Mexican Lace and How I Made A Silicone Texture Mat

Mexican Lace and How I Made A Silicone Texture Mat

posted in: Auntie Clara's Blog, Blog Post, Tutorial | 128

The way I store and wrap and transport soap, flat tops work very well. Adding interest to flat soap tops is a bit of a challenge and I’ve worked on several techniques for doing that.

Embossing works well and one way is to line the bottom of the mould with something that makes an impression on the soap and then let the bottom become the top, as it were. For this purpose silicone fondant mats are popular among many soapers. Being silicone they’re easy to use, make a neat imprint and come in large sizes to fit large slab moulds. The downside is that they are quite pricey, around here at least, and the number of patterns available is limited.

If fondant mats come expensive plastic doilies don’t and they leave a nice imprint on soap too. A plastic doily has the advantage to a fondant mat that you can use it on the actual top of the soap too. Since it’s perforated it lets the heat from the saponifying soap escape. Pressing a silicone mat to the top of a soap is likely to result in warm air collecting under the mat making bubbles. Because plastic is less elastic than silicone you can also use a doily like a stamp to make an imprint on the soap after saponification.

Carnation Soap by AuntieClara's

Carnation soap stamped with a plastic doily

But, a plastic doily has its drawbacks too. Over time the plastic tends to harden and become brittle from repeated exposure to the heat of gelling soap and a high pH environment, and thin parts with fine detail tear easily when pulled off the soap.

What many regular silicone fondant mats and plastic doilies have in common is that they have positive relief and make a negative imprint on the soap, i.e. the pattern that you see consists of concave grooves in the soap, mirroring the positive relief on the mat or doily.

The effect can be very pretty and if you want to incorporate a contrasting colour in this kind of design you can do it eg by dusting mica on the surface of the soap, either before pulling off the doily or after removing the doily or mat.

Rock Shandy by Auntie Clara'sBottoms up: Rock Shandy soap embossed with a plastic doily inserted in the mould

In this part of the world plastic doilies are readily available and I keep my eyes open for them in the local shops for cheap eastern imports. So, having trained my eyes in the fine art of spotting choice grade plastic doilies, I was on high alert when soapy sister Zacil Ramirez showed me a picture of some lovely doilies sent to her by her mom in Mexico. Zacil is originally from Mexico and is now the very talented and passionate soapmaker of Soap & Soap in Bochum in Germany.

Now, that kind of thing appeals to me a lot. My own mom passed away long before I started making soap, but I know that she would have loved to follow and be part of my soapy projects – and in fact, in many ways she still is. Although I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Zacil’s mom Nina and probably never will, I can imagine how proud she must be of Zacil’s beautiful creations and how happy she must be about the joy that the soapy craft brings her daughter. I can imagine her being a little amused at the slightly odd request for plastic doilies, but I can also see her going ahead with purpose, comparing the offerings and lovingly choosing the nicest lace that she thought her daughter would like the most.

Mrs Nina Ramirez AguilarMrs Nina Ramirez Aguilar, Zacil,s beautiful mom who found the lace that I turned into a texture mat. (Photo courtesy of Zacil Ramirez)

So, when Zacil in Germany sent me – here in South Africa – a piece of the plastic lace that her mom had sent her from Mexico I thought it was lovely and very special. By making a plan to incorporate that lace in my soap it would reflect something of Zacil and her sweet mom too, making it all the more precious.

Plastic Lace

The piece of lace was very delicate with lots of very fine detail. Because it was so fine I was concerned that just an imprint of the lace wouldn’t show up very well on the soap. Brushing the parts that the lace didn’t cover with mica might help but it wasn’t really the effect I was after.

I said earlier that plastic doilies and many fondant mats have positive relief and leave a negative imprint on the soap. Now I wanted to transfer the positive image of the lace onto the surface of the soap and add a contrasting colour to set off the lace and make the detail more visible. For that I needed to make a silicone texture mat with concave grooves using the lace as a negative.

