Final Soap Challenge Winners Announcement!

It’s so hard to believe this is the final winners announcement for the Soap Challenge Club!! There have been 55 challenges since the Club started in June 2013 with 160 unique winners of $10,000 in gift certificates plus physical prizes, many of them winning multiple times! Thousands of soapmakers have joined the Club over the years to learn new techniques and push themselves to grow their skills in incredible ways. I celebrate those who didn’t give up after the first try, who offered up what they learned from their experiences, and continued to contribute over and over again not only by creating their own soaps, but encouraging their fellow Club members along the way. Thank you for coming together to create this amazing community of soapmakers!

I owe a huge part of the success of the Club to our sponsors, whose prizes provided needed incentives to go the extra mile. Huge thanks to all of you for supporting the vision of the Club and making it possible!! I’ve enjoyed learning new techniques along with everyone else even as I taught them or learned them from our guest teachers who deeply enriched our experience and brought the Club to places we could not have gone without them. They have been an enormous blessing!

The technique this month was Straight Line Designs. Toni Watt of White Milk Soaps was our guest teacher, showing us how to get perfectly straight lines in cold process soap. It is a somewhat tedious process that creates absolutely stunning results! Members could create straight or diagonal lines, as long as their soap was created in one pour session. Many took this challenge to a level of creativity that is downright incredulous!

Since this was the final challenge, we had multiple sponsors provide prizes not only to our top four voted winners, but also participation prizes to those who entered – all 82 people this month! Much gratitude goes to Bramble Berry, Majestic Mountain Sage, and DIY Soap Labels for their participation prize packages!

In an attempt to simplify the process this month, I offered the option of having our jury members choose 10-15 entries for everyone to vote on. With well over 250 people registered for the challenge, I anticipated that the participation rate would be high – especially since this was the last challenge and there were participation prizes at stake! My goal for the challenge was for everyone to have a good experience, whether they were able to submit an entry or not. For those who did submit, I wanted them to feel like their entry was thoughtfully considered. Since this is a busy time of year, I wanted to be sure everyone felt like they had ample time to check out the entries so they could vote on the best ones. After receiving the results of the survey I sent to all the members, I decided that I would get the jury involved only if there were 50 or more entries. Well, 82 entries later, the jury members had their work cut out for them! After careful consideration, rock-star jury members Tatiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso, Jelena Vasiljeva of SoapTechniques, Kenna Cote of Modern Soapmaking and I were able to narrow down the entries to twelve for the final vote. Members were given six total votes to be spread across three entries, ideally giving their first place choice 3 votes, second place 2 votes, and third place 1 vote. Here are the top four prize winning entries:

Congratulations to long-time member Debi Olsen of Me Do It Meself in Colorado for her stunning 34-layer soap with the same number of colors which she calls “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Her project took a total of 13 hours to complete! Debi has always gone above and beyond in her creations for the Club, and does an excellent job writing about her experiences on her blog. It’s quite clear that she is passionate about extravagant soap design!

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road soap by Me Do It Meself

Debi wins a $100 gift certificate from Bramble Berry for her outstanding efforts!! Be sure to click on the photo to read all about Debi’s experience and inspiration for making her soap.

In second place we have last month’s winner in the juried category, Elena Childers of Mysteria Soap in Texas, with her bold and beautiful “Universe in the Jewelry Box” soap. Although new to the Club, it is obvious that Elena is highly talented as well! She was able to create a fantastic illusion with her back and forth ombre pours and final swirled portion in the center:

The Universe in the Jewelry Box soap by Mysteria Soap

Congratulations to Elena for winning a $75 gift certificate from Symphony Scents! Her photo is also linked to her blog post with many more beautiful photos and a sketch of her plan.

Our third place winner is the ever-talented Helene Glemet of ChezHelene in Quebec, Canada! Another veteran to the Club, Helene’s ability to think outside the box really makes her designs stand out. Her soap stunned us all with its perfect black and white chevron pattern, another long process taking 9 hours to complete! Can you believe she just eyeballed this design?

B&W Chevron soap by ChezHelene

Helene’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage! Congratulations, Helene! Her photo is linked to her Facebook post which describes and shows her process so be sure to check it out.

Finally, in lieu of a Sponsor’s Choice winner, the fourth place winner is Vera Lede of Lede Soap in Kazakhstan who created a 5-color diagonal masterpiece. Vera is an avid supporter of the Club as well, and has used each experience to really push herself to her maximum potential:

Line Design soap by Lede Soap

Vera wins a $25 gift certificate from For Craft’s Sake, a brand-new sponsor to the Club but a veteran in the soap supply world, best known for their super soap cutter called The Tank (one of my personal favorites!). Check out Vera’s blog post by clicking on the photo!

I know you’ll want to see the other 78 entries as well – they are pretty incredible! Check them out HERE.

This is the part of the announcement where I usually tell you what’s next. Honestly, I don’t know! This is the end of the Challenge Club. Many have wondered if someone else could take it over and continue the legacy. If I thought it was actually possible to hand it off, I would attempt it. I have sat down over the past several weeks to write out just an outline of all the steps it takes to keep the challenges running. It is nearly five pages long and doesn’t even go into detail about HOW to accomplish all these steps. I do know that there is still a need for mentorship in the soapmaking community, and if I can figure out a way to provide that in a less complicated way, I will let you know!

Meanwhile, the tutorials from all the past challenges will still be available to you. I will still offer smell-through shrink wrap. Perhaps I will find time to create a new tutorial now and then, but until I know what my schedule looks like, I can’t make any definite plans.

So I wish you all much success in your soapmaking journeys and hope to see you around! Have a very Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year!

November’s Dirty Fluid Pour Challenge Winners

Hard to believe this was the next to last soap challenge! November’s technique was specifically created for the Soap Challenge Club by guest teacher Joanne Watkins of Nature’s Potion Handmade Soaps. As both a soapmaker and acrylic paint artist, Joanne found a way to safely re-create the dirty fluid pour technique for acrylic paint with soap.

As you will see, there are some stunning results from this technique! The challenge was divided into a juried category, sponsored by Elements Bath & Body and a voted category, sponsored by Custom Soap Stamps. The winners of the juried category were chosen by four jury members including Tatiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso, Jelena Vasiljeva of SoapTechniques, Kenna Cote of Modern Soapmaking, and myself. The winners of the voted category were determined by the votes of those who registered for the Challenge Club this month.

Let’s start with the winners in the juried category. This may have been the most difficult challenge we have juried as the abstract nature of the designs from this technique is so subjective in its appeal. The guidelines of the challenge stated that “flowing, beautiful colors are the goal” and “creating cells in the soap is desirable, but not necessary.” Entries were scored based on these 7 categories: technique, difficulty, effort, skill/talent, uniqueness, presentation, and overall aesthetics. Each jury member scored their top 10 picks out of the 20 entries that were submitted. After considerable discussion, here are our winners:

Grand prize goes to Elena Childers of Mysteria Soap in Texas. This was Elena’s first time participating in the Challenge Club, and she was the only one to really step outside of the box with her design by using various cylinders that ranged in size from a drinking straw to much larger chipboard tubing while utilizing a full rainbow of colors:

Rainbow Zebra Soap by Mysteria Soap

Elena’s prize is a $100 gift certificate from Elements Bath & Body, Your One Stop Shop for Wholesale Soap Making Supplies! Congratulations! Please click on Elena’s soap photo to read more about her inspiration and how she created her soap on her blog.

