Winners of the Tiger Stripe Challenge!

The technique for the December Soap Challenge Club was tiger stripes – including modifications. The tiger stripe creates stripes of color down the length of a log mold that can range from quite thin to what you might think of as a “real” tiger stripe. Members could choose to leave their stripes intact or modify them once poured or use dividers to create interest – as long as the stripes were evident in the majority of the soap. As you might imagine, there are some really fascinating and unique looks!

The challenge was divided into two categories: newbies (soapmakers who have been making soap for less than 2 years and/or fewer than 50 batches) and experienced (everyone else!). We are so grateful to our sponsors for their generous prize packages! Custom Soap Stamps is an up-and-coming supplier with everything from custom soap stamps, as the name suggests, to multi-bar soap cutters and more! Alex Kelly’s specialty is working with acrylic, so everything he makes is incredibly sturdy and will last a lifetime. Thank you, Alex, for sponsoring the newbie category! Nature’s Garden is a well-established supplier for candles and bath and body products, known for their huge inventory of fragrances. Thank you, Deborah, for sponsoring the experienced category!

When I announce the results you might not be able to tell the difference between the categories – there are outstanding soaps in both! Let’s start with the newbies. They are all first time winners in the Challenge Club:

The grand prize winner is Nicole Lankenau of Suds and Scrubs 4 You in New York! Her Orange Spiced Tea Tiger soap combines all the colors and patterns of a real tiger, and you can see the unique diagonal pattern she achieved:

Orange Spiced Tea Tiger Stripe Soap by Suds and Scrubs 4 You

Nicole wins a $100 gift certificate from Custom Soap Stamps – congratulations!! Please read more about how she made this soap, including the diagonal pattern, as well as several other soaps with this technique by clicking on the soap photo.

Second place goes to Cheryl Wetzler of Saponaceous Soap in Pennsylvania. Cheryl’s innovative ombre technique with thin black lines between each color earned her soap the name Zombré:

Zombré soap by Saponaceous Soap

Custom Soap Stamps is providing a $75 gift certificate for Cheryl – yippee! Check out her Instagram post to read more about this beautiful soap by clicking on the photo.

In third place, we have Liz Greco in New Jersey!! Liz’s soap has an abundance of thin lines in gorgeous contrasting colors. The order of the colors gives the design a very fluid movement:

Carnivale soap by Liz Greco

Congratulations, Liz, on your $50 gift certificate prize! Click on the photo to read more about the ingredients Liz used for her soap.

Finally, the Sponsor’s Choice prize has been awarded to Savie in Michigan! Her gorgeous Bengal Tiger Stripe soap has all the markings of a beautiful wood grain, and the table she chose to pose it on just reinforces that look. Alex said this about her soap: “Great colors and pattern. Presentation is really important and that also stood out to me. Well done all around!”

Bengal Tiger Stripe soap by Savie

Savie wins a $25 gift certificate – woo hoo!! Take a look at both of the soaps she made for the challenge by clicking on the photo – she made one with peacock colors that turned out fantastic as well!

In the experienced category we have more excellent tiger stripe soaps!! In fact, our grand prize winner is none other than Carolyn Newton of Siennalily Soaps in Spain! She created a simple black, grey & white double tiger stripe soap with flawless lines:

BAH Humbug soap by Siennalily Soaps

Congratulations, Carolyn, on winning a $100 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden! This is Carolyn’s third time placing in the top three, and she has also been awarded two Sponsor’s Choice prizes in past challenges. Please click on the photo of her soap to read more on her blog about how the soap was made and the newly renovated room in her house that inspired her.

In second place is our resident rainbow soap queen, Lisa Norris of Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio in Australia! She did not disappoint with her gorgeous stripes of rainbow colors which she somehow manipulated into a tiger moth:

Rainbow Tiger Moth soap by Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio

Lisa wins a $75 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden! This is her 10th time placing in the top three, which I’m pretty sure is a Challenge Club record – congratulations!! Please read more about how Lisa’s soap was made by clicking on the photo to see the post on her Facebook page.