Soap graphSketch to show the difference between grooves left by fondant mats and ridges made with texture mats. The green – and purple – is meant to be soap 🙂

Silicone texture mats with a negative relief like the one I was planning to make are available for the baking industry, notably for making sugar lace. These sugar lace mats mostly come in smaller sizes than fondant mats and are at least as expensive. And, when buying a ready-made mat you are limited to the designs that the manufacturers have chosen.

Since I was going to use my texture mat in my soap mould there was no need to make things overly complicated; I could use my soap mould as a mould for my silicone casting project. I usually line my wooden moulds with silicone-coated baking paper and that would do well for this project too.

My first task was to make sure that the lace was flat and mark the outline of the base of the intended mould on the lace.

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The next step is super important and crucial to the whole project: if you don’t get this right it’s not going to work.

In order to be able to remove the lace from the silicone once the silicone had set I had to make sure that no part of the lace got completely embedded in silicone. If that happened the lace would get stuck and I wouldn’t be able to get a neat pattern on my mat. Don’t ask me how I know all this – we learn from our mistakes 🙂

So, sticking the back of the lace to something really sticky was the order of the day and I used a couple of strips of really sticky packaging tape for this. You could use sticky labels or whatever you have handy that prevents the silicone from ending up underneath the lace. If you’re making a mat for a mould that is larger than the size that your lace comes in, this is the time to combine several pieces of lace arranging them nicely and sticking them all to the same backing.

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After this I cut out my piece of lace all neatly attached to its backing.

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Time to place the lace in the mould. I used some ordinary paper glue to stick the backing to the mould liner. Nothing sticks very well to silicone-coated paper but as long as the glue was slightly moist it would keep the lace flat on the bottom without letting the silicone seep in under the backing of the lace.

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Mixing the silicone came next. For this type of project with lots of fine detail you need two-component, pourable silicone which gives a very smooth surface and doesn’t shrink excessively as it cures. Mix the silicone according to the manufacturer’s directions and remember to wear gloves and goggles while measuring and mixing; the silicone is thick, the catalyst is very liquid and mixing them together can easily cause splashes. You should never make skin contact with uncured silicone catalyst. If you’re uncertain of what quantity you should mix – start small. You’ll have time to mix some more if necessary. On the one hand silicone is expensive and you don’t want to waste it and on the other you don’t want to make your texture mat any thicker than necessary. The mat goes on the bottom of your mould and the volume of the mat takes away from the volume of your mould.

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When the colour is completely even you are done mixing and then it’s pouring time.

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The silicone I use is slow-flowing and will take its time to settle into all the fine detail of the lace. If you want the silicone mixture more liquid you can add some silicone thinners but that could result in greater shrinkage as the silicone cures.

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As the silicone slowly runs into position and releases bubbles you need to make sure that your mould is completely level. A slant will result in a texture mat of uneven thickness which in turn will result in a slanting soap bottom/top.

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How long it takes for the silicone to set depends on the type you’re using. I waited overnight at which point it was ready to be unmoulded.

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Strip off the paper and voilà, a silicone mat with a piece of lace stuck to it.

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Strip off the lace and voilà, a texture mat. A couple of fine bubbles here and there, but nothing that would stand out too badly on this busy surface.

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Now, time for proof of concept. The purpose of making the mat with a negative imprint of the lace was to be able to use colour contrast to show off the lace pattern. Now that I had a mat with grooves instead of a lace with ridges and empty spaces, I could fill those grooves with one colour soap and pour soap of a different colour on top.

The soap that goes into the grooves needs to be at heavy trace, i.e. spreadable and definitely not runny. This means that the process needs to happen in stages; you’re not likely to be able to use the same batch of soap to spread into the ridges and to pour on top. On the other hand you need a minute amount of soap to fill the grooves (I needed about a teaspoon of soap for mine) so making a batch especially for that does not make sense. Instead, you can upcycle the leftovers that you scrape out of your pot and off your utensils from a previous soap batch. Just add the colour of your choice to the leftovers and spread the soap onto the mat.

For best effect the colour contrast between the soap in the grooves and the soap you pour on top needs to be strong. Avoid using dyes that might bleed into the other colour. To make white lace I suggest using titanium dioxide. You want the white to be opaque to show up well against a darker background.

Spread the soap with a spatula or scraper, making sure that all the grooves are filled but that the spaces between the grooves are scraped clean of soap.