In second place we have Lisa Norris of Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio in Australia. Her signature rainbow palette is a gorgeous rendition of this fluid pour technique. The colors are bright, yet well-balanced with the white and well-defined swirls in addition to beautiful cells:

Carnivale soap by Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio

Lisa wins a $75 gift certificate from Elements! After three and half years of participating in the challenges, her list of prizes is quite extensive! Congratulations once again, Lisa! Click on the photo to read more about her soap in her Facebook album.

Our third place winner is Jamie Reddinger of Lathering Lotus in Pennsylvania, and her second time placing in the top three!! Her bright, contrasting colors are a vision of flowing design and beautiful cell drips:

Mystic soap by Lathering Lotus

Congratulations to Jamie for winning a $50 gift certificate from Elements!! Check out her soap in the mold as well by clicking on the photo to see her post in Instagram.

Finally Tammy Tivis, owner of Elements Bath & Body, has chosen Karen Harvey’s Dirty Pour Cosmos Soap to receive the Sponsor’s Choice prize. She says, “The contrast of the purple, blue and marigold really “pop” and we just love the vibrant mix. Overall, the blend creates well-balanced and absolutely beautiful bars.”

Dirty Pour Cosmos Soap by Karen Harvey

Karen receives a $25 gift certificate from Elements. She has been a long-time member of the Challenge Club and this is the first time she has received a prize! I’m so happy for her! Click on her photo to read more about how she created her soap in her blog post.

Before I announce the winners in the voted category, I want to say how proud I am of all of them as each one is a first-time winner, and some have been participating for quite some time! We did have one clear winner for first place. Grand prize goes to Peech Keller in Colorado for her stunning “Taken for Granite” soap. And it truly does resemble slabs of marbled stone! Check it out:

Taken for Granite soap by Peech Keller

Peech has been participating in the challenges for a year and a half and she wins a $100 gift certificate from Custom Soap Stamps! (Alex Kelly makes way more than just stamps; tools like cutters, beveler/planers, and molds are also available in his shop!)

Second and third place were just one vote apart!! Sara Hart of 4 Harts Farm in Kentucky came away with the second place finish. She has been participating in the challenges since July this year and her winning Autumn Fig soap is bursting with gorgeous, flowing color:

Autumn Fig Dirty Pour soap by 4 Harts Farm

Sara wins a $75 gift certificate from Custom Soap Stamps! Feel free to click on the photo of her soap to read more about her process on her blog.

Third place goes to Leilani Olsen of Gingerleaf Creative in Colorado, a long-time member of the Challenge Club!!! Congratulations, Leilani!! She created a beautiful Earl Grey Tea soap, inspired by a fused glass pendant, practically glowing with bright turquoise and accented with brown and navy:

Earl Grey Tea soap by Gingerleaf Creative

Leilani’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Custom Soap Stamps! You will want to check out her Facebook post by clicking on the photo of her soap!

Alex Kelly of Custom Soap Stamps has chosen Ritza Reina’s soap to receive his Sponsor’s Choice prize. He says, “I liked the Autumn Harvest. I like the use of colors, which make each bar look like an abstract painting.” So true! Check it out:

Autumn Harvest soap by Ritza Reina

Ritza wins a $25 gift certificate – woo hoo!

If you’d like to see the rest of the entries from this month’s challenge, check out the voted category entries HERE, and the juried category entries HERE (which includes the list of the top 10 winners!).

Registration for our FINAL CHALLENGE in December opens Monday, November 27!! We are doing Straight Line Designs with guest teacher Toni Watt of White Milk Soap & Candles. She has put together a fantastic tutorial for you! Here is the soap she created for the video:

Straight Line Designs by White Milk Soap & Candles

Click on the photo above to see the Current Challenge page with all the deadlines, and check out the amazing prizes we will have:

Grand Prize: $100 gift certificate from Bramble Berry
Second place: $75 gift certificate from Symphony Scents
Third place: $50 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage
Fourth place: $25 gift certificate from For Craft’s Sake

You will also receive the following prizes just for entering a soap in the challenge: $10 off shipping coupon from Bramble Berry, plus a 10% discount code and a special mystery prize from Majestic Mountain Sage.

Not signed up for notifications for the Challenge Club yet? Here you go:

Rainbows and Unicorns – Oh My!!

The Soap Challenge Club was given the task of creating a cold process soap with at least six rainbow colors and one unicorn element. Micas and glitter were the only embellishments allowed, but really what else do you need if you have plenty of sparkle? Members were super creative with their soaps! We had two categories for this challenge: experienced and newbie. Experienced was defined as having made soap for more than two years OR more than 50 batches. Anyone else was considered a newbie. The newbies were extra light this month – only six entries! Lovin Soap sponsored the newbie category with some amazing gift certificate prizes. If you haven’t checked out their website, it is absolutely brimming with resources for soapmakers – both new and experienced.

The experienced category was sponsored by Nature’s Garden, also providing some fantastic gift certificate prizes. If you’re looking for ingredients for soap, candles, or other bath products, Nature’s Garden has one of the largest selections – particularly fragrances! Thank you so much to our sponsors this month!!

Now, let’s get on with the winners! Starting with the experienced category, the competition was pretty close but grand prize goes to Belinda Williams of Love Your Suds in Canada for her soap entitled “The Last Unicorn”. It is a brilliant piece of art! She put it together over the course of two weeks in multiple stages to create the final result you see here:

The Last Unicorn by Love Your Suds

Congratulations on winning a $100 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden, Belinda! She’s been an outstanding member of the Challenge Club since she was a newbie, winning a top 3 spot two other times, and Sponsor’s Choice twice also! Please click on the photo of her soap to read and see more about her process in making this amazing soap.

Second place goes to last month’s winner, Maja Zuvela-Aloise of Bubbledream in Austria! Maja has worked some soap dough magic with her beautiful “Rainbow Mane” soap:

Rainbow Mane by Bubbledream

Maja wins a $75 gift certificate – awesome job!! Click on the photo to see how she put it all together on her Facebook page.

In third place we have Debi Olsen of Me Do It Meself in Colorado. Debi has also been a faithful member of the Club since she was a newbie. She likes to push the envelope of design and has placed in the top 3 six times now. Debi’s whimsical 3D Unicorn soap is aptly named Uni-Cutie-Corn! See how cute it is:

Uni-Cutie-Corn! by Me Do It Meself

Debi’s prize is a $50 gift certificate! Way to go! Check out her instagram post with more photos of her soap by clicking on the photo.

Finally, Deborah Ward of Nature’s Garden has chosen Shauna Veilleux-Shultz in Pennsylvania to receive their Sponsor’s Choice prize!! Deborah says this about Shauna’s soap: “This soap truly has personality, and makes me happy just looking at it. This soap took imagination and skill at many different levels.”

A Star is Born by Shauna Veilleux-Shultz

Excellent work, Shauna! She has also been part of the challenges for quite some time and I’ve watched her improve with each one! Her prize this time is a $25 gift certificate. Shauna’s pinterest board is linked to her photo so you can see how she made her soap.

How about those newbies? Congratulations to Erin Scott in Ohio for her grand prize winning soap, The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me!! It’s such a beautiful compilation of rainbows and unicorns with fabulous horns and manes flowing with flowers:

The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me by Erin Scott

Erin wins a $100 gift certificate from Lovin Soap – woo hoo!! She has been with the Club for the past four months, honing her mad soaping skills. See the different soap designs she played around with for this challenge by clicking on her photo.

