Spinning Swirl Soap Challenge Winners

Ask any of the member of the Challenge Club this month – the Spinning Swirl was a challenge, but so much fun!! Quite a few members created multiple soaps with this technique because of the fun factor and some because they wanted to test out several ideas or they just wanted to get their final soap up to their standards. (We have a few perfectionists in the group!) As a result, this was one of the closest challenges we’ve ever had! This month I divided the group into U.S. and International soapmakers with separate sponsors for each category. Huge thanks to Mad Oils for sponsoring the U.S. challenge with a $50 gift certificate for the grand prize winner, as well as a cute prize package for their Sponsor’s Choice winner (seen below)!! Gracefruit Ltd. from the UK really stepped up as our first international challenge sponsor with a £50 gift certificate for the grand prize winner, and a £25 gift certificate for their Sponsor’s Choice winner. Elizabeth Carnahan has been amazing to work with!

Let’s start with the International challenge. We had a runaway grand prize winner in this challenge. Can you believe she’s only been making soap for five months? She made four attempts at the Spinning Swirl before she was satisfied with her work, and it really paid off! Congratulations to Sonya Mulholland in the United Kingdom!! (You can click on any of the photos for more information about the soaps in the challenge.):

Sonya's Spinning Swirl Soap

Sonya’s Spinning Swirl Soap

In second place, we have Jelena Vasiljeva of Soap Techniques from Canada. Jelena has been doing challenges for several months, and also placed second in our Spoon Swirl challenge last December! Here is her beautiful six-color Spinning Swirl soap, scented with Fata Morgana:

Mirage Spinning Swirl soap by Soap Techniques

Mirage Spinning Swirl soap by Soap Techniques

For third place in the international challenge, we have a tie!! This hasn’t happened since last June! Congratulations to Lisa Norris of Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio in Australia and Lesley Williams of Renaissance Soaps in New Zealand for their gorgeous entries! Lisa’s soap is her signature rainbow, with a spin of course!

Rainbow Spinning Swirl Soap by Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio

Rainbow Spinning Swirl Soap by Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio

Lesley created this lovely Tiger Stripe Spinning Swirl:

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright Spinning Swirl Soap by Renaissance Soaps

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright Spinning Swirl Soap by Renaissance Soaps

Second and third place winners receive free registration to next month’s Challenge Club! And now, for the international Sponsor’s Choice prize. Gracefruit has chosen Ruth Höfer from Austria!! Congratulations!! Ruth has been a long-time member and huge supporter of the Challenge Club, so I couldn’t be happier for her. I have seen her make pink soaps in previous challenges, and have verified that pink is indeed one of her favorite colors! Here is her beautiful soap:

Ruth's Spinning Swirl Soap

Ruth’s Spinning Swirl Soap

And now, for the U.S. challenge winners! In first place, taking home the grand prize, congratulations goes to Claudia Carpenter from California!! Claudia has been creating some stunning soaps for the Challenge Club lately! This is her third attempt at the amazing Spinning Swirl soap, created with two greens, two pinks, and cream-colored soap, scented with lemongrass, sage and tea tree essential oils:

Spinning Swirl Soap by Claudia Carpenter

Spinning Swirl Soap by Claudia Carpenter

Claudia says, “It’s official — I love, love, love the spin swirl!”

In second place, just two votes behind Claudia, is Teressa Mahoney of Nourishing Handmade Body Care from Colorado with a fantastic Forest Bark Spinning Swirl soap! Teressa made three batches with this technique, and this one happens to be the second out of the three:

Forest Bark Spinning Swirl Soap by Teressa Mahoney

Forest Bark Spinning Swirl Soap by Teressa Mahoney

And in third place, we have Mandy Davis of Minne-Soap-Ah from Minnesota! Mandy created a beautiful Sea Glass Spinning Swirl soap with a gorgeous color palette of sea green, teal, turquoise, purple and white:

Sea Glass Spinning Swirl Soap by Minne-Soap-Ah

Sea Glass Spinning Swirl Soap by Minne-Soap-Ah

Congratulations to Teressa and Mandy for winning free registration to the May Challenge Club!

Finally, Mad Oils has chosen Leela King-Sannyasin of Swirling Sky from California to receive their Sponsor’s Choice prize. Here is her bright, beautiful soap:

Spinning Swirl Soap by Swirling Sky

Spinning Swirl Soap by Swirling Sky

In the interest of sharing beautiful soap, I’m sure you will want to see the rest of the entries! You can find the International entries HERE, and the U.S. entries HERE.

