Here is my spin swirl entry for April’s Great Cakes Soapworks challenge.
My entry is scented with orange, lime and patchouli essential oils to match the orange and green colouring.
This was a hard one for me, I like to try to do something a bit different when it comes to the challenges and to think outside the box; but I was really short on ideas. I had three attempts, and have decided to enter my second attempt.
I used a lard soap recipe as I find it traces fairly slowly.
Olive Oil 20%
Sunflower Oil 20%
Coconut Oil 20%
Scented with 3% Orange, Lime and Patchouli EO
I coloured the layers with yellow iron oxide, dragon blood red mica (mixed with yellow to get orange) and olive green mica. I mixed up my powdered colourants with a dash of olive oil to make sure they would blend properly into the soap batter. (The last thing you want is loads of little spots where you have unblended colourant ruining your design). I only used a 3% superfat so the tiny amount of extra oil wouldn’t affect the final product.
I decided to use a lazy susan to help me spin my soap as I thought it would be easier to control. I glued the plastic soap mould onto the centre of the lazy susan with some blu tack to hold it in place. I didn’t want it to go flying mid spin! I also bought a small plastic tub to use as a mould as my big wooden log mould makes huge batches and the guidelines said we needed to be able to cut the soap in half to show the internal design so it had to be a double batch. I didn’t want to be overrun with millions of bars of soap!
I decided to do a column pour to fill my mould so I used an empty vitamin C tube and a facial serum tube that were about the same size to pour the batter over. Then, when there was a small amount of batter left, I drew a star shape on the top with an orange blob in the middle to look like the sun. I wanted to see how much the straight lines would curve as I spun the mould.
I then spun the mould. It is hard to tell whether you have spun it enough times as the top of the soap doesn’t move as much as the inside. It is a case of trial and error and fingers crossed that something looks nice inside. I am a control freak, so I find this very unnerving! I managed to succeed with only minimal splattering.
I left the soap to harden for a few days before unmoulding and cutting. I was really pleased with the inside of this one compared to the others, I felt like I achieved a wide range of patterns across the slab. I especially like the one that looks like little flames, and the ones that look like tree knots.
Amy’s instructions were to make a double thickness layer of soap and cut it in half to reveal the swirled pattern inside – here are mine:
My first go at this was pretty dismal. I used grey as a background colour instead of white and had too much grey compared to the orange and green colours, so it looked drab. The swirls weren’t very well formed either so I won’t bother uploading pictures of those.
I also had an attempt trying to ‘think outside the box’. I made some cardboard rings and inserted them into the soap batter after pouring the colours in stripes into the mould. The idea was that the card would guide the soap batter during spinning and turn the straight lines into concentric curves. It certainly looked different when I unmoulded and cut it, but I didn’t feel like it demonstrated the technique adequately. My original regular spin swirl had more life to it so that is the one I chose to enter.
I think the key to getting nice swirls with this technique is to keep your batter very fluid, so you need to work very quickly once you have started and not over mix your colourants into the batter.
As always the challenges push me to try new techniques that I wouldn’t otherwise have considered. Thank you Amy. I look forward to the challenge next month.
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Both soaps are lovely, but I love the brightly coloured one!
Very beautiful work,love this happy orange color scheme!
First of all, your entry soap is absolutely gorgeous! I was surprised when you said you used an olive green colorant since your soap looks quite teal – it's a beautiful color, don't get me wrong! I also love seeing the results of your experiment with the concentric circles. That sounds like it should work!! Do you think the batter had just set up too much to get the effect you were hoping for?
I was a bit surprised about how my soap turned out too. It is different from the original colours I poured into the mould, you can see from my mould pour pics that it was supposed to be more natural and orange/green looking, but during saponification some of the green disappeared leaving behind the blue which made it look more teal. That's what you get for not testing mica first and buying it from a car paint supplier as it was cheaper (it was still cosmetic grade!) and the Orange darkened quite a bit as I gelled the soap. I know that the soap pictures look different to the mould pour but the only difference is the changes during saponification and that my husband professionally took the second lot of photos with his DSLR outside in bright daylight rather than with my iPhone.
I don't think the cardboard concentric rings method would work at all as my soap was still very fluid when I spun it. The vertical lines on top had completely flipped horizontal by the time I finished spinning so I expected more to have gone on inside the soap, but the result was just not very pleasing. Perhaps if the rings were larger and could hold more batter, in a larger mould then the result may have been better.
I'm glad you think my soap was beautiful, even though it wasn't quite what I was expecting I was still pleased with the result.
I love the bold colors! Lucky you the micas didn't morph to grey or something unappealing… I love the colors as the are now. Well done!
Stupendous! I love everything about your soap. And the column pour, brilliant! I want to give it a try. Thank you for sharing all the details!
I love the range of colours you've used and the fragrances you chose. This soap is really vibrant and lovely. It looks Aztec to me for some reason
Thanks Chris, you always take the time to comment on everyone's entries and it is greatly appreciated. It's nice to know people have read my blog not just looked at my entry pic. Do you submit an entry this month?
Thank you Olga,
I tried to leave a comment on your blog saying how lovely I thought your sea buckthorn soap was, but the comment box was in Russian and when I clicked what I thought was the 'post' button it disappeared! I was interested to know what qualities you thought the seabuckthorn oil brought to your soap? I have wanted to try it for a long time but it is very expensive over here in the UK.
Thank you, I'm glad you think I chose the right one to enter. Sometimes when you have had lots of attempts it is difficult to know which one is the best!
Thanks Liz 🙂 I don't think I will be trying out random new colourants next time I try a challenge. Only tried and tested things from now on!
Thank you Leela, you should definitely have a go with a column pour. I think it is easier and works more effectively with a thicker column though. I just couldn't fit thicker ones into my mould! Your circles are more perfectly formed that way.
Thank you Lisa, I definitely agree with you on the Aztec feel. It's something to do with that really bright burnt Orange I think.
Another beautiful soap!! Gorgeous colour combo, very striking!! Love the flames in the middle of the top pic
I love love love your colors! And isn't is so great how every bar is so unique and different with this technique?
Yes it's a fantastic technique, I wasn't sure about it before I gave it a go. Now I am converted, the range of designs you can get is just fantastic. I will definitely be trying this again.
Beautiful colours, unusual striking combination, love it! Good idea with the column pour…I never know what to use as columns and I´ve never thought of using empty drugs/cosmetics tubes, I will try it next time 🙂