In second place we have Samantha Fiore of Lather & Glow Soap Co. in Canada! This was Samantha’s very first challenge and she jumped right in and created a winner. Here is her super cute soap:

Sunshine Unicorns and Rainbows by Lather & Glow Soap Co.

Samantha’s prize is a $75 gift certificate. Be sure to check out her Instagram post by clicking on the photo and see how many things she did for the first time because of the challenge!

Third place goes to Theresa True of Raven Ave Handmade Soaps in Indiana with her fancy Unicorns and Glitter soap! Theresa is another first timer who took this opportunity to literally shine:

Unicorns and Glitter by Raven Ave Handmade Soaps

She wins a $50 gift certificate for her efforts! You can click on the photo to see her slideshow on how she made the soap (best seen on a mobile device).

With just six entries, there were only three left for our sponsor to choose from and of course it was impossible to leave anyone out, so they didn’t!! All three remaining entries will receive a $25 gift certificate from Lovin Soap!! Congratulations to Sara Hart, Chad Vickers, and Jane Whipp for pushing yourselves to do things you had never done before with soap and put your work out there.

If you’d like to see their entries, just visit the Newbie category HERE, and the rest of the Experienced entries are located HERE.

In my last blog post, I announced that these would be our absolute last three challenges in October, November and December. I’ve received so many wonderful messages from former and current members wishing me well and thanking me for doing the challenges the past four years. I will most certainly miss this!!

The good news is it’s not too late to get in on the final two! Registration for the November & December challenges will open Monday, October 30. Our guest teacher for November is Joanne Watkins of Nature’s Potions Handmade Soap with another amazing fluid pour technique called the Dirty Pour. These are the soaps she has created for the tutorial with this technique:

Dirty Fluid Pour soap by Joanne Watkins

We will have a voted category and a juried category. You can read more about that on the Current Challenge page. I just made my first practice batch yesterday and will be making another one today with a few changes based on what I learned from that batch!

For December, our guest teacher is Toni Watt of White Milk Soap & Candles and she will be demonstrating Straight Line Designs. These are some of the incredible soaps she has made with this technique in the past:

Example of Straight Line Soap by Toni Watt

This will be one big challenge with some really fun prizes from many of our sponsors, including some great coupons and prizes just for entering! You won’t want to miss it! Get signed up for notifications about these challenges if you haven’t already:

September Challenge Winners & My Big Announcement

For the month of September, guest teacher Helene Glemet of ChezHelene showed us how to create 3D Shower Jelly soaps similar to the designs of edible 3D gelatin cakes. We injected cold process soap into melt and pour jelly bases to create beautiful designs. The challenge was sponsored by Rustic Escentuals, a fabulous supplier of jelly base, as well as tons of fragrances, micas, and so much more! There were only 24 entries this month as it is a busy time of year and many were unable to participate. Instead of each member getting 3 votes, they were only given ONE.

Grand prize goes to Maja Zuvela-Aloise of Bubbledream in Austria!! This is her second time with a first place finish in the Soap Challenge Club; the first time was with the CP + MP Designs which goes to show she is very talented at combining these two mediums as she did again for this challenge. Her Sea Urchin Soap is a spectacular display of color and beauty within the jelly base which shows off the design perfectly:

Sea Urchin Soap by Bubbledream

Maja wins a $100 gift certificate from Rustic Escentuals – congratulations!! Be sure to click on the photo of her soap to see more photos at different angles (you will be surprised at the shape of her mold!) on her Facebook page.

In second place by just one vote we have Shauna Veilleux-Shultz in Pennsylvania!! Shauna is a long-time member of the Club and I have watched her get better and better each month! Her beautiful Cardinal Rules soap is completely unique from the rest of the entries. Shauna’s soaps are always super creative, and I was impressed with how she made this one with modified drinking straws as her tools:

Cardinal Rules soap by Shauna Veilleux-Shultz

Shauna’s prize is a $75 gift certficate and a whole lot of pride in a job well done! Click on the photo to see her practice batch and more information about her soap on her Pinterest board.

Our third place winner is Teri Endsley of Tree Marie Soapworks in Indiana with her absolutely breathtaking chrysanthemum soap!! Teri did something completely unique as well by coloring the jelly soap pink and injecting white cold process soap for the flower. Bet you couldn’t figure that out just by looking at the photo:

Chrysanthemum soap by Tree Marie Soapworks

Teri wins a $50 gift certificate from Rustic Escentuals – great job!! Her photo is linked to her Facebook post with more photos of her process that you won’t want to miss!

Amy Coker of Rustic Escentuals chose Marty Johnson in Minnesota as their Sponsor’s Choice prize winner. Marty’s (Once in a) Blue Moonflower soap captured Amy’s heart. She says, “Its beauty is in its complex simplicity. The design is not overdone and has resulted in a realistic flower.”

(Once in a) Blue Moonflower soap by Marty Johnson

Marty’s prize is a $25 gift certificate from our sponsor! Her photo is linked to her Pinterest board (which seems to be having a bit of technical difficulty at the moment, but has some great photos!).

Finally, the jury members have chosen an entry to receive free registration for the October, November and December challenges. We chose Jane Whipp’s simply stunning Purity soap for this honor. Tatiana Serko says, “I like that the master took a risk and took the mold in the form of a heart, despite this it turned out to be a very harmonious flower. And I still liked the simplicity and elegance.” Jane’s company is Butterfly Soap Studio in Queensland, Australia, and here is her soap:

Purity soap by Butterfly Soap Studio

You can check out the rest of the entries HERE.

I have a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT to make! As I have started working with a large wholesale client, these will be the final three challenges:

October – Rainbows & Unicorns theme soaps, Experienced & Newbie Categories; Nature’s Garden will sponsor the experienced category, and Lovin Soap will sponsor the newbie category.

Rainbow/Unicorn soap by Amy Warden

November – Dirty Fluid Pour Technique with guest teacher Joanne Watkins of Nature’s Potion Handmade Soaps, Juried & Voted Categories; Elements Bath & Body will sponsor the juried category, and Custom Soap Stamps will sponsor the voted category.

Dirty Fluid Pour soap by Joanne Watkins

December – Straight Line Designs with guest teacher Toni Watt of White Milk Soap & Candles, one big challenge with prizes galore from many of our sponsors!! Bramble Berry is providing a $100 gift certificate for grand prize, Symphony Scents is providing a $75 gift certificate for second place, Majestic Mountain Sage is providing a $50 gift certificate for third place, as well as some special goodies for all participants who enter a soap in the challenge, and For Craft’s Sake is providing a $25 gift certificate for fourth place. Bramble Berry will also give every participant who enters a soap in the challenge a coupon for $10 off shipping.

Example of Straight Line Soap by Toni Watt

These should be super fun!!! I am so grateful to our sponsors for their absolutely amazing support over the past 4+ years that we have been doing the Soap Challenge Club every month. I couldn’t have done it without them!! I am also grateful to all of the fantastic soapmakers who have found the challenges inspiring enough to keep coming back for more! I will miss you all and the inspiration you have given me as well. It has been such a rewarding experience! I wish you all the very best in your soapmaking journeys.