Next month, I’m excited to have Cee Gordon of Oil & Butter as our guest teacher! This is the first time anyone other than myself has taught the Club, but since Cee has so expertly married the techniques from cake decorating with soap, I knew she was the perfect person to show us how to create beautiful mini dessert soaps with cold process, melt & pour, and fondant-like soap techniques. Here is a sample of what she will be showing us inside the Club:

Dessert soaps by Cee Gordon of Oil & Butter

Dessert soaps by Cee Gordon of Oil & Butter

My melt & pour soap just arrived via UPS this afternoon, and I can’t wait to play along! Do you have to use melt & pour to do this challenge? No. But it will be fun!

Great news!! With the huge success of the international challenge, we will have two sponsors again for May! The U.S. sponsor will be Brambleberry with a $100 gift certificate for the grand prize, plus these four fragrances for second and third place winners AND the Sponsor’s Choice winner:

Electric Lemonade Cocktail, Island Escape, Ginger Patchouli, and Crisp Cotton fragrances from Brambleberry

Electric Lemonade Cocktail, Island Escape, Ginger Patchouli, and Crisp Cotton fragrances from Brambleberry

Plus, our international sponsor will be Voyageur Soap & Candle Co. in British Columbia, Canada!! Their grand prize is a $100 gift certificate, plus a $25 gift certificate for their Sponsor’s Choice winner!

Registration for the May Challenge opens Monday. If you’d like to receive a notification, please click the link below:

notify-me

Why Join the Soap Challenge Club? (I’m scared…)

I believe most of my readers are familiar with the monthly Soap Challenge Club that I host each month. This is just a quick post to encourage those who may be on the fence about joining in the fun! I’ve spoken to several soapmakers in person as well as via email who have been shy about signing up for the challenges. I believe most of them simply feel they can’t compete or their skills aren’t “up to par”. And to that I say – “Pshaw!!!”

Three Reasons To Re-Consider If This Is You:

1. Joining the Challenge Club will push you to do things with soap that you had either never dreamed possible or would never have done on your own.

Here’s some feedback I received from a first time participant last month:

“It’s definitely a great learning experience and it’s so interesting to see all the creativity out there. I’ll definitely keep taking part. It was really fun to push myself to do something new and the next 3 months will push me some more.” -Fran

2. It’s a great way to meet other soapmakers and receive some amazing encouragement and feedback!

While it’s possible to register for the challenge, see the tutorial, make your soap and remain anonymous by not sharing it, I believe that’s just cheating yourself of the full experience! I understand it feels risky to put your work out there, and sometimes life just gets in the way, but I promise to personally visit each submission and leave encouraging feedback, and a lot of the other members will make comments like these:

“Your soap looks stunning and amazing!”
“Now that is really fantastic!! Really beautiful! Love all the different elements that went together to make this soap!”
“Ahh, what a beautiful soap. I love your idea and colors. Congrats well done”
“What a cute idea! They look great”
“This is so beautiful! You are a true artist.”
“Excellent job! It looks incredible :)”

3. Your creativity and soapmaking talent will grow!

One of my favorite things about seeing so many members return month after month is to see the improvement in their skills! I could call out several people, but I’ll just tell this one story without naming any names. I remember meeting one of our members at the Central Soaper’s Workshop last year when she was a brand-new soapmaker. In the past year she has participated in every challenge and is even entering her soaps in other contests! Her work just continues to improve and amaze me!

Quote from yet another member: “The challenges are great for making us all better soap makers!”

And that, my soapy friends, is why the Challenge Club exists!

The April Challenge Club is all about the Spinning Swirls:

Spin Swirl soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Spin Swirl soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Of course, this month we are doing something a little bit different and special for the international soapmakers. Anyone who is outside the U.S. will have their very own link-up and their very own prize! I’m so pleased that Gracefruit Ltd. is excited to sponsor this portion of the challenge with a £50 gift certificate for first place and a £25 gift certificate for their Sponsor’s Choice prize. Spread the word!

Shout out to Mad Oils for sponsoring the U.S. portion of the challenge as well! Don’t worry – everyone who enters gets to vote in both contests!

You have two options to register this week only (closes Monday, April 6 at 2pm CST):
1. Register for the April Challenge only for $5.95
2. Register for the April, May and June for just $15.00 (April +$9.05)

Don’t miss out! For more info about May & June challenges and to register:

register-now

Challenge Club Landscape Soap Winners!