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Once the soap is in the grooves you can let it rest there for a couple of days, no need to hurry. I’ve oven processed mats spread with soap and the pre-gelling seems to do no harm and might in fact help keep the soap from sticking to the silicone as you strip off the mat later.

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This time I was in a hurry to see how my project would work out and so I just placed my freshly prepared texture mat on the bottom of my mould, soapy side up ( 🙂 ).

 

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Then I poured my soap and because I’ve been around the block a couple of times I know the value of soapy contingency plans. I added some inverted stamp decor to the top of the soap so that just in case the bottom with the mat would be a disaster, I could shave it off and pretend that the inverted stamp top had been my intended top all along 😉

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Now came the trickiest part of all. The waiting. The Waiting. THE WAITING. How long you have to wait before it’s safe to remove the texture mat depends on a number of variables. Obviously your soap needs to be properly hard and fully cooled down. How long this takes depends on how hard or soft your oil formula is, how much you discount water, whether you use salt or other hardeners and whether the soap goes through gel phase or not. I usually discount water, oven process and use a relatively hard formula. Under normal circumstances I can cut within 12h. Now I felt I had to wait a little longer to make sure that the superfine and fragile detail would be hard enough to withstand the mat being pulled off. How long something like this would take with ungelled soap I don’t know but keeping the soap in the freezer for a few hours before pulling off the mat definitely helps keep the fine detail intact.

Well, the mat came off (with just a little bit of soap stuck in the narrowest grooves) and the result was rather pretty if I say so myself!

Thank you Nina and Zacil!

Mexican Lace by Auntie Clara's Handcrafted Cosmetics

Mexican Lace Handcrafted Soap by Auntie Clara's

Mexican Lace Handcrafted Soap by Auntie Clara's

I had been able to successfully transfer a 3D image of the very fine Mexican lace in a contrasting colour onto my soap, which is what I set out to do. I’d also tried out my new glue applicator/spreader thingy between the two layers of soap and the crenellated effect suggests something slightly ’Zorroesque’ I think. Swashbuckling soap – I like that! All I need to do is close my eyes and I can see Don Diego de la Vega portrayed by Antonio Banderas – in tight pants 🙂 🙂

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Mexican Lace Handcrafted Soap by Auntie Clara's

Mexican Lace Handcrafted Soap by Auntie Clara's

 

These are some other versions of soap made with DIY silicone texture mats. I’ve used plastic doilies as negatives for my mats but there are lots of other textured items one could use, wallpaper, tiles, carvings etc.

East Indies Handcrafted Soap by Auntie Clara's

 

East Indies Handcrafted Soap by Auntie Clara's
East Indies Handcrafted Soap by Auntie Clara's

East Indies. Nice strong contrast between the blue of the lace and the white of the main soap.

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Vanilla Mint Handcrafted Soap by Auntie Clara's

Vanilla Mint. The pale mint green is pretty and because the grooves in these mats are fairly deep it works although the colour contrast is not very strong. Here, the texture mats with the green soap were oven processed a day before the white soap was poured on top. Smells fantastic by the way! 🙂

Blue Wedgewood Handcrafted soap by Auntie Clara's

Blue Wedgewood Handcrafted soap by Auntie Clara's

Blue Wedgwood. White on pale blue, here with intentional ‘glycerine river’ crackle effect. I applied the white soap to the mat and then got distracted by life for a full week before pouring the blue on top. Still worked well.

Purple Flowers Handcrafted Soap by Auntie Clara's

Purple Flowers Handcrafted Soap by Auntie Clara's

Purple Flowers

Coconut Caramel Handcrafted Soap by Auntie Clara's

Coconut Caramel Handcrafted Soap by Auntie Clara's

Coconut Caramel. Some very fine soapy detail here.

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128 Responses

  1. Beautiful! What a great idea.

  2. Such elegant looking soap! Thank you for this blog entry! I have a few custom mold with positive space images! Now I can’t wait to try this technique to add detail to my plain jane molds!

  3. What a wonderful soap!!!

  4. Thank you for this excellent tip on how to make your own. I wanted to also ask if you would be willing to show how you created the design that is in the middle of the soap. -_-_-_-_ This is a rough design of it without the sides to connect.