Registration opens Monday, October 2 for these last three challenges! More info on the Current Challenge page. Be sure to sign up for the notification if you haven’t yet:

Intaglio Soap Challenge Winners Announcement

For the month of August, the Soap Challenge Club took on the Intaglio technique which was created by Clyde Yoshida of Vibrant Soap. He’s made three different types of designs with this type of carving technique and was excited to see what the Challenge Club members might be able to create. Strictly speaking, intaglio is an etching or engraving that refers to an image that is created by what is carved away. It has been used in printmaking processes. For the challenge, members were simply encouraged to etch a design in their soap that was no more than 1 cm deep. The design could be created from what was left, or from what was carved away using at least one thin layer of a contrasting color to really make the design pop.

The challenge was divided between two categories: juried and voted. Majestic Mountain Sage was our sponsor for the juried category and participated in choosing our top three winners as well as their Sponsor’s Choice winner. Other members of the jury included Tina Moenk of Natural Suds N More, Jelena Vasiljeva of Soap Techniques, Kenna Cote of Modern Soapmaking and myself. Those who entered the juried category were scored according to their adherence to the technique, difficulty, effort, skill/talent, uniqueness, presentation, theme and overall aesthetics. Since there were only 16 entries this time, all were scored by the jury members and everyone who entered this category will receive their scores as well as personal feedback from me about their soaps.

All of the jury members agreed that the top 2 spots in the this category could have been interchangeable as they were both SO incredibly amazing! In the end, there can only be one winner, and with just 4 more points than second place, here is the Grand Prize winner: Linda Irawan of Moia Soap in Indonesia!!! Linda has placed in every challenge since she began participating with us. She has incredible talent (and patience!). Her winning soap is Panthera Tigris, an amazing display of color and excellent use of thematic elements, and precision in design.

Panthera Tigris soap by Moia Soap

Congratulations, Linda!! Her prize is a $100 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage. Check out more photos of her beautiful soap on her Instagram post by clicking on the one above!

In second place, and equally fantastic is Teri Endsley of Tree Marie Soapworks in Indiana! Teri has been the Grand Prize winner in the juried category the past few months and always creates outstanding designs. She took the opposite approach by creating her design by what was left rather than by what was carved away. The result is this stunning Plumeria Bouquet with three layers of color:

Plumeria Bouquet soap by Tree Marie Soapworks

Teri wins a $75 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage to keep her creative juices flowing. Click on the photo to see more about her process and how she incorporated parts of her practice soap into this one.

Third and fourth place were super tight also! With a margin of just four points, our third place winner is Belinda Williams of Love Your Suds in Canada! With Halloween just a few months away, Belinda’s soaps are Something Spooky. The clean lines and simple black and white color scheme really showcases her designs beautifully:

Something Spooky soaps by Love Your Suds

Belinda’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage! Congratulations!! Read more about Belinda’s soaps on her Instagram by clicking on the photo.

Finally, the Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Lyn Arnhart of Garnet Tree Designs in Florida. Lyn’s Quilt Blossoms soap caught the eye of Tina Howard of Majestic Mountain Sage for several reasons. She says, “Quilting is similar to soap, it can be so very basic or it can be extremely creative. The colors chosen, as well as the whole image on her site, showed that she prepared her soap much like an intricate quilt – with a lot of preparation. These soaps, as a whole, felt like a quilt with the appliqued top and the peek-a-boo fabric underneath. A good choice of colors representing the concept of quilting as well as the art of marbling. This soap was well done, very well done.”

Quilt Blossoms soap by Garnet Tree Designs

Congratulations to Lyn for winning a $25 gift certificate from The Sage! Lyn has a great write-up and plenty of process photos on her Facebook post. Just click on the photo to check it out!

Now for the voted category! These winners were voted on by all of the members of the August Challenge Club, and sponsored by Nurture Soap. We have a stand-out winner who has been participating in the challenges for several years and this is her first time placing!! I’m so happy for Rama Mbaye in Paris, France becoming the Grand Prize winner this month! Her soap is inspired by a mosaic pattern which was beautifully executed in great detail:

Intaglio Mosaic soap by Rama Mbaye

Rama wins a $100 gift certificate from Nurture Soap – woo hoo!! Click on the photo to see her inspiration and process photos on her Instagram post.

Second place goes to Holly Shelton of Kapia Mera Soap Co in Tennessee! She is a faithful member of the Challenge Club for several years with quite a few prizewinning soaps during that time. Holly’s soap this month is a fabulous landscape design that was translated into all four bars. She had to perfectly place each color underneath to carve out the shapes each one represented:

Intaglio Soap Carving by Kapia Mera Soap Co

Excellent work, Holly! Her prize is a $75 gift certificate from Nurture Soap. Be sure to click on the photo to read Holly’s blog post about her process and see the video.

In third place, and just 2 votes behind Holly, we have Carmen Iclodean of Earth’s Raw Beauty in Nevada! Carmen has been participating in the challenges for several years as well and placed one other time. She used every ounce of patience she had to create this stunning “Paisley Pain” soap with excellent detail and clean lines:

Paisley Pain soap by Earth’s Raw Beauty

Your efforts paid off, Carmen! She wins a $50 gift certificate from Nurture Soap. This photo is linked to Carmen’s Instagram post if you want to take a look.

The Sponsor’s Choice winner was chosen by Carrie Thornsbury of Nurture Soap. Congratulations to Kelley Conway of The Corner Handmade in Massachusetts! This is her second month in a row to win Sponsor’s Choice!! Carrie said she appreciated the clarity of Kelley’s carving as well as the excellent color contrast in her Tribal Football soap:

Tribal Football soap by The Corner Handmade

Kelley’s prize is a $25 gift certificate from Nurture. Be sure to click on the photo to see more photos and information about how and why she created her soap on her Facebook page.

Don’t miss the rest of the entries, and the announcement of the top 10 in the juried category located here:

Juried Category

Voted Category

The technique for September is 3D Jelly Soaps!! Helene Glemet of ChezHelene is our guest teacher, and will be showing us how to make this soap:

3D jelly soap by Helene Glemet

We are doing one big challenge with Rustic Escentuals as our sponsor. The supply list has already been posted on the Current Challenge page. Be sure to check it out and join us as registration opens Monday, August 28. You can sign up to be notified below:

Winners Announcement for July Challenge Club

Our challenge for July was presented by our guest teacher, Joanne Watkins of Nature’s Potion Handmade Soaps. As an artist who is adept in acrylic paint techniques, Joanne showed us one of the fluid acrylic pour methods using a straw. The results can be quite stunning as you will see from the winning entries, but we also discovered that this technique can be a bit dangerous if precautions are not taken. Even with warnings about safety, several of our members ended up with lye burns. For this reason, I will not be offering the tutorial for sale, and hereby notify you that any attempts to re-create this technique are done at your own risk.