For the month of March, the Challenge Club tackled landscape soaps – nature scenes from the land, sea or sky. They were all made in log molds so that when the soap was cut, you could see the design inside. Members also had to find an inspiration photo or drawing for their soap. This was one of the more challenging designs and we had some amazing entries!!

Huge thanks to TKB Trading for sponsoring this month! The grand prize winner will receive a $100 gift certificate!! TKB has also chosen a Sponsor’s Choice winner to receive their EZ Eyeshadow Kit.

Once again, our grand prize winner really ran away with the prize! Congratulations to Claudia Carpenter in Los Altos, California for her beautiful ocean scene with the sun setting behind it! Claudia is a long-time member of the Club and has been consistently placing in the top 3 ever since she joined. However, this is her first time winning the grand prize, and I couldn’t be happier for her! Please click on the photo to see how she made this fabulous soap:

Claudia's ocean soap, scented with Abalone & Sea

Claudia’s ocean soap, scented with Abalone & Sea

Her inspiration photo:

Claudia-insipration

Second and third place were quite close! (Even fourth place was only one vote behind third…)

Long-time Challenge Club member Claire Edmunds of Saponista’s Artisan Soap from Plymouth, UK made second place with her fabulous rendition of a field of lavender in Devon which is near where she lives. I love this picture of her inspiration photo next to her soap:

Claire's lavender field soap

Claire’s lavender field soap

Another veteran of the Club, Amy B of Middleton, WI, took third place with her stunning birch tree soap. Be sure to click on the photo to read all about her inspiration and how she made this soap:

Amy's Birch Tree soap, scented with Oakmoss Sandalwood

Amy’s Birch Tree soap, scented with Oakmoss Sandalwood

Her inspiration photo:

amyb-inspiration

Claire and Amy both receive free registration to next month’s Challenge Club – yippee!!

Congratulations to Tatiana of Walnut Creek, California!! TKB Trading has chosen her mountain scene soap for their Sponsor’s Choice prize! This was her very first Soap Challenge and she created this beautiful soap, that she calls “Evening Sunset”:

Evening Sunset by Tatiana

Evening Sunset by Tatiana

If you are interested in seeing the rest of the entries for the Landscape Soap Challenge (who wouldn’t??), you can click HERE.

Now for the announcement you’ve been waiting for! The next THREE months of challenges:

For April, the technique is Spinning Swirls! We are going to do something just a bit differently…I have lined up TWO sponsors and we will have TWO sets of winners. Soapmakers from the U.S. and soapmakers from the rest of the world will be competing separately. Everyone who joins will be able to vote in both contests. Mad Oils is excited to sponsor the U.S. portion and will be providing a $50 gift certificate to the grand prize winner. Their Sponsor’s Choice prize includes 2.3 oz. of hibiscus petals, 2 oz. of Sexy Beast and Vanilla Milk fragrances, and samples of their new Hot Pants and Blue Bling micas. Gracefruit Ltd from the UK is a new sponsor to the Challenge Club, but certainly not new to the soapmaking world. They are sponsoring the non-U.S. portion and will provide a £50 gift certificate to the grand prize winner, and a £25 gift certificate for their Sponsor’s Choice prize!

Here is the soap I made for the video tutorial:

Grapefruit Ginger soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Grapefruit Ginger soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

I’m pretty excited about May too! We have another twist – a guest teacher!! Cee Gordon of Oil & Butter has agreed to teach all of us how to make dessert soaps using cold-process, melt & pour, and soap fondant! Have you seen her work? Here’s just a sample of what she can do:

Dessert soaps by Cee Gordon

Dessert soaps by Cee Gordon

Brambleberry is also excited to sponsor this challenge! They are in for a $100 gift certificate to the grand prize winner! The Sponsor’s Choice winner will receive four 4 oz. bottles of some of their newest fragrances. If all goes well in April, we may split the challenge again and have two sponsors. I will keep you posted!

In June, the technique is Ebru Art. This is a paper marbling technique that can be translated into soap. I’ve made several soaps with this technique and didn’t realize that was what I was doing! Here’s one of them:

Purple Mangosteen soap by Great Cakes Soapworks, circa 2012

Purple Mangosteen soap by Great Cakes Soapworks, circa 2012

Majestic Mountain Sage is our sponsor, and there will be more details about that later!

For now, you should know that registration opens Monday (March 30th) for these challenges! You can choose to do April only for $5.95 or do all three months for just $15. If you haven’t signed up for the Challenge Club newsletter, be sure to click the link below so you don’t miss any notifications:

notify-me

February Challenge Club Winners Announced!