    Again thank you for sharing how you create your own designs. Beautiful

  5. Thank you for your generosity in sharing this beautiful technique with us! I have been using the purchased silicone molds and love the effect, I also made a mat with Fimo cay and a doily, but it didn’t pick up the fine detail ( for me anyhow ) as well as the silicone does.
    Thank you again, on behalf of all of us crazy, soap-making-addictive people!

  6. Obviously this is possible, but my first thought is its impossibly beautifu! What exquisite talent. Thank you for sharing and inspiring 🙂

  7. Stunning results. It looks-at least in photos- like you have added actual fabric lace to the soap. It is a testament to how detailed your molds are. I don’t even soap…but as a life-long crafter, I can appreciate the artistic qualities in a beautifully made bar of soap. Being ill for most of the last two years with ???? left me with no energy and often in bed with cold sweats and the shakes. Unable to make art myself, I searched YouTube for inspiring artists and crafts. I somehow stumbled upon a soaper and I was hooked.

    I have no clue how I found your blog but I am so glad I did because YOU WIN.. Hands down. Though there is a soaper in Florida that makes incredible soaps that take my breath away, nobody that I have found does what you do. Your soaps are so elegant, expensive, and chic. They remind me of a beautiful, well-dressed socialite, aka Cocoa Chanel. Every element is essential and nothing extra is ever added. Your soaps are simple yet incredibly complicated at the same time. I cannot even imagine what they look like in person or what it feels like to hold one. Staring at photos of your soaps only allows me to use my sense of sight, but to hold one and engage, smell, and touch would certainly change the entire experience.

    Until next month……

  8. You are amazing and inspiring. Thank you for a tutorial of this beautiful technique.

  9. Those soaps are so very beautiful. *awe* Thank you for sharing an excellent idea!

  10. Fantastic work, thanks for sharing!

  11. I have no words Clara. Just stunning!!

  12. This tutorial is awesome & your soap is gorgeous. Thanks for detailed information. I don’t know if I’ll be trying this any time soon. Making silicone molds appears to be so time consuming.

  13. Thank you everybody for all the kind comments! It was a lovely project to plan and do and a nice challenge because this particular piece of lace was so very fine. The glue applicator thingy that I did the crenellated line with is a scraper with one edge that has exactly that crenellated profile (for spreading ridges of glue with spaces inbetween). You pull the edge of the applicator through the surface of soap at heavy trace to get the texture and then you pour soap of a different colour at very light trace on top.

  14. I love this idea. The soaps look so elegant and beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like this. Very, very creative. I have a question for you where did you buy the silicone? I live in the US and am interested on doing something like this. Looks very interesting. It is an amazing idea, thank you very much for sharing your art with all of us. God bless you Mrs. Clara.

    • Thanks! I get the silicone locally here in South Africa. In the US I’m sure you’ll have lots of suppliers of mould-making silicone to choose from.

      • Kellyn Núñez

        I found a mix on Wholesale Supplies Plus. I’ll try it this weekend and definitively keep you posted.

      • What type of silicone did you use? The soap looks stunning

        • Thanks! I used a pourable, slow-setting silicone that is very soft and flexible once set.

          • Thanks for getting back to me. Is the silicone available commercially? I’m based in Durban and haven’t come across this product though I’ve been searching for a while.

          • You can get it at AMT Composites in Cape Town.

  15. Wow, stunning! Thank you for sharing!

  16. Auntie Clara,
    I am such a fan & I love your creativity. I remember seeing these plastic doilies at my MIL home. She would have loved these. 🙂

    • Thanks! Plastic doilies aren’t exactly trendy, state-of-the-art decor items these days, but for this purpose they’re great! 🙂

  17. Wow beautiful!!! Question; would it be possible to make the silicone mold using a polyester lace doily? I’m having a hard time finding plastic/vinyl lace doilies (I live in the US). Even online they are pretty expensive. I’ve never poured my own silicone before for my molds so I’m unsure of whether the polyester lace would stick to the silicone? Thank you!!

