Expanding Design Horizons

Since I just can’t leave well enough alone, I’ve been at it again: exploring more ways in which I can take a simple thing (soap) and make it surprising and beautiful (or at least surprising).

This week I tried to replicate the grand prize winner of Saponifier Magazine’s Best Swirl contest. I figured that if the soapmaker, Nicole Benitez, was kind enough to publish a tutorial, then I just had to try it myself!For a first try, I’m happy with it. These bars were actually sliced horizontally, instead of the usual way vertically, like you would slice a loaf of bread. So the bars with black were on top of the bars with no black. You can see that the black soap never made it down too deep into the log. Next time, I’ll need to choose a different fragrance oil, work faster and pour while the soap is thinner. But even the ones with no black still have a really pretty swirl. I’m happy with the results and will definitely be using this techique again.

A couple weeks ago I poured some heart shaped soaps. While they make very cute little guest soaps, I put them to a more creative use this week as embeds in a new batch.The fragrance oil that I used will discolor this soap a medium brown, so once it’s done curing it should have a primitive, country look. Now I have to think of something to do with the little stars that I made that same day!

And finally, the most colorful soap that I think I’ve ever made: embedded “melt-and-pour” soap. This is the kind of clear, “glycerin” soap that you may have seen (or worked with). It’s a very different process, making melt-and-pour soap, and so combining the two media opens up yet more possibilities!
The colors are riotous, and because the stripes were made with clear melt-and-pour soap, they have a translucence that gets these bars glowing! These made me smile as I was cutting them. 🙂 Once they cure, I’ll be curious to see how they perform in the shower: will the layers stay together? Will they get used up at the different rates? For now, I’ll just admire them for the beauties they are. (sigh)

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