For February, the Soap Challenge Club technique was the DNA/helix swirl. This swirl was originally created in a log mold by Sabine of Soap Star, with design credit for the slab mold version by Challenge Club member Amy B. in Wisconsin who used the technique for the combing swirl challenge last November. We are so grateful to Nature’s Garden for sponsoring this month’s challenge! The grand prize winner will receive a $50 gift certificate!! Nature’s Garden has also chosen a Sponsor’s Choice winner who will receive a $25 gift certificate!

We had so many amazing entries this month, but our first place winner was above and beyond all the other winners with a total of 46 votes. Congratulations goes to Melinda Wolff of Melinda’s Naturals in Joshua, Texas, for her stunning Double Helix Swirl Design in a log mold:

Double Helix Swirl by Melinda's Naturals

Double Helix Swirl by Melinda’s Naturals

As a side note, I’m so excited that I get to meet Melinda at the Central Soaper’s Workshop in just a few weeks!! Registration for this event closes FRIDAY, and there are virtual registration spots open as well, so if you don’t live in the Midwest, you can still attend in your jammies!

In second place, we have a new winner – this was just her second time participating in the Challenge Club! Congratulations to Algeana of Back2Eden Natural Bath & Body in Savannah, Georgia, with her super colorful DNA/Helix swirl in a slab mold:

DNA/Helix swirl by Back2Eden Natural Bath & Body

DNA/Helix swirl by Back2Eden Natural Bath & Body

Third place goes to long-time member of the Challenge Club, Eileen of Simple Pleasures Handmade Soap in Alberta, Canada with her rainbow DNA/Helix swirl in a log mold, using the slab mold technique!

DNA/Helix swirl by Simple Pleasures Handmade Soap

DNA/Helix swirl by Simple Pleasures Handmade Soap

Second and third place winners receive free registration to next month’s Challenge Club!!

Finally, Nature’s Garden has chosen Stacey of Yellow Cottage Soapery in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to receive their Sponsor’s Choice prize!! Stacey’s soap is a beautiful twist on the DNA swirl to create this floral look:

Floral/DNA swirl by Yellow Cottage Soapery

Floral/DNA swirl by Yellow Cottage Soapery

Isn’t it amazing how each of these soaps is so different from one another? This is the creativity that I love to see come out of the Club. I’m sure you’d like to see the rest of the entries as well, right? You can check them out HERE.

And if you would like to join us for the March Challenge Club, we will be doing landscape designs! Here is the soap I created for the video tutorial:

Landscape soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Landscape soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

We have a new sponsor for March: TKB Trading! They are providing a $100 gift certificate to the grand prize winner, and their EZ Eyeshadow Kit for their Sponsor’s Choice prize. Registration for this technique will open this Monday, March 2nd. You can sign up to receive a notification so you don’t miss it:

notify-me

Butterfly Swirl Winners Announced!

The butterfly swirl challenge was pretty incredible! We had 154 members from all over the world this month, and many of them created several batches of soap to get the best possible butterfly swirl. Everyone’s hard work paid off, because I’ve never seen so many beautiful butterflies!! Even though not everyone chose to enter their soap, it was still a difficult task to choose who to vote for, as there were 90 total entries! I say that, but I never actually do the voting, so in an attempt to make it a little easier on everyone, I gave all the members five votes instead of the usual three.

I am so grateful to Nurture Soap Supplies for sponsoring the challenge this month! They are providing 65 different mica samples (or $100 gift certificate) to our grand prize winner, as well as their basic 2.5 lb. soap mold with silicone liner to the Sponsor’s Choice winner. I am also grateful to Zahida of Handmade in Florida for sharing this incredible technique with all of us!

And now, for the announcements you’ve been waiting for!

The grand prize winner created this absolutely stunning butterfly swirl soap:

Butterfly Swirl soap

Butterfly Swirl soap

It’s so unique with the black lines and almost watercolor-like effect; nothing like any of the other entries! Also unique to this soap is the creator who wishes to remain anonymous. So congratulations, and thank you so much for sharing your beautiful soap!

In second place, we have Maria from Sabun Market in Guatemala who entered this amazing butterfly swirl soap:

Midnight Pomegranate butterfly swirl by Sabun Market

Midnight Pomegranate butterfly swirl by Sabun Market

The black background really sets off the swirls beautifully and you can see the micas really sparkle. The butterfly seems to “pop” out of the soap!