    • I’m sure you could use polyester lace if you prepare it thoroughly beforehand. I’d starch it to make it hard and stiff and completely flat on a flat surface. A starched piece of lace is less likely to soak up silicone between fibres and threads. Then you have to very carefully stick it to some kind of backing like I did in this post.

  18. omGosh Clara, I have , YET AGAIN, read this gorgeaus post over and over and over…
    I am so grateful ro live in the same universe you do. Your teaching style is on par with NO ONE ELSE
    Laurie , from the great state of MISSOURI, USA… the ‘show me ‘ state .

  19. Kerry Lamb

    Stunning and inspirational. I truly only need to read your blog and Soapjam’s blog to see mastery in technique, presentation and photography. Thank you, Clara!

  20. These soaps are absolutely amazing and very artistic! I’m totally in love with your lacey designs. I’m a beginner soap maker but would hope to make anything close to what you’re doing. And the level of detail…

    • Thanks! I wish you all the best on your soapy journey – the more you learn the more interesting it becomes!

  21. Anne-Marie

    -Your soap is stunning. The lace is such a lovely addition =)

    • Thank you Anna-Marie – I’m a great fan of your soapy creations, too! 🙂

  22. Wow, these are absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your amazing creations!!!

  23. This was one beautifully put together post. I read from beginning to end. The lovely photos and superb detailed information truly inspired me. And thank you for having a teacher’s heart.

  24. Thank you! Your soap is incredibly beautiful. You are so gracious to share and I am so grateful.

  25. Absolutely Beautiful Soaps!! Thank you so much for sharing your techniques! All the best in 2015

  26. Loved this! I can tell you live what you do. Connecting the dots in the creative realm is a learning experience, but you nailed it beautifully! You bless the world with something to be treasured.

  27. This is awesome! LOVE how it turns out. Thank you so much for sharing your technique ~ beautiful.

  28. Oh, my, my, my… I am enchanted by your soaps. I don’t know exactly how I found your blog but thank heavens I did. I love soaping but I have been a little bored seeing pictures and videos of others’ soaps (as well as my own). Don’t get me wrong- some are gorgeous but they tend to be the same designs over and over. I want to be a bit more creative as well as creating something that looks more “high-end” and you have just inspired me! I love taking something and using it in an unexpected way- the lace doily idea is perfect. I’ve never worked with silicone to make a mold or made my own soap stamps but I’ve always wanted to try and now I just must because of your beautiful examples. I love the idea of the raised designs made with wire-I use copper wire in my jewelry making and have all the tools necessary to form different shapes. My mind is racing with ideas…Thank you so so much for sharing this information with everyone. I am learning that the soaping world is filled with generous creative people. You, my dear, rock!

    • Thank you for your kind words! The nicest thing to do with passion is to share it. I really enjoy seeing how other soapers put their own spin on a technique or idea that I’ve shared. Often that sparks new ideas in me and so the circle goes on.

  29. these soaps are exquisite. may i ask, what might seem to some, an obvious question? once the silicone mold is in place and the soap is poured over that, does the newly poured soap embed into the lace, and then the silicone mold lifts easily off the entire bar of soap, leaving the bar intact. i’m just not understanding that step. i’m just dying to know and thank you ahead. again, gorgeous. . .

    • Thank you! In essence, yes, the silicone texture mat works like any silicone soap mould. The soap you pour on it ‘snuggles’ very closely to the silicone and once the soap has hardened you can peel off the texture mat which leaves an imprint on the soap. To make sure that the soap is properly hard and doesn’t stick in the grooves of the mat, you can put the soap in the freezer for a few hours before peeling off the mat.

  30. Clara
    Last night I made the avocado milk recipe. Both the Lye and Oils were about 95F, I then everything & put it right in the freezer (first time ever) and when I unmolded it, It has a very large circle that never went thru the gel phase. Can you tell me what I did incorrectly. Thank you for your answer re: the egg molds I”m going to give it a try later tonight. And welcome to California

    • Refrigeration is usually done to prevent the soap from going through gel phase. If your soap shows signs of partial gel despite refrigeration something in that soap heated up a lot. If you used milk that may be the culprit since milk contains sugar and sugar tends to heat up. It could also be due to fragrance; some fragrances can heat up too. Also, if you use full water as per SoapCalc, the soap will enter gel phase at a lower temperature than if you do a steep water discount.

