to migrate, creating a lovely ombré effect. Enjoy!

Finished Rainbow Ombre Soap!
Finished Rainbow Ombre Soap!

This rainbow ombré soap recipe featured in this tutorial is a palm-free and vegan friendly formula. It uses a 7% superfat and a 33% lye solution strength. Feel free to adjust as necessary!

Let me know in the comments if¬†you’ve used LabColors before and what you thought of them!

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15 Responses

  1. Thanks for a fantastic tutorial Kenna! I messed up and added too much brilliant blue to the blue layer, and ended up with a mauve. Live and learn! I’m excited to see how they look once gelled. Thank you again!

  2. Hi Kenna,

    I love your website and tutorials. I mix my gold mica with alcohol in a little spray bottle. Just shake to mix and spray. It looks fabulous on dark soap too.

    All the best

    Gayle

  3. We don’t have Lab colours in the UK. Are they what we call ‘Lake’ colourants, since they are suppose to bleed? Anyone, please chime in as I may need to try with lakes till I can afford to buy from Branbleberry i.e shipping costs etc! TIA

  4. Hey-ho:) I am fairly new to soaping (9 months to a year). I started off with Melt and Pour and graduated into Cold Process after taking a class in October of 2104 ( I was so nervous about the process of using lye, I needed the class to build confidence). I am hooked ! I love soaping! After much encouragement from my family and friends, I am now ready to take it to the next level; a business. I just don’t know how to go about it. I have been researching through youtube on packaging and labeling. What I need advice on is, developing inventory, photos, setting up a website, and pricing. Also, obtaining supplies wholesale. Any advice offered would be much appreciated!:)

  5. Hi Kenna,
    Quick question regarding your mold. I’m awaiting my shipment, and haven’t used HDPE. It said its a no line mold, and it didn’t look like you used a liner. Please tell me this is in fact a no liner needed mold! Also, in general, do you insulate and gel all your soaps? I’m wanting to use more milk typ products into my soap, yet retain the white/ creamy color.
    As always, thank you!

    1. Hi Amy! I don’t use a liner in my SoapHutch molds, and yes, they are HDPE. ūüôā I do always gel, which does help when using HDPE. Not gelling will make your soap softer and stickier, which means harder to get out of HDPE. There are some tips and tricks for using HDPE molds (and lots of other tricks) in Pure Gold, which is my free ebook, you can get it here: http://www.modernsoapmaking.com/pure-gold

  6. Hi Kenna, I want to thank you for all the wonderful information you so generously share. I was wondering if you could do a tutorial on butterfly swirl? I cannot seem to do the swirl correctly. Thanks, Annie

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