The challenge was divided into the juried and voted categories once again this month. Bramble Berry sponsored the juried category and participated in choosing our top three winners as well as their Sponsor’s Choice winner. Other members of the jury included Tatiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso, Jelena Vasiljeva of Soap Techniques, Kenna Cote of Modern Soapmaking and myself. Those who entered the juried category were scored according to their adherence to the technique, difficulty, effort, skill/talent, uniqueness, presentation, and overall aesthetics. For this challenge, all entries had to include a photo of the wet soap in the mold as part of their social media or blog post. Everyone who entered this category will receive personal feedback from me about their soaps. As usual, it was a difficult challenge to score!! After all five jury members scored their top 15 choices, we had to discuss the final outcome, but everyone came to agreement on these top three winners:

Grand prize goes to Teri Endsley of Tree Marie Soapworks in Indiana for her Muskmelon Mania soap! This is Teri’s second time in a row to win the grand prize in the juried category, and it is well deserved. The jury members were impressed with Teri’s tenacity to get her soap to look how she wanted it, and her ability to control the force of her breath to create the design without getting the colors muddied as they had been in previous attempts. She was also able to create a beautiful even texture in her soap without added air bubbles (very difficult with this technique), and her photography and presentation of her soap are also outstanding:

Muskmelon Mania by Tree Marie Soapworks

Congratulations to Teri for winning a $100 gift certificate from Bramble Berry!! Be sure click on the photo to see all of Teri’s attempts on her Facebook page.

In second place we have Janelle Peck in Idaho, and I couldn’t be happier for her! She has been participating in the challenges for over three years and this is her first time placing in the top 3! For this challenge, Janelle created an amazing Charcoal Nebula soap with impressive lines and colors, keeping her soap batter fluid throughout the pours, and presented her soap in a very unique and beautiful way:

Charcoal Nebula soap by Janelle Peck

Janelle’s prize is a $75 gift certificate from Bramble Berry – yippee!! Click on the photo of her soap to see her process on her Pinterest Board, and then check out the rest of her challenge club soaps HERE. You can see her progress as a soapmaker, but she’s always shown a lot of talent!

Third place goes to Linda Irawan of Moia Soap in Indonesia who has placed in three out of four challenges that she has entered! Her Blue River soap is a gorgeous display of moving waters, and stood out as a very unique design to the jury members. She used four different shades of blue micas along with some activated charcoal to create the monochromatic ripple effect:

Blue River by Moia Soap

Linda wins a $50 gift certificate from Bramble Berry! You can click on the photo to see more images of this soap, including the wet soap in the mold on her Instagram.

Finally, Kelsey B from Bramble Berry has chosen Nicole Lankenau of Nicole’s Artisan Soaps in New York to receive their Sponsor’s Choice prize! Nicole’s Blowing Autumn Tree soap won the hearts of everyone in the Bramble Berry office! Kelsey says, “This soap immediately stood out to me. First I saw the bright colors, then I noticed the intricate tree design. It’s amazing how Nicole’s Artisan Soaps was able to create the trunk, leaves, and sky in the background using a straw. Excellent job, the whole Bramble Berry office loves it.”

Blowing Autumn Tree by Nicole’s Artisan Soaps

Nicole wins a $25 gift certificate from Bramble Berry! Click on the photo to see her process photos on her Facebook page, as well as videos HERE and HERE.

For the voted category, the winners were chosen by the votes of all our members this month, and sponsored by Symphony Scents. Congratulations goes to Shayla Gauthier of Black Gold Soap Co. in Alberta, Canada for winning Grand Prize with her Rainbow Fyre soap! Shayla has participated in several challenges, and this is her second time to place in the top three. For this month’s challenge, she did an excellent job of re-creating a rainbow tie dye effect in her soap:

Rainbow Fyre soap by Black Gold Soap Co.

Shayla’s prize is a $100 gift certificate from Symphony Scents! Be sure to click on the photo to read her blog post about her inspiration and how she created the soap.

Second place goes to Sarah Corey of Sweet N Charming Soaps in New Mexico – and she placed in the top 3 last month also! While she struggled to keep her soap batter fluid until the very end, Sarah’s soap is still a gorgeous display of vivid blues and greens which she has aptly named Luminous Mirage:

Luminous Mirage soap by Sweet n Charming Soaps

Sarah wins a $75 gift certificate from Symphony Scents, and you can check out her blog post with process photos of her soap by clicking on the photo.

In third place we have Jamie Reddinger of Lathering Lotus in Pennsylvania! Jamie is a long-time member of the challenge club, and this is her first time placing in the top 3 – I’m so proud of her!! Ironically, she also won the three-month registration door prize that I contributed to the Pittsburgh Soapmakers Gathering last month! She did an excellent job of creating her fabulous Autumn Dreams soap:

Autumn Dreams soap by Lathering Lotus

Jamie’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Symphony Scents, and you can see the wet soap in the mold posted on her Instagram if you click on the photo above.

Finally, Lori Kimble of Symphony Scents has chosen Kelley Conway’s Fruity Fusion soap as her Sponsor’s Choice winner! Kelley’s company is The Corner Handmade in Massachusetts. Lori says, “This soap has a great color combo and the tutorial showed a nice fluid soap to create the patterns. The cut of the bars shows all the layers and patterns throughout. Plus, she stepped out of her comfort zone to do this technique!” Congratulations, Kelley!!

Fruity Fusion by The Corner Handmade

Kelley wins a $25 gift certificate from Symphony Scents!! Click on the photo to read more about Kelley’s soap on her Facebook page.

Don’t miss the rest of the entries, and the announcement of the top 10 in the juried category located here:

Juried Category

Voted Category

Next month we get to have some fun with the Intaglio technique that Clyde Yoshida of Vibrant Soap has developed. Registration opens on Monday! You can sign up for August only, or throw in September as well for a discounted rate. Here are my practice soaps:

Intaglio practice soaps by Amy Warden

My soap for the video tutorial is made – just needs to be carved!! I will update the info on the Current Challenge page as soon as I get them finished up. Sponsor information and tools needed for this technique are already posted there.

Sign up to be notified as soon as registration opens, if you haven’t already:

Announcing the Winners of the Ombre Challenge

For the month of June, the Soap Challenge Club worked on perfecting ombre techniques in cold process soap. Ombre is the gradual blending of one color hue to another, usually moving tints and shades from light to dark or dark to light – or even color to color. Members were given the option to choose any technique they wished to demonstrate an ombre color patter in the majority of their soap.

The challenge was divided between juried and voted categories. Members who wished to learn a new technique and have some fun, and/or may be new to soapmaking were encouraged to enter the voted category. All of our members were eligible to vote for the winners in this category, except for the Sponsor’s Choice winner. Mad Micas sponsored the voted category with some awesome gift certificate prizes. If you haven’t visited their website recently, it’s worth checking out as they have added a ton of new colors and products! They also have a fun Facebook community.

Members who wished to be pushed to their maximum potential, possibly with aspirations to improve or begin online selling were encouraged to participate in the juried category. A panel of five jury members decided the winners for this category, including Tatiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso, Jelena Vasiljeva of Soap Techniques, Kenna Cote of Modern Soapmaking, Leann Blackey representing our sponsor Elements Bath & Body and myself. Each jury member chose their top 15 picks and scored each entry on a scale of 1-10 on each of the following criteria: technique, difficulty, effort, skill/talent, uniqueness, presentation, and overall aesthetics. Seven categories with a maximum score of 10 from each of the five jury members would give a perfect 350 points. The scores from each jury member were added together to see who the top three winners would be. In addition to the winners chosen by the jury member, Elements Bath & Body chose a Sponsor’s Choice winner as well. They are a fantastic wholesale soap supplier with absolutely everything you might need – awesome prices, no minimum order and they ship worldwide!