  31. Thank you for this tutorial~ I made my first Lace affect soap recently, following your directions, except that I purchased the mold. It came out wonderfully. Next, it’s time to make the lace mold and have some fun with that. Thank you again for sharing. My husband and I love your soap creations. Cheers~

  32. Dear Clara,
    Thank you so much for your detailed explanation for this beatiful method!! However, I wonder if the color on top of the silicon could be erased and recolored with any other color for next soap making?

    Thanks,

    • The silicone texture mat is like a soap mould; the soap spread out on the mat will stick to the soap poured on top and once the soap has set and you pull off the mat, there is no more soap on the mat and you can reuse it with any colour soap you like.

  33. Clara. I so wish I could make soap but sadly, I can’t. Still, I love to go through blogs and tutos and this one caught my attention because I’m Mexican. Now that I’ve “meet” you, I’m a BIG fan. Your work is impecable and MUY lindo. If you ever want some more of that lace, I’ll be happy to send it to you as a gift. Just let me know. Best regards from Yucatán.

    • Thank you and thank you for the kind offer! I’ll let you know if I need some more 🙂 Best regards from Cape Town! 🙂

  34. Elegant, oh my, so pretty. I love elegant and girly. I will definitely be making myself a silicone textured mat. I have seen large plastic placemats at the dollar stores. Can’t wait !
    It is interesting how I found you Clara. I made Lavender Lemon soap the other day it was so pretty and the smell – divine. When cutting it I found what I thought, was ricing. Further investigation told me it is glycerin rivers. I was on the soap queen site reading about it and saw your comment. I was thrilled to read about your experiment. Brilliant ! Anyone who has problems with glycerin rivers should go directly to your blog for help. It is the best information. Every soaper should read it, if for no other reason, to have the knowledge you kindly shared. I must perfect this recipe! Thanks to you, and your genius, I know I can do just that. Thank you so much for sharing Clara.

  35. Oh my word, those soaps are just gorgeous!
    but i am dying here with ONE question!!! ROCK SHANDY SOAP?!?!?!?!? oh please tell me how?? i have angosturas bitters here can i use it or what did u use for scent? im sorry i dont want u to give out any secrets but i am seriously dying here! 😀 im pregnant and cant have alcohol and was wondering if i should boil it out but making soap with it would be even better (probably also with boiling first..?)
    please keep bringing such awesome blogs!!!
    warm greetings from a Namibian living in Switzerland 😉

    • Sorry, I can’t give my blend away 🙂 . What you need to do is open that angostura bottle, take a deep sniff and make an essential oil blend to match. Let your nose guide you.. Greetings form one who once lived in Meilen on the Gold Coast of the Zürisee 🙂

      • Thank you Clara. That makes sense. And ofcause i wouldnt ask for your recipe 😉 but mixing scents to get to the same one makes sense. Thank you for the guide.
        P.s. Meilen is so beautiful. Seems like you got around quite a bit 😉

        • I did get around quite a bit earlier on 🙂 but recently I’ve been lucky enough to stay put for quite some time.

  36. Thank you so much for this tutorial! My soap came out beautifully!

  37. I like the texture. It’s beautiful!
    I’m going to try! I’ll hope to get this product in my country. I’m from Argentina.
    XX

  38. Your lace technique is beautiful. I going to try to make a texture mat. I was wondering what brand of silicone coated paper you use and where could I purchase some.

    • Thank you! The silicone coated paper goes under the name ‘baking paper’ around here and elsewhere under the name ‘baking parchment’. You could probably use plastic just as well.

  39. absolutely beautiful! I just love your blog, always filled with inspiration! Thank you.

  40. Hi Clara. Just had to let you know that I tried this technique on a lilac scented soap and it turned out beautiful! It was so much fun. You’re an excellent and very talented teacher. 🙂 I did a YouTube video of this soap and I put your blog site on the description for those interested in trying this. Hope that was okay. BTW I loved your “croc” soap story!

