Soap Challenge 2013 – Week Two

If you haven’t had a chance to see the Tiger Stripe soaps from last week’s challenge, you are in for a treat! Go to the bottom of this post. The response has been absolutely phenomenal!! The goal of the challenges is to push ourselves to the next level of soapmaking – whatever that level may be, so please don’t feel intimidated to share your work! The link-up will remain open all week. We are all here together to encourage each other to do great things!

This week we will tackle the Elemental Swirl. This technique was first posted on the Otion Soap blog and another soapmaker suggested that I try the technique when I was asking for inspiration on my Facebook page!

Caribbean Diva Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks, made with the elemental swirl
Caribbean Diva Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks, made with the elemental swirl

It’s basically two in-the-pot swirls divided by a pencil line. You will need to divide your soap into eight equal parts – 3 colored parts with similar tones + 1 uncolored part for each layer. Sounds complicated, but it’s not so bad, I promise! Just take one step at a time, and be sure you have plenty of mixing bowls!

Here are my instructions:


1. BEGINNER VERSION: If this technique seems overwhelming to you, try dividing your soap into just 4 pots – two colored, two uncolored. Swirl one colored pot and one uncolored pot together for each layer and do the pencil line in-between.
2. Definitely use a fragrance or essential oil blend that will NOT accelerate trace! Slow, slow, slow.
3. You can use any type of colorants you like and mix them up to get the colors you want for each layer.
4. The pencil line can be done with mica OR activated charcoal, cocoa powder, powdered clay, etc.
5. Prep work is key!! Make sure you have all the colors dispersed, bowls & spatulas ready, and mica (or other powdered colorant) for the pencil line ready to go before you begin. You can use the tea strainer method as described in the Otion blog, or nylons stretched over a jar with a rubber band like I did.
6. The trickiest part (I think) is getting the soap the right consistency. If your soap is too thin, you will need to be careful pouring the top layer over the pencil line without disturbing it or the soap underneath too much. If it seems pretty fluid, just test it out by spooning on a little bit of soap before pouring it! If you bring your soap to a medium trace before swirling in the pot, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with this. It’s actually more interesting if the top layer breaks through the bottom one a little bit!
7. Take a deep breath and have fun!!

Page with Comments

  1. Sorting through my colors and getting excited about this technique !! I admire anyone who works with red – I just can never seem to get it “right”.

  2. Can I use soapmaking at room temperature instead of the usual CP method where you bring oil and lye to the same temperature before mixing them? Thanks

  3. Looks like fun, but maybe a little to advanced for me. DonΒ΄t know if I should be brave and divide the soap batch in eight parts or try the beginners version.

  4. This might seem like a silly question, but I just wanted to clarify. This is just to try the two ITP swirls with a mica line and doesn’t have to be elemental colors, does it? I have an idea, but I didn’t want to do the same thing with the fire and water.

  5. Can’t wait to make this one! I’m actually running behind because of a hectic, and very long work schedule last week. My oils are melting now to make the tiger stripe! LOL

  6. @Dana – Obviously, my second batch isn’t elemental colors. I think the tone-on-tone is somewhat important, but not essential. If you have an idea – go for it!!

  7. Can’t wait to see it cut! Thanks for the video! My brain is churning for how I’ll do this one. I think I will go with elemental colors since I’ve never done this before.

  8. oh this looks like fun AND will be a real challenge. Mulitple colors has not proven to be a strong point for me! Looking toward it!

  9. Im really enjoying these challenges,they’re loads of fun & it’s great seeing what everyone else comes up with.
    Looking forward to Saturday!

  10. I can’t wait to see how yours turns out!! I’m gonna give it a go today, just have to figure out the colors and fragrances. πŸ™‚

  11. Hi, I did try with 2 colors, but I think my recipe have to many hard oils, coconut., palm, lard, shea butter, total of 65%, do I have to change the oils, maybe ,more soft oils? My soap when in a swift stone hard. Help!!!!!!

  12. I loved the tiger stripe it was so much fun that I did a second one, this time figgy pudding in green and red stripes with a white accent, I don’t think it will stay that color because I forgot to check the vanilla content before mixing so it will darken. for this weeks challenge I am going to try something I have never done, I am going to mix some of my FO’s to get a smell that I can use for this challenge. I am crazy about my colors have to feel like the smell. choosing the colors is the hardest part for me. Were do you get your colors?

  13. I think the red hatters are going to love this! Can’t wait to see pics. Great as usual.

  14. I can’t wait!!! I only have a vague idea of what I’m going to do. Soaping this tomorrow!

  15. Hi Amy, Just wondering? I just made my Tiger Stripe Soap yesterday & cut it today & was wondering if it’s too late to post it?
    I want to try the Elemental Swirl tomorrow and will have that one ready before Saturday. Is that okay? Thanks, Joanne
    p.s. I kinda did my Tiger Stripe a bit different in that I used my 20lb. block mold, but I think it came out great!

  16. @Victoria – The link-up post for this week’s challenge will open up at 6am CST on Saturday! (Same time every week for each challenge.)

  17. Thank you!!!! I’m just so excited to show off my soaps. Its got so many firsts in it. First time using the colorants, doing a pencil line, and doing an in the pot swirl. I love these challenges. They are making me step out of my comfort zone and to play a little πŸ™‚

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