I’m going to switch things up a bit and post the winners of the voted category first this time. Congratulations goes to Claudia Carpenter of Soap City blog in California with her amazing Murder at Sunset soap!! Claudia is a long time member and supporter of the Challenge Club with a total of five first place finishes now and quite a few other top three finishes. She has not only created a beautiful masterpiece, but she also educated us on the names of groups of birds. Did you know that a group of crows is actually called a “murder of crows”? Thus the name of her soap:

Murder at Sunset soap by Soap City

Of course even more amazing is how Claudia used a 3D printer to create the mold for the birds. Be sure to click on the photo of her soap to read all about it in her blog post. Claudia wins a $100 gift certificate from Mad Micas (and bragging rights, of course) – woo hoo!!

Second place goes to Bonnie Howard of The Village Soapsmith in North Carolina for her beautiful Teal Ombre soap. Bonnie has also participated in the challenges many times over the years, placing first in the U.S. category of the Embracing Opposites challenge and winning the Sponsor’s Choice award in the U.S. category of the Rimmed Soap challenge. Her ombre soap color change is so gradual, it is nearly impossible to pick out the layers!

Teal Ombre soap by The Village Soapsmith

Bonnie wins a $75 gift certificate from Mad Micas – congratulations!! Click on the photo to read about her process and see the other two ombre soaps she made.

In third place we have Sarah Corey of Sweet n Charming Soaps in New Mexico. Sarah has participated in the challenges several times in the last year, and this is her first time to place in the top 3! She is very experienced with the ombre technique (as you can see on her blog post), and has created a stellar ombre soap for the challenge:

Siren’s Song soap by Sweet n Charming Soaps

Sarah’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Mad Micas!

Finally, the Sponsor’s Choice prize has been awarded to Maja Zuvela-Aloise of Bubbledream in Austria for her Dusty Sunrise soap! This is Maja’s second Challenge Club award since she started participating in February. Joanna Schmidt, owner of Mad Micas says, “The deep orange to yellow is stunning! This is an extremely gradual color change ombre. We can’t even tell where one color ends and one begins! Well done!!!”

Dusty Sunrise soap by Bubbledream

Maja wins a $25 gift certificate from Mad Micas!

Now, for the juried category! There was much discussion about first and second place among the jury members. Ultimately, grand prize goes to Teri Endsley of Tree Marie Soapworks in Indiana. She received 327 out of 350 points from the jury members for her Scallop Ombre soap! Teri has been participating in the challenges for nearly a year now and this is her fourth time placing. Her soaps are always meticulous with flawless batters and beautiful designs. Her entry this month is no different:

Scallop Ombre soap by Tree Marie Soapworks

Congratulations to Teri for winning a $100 gift certificate from Elements Bath & Body! Click on the photo of her soap to read about it, as well as one other she attempted for the challenge on her Facebook page.

Equally amazing is the second place winner, Jayme Waldo of Jayme Jayne Inc. in Idaho who received 319 out of 350 points for her Glacier Ice soap. The smooth ombre transition combined with the unique shape and presentation of her soap is truly fantastic – especially for her very first ombre soap!

Glacier Ice soap by Jayme Jayne Inc.

Jayme wins a $75 gift certificate from Elements Bath & Body. Be sure to click on the photo of her soap to read more about her soap on her blog.

Third place is yet another outstanding work! Irina Muzhyla of I.M. Soap in Belarus put in an incredible amount of effort into creating the perfect ombre soap. Her Morning in the Desert soap received 280 out of 350 points. The gradual color change from the sand to the sky to the bright corner of light is truly stunning:

Morning in the Desert by I.M. Soap

Irina’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Elements Bath & Body. She has documented 11 batches of ombre soaps on her blog post, so be sure to check it out by clicking on the photo of her soap!

The Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Yvonne Foust of The Snoblove Bar in Tennessee for her Mermaids Lagoon soap! Leann Blackey, Creative Director for Elements Bath & Body says, “The color palette is absolutely gorgeous! The ombré was very well done, and that wave effect you were going for turned out well. Congratulations, Yvonne, on all your hard work and also for inspiring others with your beautiful soap! We are looking forward to seeing your new soap collection.”

Mermaids Lagoon by The Snoblove Bar

Yvonne has been participating in the challenges for several years with several award winning entries! She almost didn’t enter her soap this month, but now she’s quite happy that she did! Her prize is a $25 gift certificate from Elements Bath & Body. Congrats! You can read more about her soap by clicking on the photo that is linked to her Instagram post.

The rest of the entries for this month’s challenge, including the top 10 from the juried category can be found HERE, and the rest of the entries from the voted category are posted HERE.

And now, the long awaited announcement for what is coming up next!! We will continue the juried and voted categories for the next two months. July’s challenge will be the Acrylic Fluid Pour Technique with guest teacher Joanne Watkins of Nature’s Potion Handmade Soaps. Joanne has participated in the Challenge Clubs a few times, but I was most impressed by what she shared in several Facebook groups about what she was creating with techniques that are inspired by acrylic paint artists. I’m so happy she agreed to show us how it’s done! Here are a few photos of her work:

Acrylic fluid pour technique in the mold by Nature’s Potion Handmade Soaps

Cut soaps

You might recognize her Ombre soap from this month’s challenge:

Ombre Fluid Pour technique by Nature’s Potion Handmade Soaps

Cut soaps

This is the soap she made for the video tutorial:

Acrylic Fluid Pour technique by Nature’s Potion Handmade Soaps

The juried category will be sponsored by Bramble Berry and the voted category will be sponsored by Symphony Scents, both with the same amazing gift certificate prizes!

For August, we will do Vibrant Soap‘s Intaglia technique.

Intaglia soap example by Vibrant Soap

The juried category will be sponsored by Majestic Mountain Sage, and the voted category will be sponsored by Nurture Soap.

September’s technique is 3D shower jelly soaps with guest teacher Helene Glemet of ChezHelene. You might remember Helene’s entry in the CP + MP designs challenge made with this technique:

3D Shower Jelly soap by ChezHelene

We will have one big challenge in September with Rustic Escentuals as our sponsor.

Registration opens Monday for these three months of challenges! See more information on the Current Challenge page. Hope you’ll join us!

If you haven’t signed up for notifications, here’s the link:

The Alabama Soap Challenge

I was so honored to be invited to be a speaker at the 19th Annual Alabama Soap Meeting on June 9-10 in Prattville, Alabama. The Alabama Soap & Candle Association (ASCA) asked me to demonstrate a design technique and have a challenge for their members. As members signed up to attend the Meeting, they were given the opportunity to sign up to participate in the challenge, and 18 people decided to take the challenge! I sent them all the video tutorial and written instructions for the Spin Swirl technique on May 1st so they would have a little more than five weeks to prepare their soaps. Bramble Berry provided everything I needed for my demo, so all the large items then became prizes! Grand Prize was the 18-bar slab mold with dividers (plus free registration to next year’s meeting from the ASCA), second place received the KD-7000 scale, and third place was the new Bramble Berry stick blender.

The entries were submitted anonymously so that no one knew who made them except me:

Spin Swirl soaps

Each person who registered for the meeting (which was around 100 people) was given a ballot to place ONE vote for their favorite entry. The great part about doing a challenge in person is being able to smell the soaps as well as see the designs. Here are the winning soaps:

!st: Julie Batchelor, 2nd: Elizabeth Meredith, 3rd: Cheryl Thompson

I also gave honorable mention and a free 3-month registration to the Soap Challenge Club for July, August and September to three other entries for their outstanding spin swirl designs. Congratulations to Jeanette Cotton, Steve Hulsey, and Jen Merk:

Excellent Spin Swirl soaps

One of my favorite parts about doing soap challenges is hearing participants tell me that they did something they hadn’t done before because of the challenge. There are three participants from the Alabama challenge who had first time experiences, including Lenea Martel who makes hot process soaps exclusively. She made her first cold process soap for this challenge:

Lenea and her spin swirl soap

This is Gloria Orr. She used colors in her soap for the first time!

