You know how doing something new with a group of people is more fun than doing it alone? Well, it’s the same with making soap. It’s just more enjoyable when you can interact with other soapmakers, compare experiences and share the achievements.
Don’t have any other soapmakers that live near by, you say? Well, welcome to the age of the internet and pull out your stick blender! Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks coordinates monthly soap challenges that let soapmakers from all over the world create beautiful soap together virtually. She even featured a technique that I blogged about for one of her challenges.
This month’s challenge was the “Taiwan Swirl”, so-called because of this video that introduced the technique to soapmakers. It surprised me how simple it looked, considering how intricate the swirl can be.
I was intrigued. So this month, I joined in and gave it a go. In fact, I gave it three “go”s because it took me that long to really get satisfied with a batch. At least they were little one pound batches that were quick to make.
My first try had a nice swirl, but it was a bit light and hard to see. That’s because I poured too much of the green soap from up high and it sank into the base color. There was so little left on the top that it was very faint.
I scented it with Pineapple Cilantro FO from Bramble Berry (one of my favorite scents and it’s so easy to work with) and colored with micas.
So on the next try, I held back more of the swirl soap for the top. But this time the soap had started to get just a bit too thick and didn’t move very well when I swirled it with my chopstick.
I used Yuzu FO (from Bramble Berry) and colored with micas.
Well, maybe this technique isn’t as easy as it looks!
Finally, I decided to try once more with two swirl colors. (Oh, yeah. I was feeling confident now.) I scented this last batch with Sensuous Sandalwood FO (from Bramble Berry) and colored with micas.
I didn’t over mix it, so it stayed thin. And I poured enough so that the swirl soap was visible on the top of the bar. I’m really happy with how this last batch turned out.
If you want to see how all the other soapmakers’ Taiwan Swirls turned out, keep your eye on the Great Cakes Soapworks blog for photos. And a big “Thanks a bunch” to Amy for inspiring all of us every month!
UPDATE: Wow! My Sensuous Sandalwood swirl was voted into second place in the Soap Challenge. So thrilled! Be sure to read about the other winners and see all the entrants here.
These are beautiful! I actually really like your “practice” batches – that green & white one is really pretty & natural (like spring leaves).
Thanks, Cassie! And it smells great, too.
All of them look absolutely gorgeous! My entry looks closest to your second try. I still soaped at 37% lye concentration. I will add more liquid next time. Your entry looks perfect! 🙂
Thanks, Silvia! Yes, I learned that having a very loose soap batter is the key. I really forced myself to put the stick blender down! 🙂
Amazing. Your soap always is so beautiful 🙂
Thank you so much!
Very nice work on all the batches!
Thanks, Cris! Sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves, can’t we?
This is such a beautiful swirl! I love how simple and elegant it is!
Thanks, Maya! I like how the simple swirls really make you think about how important color is.
I will admit this was the most difficult technique for me! I think I did 6 batches total. Wish I had made a video of my 2nd practice batch, as it was one of my favorites. I love your feathery swirls!! Thank you for joining the challenge and promoting it as well!
Thank YOU, Amy! Not only did I learn this swirl technique, I learned how thin my emulsion can really be and still work. I’m fearless now! 🙂
Wow! All of them are gorgeous…..but the two colour one at the end….a stunner! 🙂
Thanks so much, Dianne! This technique takes some practice, doesn’t it?
It took me three tries as well! It’s much harder than it looks, but so worth the effort. All three of your soaps are beautiful, but I especially like the last one – it really stands out !
Thanks, Suzy! I was so determined, I might have done it a fourth time if I hadn’t been pleased with the third. 😉
Love the swirl, so elegant looking and agree with the comments that it’s not as easy as it seems 🙂
My batters are usually very thick, but managed a fluid one for mine, but did take 3 attempts, but certainly not in your league 🙂
Thanks, Nadia! I learned so much from trying it over and over.
Wow- the last 2 soaps are my favorites! I love the color in the 2nd one but the design in the 3rd one is striking. I agree, the technique looks easy but it is harder than it looks.
Thanks, JV! Yes, everything (the trace, the colors, the pour) have to work together to get the best swirl.
They’re all beautiful, Ruth! I love how feathery the 1st and 3rd batches look …… and completely agree with your observation about not overmixing for this technique.
Thanks, Debbie! It was so hard to not keep blending. But I had to take a leap of faith, and it worked! 🙂
Oh my word Ruth! I love all three but the third one is amazing! Nigh on perfect I reckon :0)
Thanks so much, Vicki! You’re too kind. (But that’s my favorite one, too.) 🙂
Love all three batches!
Now THAT’S a Taiwan Swirl to be proud of!
Thanks so much, Gail!
Wow! So beautiful! I love how fine and feathery your lines are. Just perfect. I’m amazed!!! Great job, Ruth!
All of your batches turned out beautifully, Ruth, but I do especially love the Sensuous Sandalwood soap. That’s a gorgeous swirl!
Thanks, Jenny! That’s my favorite, too. (But don’t tell the others.) 😉
All of your taiwan swirl soaps turned out well, but the sandalwood soap is just so beautiful. It jumped out from the computer screen on the line-up page. The color and feathery lines are just so nice!
Thanks so much, Berkeley! That’s the thing that attracted me to this technique: the feathery lines. I had to make it happen! 🙂
The Yuzu is my favorite for the color contrast but the Sandalwood has excellent definition!
I agree, Andee. Purple and orange is one of my favorite swirl color combinations. And thanks for stopping by!
Congratulations, Ruth ! You had my vote – just a beautiful soap.
Oh, thank you so much, Suzy! There were lots of really beautiful soaps in this challenge.
thanks so much for all the demos and good advice. going to give it a try. beautiful soaps! Barbara & Janet –took you boot camp Oct 2012
I’m so glad you found it helpful, Janet! I’d love to see how it works for you. Feel free to post photos to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheNovaStudio or https://www.facebook.com/SoapmakingTeacher
I’m new in the cold process and have found your website amazing, with plenty of recipes and new gr8 ideias. I’ll share it in my blog. And please feel free to visit my online store of Soaps from Brazil at: http://loja.fabricadearomas.com.br
Thanks for stopping by, Ricardo!
Pingback: Soda ash on my CP soaps – NewResolution4Life
Pingback: Tips for Swirling Soap with Natural Colors • Lovely Greens