Third place goes to Melinda in Joshua, Texas with her spectacular four-bar butterfly swirl soap:

Spearmint & Eucalyptus Butterfly swirl by Melinda

Spearmint & Eucalyptus Butterfly swirl by Melinda

You can click on her photo to read a lovely description of how she came up with her design and her personal thoughts behind the Challenge Club and why she chooses to participate. My favorite part about her soap is how the colors all marble together so beautifully!

Huge congrats to the second and third place winners!! They will both receive free registration to next month’s Challenge Club! (More info about that below.)

Finally, the Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Claudia in Los Altos, California with her Butterfly Flambe soap:

Butterfly Flambe by Claudia

Butterfly Flambe by Claudia

Claudia was inspired by a t-shirt design with a wolf and flames on it. The colors pretty well capture the colors in the t-shirt as well as the flames! You can click the photo to read more about her inspiration and see more photos of her soaps. Congratulations, Claudia! You did an incredible job with this one!

If you would like to see the other 86 entries, please visit THIS LINK.

For next month, we are doing the DNA/helix swirl! I first saw this technique demonstrated in a log mold by Sabine of Soap Star, and recently one of our Challenge Club members re-created the technique in a slab mold. For the video tutorial, I will demonstrate the technique in the slab mold, but will leave each member to come up with their own take on this design. Here is the soap I made for the tutorial:

DNA/helix swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks

DNA/helix swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks

Nature’s Garden will be our sponsor for February. Grand prize is a $50 gift certificate, and the sponsor’s choice prize is a $25 gift certificate.

Many of the current members purchased the three-month registration that will be good through March. For those who didn’t, registration for this technique will open on Monday. If you’d like to be notified, just click the button below:

notify-me

Check Out These Spoon Swirls!!

We had 116 soapmakers from all over the world come together for the December Challenge Club! Our technique was the simple spoon swirl which involves pouring various layers of soap, then using a spoon (or chopstick) to fold the soap from bottom to top, creating beautiful swirls! Our sponsor this month was Majestic Mountain Sage. Tina’s favorite holiday is Christmas, so she created some generous prizes for our winners!! Grand prize is a $100 gift certificate! Normally second and third place just receive free registration to the next month’s Challenge Club, but this time they will also receive the Amazing Dozen sampler kit from The Sage – 12 different one-ounce bottles of the winner’s choice of fragrance, essential oil, extract, or flavor oil. The Sponsor’s Choice winner will also receive an Amazing Dozen sampler kit! Thanks so much, Majestic Mountain Sage!!

And now, for our winners:

Congratulations to Milla from Bend, Oregon!! She is a hobby soapmaker, and has entered nearly all of the Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge Clubs, yet this is the first time she has made a top 3 spot. Milla has really created a masterpiece with her pink, black and white spoon swirl soap:

Blackberry Sage spoon swirl soap by Milla

Blackberry Sage spoon swirl soap by Milla

In second place we have Jelena in Quebec, Canada with her beautiful wispy swirled Cherry Blossom soap. Isn’t it gorgeous??

Cherry Blossom spoon swirl soap by Jelena

Cherry Blossom spoon swirl soap by Jelena

Congrats to Claudia in Los Altos, California for her third place finish with this amazing outer space spoon swirl soap! She combined the spoon swirl with in-the-pot swirls and tiny little soap embeds:

Outer space spoon swirl soap by Claudia

Outer space spoon swirl soap by Claudia

And finally, I get to announce our Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Katy in Neoga, Illinois!! Katy is yet another hobby soapmaker and soon-to-be mother of six girls! She has been a member of the Challenge Club nearly every month, and I am excited to show you her Champagne Sugar spoon swirl soap made with real champagne:

Champagne Sugar spoon swirl soap by Katy

Champagne Sugar spoon swirl soap by Katy

I know you’ll want to see the rest of the entries, so I’ve made the link available HERE.

For the January Challenge Club, I will attempt to de-mystify the Butterfly Swirl, originally created by Zahida of Handmade in Florida. Here are the results of my first practice batch:

Butterfly Swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks

Butterfly Swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks

Our sponsor for the January Challenge Club is Nurture Soap Supplies! The grand prize winner will receive 65 different mica samples (enough to color 2 pounds of soap each!), and the sponsor’s choice winner will each receive a basic 2.5 pound soap mold with silicone liner.

Once again I will open up the January Challenge Club so that you can register just for that month, or you can register for the next three months. Check out what we have lined up for February and March as well:

The February Challenge will feature the DNA/helix swirl, and the sponsor is Nature’s Garden. They will provide a $50 gift certificate to the grand prize winner, and a $25 gift certificate to the sponsor’s choice winner!