    • Thank you Laura and I’m so glad that you were able to make a creation of your own using this technique! For me it’s always great to see how a technique I share takes on a life of its own and creates new things in the hands of somebody else.

  41. dear friend… as I have been saying at IG… I am such a fan! your owrk is just lovely and inspiring… and this project particularly… is a masterpiece.
    congrats, and thank you!
    greetings from Brasil,
    yours,
    Martha.

  42. I LOVE your site and all of your experiments, thank you SO much for sharing! Question – how do you prevent the new pour from seeping underneath the mat? Do you just pour at a thicker trace? So beautiful! Thank you! =)

    • Thanks! Since I have custom made my mats for my moulds they fit snugly between the walls of the moulds. Also, they are quite a bit thicker than your ordinary baking texture mats and so they stay in place nicely and don’t make any attempts to ‘float’ in the soap. If you’re having trouble you could try to paste your mat to the bottom of your mould with something as simple as paper glue. It only needs to stick while you’re pouring and since it’s under the mat the glue will never make contact with the soap log or slab. If you pour at slightly thicker trace and start pouring in the middle of the mat that might also help.

  43. oh my I found your pin and requested more detail about the mat that was shown. And I must say your soaps are very impressive they’re beautiful. I would love to get a set for a Christmas gift some time. Thank you such preserved artistry.
    -Lauren H.

    • Thank you Lauren! You must tell your near and dear ones to come Christmas shopping on Auntie Clara’s webshop! 🙂

  44. Beautiful soaps!

  45. Gorgeous soap and very informative! Thank you, Clara!

  46. I absolutely love this , it’s a great idea to really make a unique soap! By the way Zorro is my long time favorite movie and I too see Antonio Banderas (in his tight pants ) when I look at your soap!!!! Bravo on pertaining the movie into a soap art!

  47. Hi Clara,
    Many thanks for sharing this tutorial, it is very inspiring for beginner soapers like myself to learn techniques such as this. I have a quick question, though. I use silicone loaf moulds and was wondering if this would work if I make this lace layer within the silicone mould? I was just thinking if I spread silicone on the silicone mould, wouldn’t that make them stick together? Or would you recommend making the lace liner on a different mould? I very much appreciate your input.
    Thanks again and keep making those gorgeous soaps!

    • I would definitely suggest caution when casting silicone in silicone. If the mould is brand new and ‘untempered’ the casting silicone may well create an inseparable bond with the mould. If you do decide to cast the mat in a silicone mould (because you want the mat to fit that mould exactly) you should prepare the mould well with release agent beforehand. Where-ever you bought the casting silicone you should also be able to get a spray can of release agent. In a pinch oil, vaseline or Spray n’ Cook will work as a release agent.

  48. I love sumple basic soaps. But wondered just what to do to make them stand out.

    PERFECTION!!!!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

    #womanonamission

    • I find that most people like to use simple, basic soaps. I also think that the fact that we have access to colours and fancy techniques for embellishing soaps sometimes makes us forget it.

  49. Hi Clara, wow this is possibly the most beautiful soap I have ever seen… I would exhibit it rather than bath with it… :-). May I ask how you got the steps right between your two layers? Your creativity does not stop to amaze me.

    • Thank you! That crenelated line was made by pulling a glue spreader with a toothed edge along the top of the light layer at medium trace and then pouring the dark layer on top at light trace.

  50. Wow, absolutely stunning! Very much worth the work involved…

  51. […] I decided I needed to buy my mats and hit the internet for anything interesting.  Several of the mats and items I bought will not arrive until after Christmas, but that’s ok, I thoroughly enjoyed working with the mats in this challenge and will again add this technique to my growing skills.  I subscribe to Antie Clara’s blog and love reading about her techniques. Her blog on impression mats was very informative and can be found here. […]

  52. Where can you get silicone or molds in South Africa?

  53. Beautiful Soaps, Amazing Ideas…Thank’s for sharing this technique. I’m new in soping, Your Ideas Inspired me….l love it…

  54. I love it

  55. What does your glue applicator spreader thingy look like? Can you post a photo?

    • Don’t have a pic handy, but it’s really just a flat, square disk with one side displaying that crenellated contour of the soap.

  56. Shirley Story

    What stunning soaps those laces make! I know of a few shops that have Mexican imports, so I know I’ll be heading there soon! Thank you so very much for sharing your technique with us! I love that so many soapers are so willing to share their ‘secrets’ with other soapers. Thank you again Auntie Clara! Blessings!

  57. i would love to watch this by video. the idea of geting soap into the grooves of the negative side is a very difficult idea to process but i would love to try this idea. it is a very beautiful seemingly complex but creative idea of soap!

    • Hi! It’s really not that complex; think of using a spatula to apply plaster into a small hole in a wall. Same kind of technique and principle.

  58. Mari Carmen

    Entonces se puede hacer con el plástico directamente? y hay que cubrir de jabón y esperar cuánto tiempo un día más o menos? a mi que se estropee el plástico no me importa es muy barato en los chinos. Lo importante es que salga bien y que con el calor de la saponificacion no se encoja. Un saludo y gracias.

    • You can do anything you like, but the outcome will not be the same and the quality of your soap may suffer. You can use plastic to make impressions on your soap but you will not get the two tone effect that I have here if you use just a plastic doily. You will get a negative impression on the soap rather than the positive lace preplica that I have here. Also, plastic doilies aren’t designed to withstand a combination of heat and high pH the way you have in saponifying soap. After a couple of uses the plastic doily is hard and brittle and may or may not leach unwanted chemicals onto the soap.

  59. Those are absolutely gorgeous….Truly a work of art.

  60. […] je ne m’en cache pas, j’ai copié Autie Clara! Elle fait des savons trop beaux, et en plus ses photos sont fabuleuses. Donc voici une […]

  61. Ciara, I’m drooling at your lace soaps. I’m based in joburg., what ingredients of I need to make a doillies mold like yours?

    • You need plastic lace, a sticky backing and mould-making silicone. I get mine at AMT composites here in Cape Town. I’m sure they’ll ship.

  62. hedi kirnbauer

    Hello Clara,
    your soaps really inspired me 🙂 they are simply wonderful!!!
    And – I can learn much from you!!! – now I read your from Cape Town? I think it’s a great place to live… I’m from Styrian Alps in Austria… same longitude nearly – completely different latitude 😉 🙂
    I’v got one friend in Jo-Burg and one missed for years somewhere in SA.. unfortunately… different roadworks 😉

    I do look forward to your next soaps – when I will take a time and get my blog on its way – then I’m a big step further…
    hope our ways maybe crossing again here – and thanks for your great work and passion!!! I love it!!!
    hedi

    • Thank you Hedi! Yes lets hope we meet and can talk soap for a while. I once spent a summer at Weissensee in Kärnten..

  63. Charlotte Bailey

    Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your amazing talent. You are such an inspiration! I was so shocked to see you actually shared how you made this, with such detailed instructions . I’m adding myself to your world wide fan base 🙂
    I’m ordering some liquid silicone so I can make this as well. Wish I didn’t have to wait so long for shipping! Thanks again!!

  64. Wonderful. .. I love all of your creations. Very clear instructions.

  65. […] このようにレースをシリコンに 型どりする方法は、 Auntie claraさんのページ(→★★)で紹介されていて、 […]

  66. WOW!!!! I HAVE GOT TO HAVE SOME OF THESE MATS!!!! Do you sell these or know where to buy them. The work you’ve done looks so intensive!! Absolutely GORGEOUS!!!

    • All the mats I use I’ve made myself and I don’t know that anybody would sell mats with as much detail as this. You can try fondant mats and sugar veil mats. There are some very pretty ones, just not quite as detailed as this.

      • Thanks! Since I watched your blog i also shared it on fb and in our soap group many, many tried to do same as you did!
        You are the “lace” queen!!!
        Since that I always look for cheap plastic-tablecloths – to copy with silicone…
        I dont give up!!!
        I also tried bought ones… very nice… I love… but now I’m ready to step up and buy my own silcone to make it for myself 🙂
        lookiing forward to your next projects.. kind regards, hedi

  67. Trisha lowthers

    How did you do the steps between the colors? I love it.

    • Poured the white first and textured the surface with a glue spreader, then poured the black over.

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