Gloria and her spin swirl soap

And this is Angel Dobs. She’s been making soap for over 35 years, and this was the first time she had ever made soap in a slab mold!

Angel and her spin swirl soap

Yes, soap challenges are fun! Yes, they might push you out of your comfort zone or help you try something new. And yes, I absolutely love helping soapmakers learn new things and have fun making new techniques! Thank you, ASCA, for giving me the opportunity to teach some new tricks!

Announcing the Winners of the Soap Dough Challenge!

What is soap dough, you ask? It’s a specially formulated cold process soap recipe that starts out moldable, but then hardens like regular soap. It gives endless possibilities for those who enjoy sculpting projects as it can behave similarly to polymer clay. Our guest teacher for this technique was Tatiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso. She shared her special recipe with us and showed us how easy it is to mold soap into an amazing dragon eye! Members were given the task of starting with a “bar” of cold process soap, and embellishing or embedding it with soap dough. The soap did not need to be practical to use, however, and members could choose to use small non-soap embellishments also. The results are absolutely astounding!! The challenge was divided into two categories again this month: juried and voted.

Members who wished to learn a new technique and have some fun, and/or may be new to soapmaking were encouraged to enter the voted category. All of our members were eligible to vote for the winners in this category, except for the Sponsor’s Choice winner. Lovin Soap is our incredible sponsor in this category. They have a multitude of resources for soapmakers, from recipes and tutorials to business information.

Members who wished to be pushed to their maximum potential, possibly with aspirations to improve or begin online selling were encouraged to participate in the juried category. A panel of four jury members decided the winners for this category, including our guest teacher Tatiana Serko, Jelena Vasiljeva of Soap Techniques, Kenna Cote of Modern Soapmaking, and myself. Each jury member chose their top 15 picks and scored each entry on a scale of 1-10 on each of the following criteria: technique, difficulty, effort, skill/talent, uniqueness, presentation, and overall aesthetics. Seven categories with a maximum score of 10 from each of the four jury members would give a perfect 280 points. The scores from each jury member were added together to see who the top three winners would be. Our wonderful sponsor for this category is Nature’s Garden, and they chose a Sponsor’s Choice winner as well. In addition to many other wonderful supplies for soapmakers, Nature’s Garden is one of the premiere suppliers of fragrances, with more than 800 unique, concentrated scents!

Let’s start with the winners from the juried category. The jury members agree this was the most difficult time we’ve ever had trying to decide the winners. The creativity and presentation of these soaps is top notch!

The grand prize goes to Linda Irawan of Moia Soap in Indonesia with 243 points! Linda was the first place winner in the voted category last month, and now she has proven her skills in the juried category as well. Her peacock soap is completely breathtaking in its beauty. Can you believe this is her first time working with soap dough? The tail feathers were created with the “caning” technique used by polymer clay artists:

The Peacock by Moia Soap

Linda’s prize is a $100 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden! Congratulations on a job well done! Be sure to click on the photo of her soap to see more photos of her soap on Instagram, including some in process.

Our second place winner is Lyubov Evteeva in Russia with 242 points (very close to first!). This is her second time participating in the challenges, and her first time to place in the top 3. The scale of her soap dough creation is what is most stunning about her work. She had to use a magnifying glass to accomplish it! Her soap, “In heaven from happiness”, is a replica of artwork by Mary Zherdeva:

In heaven from happiness by Lyubov Evteeva

Congratulations to Lyubov for winning a $75 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden! Click on the photo of her soap to read her blog post about how she made the soap and to see the inspiration behind it.

Third place goes to Nadezhda Uskova of Master Soap in Russia with 234 points. This is her first time participating in the Soap Challenge Club, but not her first time creating with soap dough. However, the subject of her masterpiece was something completely different from anything she has attempted before. An elf baby!! Her work was also inspired by another artist, sculptor Diana Guelinckx De Becker. Again, the details and scale of her creation is most impressive:

Elf baby soap by Master Soap

Nadezhda wins a $50 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden for her fantastic work! She has written a blog post about her process which you can read by clicking on the photo of her soap.

Finally, Deborah Ward of Nature’s Garden has chosen Erin Reynolds of Raven and Rain Soap Co. in Oregon to receive the Sponsor’s Choice prize for her Bathtime Fun with Rubber Ducky soap! This is Erin’s first time participating in a challenge. Deborah says, “Looks just like a real bath tub, and the little ducky adds an extra touch of cuteness!”

Bathtime Fun with Rubber Ducky by Raven and Rain Soap Co.

Erin’s prize is a $25 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden – woo hoo! Be sure to click on her photo to read more about her soap on her Facebook page.

The rest of the juried entries can be found HERE, with all of the top 10 entries posted in order.

For the voted category, there are some equally amazing entries also! Grand prize goes to Julie Franson of Cold Pocket Farm in Idaho! Julie has been a member of the Challenge Club for quite some time but this is her first time winning a prize for her work – and her first time playing with soap dough. Her subject of choice is a beautiful horned owl head with glass eyes:

Owl of Soap “Clay” by Cold Pocket Farm

Congratulations to Julie for winning a $100 gift certificate from Lovin Soap! If you click on the photo of her soap, you can see more photos of her process on her blog post.

In second place we have Irina Bukhanova in New York, another first time participant with an elegant peacock soap. Her soap proudly displays a colorful bird with multi-layered tail feathers and detailed flowers on the breast:

Peacock soap by Irina

Irina wins a $75 gift certificate from Lovin Soap – woo hoo!

Our third place winner is Ronda Scorpio (Soap by Kick it Up a Notch) in Canada! Ronda is new to the Challenge Club, but certainly not new to soap sculpting! She has created her own play dough soap recipe and hosts a Facebook group dedicated to the craft. Her prize-winning entry features the endearing characters Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. She calls it “Hunny Log”:

Hunny Log soap by Kick it Up a Notch

Ronda’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Lovin Soap. Be sure to click on the photo of her soap to see the YouTube video she put together.

The Sponsor’s Choice winner for the voted category is Yvonne Pedersen of Såpe Conditoriet in Norway! Yvonne is a long-time member of the Challenge Club and this is her second time to win a Sponsor’s Choice prize. (She’s been in the top 3 twice as well.) Amanda Gail chose her Soap Cottage because as she says, “This soap is adorable! I love the color scheme with the varied pinks on the yellow base. The flowers, though simple, are quite stunning when all assembled on the soap. The detail and texture on the door, window and roof really complete the piece. And of course the little bird up top is adorable! Great job!”

Soap Cottage by Såpe Conditoriet

Yvonne wins a $25 gift certificate from Lovin Soap. Her write-up about her Soap Cottage is great – click on the photo to read her blog post!

You’ll find the rest of the entries for the voted category HERE.

I hope you’re excited for the June challenge! We are doing Ombre Techniques. Here is the soap I created for the video tutorial:

Ombre soap by Amy Warden

Registration will open Monday, June 5th for this challenge. We will have juried and voted categories once again. Click on the photo for more information about our sponsors and prizes!