For March, we will revisit landscape soaps, something we haven’t done in quite a long time and always turn out so amazing! We have a new sponsor for March: TKB Trading! Their prize packages will be announced soon.

Registration opens after the holidays – on Monday, January 5th. Sign up now get a notification via email as soon as registration is available, and the tutorial for the spoon swirl as well:

notify-me

Challenge Club Combing Swirl Winners!

For the November Challenge Club, the theme was combing techniques. Basically any design you could think of that involved pulling a comb through soap was fair game! The most common design of this type is the peacock swirl which became quite popular in the last couple years. It was the first technique we did as a Challenge Club in May 2013. This time, I introduced a new technique called the serpentine swirl, and you will see that one of our finalists did a fine job on that one!

Huge thanks to Brambleberry and Custom Soap Stamps for sponsoring the Challenge Club this month! Brambleberry is providing a fabulous soap combing tool set that includes two combs, two wide-mouth squeeze bottles, and their silicone tool set for our grand prize winner, PLUS the Sponsor’s Choice prize that I will show you in just a bit. Custom Soap Stamps is providing a standard 3″ x 2″ custom soap stamp! And now, for our winners:

Congratulations to Jodi of Lakehurst Farms!! She is our grand prize winner with her completely gorgeous French curl swirled soap:

French curl swirl, scented with Energy, by Jodi of Lakehurst Farms

French curl swirl, scented with Energy, by Jodi of Lakehurst Farms

Second place goes to Amy B. of Middleton, Wisconsin with her unique DNA helix swirl. This is actually just one layer of a four-layered soap where each layer was swirled separately! Click on the photo to see the rest of the swirls:

Four-layer soap, scented with Lavender Forest, by Amy B.

Four-layer soap, scented with Lavender Forest, by Amy B.

In third place we have Veronica of Sweet Vivi’s Bath and Body Products in Port St Lucie, Florida with a beautiful serpentine swirled soap in red, white, pink and green:

Serpentine Swirl soap, scented with Cranberry Chutney by Sweet Vivi's Bath and Body Products

Serpentine Swirl soap, scented with Cranberry Chutney by Sweet Vivi’s Bath and Body Products

Second and third place winners will receive free registration to next month’s Challenge Club!

And finally, I get to announce our Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Tanya of Stonesfield Soaps in the United Kingdom! Tanya created a beautiful peacock swirl, a technique she has definitely mastered, and ironically she was our grand prize winner when we had the first Peacock Swirl Challenge in May 2013! Here’s her “Bergander” soap:

Peacock Swirl soap, scented with lavender, bergamot, and cedarwood by Stonesfield Soap

Peacock Swirl soap, scented with lavender, bergamot, and cedarwood by Stonesfield Soap

Since Tanya is outside the U.S., she will receive a gift certificate from Brambleberry for the amount of the prize package shown below:

Sponsor's Choice prize package from Brambleberry

Sponsor’s Choice prize package from Brambleberry

I love that each of the winners used a different combing technique! Just shows how versatile this technique can be! Want to see even more combing technque soaps? Check out the rest of the entries for the challenge HERE. The tutorial for the combing techniques will be available soon for all who receive notifications about the Soap Challenge Club. (You can sign up at the end of this post.)

The December Challenge Club will feature spoon swirls! This is a super simple technique where you can layer or drop swirl the soap in the mold, then use a spoon to stir up the soap to create unique swirls.

Our sponsor for the December Challenge Club is Majestic Mountain Sage! They sponsored last December as well, and since Christmas is Tina’s favorite holiday, she likes to be generous with her prize packages. The grand prize winner will receive a $100 gift certificate, second and third place AND the sponsor’s choice winner will each receive an Amazing Dozen set.

Registration opens Monday, November 24th, and the link-up to enter your soap in the challenge will open on December 10th. Sign up now get a notification via email as soon as registration is available, and the tutorial for the combing techniques as well:

”notify-me”

Announcing the Petal Soap Challenge Winners

The technique for the October Challenge Club was to make petal designs inspired by a cake decorating technique. Erica Pence of Bath Alchemy originally came up with the technique, and Kenna from Modern Soapmaking recently did a video tutorial. Once I saw it, I knew it would be a fun challenge!

We had a new sponsor this month: Mad Oils! They are a new supplier out of Florida, but they are definitely not new to soapmaking! Products include scents and colors (both natural and synthetic), plus botanicals, containers, and other fun surprises! They are providing a $50 gift certificate for our grand prize winner, PLUS a brand new Sponsor’s Choice prize this month that I will show you in just a bit. Are you ready to see our winners??

The grand prize goes to….Lara of Lara Celia’s Soaps in Sparta, New Jersey!! Lara is a first-time Challenge Club member, and she created this beautiful Victorian Rose soap with an ombre effect:

Victorian Rose soap by Lara Celia's Soaps

Victorian Rose soap by Lara Celia’s Soaps

In second place, we have Lisa of Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio in New South Wales, Australia. Lisa is no stranger to the Soap Challenge Club, and she has placed several times in the top 3. She went all out with her rainbow petal soap cake:

Rainbow Petal Soap Cake by Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio

Rainbow Petal Soap Cake by Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio

Third place goes to Amy of Whipped Upp in Marysville, Washington with her super cool monarch butterfly soap art. Pretty amazing, huh?

Monarch Butterfly Soap by Whipped Upp

Monarch Butterfly Soap by Whipped Upp

Second and third place winners will receive free registration to next month’s Challenge Club!

And finally, I am pleased to announce our Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Janet of Just My Family’s in Bristol, Wisconsin! Janet has been a faithful supporter of the Soap Challenge Club from the very beginning, and I’m so glad her soap was picked! She made a sparkling rainbow petal soap that is so cute and fun:

Rainbows & Sprinkles Petal soap by Just My Family's

Rainbows & Sprinkles Petal soap by Just My Family’s

Janet will receive the “golden rule” prize package from Mad Oils including 4 oz. Golden Embargo fragrance with new 1/4 oz jars of Pot O’ Gold, Matte Gold, Hot Man on a Tin Roof and Nancy Sinatra’s Gold Boots glitter:

Sponsor's Choice prize package

Sponsor’s Choice prize package

Congratulations to all our winners!! If you’d like to see the rest of the entries for the challenge, they are located HERE. You will find all sorts of soapy inspiration!

The November Challenge Club will feature Combing Techniques! Any design that you can make with a soap comb is fair game. I will show you how to make your own soap comb with cardboard and bamboo skewers. Have you ever seen the Serpentine Swirl? This is one of the techniques I will be demonstrating. It looks like this:

Serpentine Swirl soaps by Great Cakes Soapworks

Serpentine Swirl soaps by Great Cakes Soapworks

I will also do a quick Peacock Swirl tutorial, and offer several other design ideas!

Our sponsors for the November Challenge Club are Brambleberry and Custom Soap Stamps. Custom Soap Stamps will give the grand prize winner a 3″x 2″ custom soap stamp!! Brambleberry has put together a sweet prize package that includes their swirl tool kit, plus 2 wide-mouth squeeze bottles, and their silicone tool set!

Grand Prize Package from Brambleberry

Grand Prize Package from Brambleberry

They will also provide the Sponsor’s Choice prize as well.

Registration opens Monday, October 27th, and we will be finished up well before Thanksgiving, so be sure to sign up! You can get a notification via email as soon as registration is available:

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Stunning In-the-Pot Swirl Winners!

This month’s Challenge Club featured the classic in-the-pot swirl. This was the first swirl I ever learned back in the day, and it remains one of my favorites. A lot of soapmakers prefer a swirl that they have more control over, but if you enjoy having completely unique soaps, no two bars of soap will turn out alike with this technique!

The guidelines for this challenge were to use in-the-pot swirls only. No stirring, swirling or otherwise messing with the soap once poured in the mold. The only variation allowed was for straight layers. Anything else could potentially detract from the star of the show: the in-the-pot swirl.

Our grand prize winner will receive a $50 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden as well as a $25 coupon code from the makermolds etsy store by Nicci Yeo. Please go check out both of their websites – Nature’s Garden has recently rolled out some big changes in their site, and Nicci has some really fun and unique soap molds!

Here is the stunning soap that takes home the grand prize. Congratulations to Zahida of Handmade in Florida who created this lovely coffee soap with several layers of soap:

Coffee Soap by Handmade in Florida

Coffee Soap by Handmade in Florida

In second place is Claudia’s fabulous “Nebula Swirl” soap, created with some help from her daughter. You’ll want to read her blog post about her process, as she has several great tips for achieving this effect:

Nebula Soap by Claudia and daughter

Nebula Soap by Claudia and daughter

Third place goes to Lisa of Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio in Australia. She spent hours and hours creating this gorgeous rainbow layered soap:

Rainbow Soap by Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio

Rainbow Soap by Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio

Huge congrats to Claudia and Lisa! They win free registration to next month’s Challenge Club!

I know you will want to see the rest of the entries as well! They are located HERE.

Do you love the new watermarks for the winning entries? One of our Challenge Club members, Claudia Carpenter, created these logos and a super simple tool to watermark the photos just for fun! From now on, when you join the club and submit an entry, you’ll be able to use the tool to watermark your own photos with this:

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Now for some more fun! We will be doing petal soaps for the October Challenge Club. Here is the test batch I created yesterday. I will be making another one for the video, now that I have a feel for the technique:

Petal Soap Test Batch by Great Cakes Soapworks

Petal Soap Test Batch by Great Cakes Soapworks

You can do lots of fun things with this technique – even make flowers instead of rows of petals! (Novel idea, I know.) We have a new sponsor for October – have you heard of Mad Oils yet? They are a new company out of Florida with some fantastic fragrances, essential oils, micas, glitters, botanicals and so much more! They are providing a $50 gift certificate to the grand prize winner. (International winner will need to pay shipping only as they do not normally ship abroad.)

Registration will open Monday, September 29th.

NEW: I am also announcing the techniques and sponsors for November and December at this time. You will have the option to sign up for all three months on September 29th for just $15 (saves you a few bucks and you won’t miss the sign-up deadlines for November and December – yippee!!)

November – We are doing combing techniques! You’ve probably seen some of these techniques before – in fact if you’ve been with us since the beginning of the Challenge Club, we started with the peacock swirl. You can do a peacock swirl again, or something different! I will be demonstrating a technique that I have so far not seen in the soaping world. Now you’re curious, aren’t you?
Brambleberry will sponsor and provide the grand prize winner with their swirl tool kit to make all kinds of soaps with combing techniques!

Registration will open on October 27th. If you are pre-registered you will have access to the tutorial on that day. Soap will need to be made by November 12th, voting opens on the 15th and winners announced on the 19th.

December – The Spoon Swirl. Another classic with plenty of applications. Easy to do right before the holidays as well. Majestic Mountain Sage is sponsoring with a $100 gift certificate for the grand prize winner.

Registration will open on November 24th. If you are pre-registered you will have access to the tutorial on that day. Soap will need to be made by December 10th, voting opens on the 13th and winners announced on the 17th.

If you haven’t signed up for the Challenge Club newsletter yet, this is how you can get notified when registration opens:

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Negative Space Embedding – Whaaat?

I coined a new term for this month’s Soap Challenge Club! The technique is called Negative Space Embedding – the opposite of regular embedding. With this technique, participants were asked to pour a soap base, then cut holes (any shape or size) in it and fill those holes with fresh soap. I also gave the option of filling the holes with melt & pour soap. Let me tell you, this technique opened up a beautiful display of soap art which I’m sure you are all dying to see!

But before I announce the winners, I must thank our sponsors. Brambleberry has provided a $50 gift certificate, and Alex Kelly is providing a Custom Soap Stamp to our grand prize winner!!

Now we may proceed with the announcements! Congratulations goes to Zahida of Handmade in Florida for her beautiful negative “space” (literally!) embed soap. She created a beautiful soapy canvas of planets, sun, moon and stars:

Negative "Space" Embed soap by Handmade in Florida

Negative “Space” Embed soap by Handmade in Florida

The honor of second and third place were such a tight race!! Second place goes to the talented Maya of Infusions blog from Tokyo, Japan. She created this beautiful interpretation of sea glass with her cold process soap base and transparent melt & pour “embeds”:

Seaglass soap by Maya

Seaglass soap by Maya

In third place we have Claudia from Los Altos, California! Her 3D rainbow soap really stands out as a piece of soap art, don’t you think?

Rainbow soap by Claudia

Rainbow soap by Claudia

Congratulations to Maya and Claudia! They win free registration to the September Challenge Club!

You can see the rest of the entries for this challenge HERE. It is worth taking a look!!

For September, we are doing in-the-pot swirls!! I was challenged to do NINE colors, so this is the soap I will be demonstrating in the video tutorial:

Black Cherry soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Black Cherry soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

The official challenge will be to swirl in at least THREE colors. There’s no limit to the number of colors you can do, but sometimes less is more with this technique! Our sponsors this month are Nature’s Garden who will be providing a $50 gift certificate, as well as a NEW sponsor, Nicci Yeo, who is providing a $25 coupon code toward anything in her silicone soap mold shop, makermolds. So many different whimsical molds to choose from!

Registration for the September Challenge Club opens Monday, August 25th. You can sign up to be notified here:

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