Third place goes to one of our most supportive members who has been part of the Club for about a year and a half. She has not only given me valuable feedback about the Club, but she is always very encouraging to the other members and gives out helpful advice on our Discussion Board. Congrats goes to Sylvia (Sly) Otykpa of Soaps by Sly in Colorado for her mesmerizing Smokey Bay Leaf soap made with the tilted tiger stripe method:

Smokey Bay Leaf soap by Soaps by Sly

Nature’s Garden is providing a $50 gift certificate to Sly for her fantastic work – her first time to placing in the top 3! Click on the photo to read the details on her blog about all three soaps she created for this challenge.

The recipient of the Sponsor’s Choice award is a brand-new member, Krista Scott of Georgia Soap Creation in Georgia, of course! Her Snowman Bliss Tiger Stripe soap spoke to Deborah Ward, and as she put it, “I just LOVE snowmen, and this soap is adorable and stunning! Just perfect for the holiday season!”

Snowman Bliss Tiger Stripe Soap by Georgia Soap Creations

Congrats, Krista, on your $25 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden!! Feel free to click on the photo to get a closer look at Krista’s soap on Instagram.

Ready to see the rest of the amazing tiger stripe entries? The Newbie entries are HERE, and the Experienced entries are HERE.

So, I’m sure many of you are wondering what’s in store for 2017! I have the next three months of challenges lined up for you, and the one for January is going to be completely different than anything we’ve ever done before! I’m calling it the Collaborator’s Challenge, and you’re going to need a collaborator to accomplish it. In other words, you get to make soap with a friend or family member!! I’ll have the details all laid out soon, but your collaborator must be at least 18 years old. It can be someone who has made soap before, as long as it’s someone who typically doesn’t make soap with you. The idea is to work together from start to finish. I asked my husband, Kent, to make soap for the very first time for the video tutorial and he did an excellent job! He chose the dancing funnel technique, and here is his soap in the mold:

Orange Soap by Kent Warden

Kenna from Modern Soapmaking and I will be co-sponsoring this challenge as we have been collaborating on this challenge idea since we made the wood grain soap together in October! Prizes will be divided between you and your collaborator and will include the following:
Grand prize – $50 gift certificate from MS for you/$50 gift card from Amazon for your collaborator
Second place – $40/$35
Third place – $25/25
Sponsor’s Choice – Kenna will choose three entries to receive a printout of her Honey & Beeswax soap tutorial, plus two bars of soap made with the technique so you can make another soap with your collaborator if you choose!

I will also provide a “recruitment” video to show the person you wish to join you in this challenge so they can be encouraged to participate! (If for some reason they actually need encouragement!)

In February, we will be doing CP + MP Designs. The challenge will be divided between newbies and experienced soapmakers once again and Majestic Mountain Sage will sponsor the newbie category. Elements Bath & Body is a new sponsor and they will provide prizes for the experienced category.

The challenge technique for March is Secret Swirls. This time the challenge will be divided between soaps made with all natural ingredients and those that are colored and/or scented with synthetic ingredients. Brambleberry is our sponsor for the natural category and Nurture Soap will sponsor the synthetic category.

Registration will open Monday, January 2nd for all three months or just January. If you haven’t signed up for Challenge Club notifications yet, which also includes tutorial sales, here’s the link:

Check Out the Winners of the Sculpted Layers Challenge!

The technique for the June Challenge Club is called Sculpted Layers. It was created by Claudia Carpenter of Om Nom Soap blog, one of our very own members! She used the technique to create her grand prize winning masterpiece for the Winter Wonderland challenge in February, and was gracious to teach it to us this month and share all her tips and tricks. The possibilities are truly endless with this technique, and the creativity that showed up in the entries is astounding! All of our top three winners took turns in first place throughout the course of the voting (I was the only one who could see this), and many others displayed beautiful design and skill as well.

Huge thanks to our sponsor, Alex Kelly of Custom Soap Stamps – who does so much more than just stamps! Please check out his etsy store to see all he has to offer, from tools to displays to molds – all of it made with high quality durable acrylic or silicone. In addition to the following prize winners, Alex also provided a 10% off coupon code to everyone who submitted an entry this month! Thanks so much, Alex!