If you would like to receive a notification as soon as registration opens, sign up here:

Rustic Soap & Packaging Challenge Winners

For the month of April, we did a theme challenge that was completely different than any other challenge we’ve ever done. For the first time ever, hot process and rebatching were allowed (and even encouraged!) to create rustic looking soaps, and the challenge also included packaging. Rustic was defined as “having a simplicity and charm that is considered typical of the countryside.” Good textures, earthy colors, and a few rough edges can make a great rustic soap! Members were also asked to create packaging in keeping with the rustic theme that would enhance the overall look of the soap, but not cover it completely.

The challenge was divided into two new categories this month: voted and juried. Members who wished to learn a new technique and have some fun, and/or may be new to soapmaking were encouraged to enter the voted category. All of our members were eligible to vote for the winners in this category, except for the Sponsor’s Choice winner which was chosen by our fabulous sponsor, Rustic Escentuals.

Members who wished to be pushed to their maximum potential, possibly with aspirations to improve or begin online selling were encouraged to participate in the juried category. A panel of five jury members decided the winners for this category, including Tatiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso, Jelena Vasiljeva of Soap Techniques, Kenna Cote of Modern Soapmaking, Lori Kimble of Symphony Scents (our wonderful new sponsor for this category) and myself. Each jury member chose their top 10 picks and scored each entry on a scale of 1-10 on each of the following criteria: technique, difficulty, effort, skill/talent, uniqueness, packaging, presentation, and overall aesthetics. Eight categories with a maximum score of 10 from each of the five jury members would give a perfect 400 points. The scores from each jury member were added together to see who the top three winners would be, and the results are:

Grand prize goes to Helene Glemet of ChezHélène in Quebec, Canada! She received 347 out of 400 total points from the jury members for her amazing Taiga (Russian for “boreal forest”) soap. Helene used several unique ingredients from the boreal forest, including balsam poplar and black spruce resins, chaga mushrooms from birch trees, and bear tallow. She created two layers of cold process soap, then added a layer of hot processed soap on top. Helene made the deer silouhette stamp herself and used chaga mushroom powder to create the contrasting color. The packaging is also inspired by the forest with birch bark, pine needles and a button made from a deer antler completing the look:

Taiga soap by ChezHélène

Helene wins a $100 gift certificate from Symphony Scents – congratulations!! You can learn more about the wonderful properties of the ingredients she used and how she made her soap by clicking on the photo of her soap to see her video.

Second place goes to Claudia Carpenter of Soap City in California, with 315 out of 400 total points for her beautiful Sandalwood Stone soap. After admitting that she was having trouble coming up with a soap that looked “rustic enough,” Claudia used soap dough to hand-form her granite looking soap, colored with clays and tea powders. Her packaging consists of a simple ribbon made of cotton ticking and a kraft paper label she designed herself:

Sandalwood Stone soap by Soap City

Claudia’s prize is a $75 gift certificate from Symphony Scents – well done! Click the photo of her soap to read more about her “rustic” soap adventure on her blog.

In third place we have Michelle Rogerson of Handmade Heartland in Iowa, earning 295 out of 400 points with her stunning Arcadian Lavender soap. Michelle created her soap with the hot process method using the microwave as demonstrated in the video tutorial. She layered the soap with pencil lines, adding lots of tiny purple soap shreds to the middle layer. The final touches of purple paper, burlap ribbon and botanicals really make this soap stand out:

Arcadian Lavender soap by Handmade Heartland

Michelle wins a $50 gift certificate from Symphony Scents! Be sure to click on the photo to read all about Michelle’s process on her Facebook page.

(If you are looking for the Sponsor’s Choice winner for this category, you won’t find one since our sponsor helped choose all of our top three winners.)

Now it’s time to announce the winners from the voted category! Taking grand prize we have Linda Irawan of Moia Soap in Indonesia with her fabulous Solitary Jade soap. Linda made her soap using an accelerating jasmine fragrance and cold process, oven process (CPOP) to give it more texture and defined lines. She used gold mica and cocoa powder to create the waterline for the stone, and her rustic packaging includes wood fibre, hemp string and an ancient chinese coin:

Solitary Jade soap by Moia Soap

Linda wins a $100 gift certificate plus six 1-oz fragrances and six mica samples from Rustic Escentuals! Click on the photo to read more about her soap on her Instagram post.

Second place goes to Renee Spaulding of Lakehurst Farms in Vermont. Her prize winning soap is called Black Tie, a goat milk soap made with the hot process method. Renee created a simple black, grey and cream color scheme using activated charcoal and kaolin clay. Her simple packaging comes from a gift bag rope and a label she created herself:

Black Tie soap by Lakehurst Farms

Renee’s prize is a $75 gift certificate plus six 1-oz fragrances and six mica samples from Rustic Escentuals! If you click on the photo, you can read more about her process on her Facebook page.

In third place (just two votes behind second!) we have Teri Endsley of Tree Marie Soapworks in Indiana who won the secret swirl challenge last month in the all-natural category! Teri made several batches for the challenge, but it was her very first hot process soap that she felt was “rustic enough” to enter. It is made with pine tar and calendula, embellished with an old-fashioned French soap stamp, and decorated with burlap, arborvitae foliage, and a small pine cone:

Pine Tar & Calendula soap by Tree Marie Soapworks

Teri wins a $50 gift certificate plus six 1-oz fragrances and six mica samples from Rustic Escentuals! Be sure to click on the photo to see all the different batches she made in her Facebook album.

Finally, the Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to …. Melissa Fisher in Maryland! Melissa’s Out of this World soap caught the eye of our sponsor for several reasons. Amy Coker from Rustic Escentuals explains, “I like the creativity and originality not only with the soap but also how she coordinated the packaging to match the soap. Mindful creativity combined with a very nice looking bar of soap.”

Out of This World soap by Melissa Fisher

It’s always exciting when a new member gets a prize! Melissa wins six 1-oz fragrances and six mica samples from Rustic Escentuals – way to go!! You can read more about how she made her soap (and her reluctance to participate in the challenge!) on her blog post by clicking on the photo of her soap.

You can see all of the entries from the juried category HERE, and the voted category HERE.

Registration will open this Monday, May 1st for the May Challenge. We will be doing Soap Dough Techniques with Tatiana Serko as our guest teacher. She will be sharing the recipe she developed over four years with us! Here is the soap she made for the video tutorial:

Dragon’s Eye soap by Creative Soap by Steso

I purchased the amazing soap dough tools from Sorcery Soap so I could play along as well. Tatiana sent me a sample of her soap dough, and I can tell you it is amazing!!

Here’s the deal though. Tatiana recommends that you make the soap dough two weeks before you plan to make anything with it. Those who are participating in this challenge are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to make the soap dough ASAP. I have extended the deadlines to make sure you have enough time to create some wonderful masterpieces with your soap dough.

The May challenge will also be divided into juried and voted categories. The sponsor for the juried category is Nature’s Garden, and Deborah Ward will be joining our panel of jury members. The sponsor for the voted category is Lovin’ Soap. Check out the current challenge page for more information!

There will also be an option to sign up for June (ombre techniques) at a discounted rate during open registration which starts Monday, May 1st. If you haven’t signed up for Challenge Club notifications, you can do so now: