Making a Tree Picture Soap

June 11, 2021

Making a Tree Picture Soap - For President Lincoln's Cottage Museum Store!

Today’s post is a little different, because I’m going to be talking to you about how I made this beautiful tree picture soap!  This soap is a custom order from President Lincoln’s Cottage who requested some soap designs for their gift shop/museum store.  

I was (no, I still am) honored to be asked and immediately jumped into designing some bars that would work with the theme of their garden and grounds.  

Osage Orange Tree - The Inspiration

One of the most iconic living things on their property is the osage orange tree.  You can read more about this tree (if you’re a tree person, or generally curious) in this article about the 10 most unusual trees in D.C. https://dcist.com/story/19/06/26/where-to-find-the-most-unusual-trees-in-d-c/

Osage oranges are, in fact, not at all orange, they’re green!  The scent of the osage orange is somewhat citrus and somewhat cucumber.  Combining citrus and cucumber results is a very refreshing scent.  I used a similar fragrance profile to scent the soap, and I love it!

Here is how the soap design turned out:

Want Your Own Tree Picture Soap?

These tree picture soaps were designed especially for President Lincoln’s Cottage Museum Store and are only available there!  https://www.lincolncottagestore.com/

Picture Soap - The Process

I used cold process soapmaking to make this soap.  If you’re unfamiliar with soap making and curious what that means, check out this earlier post where I go into the basics of this process: https://amandatoryactivity.com/the-basics-of-diy-soap/

This is probably the most complex soap design I’ve ever made.  It involved multiple steps over the span of multiple days, but boy was is fun!

Day 1, I made soap dough and a tree trunk.

Day 2, I made the soap dough into oranges (green ones 🙂 ) using a clay extruder.  I also made leaves.

Day 3, I carved the tree trunk into a tree trunk shape, made the rest of the soap batter (sky, grass, tree foliage, etc.), and poured the design

Day 4, I cut it and experienced joy. 🙂

 

Making the Tree Picture Soap - A Video

I created the video below to walk you through the process in case you’d like to see how it was made.

Perhaps you’ve been to President Lincoln’s Cottage and you’ve come home with a bar of osage orange tree soap and you were curious how I made your soap?

Maybe you’re a soap-maker, but you’ve never made a picture soap?

Or, possibly you just like watching people make soap (I’m raising my hand here…I literally watch a soap video, or two, or four, every day. I LOVE IT).

Whatever your reason, this video may entertain you and/or answer some questions about how to make a picture soap!

Need Help Starting Your Soapmaking Journey?

Looking to start making soap and not sure where to start?  You can check out my earlier blog post linked above.  Below are also some super-helpful and creative channels whose content I ADORE.

Royalty Soaps: https://www.youtube.com/user/RoyaltySoaps.  I mentioned in the video that I used the Royalty Soaps base oils recipe for my soap batter.  It’s my standard go-to recipe, and then I jazz it up periodically with additives. For this tree picture soap, I replaced some of the water with aloe vera juice.

Soap Queen TV (AKA Brambleberry): https://www.youtube.com/user/soapqueentv  There is a lot to be learned on this channel, and convenient links to supplies.  This is where I started out.  On Bramblerry’s website, you can buy pre-mixed oils (quick mixes, they’re called) or entire kits to try out the process before you go all-in with 50 gallon drums of coconut oil. 🙂

BOTH of these channels above include basic tutorials on lye safety, which are IMPORTANT TO WATCH AND UNDERSTAND prior to starting your soapmaking adventure.  Please use recommended safety gear!

Some Amazon and Online Links for Shopping Convenience

Experience has taught me that some of you will take issue with the “support of Amazon”. Let’s not forget that many of the sellers on Amazon are other small businesses who need a platform because their marketing budgets are small.  I myself sell my handmade goods on Amazon since there are already active shoppers on the site who are not shopping on my site, or even know I exist.

SO…please take the below recommendations as they are intended, as a list to help you with convenient shopping options.  Many items can be purchased from grocery stores or other soap making suppliers online.  If you are interested in a run-down of other shopping options for supplies, please let me a message.  I would be happy to dedicate a full post to the other places I shop for bulk products. 

The Amazon links below are all affiliate links and help with the support of this blog and my YouTube channel.  Please know if you make a purchase through any of the links below, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thanks in advance for your support!

Base soaping oils:
Coconut Oil – https://amzn.to/3zlHWpR
RSPO Palm Oil – https://amzn.to/358WmMi
Sweet Almond Oil – https://amzn.to/3xaXR8G
 
Stick blender – my choice for new soapmakers is this inexpensive option, it’s what I started with: https://amzn.to/2ShJ9Oz
I have since upgraded to a cordless KitchenAid, which I LOVE, but it’s much more expensive: https://amzn.to/3gbZ1Lt
 
Make sure you use bowls dedicated to soap making, DO NOT mix and match these items with kitchen supplies.  My white bowls came from Dollar Tree, but my other large mixing containers are these: https://amzn.to/3cupXUs  You can also find smaller quantities of these at a hardware store.
 
Clay extruder used for soap dough: https://amzn.to/3cAzgCt
 
Mica’s and colorants can be found easily at brambleberry.com and wholesalesuppliesplus.com (free shipping over $25)

I hope you enjoyed the video, and I’ll see you next time!

Love, Amanda

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I'm Amanda, and I put the AMANDA in A MANDAtory Activity (and I like a good bad pun). This blog is a focused on baking and crafting for gatherings and gifts! I LOVE making things a little extra special and I love sharing those ideas with you. Have a look around, or read more here.

Amanda

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