Valentine Soap Preview

I’ve had so much fun making Valentine soaps! Typically, I will make one for the guys and one for the girls. This time there are technically two for each. First up is the soap for the guys. I made two different designs with the same scent – similar to Bleu de Chanel. It’s called Charming:

Charming by Great Cakes Soapworks

Charming by Great Cakes Soapworks

As I was practicing the Taiwan Swirl, I also made another one with the same fabulous scent. These will be available January 20th:

Charming (2) by Great Cakes Soapworks

Charming (2) by Great Cakes Soapworks

For the girls, I have this beautiful pink and purple soap called Sweet Nothings:

Sweet Nothings by Great Cakes Soapworks

Sweet Nothings by Great Cakes Soapworks

This one was a 3-day process of creating embeds inside of embeds! You might also notice that the top is another Taiwan swirl. It smells so yummy – like fruity candy!

I also have this Bubblegum soap for the girls:

Bubblegum soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Bubblegum soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Super simple and sweet. The embed is made with the new silicone column mold from Brambleberry – thanks to Anne-Marie for my fabulous Christmas presents! I wish the scent was stronger, but it will have to do. The girls soaps will be available January 28th.

There are a couple more new soaps on the curing rack as well. You can check them out on our NEWS page.

On the Curing Rack: Peppermint Soap!

It’s difficult to think about Christmas soaps when the temperatures are still in the 60’s and 70’s, but I decided I just needed to pull the trigger and pull out the supplies to make peppermint soap! The design is new (again!) this year. As you can see, there’s a lighter pink swirl in with the red, and each bar looks completely different!

Peppermint Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Peppermint Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

What’s really exciting is the curlycue swirl that I made – accidentally, of course – for the first time! Here’s another view:

More peppermint soaps!

More peppermint soaps!

In case you are wondering, these are made with pure peppermint essential oil and they are quite strong! In fact, I do put a warning on the label not to use this soap on the more *ahem* sensitive areas of your body. Peppermint soaps will be available at on November 8th!

Four New Soaps Available Soon!

Between practicing for the Soap Challenge Club, and getting ready for the 4th of July, I now have four new soaps to show you that will be available soon!

First is the beautiful Pikake Peacock soap, so named for the scent and the peacock swirl technique used to make the soap:

Pikake Peacock Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Pikake Peacock Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Pikake flowers are beautiful white flowers, also known as jasmine, which are used in Hawaiian leis. I recently discovered that the Hawaiian word “pikake” literally translates as “peacock”! I love this white floral scent, as it’s not so strong as some others I’ve tried in the past. It’s JUST RIGHT. This soap will be available June 22nd.

Next, is this year’s version of the Americana soap to celebrate Independence Day:

Americana Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Americana Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

It’s scented with a lovely essential oil blend of lavender, tangerine, litsea cubeba, pink grapefruit, bergamot and ginger. Smells very fresh and clean! This soap will be available June 28th.

Third, is another peacock swirled soap called Pink Vanilla Cream:

Pink Vanilla Cream Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Pink Vanilla Cream Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Swirled with tones of pink, tan & copper and hints of yellow and white, this soap smells like something you might like to eat! Vanilla fans will love this combination of pink cream cheese frosting and vanilla cake, with a hint of butterscotch. So delish! Available July 10th.

Finally, we have Frutada Fiesta – another “practice” soap, but you didn’t need to know that! It turned out rather beautiful:

Frutada Fiesta Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Frutada Fiesta Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

This soap is bursting with all sorts of juicy, fruity scents including lemons, limes, peaches, raspberries, green apples, pears, and cherries!! Translation: “Fruity Party”!! Oh yes, it is!! Also available July 10th at

On the Curing Rack: Caribbean Diva

After asking my Facebook fans for some inspiration, I decided to go with Sharun Fetzer’s suggestion to make a soap with the “elemental” swirl. So called, I believe because the end result is somewhat like fire and water with its vibrant shades of orange and blue. The basic premise is to make two different in-the-pot swirls with a mica line in-between the two layers. I chose to use micas from The Conservatorie, plus a neon orange colorant from Brambleberry.

The scent is Caribbean Diva – my own blend of a super sweet fruity-floral fragrance mixed with creamy coconut. So perfect for this brightly colored soap! Here it is in the mold:

Caribbean Diva soap in the mold

Caribbean Diva soap in the mold

And the exciting reveal:

Caribbean Diva Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Caribbean Diva Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Swirly tops - Caribbean Diva soap

Swirly tops – Caribbean Diva soap

This fabulous soap will be available at on March 8th!

On the Curing Rack: Pina Colada Soap

The Pina Colada soap was a fun one to make! I started with the scent and created a soap based on the colors and design of a pineapple. The bottom layer is a deep golden yellow like the inside of a pineapple, then I added a portion of green to resemble the pineapple top, and then added a layer of darker gold to look like the outside of a ripe pineapple. It’s very impressionistic, but I thought it turned out pretty neat:

Pina Colada Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Pina Colada Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

This soap will be available at on February 27th.

Scenting Soaps Naturally

For the past couple of years I have contemplated how I can offer more naturally scented soaps – that is, using plant-derived scents instead of synthetic fragrances. Natural essential oils can provide many beneficial properties from the plants they were extracted from. Some are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-depressant, and the list goes on… (For more information about essential oils and their properties, please visit AromaWeb.)

