Soap Tops

I’m in full ‘Operation Christmas Fairs’ mode and have been for a good few weeks now. All my soapmaking has been restocks, and there is a LOT of time being spent packaging and labelling soap. Consequently there hasn’t been much opportunity for creativity so I’ve playing around with my soap tops and and trying out different styles and techniques. I mostly swirl the soap while it’s still fairly fluid, but I have tried letting the soap thicken up a bit and creating texture that way too.

I’ve tried mica in oil swirls:

Mica/Oil swirl

                       Mica/Oil swirl

Swirling the still very fluid soap with a chopstick/skewer (or similar):

Chopstick swirl

         ‘Chopstick’ swirl

Chopstick swirling at a slightly heavier trace:

Chopstick swirl

       Chopstick swirl

A more formal ‘mantra’ style chopstick swirl:

Mantra swirl

             Mantra swirl

Using a spoon to add texture to the top:

'Spoon' textured top

‘Spoon’ textured top

Adding grated soap to create some detail on the top:

Grated soap detail

Grated soap detail

A simple ‘splatter’ technique. This one looks really effective on the cut bars:

'Splatter' method

       ‘Splatter’ Method

Here’s one I made a few years back – Chocolate Cake – chocolate chocolate chunk embeds set amid piped ‘cream’ topping:

Piping  & Embeds

                      Piping & Embeds

There seems to be an infinite number of techniques and methods, and I’m looking forward to doing some more experimenting in the quieter post-holiday months ahead.

 

 

 

 

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A Planning Failure

If there’s one thing I’m learning, as the business slowly grows, it’s that planning is everything. Actually, I hope I’ve learnt a lot more, but planning IS crucial. I like to cure my soaps for a full six weeks before releasing for sale, and trying to work out potential demand a good month and a half ahead of time isn’t always easy.  Last year I made two Christmas soaps, and I had a good deal more left after the Christmas rush than I would have liked. How popular do you think a soap called ‘Christmas cake’ is in January? Yup…

This year, I was determined to avoid the same mistake again, and decided to make just one Christmas soap. I chose my fragrance carefully, and opted for ‘Jewelled Cranberry’, described as a ‘festive berry fragrance of juniper berries, elder berries and cranberries with supporting notes of pine nuts, orange peel and crisp apple’ and supplied by Gracefruit.

Jewelled Cranberry

Jewelled Cranberry

I gave it the usual six weeks cure time then posted it on my Facebook Page stating that it was a limited edition. The response was as amazing as it was unexpected – all 15 bars were sold within 24 hours. So that was it, my whole Christmas offering sold out before the end of October!  I was thrilled of course, but also a bit frustrated, at myself, for not foreseeing this possibility. Yes, I could have made more, but by the time I’d ordered the fragrance, made the soap, and waited the requisite six weeks, I would most likely be too late for the Christmas shopping period, and would end up with a surfeit of holiday soap in January again.  Very poor planning from a business point of view, but a valuable lesson learnt for the future!

Oh, and that Christmas Cake soap? I changed the name and it sold rather nicely, thank you very much 😉

Have you made Christmas soaps this year? Please share your links in the comments – I’d love to see them!