Our grand prize winner, by just ONE vote is Helene Glemet of Chez Helene from Quebec, Canada! Helene just joined the Challenge Club last month, and has shown herself to be an excellent designer and soapmaker. Her soap, “Howling Wolf” is a simple, yet stunning design:

Howling Wolf by Chez Helene

Howling Wolf by Chez Helene

Helene wins a $150 gift certificate from Custom Soap Stamps – congratulations!! Click on the photo to see how she made her soap!

Second place goes to Debi Olsen in Fort Collins, Colorado! Debi is a master at complex, detailed soap design. She also utilized the allowance for small non-soap embellishments to decoupage the vines and cat tails on her soap to make it look surprisingly similar to her inspiration photo, and thus gave us her “Blue Moon” soap:

Blue Moon soap by Debi Olsen

Blue Moon soap by Debi Olsen

Her soap has won a $75 gift certificate from Custom Soap Stamps – yay, Debi! If you click on the photo, you can read her extensive blog post on how she made this soap.

In third place we have Vera Lede from Kazakhstan. Vera also has an eye for detail and bold, beautiful design in her soapmaking. She really pushed the envelope with a total of 12 sculpted layers in her “Morning in a Mountain Valley” soap!

Morning in a Mountain Valley by Vera Lede

Morning in a Mountain Valley by Vera Lede

Congratulations to Vera for earning a $50 gift certificate from Custom Soap Stamps! Click on the photo to read her blog post and see photos of her process, as well as another soap she made with this technique.

Our Sponsor’s Choice winner is Marie Zimmerly in Winterville, North Carolina! Marie is fairly new to the Club, and this her first time winning a prize. This is what Alex says about her “Almost Argyle” soap: “I really liked the crisp pattern separation and the fade from dark to light. The surface of the bars are nice and shiny, which adds that clean look (no pun intended). The dark edges leading in to the first pattern also helps define the contrast in colors. Lastly, it reminds me of the fancy argyle socks that I wore back in my corporate America days. Something like that allows the consumer to relate to the design of the bar.”

Almost Argyle soap by Marie Zimmerly

Almost Argyle soap by Marie Zimmerly

Marie’s prize is a custom soap stamp from Alex – congratulations! Clicking on the photo of her soap will take you to her blog post with lots of great details on how she made it!

What’s that? You want to see the rest of the entries? Take a look at them HERE.

Registration will open for the next three months of challenges on Monday (June 27)! Here are the techniques we will be tackling next:

JULY – Pipe divider swirl, sponsored by Nature’s Garden!

This technique was created by Tania of Soapish. She is excited to see what everyone creates for the challenge! Here’s the soap I made for the video tutorial:

Mango Papaya soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Mango Papaya soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

AUGUST – Dancing funnel, created and taught by Tatsiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso. This will be a divided challenge between natural and synthetic entries. Majestic Mountain Sage will sponsor the natural category, and Rustic Escentuals will sponsor the synthetic category.

Here is the soap Tatsiana created for the tutorial:

Dancing Funnel soap by Creative Soap by Steso

Dancing Funnel soap by Creative Soap by Steso

SEPTEMBER – Piping soap, another divided challenge between newbies and experienced entries. Bath Alchemy Lab will sponsor the newbie category and Nurture Soap will sponsor the experienced category.

I have my equipment ready for this challenge, but nothing to show you just yet. This has been a hot technique lately, so I know it will be a fun one!

If you have signed up for Challenge Club notifications, you will receive one on Monday, June 27, as soon as registration opens. If you haven’t signed up yet, be sure to do it now!

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Congratulations to the Alternative Liquids Challenge Winners!

The Soap Challenge for October was a little bit different. We focused on Alternative Liquids that can be used to mix with our lye solution. Each member was also asked to do some research and share with the rest of us why they chose the liquid they did and what the benefits are (if any) in soap. Many beneficial ingredients can lose their potency once introduced to the alkaline environment created by sodium hydroxide, and there isn’t always research available to identify exactly how much benefit remains in cold processed soap, but we did our best to present the information that could be found. While we cannot make any type of medical claims about the soaps that we sell, it is useful to understand how certain ingredients can make our soaps as good for our skin as possible.

Additionally, members were asked to use natural ingredients to color and scent their soaps. No fragrance oils, micas, oxides, dyes or pigments were allowed. This was a challenge in and of itself for many members who had not attempted this before, but what a great learning experience!

We had a new sponsor this month – Rustic Escentuals! They specialize in a diverse selection of fragrances, as well as candle making, soap making and lip balm making supplies – and their new website launches tomorrow, so be sure to check it out! Their prize packages were very generous, as you will see in the winner announcements. Alex Kelly of Custom Soap Stamps also came through with a custom soap stamp for the grand prize winner, plus a coupon code to his etsy store for everyone who submitted a soap this month. He makes so much more than just soap stamps too! Thank you so much to both for sponsoring!!

Voting was based on 1. Choice of Liquid, 2. Research, and 3. Design. Out of 74 entries, the grand prize winner is Debbie Walker from France!! Debbie has been a long time member of the Challenge Club, and this is her first time in the top 3 – I couldn’t be more happy for her! She chose to make her soap with Rooibos Tea, and when you read her excellent research and see her stunning design, it is obviously how she attained her standing:

Rooibos Tea soap by Debbie Walker

Rooibos Tea soap by Debbie Walker

Be sure to click on the photo to see how she made the swirl! Debbie has won a $100 gift certificate, plus six 1 oz. fragrances and six mica samples from Rustic Escentuals, and a custom soap stamp from Custom Soap Stamps. Congratulations, Debbie!

Second place goes to Maya Matsuoka in Japan, yet another long-time member of the Challenge Club! She was gifted some organic Bulgarian rose water, which according to her research, actually retains its benefits in cold process soap. Her beautiful soap was colored with madder root, kaolin clay, and bamboo charcoal with stunning results:

Red Velvet & Cotton soap by Maya Matsuoka

Red Velvet & Cotton soap by Maya Matsuoka

Once again, you can click on the photo to read more about how this soap was made. Congratulations to Maya on her second place finish and her prize package from Rustic Escentuals which includes a $75 gift certificate, plus six 1 oz. fragrances and six mica samples!

In third place we have Teressa Mahoney from Colorado who creates some stunning soaps as well! Her chosen liquids (guidelines allowed one or two) were carrot juice and fresh goat’s milk for the purpose of creating a facial bar, with indigo powder, rose clay, kaolin clay, and sea clay as her colorants. As an added benefit, Teressa shared how she makes pencil lines in a vertical mold:

Carrot and Acai Berry Facial soap by Teressa Mahoney

Carrot and Acai Berry Facial soap by Teressa Mahoney

Click the photo for more information about how this soap was made and to see her tutorial! Teressa’s prizes include a $50 gift certificate plus six 1 oz. fragrances and six mica samples from Rustic Escentuals! Congratulations, Teressa!

Amy from Rustic Escentuals said, “People really were creative with all of the entries! I’m so impressed by everyone’s work.” She wanted to choose someone who was really creative with their alternative liquid, so their Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to…Joanna Humieniuk in Illinois! Joanna created this fabulous Birch soap, using birch water from her native country Poland and colored with pink Brazilian clay and Dead Sea mud. You will definitely want to click on the photo of her soap to read more about this amazing ingredient:

Birch soap by Joanna Humieniuk

Birch soap by Joanna Humieniuk

She wins a $25 gift certificate plus six 1 oz. fragrances and six mica samples from Rustic Escentuals! Congratulations, Joanna!

You can check out the rest of the entries this month HERE. There is so much valuable research shared. It’s a gold mine of information about different alternative liquids that can be used in cold process soap!

And now, we must move on to the next challenge. I am so excited for November! Tatiana Serko will be our guest teacher as we learn how to make the “Tall & Skinny Shimmy” (aka wall pour or segment filling). This technique requires a tall & skinny mold, but don’t worry if you don’t have one! Tatiana is also showing us how to make our own mold out of foam board! Here is the soap she made for the video tutorial:

Rainbow soap by Tatiana Serko

Rainbow soap by Tatiana Serko

Tatiana Serko

Tatiana Serko

Registration will open on Monday, October 26th for the November Challenge Club. Nature’s Garden is our sponsor, and will be providing gift certificates to the top three winners plus their Sponsor’s Choice winner!

If you would like to receive notifications about the Challenge Club and soapmaking tutorials, please sign up below:

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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:

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