However, there are limitations to using essential oils in handmade soaps. Natural scents are limited by what can be found in nature, and what can be distilled into an essential oil. Even though apples and raspberries can be found in nature, there’s no such thing as apple or raspberry essential oil, for example. Natural scents are usually quite a bit more expensive than their synthetic counterparts, and their scents may not hold up to what is initially a rather harsh environment when the soap is made. As the soap cures over several weeks, it becomes extremely mild, but during those first 24 hours the fresh soap is very caustic and hot. Some natural essential oils can be skin irritants, and others can cause the skin to be extra-sensitive to sun exposure, and some are unsafe during pregnancy, so not all natural ingredients are actually good for your skin!

There are several soaps in the Great Cakes Soapworks line that are currently scented synthetically, but could be scented naturally. For instance, last year I was able to create a blend of essential oils for the Oatmeal, Milk & Honey soap that doesn’t really smell like the synthetic fragrance I used to use, but is still a very nice alternative. Just this past week, I decided to see if I could re-create the Cinnamon Bun Coffee Soap with some natural essences. I have some 20-fold vanilla oleoresin that is quite thick and holds up to the soapmaking process. Combining it with a bit of cinnamon essential oil smells pretty fantastic, but doesn’t have the same WOW factor as the synthetic fragrance. Not to mention that the oleoresin alone is more than twice the price of its synthetic counterpart. Here is the result of my test batch of five bars:

Naturally scented Cinnamon Bun Coffee Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

I don’t think I’ll be re-creating this soap in a full-sized batch though. Even if the scent came close to what my customers are used to, unfortunately I couldn’t justify the price.

I also experimented with a couple of new soaps that are completely natural, and I believe they turned out much nicer. The first one is a test batch (5 bars) of Ginger Lime, made with ginger CO2 extract and four-fold lime essential oil and colored with algae powder:

All-natural Ginger Lime soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

It smells amazing!! I’m not sure how the green color will hold up over time, but I like the results so far! Depending on how my customers like it, I am hoping to create full-sized batches (24 bars) of this one.

The next soap came as a request from a customer for something scented with bergamot. She uses it in an oil diffuser at home and wanted to know if I had any soaps or could make a soap with the same scent. She reminded me that bergamot is what gives earl grey tea its flavor! I used a bergamot essential oil with reduced bergaptine, so it won’t cause photosensitivity and mixed it with a couple other “secret” essential oils. The result is what I’m calling Citrus Soother:

All-natural Citrus Soother Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Citrus Soother is colored with rose clay, french green clay, and more algae powder. I made a medium-sized batch of this one, so there are 11 bars. All three of these all-natural soaps will be available for purchase at around February 11th.

On the Curing Rack: Heartbeat Soap

I had another idea for a Valentines soap, so I did a bit of experimenting this week. You can see the results on my YouTube videos here and here. The second one ended up being rather interesting, and my YouTube viewers named it for me!

This is Heartbeat; so named because it looks like a heart monitor:

Heartbeat Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Heartbeat is scented with our fabulous Black Raspberry Creme, so you know it’s delicious! Only 11 will be available, starting February 6th at

On the Curing Rack: Valentines Soaps!

This year for Valentines soaps, I decided to use the tiger stripe technique for both the girls and the guys. The color schemes are similar as well. The guys soap is scented with a custom blend that includes amber, sandalwood, musk, as well as a famous cologne dupe (my hubby wears the real thing!). It’s very dreamy!! Colors are black, white and red:

Smitten – Guys Valentines Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Here’s another view:

Inside is tiger striped – tops are swirled

For the girls, I knew I wanted to use a Pink Sugar fragrance, a super sweet cotton candy scent with notes of bergamot, raspberry, fig, vanilla, caramel and musk. However, it is also known to discolor the soap to a medium to dark brown. I had two different bottles from two different suppliers. One discolors more than the other, so I used the darker one in the black stripes, and the lighter one in the white stripes, and left the pink stripe unscented:

Pink Sugar – Girls Valentines Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

The view of the tops:

Also tiger striped inside with swirls on top!

Both soaps will be fully cured and available at on January 29th!

On the Curing Rack: Winter Rose

The same day I made the near-disaster Beer & Seaweed shampoo bars, I also made a small batch of Winter Rose. I used a slightly different rose fragrance this year, but added just a touch of the same lovely frankincense & myrrh essential oil blend. In the mold, it looked like this:

Winter Rose soap in the mold

The soap set up fairly quickly, as floral scents are prone to do, but I did manage a quick in-the-mold swirl using a spoon to really churn the whole thing up. I’d like to try this technique again with a fragrance that is better behaved, but this one turned out reasonably well:

Winter Rose soap – cut bars

Once again, I will make this soap available at after the holidays are over. I’m looking forward to making a few more fun soaps for the Winter collection!

On the Curing Rack: Winter Wonderland

Yes, I did make the Winter Wonderland soap on Tuesday, cut it and took pictures yesterday that I posted on Facebook, but now have a few moments to post here. It’s the same great fragrance from the last two years, and mostly the same color palette as last year, with a few small tweaks. Because I love to experiment!

Winter Wonderland Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Since I had some electric bubblegum colorant left from the Magma soap project, I decided this would be a great time to test it out in cold process soap. Last year I used some pink micas that were less than stellar. I really like the way these pinks turned out – one light, one dark. Last year’s soap was also made with an in-the-pot swirl that was pretty cool, but I wanted to see what it would look like with larger patches of color.

Top view of the Winter Wonderland soap

The greens are the same micas that I used last year, and I think they are perfect! The color palette reminds me of this super cute basket box from Nashville Wraps:

Oh, and the scent blend goes something like this: Top notes of citrus, including grapefruit, orange, bergamot, and lemon. The refreshing heart is composed of violet, cyclamen, bois de rose, muguet, pineapple, and a hint of gardenia. Base notes are citronella, sandalwood, jasmine, and musk. Super fresh, clean scent!

Winter Wonderland Soap will be available at on December 4th!